Alaska Airlines Adds Service To Central America

Goodness, Alaska is on a roll this week when it comes to announcing new routes. Yesterday Alaska announced three new destinations, including Nashville, Raleigh, and Charleston.

Today they’re announcing their expansion to Central America, with two new destinations in Costa Rica starting this fall. Alaska will launch service to San Jose and Liberia. Here’s how they describe the new service:

“As the most popular Central American tourist destination for U.S. travelers, Costa Rica is a mecca for eco-tourism, surfing and sport fishing and has been a top request from our customers who enjoy outdoor adventure,” said John Kirby, Alaska Airlines’ vice president of capacity planning. “Our new Costa Rica flights are well timed for Los Angeles travelers and offer convenient roundtrip connections for our Anchorage and Seattle customers, while our new Baltimore service provides passengers greater access to the nation’s capital, complementing our daily nonstop service to Reagan National Airport.”

LAX-Costa-Rica-Alaska

Alaska will be initiating the following new service:

Los Angeles to San Jose as of October 31, 2015

Los Angeles to San Jose departing 8:40AM arriving 4:35PM (Mon, Wed, Fri)
San Jose to Los Angeles departing 5:35PM arriving 10:05PM (Mon, Wed, Fri)

Los Angeles to Liberia as of November 1, 2015

Los Angeles to Liberia departing 8:50AM arriving 4:25PM (Tue, Thu, Sat, Sun)
Liberia to Los Angeles departing 5:25PM arriving 9:35PM (Tue, Thu, Sat, Sun)

My thoughts

These are some really smart new routes, not just because they enhance Alaska’s route network, but also because Los Angeles to Costa Rica is a market which is sort of underserved at the moment.

At 2,600+ miles each way, these flights are transcon length, and open up some nice new options for travelers to Central America.

Keep in mind that Alaska partners with both American and British Airways, so you can redeem both of their mileage currencies for travel on Alaska. In the case of British Airways Avios, you can redeem just 12,500 Avios for a one-way ticket in economy on one of these routes, which is a heck of a deal.

Alaska-737

Bottom line

Kudos to Alaska on some truly “unique” expansion, for once. Rather than adding more flights to Atlanta, Detroit, or Salt Lake City, it’s nice to see them expand a bit internationally.

What do you make of Alaska’s new flights to Costa Rica?

Comments

  1. Yay great news for LA people! We always want to go to Costa Rica but have to do a 1-stop overlay and could take up to 8-9 hours so we usually end up going to Japan which is about the same amount of time with much better business class seats. Now with non-stop, this could make it much easier.

  2. Super excited about those routes. It never made sense to me that you could fly non-stop from NYC but not LAX. I can’t wait to be able to use avios to go there instead of back to HI.

  3. Love this. We get to Liberia, CR every year (Four Seasons Guanacaste can’t be beat!) and in the past it’s meant a change in LAX then over to IAH and down on UA. Now a nice, easy alternative to increasingly crowded Hawaii.

  4. Actually, Delta 572 is lax to Liberia direct. The problem is is that the flight is a red eye, which makes little sense. I couldn’t imagine trying to sleep in any of the seats on the plane they fly. Very smart move by Alaska, as this route is extremely neglected from the west coast. They properly made it a morning flight so you arrive by late afternoon.

  5. hmm….was using UA miles for flights back from SJO to LAX after a cruise (Avianca via San Salvador). We’ll have to see if I can snag a few award seats with Avios instead!

  6. That 1 hr turn time in SJO is pretty short. The tropical-style thunderstorms always roll in during the late afternoon. Plus, at SJO you need to back taxi. I suspect some late arrivals into LAX.

  7. I don’t believe AS companion pass has any geographic restrictions. Any thoughts if it will be applicable on costa Rica flights?

  8. @ Warren — Totally agree. They seem to always do one hour turns no matter where they go, though it seems much more unlikely in Costa Rica.

  9. @Pointie Actually a redeye to LIR makes a ton of sense because this is a 99.99% leisure route. They’re not concerned about you trying to sleep on the plane. They’re focused on filling their planes and utilizing their aircraft. Smart move by DL to utilize their aircraft on a redeye and equally smart move by AS to try somewhere new while also not competing directly with DL on flight times.

  10. I am scared… AS is expanding way toooooo fast…. Coming up next: AS buys 10 787s and launching SEA-PEK/HKG….

  11. According to a BofA exec within their card services group, the link was pulled after seeing too many apps through the link(s) not directly coming from the Alaska Airlines web site.

    The promotion was/is directed to those who actually made a reservation for travel on Alaska. Once you completed your paid reservation and received a confirmation/record locator, then you would see the promotion giving you the opportunity to apply for the Visa Signature card – with the 25, 000 mile sign-up bonus and $100 statement credit.

    I have been advised that the promotion continues – for now.

    A work-around is to purchase a non-penalty type fare for travel on Alaska, look for the promo – then sign-up for the Visa Signature card product.

    Once you’ve applied for the Visa Signature card, return to the Alaska Airlines web site, cancel your reservation, and in a few days a credit will be issued back to the credit card used to purchase the non-penalty fare.

    SO_CAL_RETAIL_SLUT

  12. Im surprised Alaska went with Balt over Pittsburgh in this round of expansion. Alaska already has a nonstop to the DC area, PIT is a great modern airport (used to be a USAir hub and now there’s no dominant carrier), and PIT lacks a direct flight to SEA, though PIT already has direct routes to LAX – but so did BWI. Wonder what the logic was as PIT and BALT seem to be going in opposite directions economically ?

  13. Great news Lucky!

    I wish I had some way to upgrade on Alaska. Any thoughts on whether it’s best to book via AAdvantage or Alaska’s mileage progra if first class is desired?

  14. @Lucky Do Alaska Airlines have aircrafts with fully flat seats? I know it is rare for 737, but some airlines , Shenzhen airlines for example, does have fully flat seat on 737 aircraft.

  15. @Jason unlikely to see it happens. I don’t think Alaska is going to buy any wide body aircraft. Transpacific market is competitive, even though Seattle is probably one of the best connecting point for transpacific flights.

  16. Bob:

    It might make sense to 99.99% of those leisure travelers, but it makes zero sense for me and Delta will get zero $ from me for having that flight. On the other hand, I’ll have no problem using miles or $ to pay for a premium seat on Alaska. Once again, good move Alaska. You have a dedicated customer 🙂

  17. 1hr turnaround does seem tight … well anywhere… but why would you doubt that more here in Costa Rica? There used to be more non-stop flights into SJO from LAX, however several airlines decided to just do it 1 stop … for example Avianca with their El Salvador hub.

    We eat tropical thunderstorms for breakfast… wouldn’t fear them too much for a turnaround. Now 1hr turnaround in a winter storm…that I would fear.

    Hi from Costa Rica !

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