1 Week To Go: Alaska Airlines Set To Join The oneworld Alliance

Alaska Airlines will be joining the oneworld alliance in around a week. Coming over a year after the airline first announced it planned to join the alliance, the carrier will be buoyed by a further enhanced partnership with American Airlines and access to deeper partnerships with other oneworld carriers, allowing it to grow its business in the United States and around the world.

Alaska MAX
Alaska Airlines has just over one week to go before it joins an alliance. Photo: Alaska Airlines

One week left before Alaska’s big move

Alaska Airlines has been around for nearly 90 years. The carrier, which, despite its name, is based out of Seattle, viewed the joining of the oneworld alliance as a “pivotal moment.” As Nat Pieper, Alaska’s senior vice president of fleet, finances and alliances, stated:

“Every airline has pivotal moments in its history. Decisions that are made for future success and stability, and to provide increased service and a better travel experience for its customers. oneworld offers us those opportunities. We are officially joining a family with some of the best airlines in the world. The possibilities are tremendous.”

The airline will officially be joining the oneworld alliance on March 31, 2021. Just a week-or-so out, the airline has spent the last few months gearing up to officially become a oneworld member. The airline will be offering employees name tags containing the blue orb of the alliance, putting up the logo on its aircraft, ticket stands, gate areas, internet communications, and so much more.

Alaska Boeing 737
Alaska Airlines has plenty of work to do ahead of joining the oneworld alliance. Photo: Getty Images

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Alaska will be able to offer passengers more options

Seattle can be a great transpacific connecting hub. Alaska Airlines’ problem was that it did not offer its own flights across the Pacific, and its international ticket sales are limited.

The airline will be able to use its large domestic network to help provide feed for international operations. For loyal Alaska fliers, it means more options to purchase tickets and choose their travel experience. Some, for example, in Boise, may prefer to fly Alaska nonstop to Seattle and then a connection onwards to a city like Tokyo or Hong Kong on a oneworld partner.

Alaska Q400
Alaska Airlines will provide the oneworld alliance more regional destinations in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest, while the airline will be able to sell more tickets to more destinations as part of the alliance. Photo: Getty Images

Alaska hubs may end up getting a host of new air services

While some argue that international airline partnerships may reduce the number of flights a partnership offers between two countries, there is great potential for Seattle.

From Asia, Cathay Pacific will almost definitely resume nonstop flights between Hong Kong and Seattle. Japan Airlines, which has a route from Tokyo-Narita to Seattle, could upgauge this route to a larger aircraft. It may also add a route to the city out of Tokyo-Haneda, a second Tokyo-area airport.

Delta Alaska Seattle
Alaska Airlines joining oneworld will also allow the carrier to strike back against the growth of Delta Air Lines and its partners in Seattle. Photo: Port of Seattle

From the Pacific, there are two other solid possibilities. Fiji Airways, a oneworld Connect partner, already flies to San Francisco and Los Angeles. If the country opens up for tourism and East Asian countries keep restrictions heavy on returning tourists, then Fiji Airways could connect Nadi to Seattle. However, the more likely option from the region is likely Qantas, which is almost certain to eventually add new flights from a hub like Sydney to Seattle using, most likely, a Boeing 787 aircraft.

From Europe, as Alaska adds Finnair and Iberia as partners, could end up seeing services from those airlines as well. Finnair could add a route from Helsinki, while Iberia would add a flight, most probably from Madrid. London is already a heated market out of Seattle and actually received a service bump after Alaska Airlines announced it intended to join the oneworld alliance.

Oneworld map
The route network map that Alaska will be able to offer its customers after joining the alliance. Photo: oneworld

Some indicators that such new services could be possible come from Qatar Airways. The Doha-based airline recently launched services between Doha and Seattle, ahead of Alaska’s official joining of the oneworld alliance.

There are also plenty of other options for expansion out of Seattle with American Airlines. American has shown plenty of interest in categorizing Seattle as a “hub,” and the airline has plenty of options to use Seattle as a launching point for additional services to Asia to rival United’s San Francisco hub.

Alaska and American
Alaska Airlines will also partner closely with American Airlines within the oneworld alliance. Photo: Getty Images

The possibilities also extend into other Alaska hubs, like Portland and perhaps even Anchorage. Not to mention, Alaska Airlines also extends the oneworld presence out of Los Angeles, which will be a huge deal for the alliance.

Are you excited for Alaska Airlines to join the oneworld alliance? Let us know in the comments!

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