Alaska Airlines Announces Four New Domestic Routes

Alaska Airlines has been expanding pretty rapidly lately, though their growth strategy has kind of surprised me, especially given the number of airlines they partner with. Rather than adding additional frequencies on otherwise underserved routes, Alaska Airlines is adding four new nonstop transcontinental (or nearly transcon) routes.

Alaska-New-Routes

The new routes are as follows:

Seattle to Nashville as of September 23, 2015

The new daily Boeing 737-800 service between Seattle and Nashville will operate with the following schedule:

AS736 Seattle to Nashville departing 9:30AM arriving 4:05PM
AS735 Nashville to Seattle departing 5:05PM arriving 8:20PM

Seattle to Raleigh as of October 1, 2015

The new daily Boeing 737-800 service between Seattle and Raleigh will operate with the following schedule:

AS754 Seattle to Raleigh departing 8:40AM arriving 4:50PM
AS753 Raleigh to Seattle departing 5:50PM arriving 9:00PM

Seattle to Charleston as of November 16, 2015

The new 4x weekly Boeing 737-800 service between Seattle and Charleston will operate with the following schedule:

AS756 Seattle to Charleston departing 8:30AM arriving 4:50PM
AS757 Charleston to Seattle departing 5:50PM arriving 9:10PM

Los Angeles to Baltimore as of September 9, 2015

The new daily Boeing 737-800 service between Los Angeles and Baltimore will operate with the following schedule:

AS740 Los Angeles to Baltimore departing 10:10PM arriving 6:15AM (+1 day)
AS739 Baltimore to Los Angeles departing 7:30AM arriving 10:40AM

Second Seattle to Atlanta frequency as of August 23, 2015

The new second daily Boeing 737-800 service between Seattle and Atlanta will operate with the following schedule:

AS750 Seattle to Atlanta departing 4:10PM arriving 11:54PM
AS749 Atlanta to Seattle departing 7:00AM arriving 9:15AM

This complements the existing daily frequency:

AS746 Seattle to Atlanta departing 9:55AM arriving 5:40PM
AS745 Atlanta to Seattle departing 6:40PM arriving 8:55PM

Alaska’s reasoning behind the new routes

I could immediately rationalize the new Nashville route, which makes perfect sense. The Raleigh and Charleston routes caught me off guard, though (especially the Charleston route, with just 4x weekly service). However, it actually makes much more sense after Alaska explained it:

Charleston has been named the top U.S. city by Condé Nast four years in a row. Flights to Charleston will connect Boeing employees with one of their largest manufacturing plants outside the Pacific Northwest. Nashville, the music capital of the south, is the largest market from Seattle not currently served by Alaska, and Raleigh/Durham service will connect two of the country’s top biotechnology hubs.

The additional frequency to Atlanta is logical as well, given the “battle in Seattle” going on between Alaska and Delta. The only one which I’m stumped by is Los Angeles to Baltimore. Is Alaska trying to take on Southwest now as well?

Alaska-737

Bottom line

It’s nice to see the rate at which Alaska is expanding into new markets. I’d expect to see some bonus miles promotions for the above new routes published shortly, as it’s something Alaska almost always offers.

What do you  make of these new Alaska Airlines routes?

Comments

  1. AS used to have 2 daily flight to Atlanta from Seattle but they reduced to one when they tried PDX-ATL which didn’t last long. I’m glad they bring back the second Seattle flight to Atlanta.

  2. CHS? I hate to admit it, but I have never been to the Northwest. Living 1.5 hours from CHS suddenly gives me a sense of urgency to get out there!

  3. From RDU, SEA was the city with the highest PDEW without a direct flight. I know the RDU airport authority had been lobbying both Alaska and Delta to start a direct flight.

  4. Yeah the CHS route makes a ton of sense. Boeing’s North Charleston factory is the second biggest assembly point for the 787 outside of Seattle and they will also be heavily involved in the 737 MAX. My Seattle-based friend worked on the 787 project and she was shuttling back and forth between the two a lot (along with a lot of her co-workers), complaining about having to fly Delta instead of Alaska the entire time… Honestly BNA makes the least sense of these 4 to me.

  5. I love flying Alaskan Airlines (Ever since my status match to 75K MVP GOLD) but living in PHL makes the SEA connection pretty impossible for most routes. I’m glad I at least have a chance to fly BWI to LAX–that opens up my world to Alaskan Air just a little more.

  6. RDU makes complete sense as someone said as its the largest market not served by a nonstop from here.

  7. I’m wondering if with LAX-BWI they’re trying to gain a foothold in the DC-LA market beyond their (capped) once-daily flight between DCA and LAX. Coupled with American Airlines, with which it code-shares the other daily frequency between DCA and LAX, and which operates several daily flights between LAX and IAD, the AS/AA coalition could muscle up against United (which, I believe, also has a BWI-LAX flight) for LA-DC market share.

  8. @lucky, As a DC based flyer I’m very happy about the BWI frequency. AS has a surprising number of the perimeter exemption slots at DCA, giving AS a pretty decent DC frequent flyer base (which will only get better with the US/AA merger). Glad to see they are providing additional transcon options for those of us who don’t want to schlep all the way to Dulles.

  9. @lucky–Am I reading your airlineroute.com link correctly? It looks like it says the LAX-BWI service is only on Saturdays, with the return Sunday?

  10. The LAX-BWI flight is a redeye so they’re really not competing head to head since UA and WN both fly this route during the day. It could also just be aircraft utilization since the plane will be back in LA before noon the following day.

  11. I was just about to post the same. That LAX-BWI flight leaves LA at 10p and is back by 11a. Its quite possible that adding that turn barely affects the existing schedule. Why AS chose BWI instead of IAD or another east coast airport is another question.

  12. Selfishly, would love to see a second daily flight to Houston to avoid overnights on Hawaii routes.

  13. I bet they’re having second thoughts about the timing of announcing that BWI service given today’s events. 😉

  14. How long have I been saying that AS needs to fight fire with fire? Delta moves into your routes, you move into theirs with a superior product.

    All these routes make sense to me, except BWI/LAX, as I see others have mentioned. BWI? Ick. The guy across the street from me, who flies to DC all the time, finally switched airline FF programs so he could stop flying into BWI.

    If this is really because they have a plane sitting at LAX, well, o.k., but I still find it hard to believe that AS thinks BWI would get them the most revenue.

  15. @ Glenn — Hmm, the screenshot is odd, but airlineroute does seem to suggest it’s daily based on the “D.” Guess we’ll see for sure when it’s loaded into the GDS.

  16. I’m a fan of the expansion: the BWI-LAX flight allows for more convenient connections to Asia on CX and JL than the DCA-LAX flights (AA and AS both have one that leaves about 90 minutes later), and award space to connect to those flights will probably be easier to come by.

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