A couple of hours ago I shared my excitement about an enhanced partnership between Alaska and Delta that was supposed to be announced today. The timing of the announcement is a bit ironic since Alaska’s computers are down and none of their planes are moving at the moment.
Nonetheless the announcement occurred, and it’s a bit puzzling to me. The changes are as follows:
- Proposed new nonstop Delta service between Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and Shanghai Pu Dong International Airport, pending approval by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).
- Proposed new nonstop Delta service between Seattle and Haneda Airport in Tokyo, pending DOT approval.
- The deployment of Delta’s flagship Boeing 747-400 jet on flights between Seattle and Narita Airport in Tokyo, featuring a fully upgraded interior with full flat-bed seats in BusinessElite, individual in-flight entertainment in every seat throughout the aircraft, expanded overhead bins and other amenities.
- Newly upgraded Boeing 767-300 aircraft on Delta’s flights between Seattle and Paris, Beijing and Osaka, Japan, also offering full flat-bed seats in BusinessElite and upgraded amenities.
- Additional nonstop Delta service between Seattle and John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.
- Upgraded BusinessElite service on all Delta Seattle-JFK flights to match the product and amenities of Delta’s JFK service from Los Angeles and San Francisco.
- Sea-Tac airport improvements including a new Delta Sky Club, new power ports throughout Delta’s facilities, expanded ticket counters, lobby renovations and other improvements.
- An ongoing partnership between Delta and Alaska that includes codesharing in Seattle and shared customer benefits including reciprocal lounge access and frequent flier programs.
So to summarize, Delta is flying sexier planes to Seattle (though I assume this will decrease our chances at upgrades), building a new SkyClub even though their current one is just a year old, flying a nicer plane to Tokyo Narita, and trying to talk the DOT into additional routes.
Where Alaska fits into all this is beyond me, though. Admittedly Delta will want the feeder traffic from Alaska, but this is definitely an effort on the part of Delta, and they just wanted Alaska to sit there and look pretty as they made the announcement.
I can’t decide if this makes me more or less likely to go for status with Delta. On one hand the premium transcontinental service is awesome, though on the other hand I assume it’ll have a pretty negative impact on upgrade percentages.