Alaska Launching Seattle To New York JFK Route With Double Miles

Alaska Airlines has announced that they’ll begin offering once daily flights between Seattle and New York JFK as of September 16, 2015.

The new Boeing 737-800 frequency will be operated with the following schedule:

AS18 Seattle to New York departing 9:35PM arriving 6:00AM (+1 day)
AS07 New York to Seattle departing 7:15AM arriving 10:15AM

Alaska-737

This complements Alaska’s existing twice daily service between Seattle and Newark.

On the surface this route makes perfect sense. Alaska has quite a few airline partners, and almost all of them have a larger presence out of Kennedy Airport than Newark Airport (including Air France/KLM, American, British Airways, Delta, Emirates, etc.).

Alaska-Partners

So while their Newark flight probably consists mostly of O&D traffic, I suspect that they’re hoping for a lot more connecting traffic on this route.

There are a few things that make this route especially interesting:

Alaska offering double miles on the new route

To celebrate the launch of the route, Alaska is offering Mileage Plan members traveling between Seattle and New York double redeemable Mileage Plan miles. The promotion is valid for travel between September 16 and October 28, 2015.

Alaska-Double-Miles

Registration is required prior to travel, and bonus miles should post within four to six weeks of when travel is completed.

Alaska is taking on Delta

The “battle in Seattle” between Alaska and Delta has continued to get worse, and I think in terms of new routes, this is about the most directly and substantially that Alaska can compete with Delta. It’s clear that Alaska is sick of sending codeshare passengers onto Delta flights.

So while this route probably makes sense in its own right, I’m sure Alaska is even more excited about the fact that they can thump their nose at Delta.

Aren’t the flight timings a bit off?

If you’re looking at the flight timings your first reaction might be that they seem a bit off:

AS18 Seattle to New York departing 9:35PM arriving 6:00AM (+1 day)
AS07 New York to Seattle departing 7:15AM arriving 10:15AM

Given that most people flying from Seattle to New York would be connecting east, you’d think it would make more sense to have an early morning departure from Seattle, and an evening departure from New York.

Why don’t they have that? I’d say there are four plausible explanations:

  • Aircraft utilization — a daytime flight in both directions basically “uses” an entire plane, while in this case they utilize the plane in Seattle for another route for 11 hours during the day
  • Traffic/congestion — there’s no denying that there’s a lot less traffic at JFK Airport at 6AM than 6PM, so they’re probably saving an hour in the schedule with their flight timings
  • Gate availability — JFK has a gate shortage at times, so maybe they could only secure a gate in the early morning
  • Maybe a codeshare with American is on the way — I’m fairly certain the relationship between American and Alaska will continue to grow, and keep in mind that American has once daily service on the route with almost the opposite schedule; I wouldn’t be surprised if the two airlines codeshare on each others flights to create a more comprehensive schedule

Bottom line

While Alaska launches a lot of seemingly random once daily point-to-point flights, service to New York JFK is long overdue. Kudos to Alaska for the new route, and I can’t wait to see if/how Delta responds in this never-ending battle.

Comments

  1. I believe AS already has a codeshare with AA on the JFK-SEA route. Flights AS1032 and AS1043. Good for Alaska though and I hope it works. I wonder which terminal in JFK AS will be using.

  2. What seats they have on first? Domestic first class? For a red eye? I guess that is why living in NY for 15 years never been to Seatle. Long overdue. I always wanted to go.

  3. Any idea which terminal at JFK AS will use? Assume it will be AA’s given the closeness of that relationship an winding down of the DL one. Danny: Standard F and Y seating as AS’s fleet has no aircraft with special sleeper seats, red eye becomes daytime return.

  4. @ DavidB — It hasn’t been announced yet, though that will indeed be very telling. Curious if they go with Delta’s terminal or American’s terminal. I would guess American’s, but we’ll see.

  5. Why assume pax will be connecting in JFK? SEA is AS hub with extensive network to West Coast, HI, and AK. It seems that JFK is the obvious O/D being linked to rest of AS network.

    Isn’t that like saying an AA DFW-SEA flight has most pax connecting in SEA? Obviously most pax are connecting in DFW, right?

  6. Any chance AS will use Terminal 2/4 to add to the fun !? I booked JFK-SEA on AS while on the return, I feel a connection in SFO/LAX is more comfy with 321T..

  7. A horrible schedule for me as a business traveler. Red-eye before a day of business? Blech. Having to stay an extra night to get home after business? Blech. I guess DL still has my business.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *