Even though it may seem like travel demand will not return to its higher pre-pandemic levels for a long time,…
Alaska Airlines Consolidates Flights In Response to Reduced Demand
During these turbulent times, many airlines have cut frequencies and some have even been cutting routes entirely. But one airline is taking a unique approach to this challenge.
Seattle-based Alaska Airlines is committed to cutting the least number of cities possible and has just announced its unique approach to this problem, consolidating flights for a select number of cities. At the moment, the airline has announced a total of 12 destinations that will be affected by flight consolidation, but this may change as time progresses.
This consolidation will help the Seattle-based company maintain the number of cities it flies to, by lowering the number of airborne hours the airline flies, it can lower costs while at the same time inconveniencing the least amount of passengers possible.
The following are the changes that will be made in the coming days.
Dallas Ft. Worth and Houston Bush Intercontinental
The first consolidation will be within the state of Texas. Dallas’s Ft. Worth International Airport will continue to be served by a nonstop flight, but once finished in Dallas the aircraft will not return to Seattle and will instead continue onto Houston’s Bush Airport.
This route section will be served with the carrier’s Boeing 737-900ER and will have direct competition with American and United on the intra-Texas sector and in-direct competition with Southwest as it serves the route via Dallas’ Love Field and Houston Hobby.
Kalispell and Helena, Mont.
Kalispell, Mont. will continue to be served by a nonstop flight, but the normal nonstop flight from Seattle to the Montanan capital of Helena will now be stopping in previously mentioned Kalispell to pick up and drop off passengers which will also occur on the return as well.
This route will be served by Alaska Airlines’ regional carrier Horizon Air with one of its Bombardier Q400’s and will have no competitors on this new sector.
San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbra, Calif.
The final of the three intrastate consolidations will be two smaller cities in the state of California. San Luis Obispo will continue to have a nonstop flight, but the city of Santa Barbra which lies just 72miles southeast of the previously mentioned city will now be served with a one-stop flight.
The route will be flown on regional carrier SkyWest using one of its Embraer E-175 jets. SkyWest will have no competition on the new San Luis to Santa Barbra sector, and will also be the shortest route between consolidated cities.
Minneapolis St. Paul and Columbus, Ohio
These two cities are a bit further apart from each other than the rest. At almost 630 miles apart Minneapolis St. Paul and John Glenn Airport in Columbus, Ohio are the next two cities to be consolidated.
Minneapolis will continue to receive nonstop service from the Washingtonian city, but the Ohioan city will now receive the flights via a stop in the Twin Cities.
This route will be the only one flown on a former Virgin America aircraft, in this case being the Airbus A320. The new sector from the Minnesotan city to the capital of Ohio will have competition from Delta Air Lines.
Pittsburgh and Baltimore-Washington
Two cities in the Northeastern United States have also been consolidated. These two cities will offer the shortest route of the consolidated destinations to be served by a mainline aircraft.
The Pennsylvanian city will continue to receive nonstop flights from the Pacific Northwestern while Baltimore-Washington International will now be served with a one-stop flight.
This route will be operated with a Boeing 737-900ER and will face competition from Southwest Airlines on the Pittsburgh to Baltimore leg.
Raleigh-Durham, N.C. and Charleston, S.C.
Carolinian cities of Raleigh and Charleston will have a new route offering as Alaska’s announced its final route consolidation for the time being.
The North Carolinian capital will continue to have the Seattle flight offered as a nonstop, but the South Carolina city will now have Alaska Airlines flights offered one-stop via the northern Carolinian city.
This route will be flown using the carriers Boeing 737-800 aircraft and will face no competition on the sector between the two states.
All the consolidated route pairs will begin April 10 and will continue until at least April 30 but may be extended if situations call for it.
What this means for passengers previously booked to the new one-stop cities is that they will be moved to the new flights with a stop in their respective pair city. Each new route pair is available for public booking immediately, this means passengers that are located in cities outside the western United States will no longer need to make a stop in Seattle to fly Alaska Airlines for essential travel.
All one-stop cities will be served on the outbound as well as the return flight and are subject to change.
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