Alaska Airlines Doubles Down In San Francisco After Joining oneworld

Alaska Airlines is doubling down on its position in San Francisco. Just over a week after joining the oneworld alliance, the airline is bringing a much-anticipated Alaska Lounge to the airport as it resumes more flights and plans to increase capacity for the summer in a push for travelers. The new lounge, which will open in late summer 2021, comes as Alaska alters its lounge membership policy this fall.

Alaska Boeing 737
Alaska Airlines is opening a new lounge in San Francisco. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Alaska reveals lounge plans in San Francisco

Alaska Airlines has announced that it will open a new Alaska Lounge at San Francisco International Airport (SFO). Opening by the late summer of 2021, the airline will cater to premium Bay Area travelers’ needs with room to unwind and relax before a flight.

The new Alaska lounge will be located in Terminal 2. Alaska will move into the former American Airlines Admirals Club space. The Admirals Club at SFO is now in Terminal 1. Further information on the timing and additional details about the lounge will come in the next few months.

Sangita Woerner, Alaska Airlines’ senior vice president of marketing and guest experience, stated the following on the new Alaska lounge:

“We’re always looking for ways to be more responsive to our guests and offer amenities that make travel more relaxing. SFO has been the top-requested Alaska Lounge location by our guests for years. So many people are dreaming of travel this year, so we want to open up our newest Alaska Lounge as quickly and efficiently as possible – and renovating this space in Terminal 2 allows us to do that.”

Alaska Lounge
A rendering of the new Alaska Lounge, which will be the second-largest Alaska Lounge once it opens. Photo: Alaska Airlines

A stunning new lounge

The new lounge will be the second-largest Alaska Lounge, just behind the airline’s flagship lounge in Seattle’s North Satellite Terminal. The SFO lounge is just under 10,000 square feet.

The Alaska Lounge at SFO’s Terminal 2 will include an espresso bar staffed by a trained barista. The lounge will offer a full bar for those age 21 and older, featuring complimentary local craft brews and West Coast wines and spirits.

Additional food options include made-to-order pancakes, steel-cut oatmeal, fresh salads, and hearty soups.

Alaska Lounge
The lounge will focus on providing ample seating and dining areas. Photo: Alaska Airlines

A new lounge policy is coming

In October 2021, Alaska Airlines is updating its membership for lounges. There will be two tiers for memberships:

  • Alaska Lounge: access to all Alaska Lounges when flying on any airline at $450 annually ($350 for Alaska Airlines MVP, MVP Gold, and MVP Gold 75k members)
  • Alaska Lounge Plus: access to Alaska Lounges in addition to an extended network of partner airline lounges including all American Airlines Admirals Clubs at $600 annually ($500 for Alaska Airlines MVP, MVP Gold, and MVP Gold 75k members)

A lounge membership may come complimentary with a new, top-tier elite category that Alaska expects to reveal later this year.

In addition to members, passengers traveling in first class, whether paid or on an award ticket, on flights operated by Alaska Airlines can access an Alaska Lounge only on the day of their flight.

Alaska SFO Lounge Entrance
Note that Alaska will be updating its Lounge Memberships this fall. Photo: Alaska Airlines

Doubling down in San Francisco

Alaska Airlines is still focused on its position in the Bay Area. The airline currently operates more than 80 daily flights across the three Bay Area airports the carrier serves. Those three are San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland.

Alaska recently resumed service to Honolulu and Maui from SFO on April 4th. In June, Alaska will begin service to Anchorage, Alaska, and Bozeman, Montana, from SFO.

Alaska E175
Alaska Airlines also flies regional jets out of SFO on some routes. Photo: Jay Singh | Simple Flying

Alaska currently has 24 destinations on its nonstop list from San Francisco, excluding the new routes slated to start this year. Not all of those see service currently due to the ongoing crisis but are expected to see service sometime this year as Alaska plans an aggressive ramp-up of capacity. This does not include the destinations it has access to, thanks to its partnership with American Airlines.

San Francisco is dominated by United Airlines, which operates a massive hub at the airport. Alaska did have a legacy presence in SFO, but that presence increased since the airline merged with Virgin America.

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Virgin America focused on SFO as a base of operations. Since the merger, Alaska Airlines has maintained its position in the Bay Area, but it has also concentrated some growth around San Jose International Airport (SJC), which serves as another important base for the airline.

Alaska Airbus A321neo
The merger with Virgin America helped Alaska Airlines strengthen its Bay Area position. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

After joining the oneworld alliance, Alaska Airlines has access to a host of new customers, some of whom are loyal to other airlines and do not fly Alaska due to its limited ability to provide international long-haul connections.

Now that the airline is part of the alliance, its position in the Bay Area becomes all the more important for oneworld carriers like British Airways, Cathay Pacific, and Qantas, among others, which fly into SFO. This new Alaska Lounge should help the airline appeal to more premium travelers flying with the airline.

What do you think about Alaska’s new SFO lounge? Are you excited to see an Alaska Lounge come to San Francisco? Let us know in the comments!