Washington State: Delta Challenges Alaska’s Dominance at Seattle/Tacoma

Airlines and Aviation

Alaska Airlines is the dominant air carrier at Seattle/Tacoma International Airport, but Delta Airlines, which recently named the city as a hub, is starting to make inroads into its turf with new flights to key travel destinations.

Delta Airlines is adding several travel destinations to its rapidily expanding schedule at its newest hub, Seatlle/Tacoma International Airport in the Pacific Northwest.

And the airline is adding flights from the airport to some of its most popular existing travel destinations.

The Atlanta-based airline launched service from Seatlle to Calgary, Alberta, and Spokane, Washington, in early November.

The airline will launch service to several winter travel destinations on 20 December 2014.

Both beaches and slopes will be included: Bozeman, Montana; Kapului, Hawaii; Palm Springs, California; Phoenix, Arizona; Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco; and Tucson, Arizona.

The airline will add a second daily flight to Honolulu, Hawaii, on the same day.

More Flights Next Year

Delta Airlines will launch 5 daily flights to Denver, Colorado, on 4 June 2015; 4 daily flights each to both Sacramento, California, and Boise, Idaho, on 4 May; and daily seasonal flights to Ketchikan, Alaska, and Sitka, Alaska, on 15 May.

The airline already serves 3 cities in Alaska: Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau, which means it is staking a major claim in the 49th state with flights to all 5 of its largest cities.

The airline also plans to increase the number of its flights to Anchorage, Alaska; Atlanta, Georgia; Calgary, Alberta; Detroit, Michigan; Los Angeles, California; San Francisco, California; and Salt Lake City, Utah.

“Through the growth of our comprehensive route network, enhancements to our products, and award-winning service, we have continued delivering on the commitment we made to be the global carrier this cosmopolitan city deserves,” says Mike Medeiros, Delta’s Vice President – Seattle.

“Our newest flights will ensure customers have more choice in their travels to the top destinations in the Western U.S. and Alaska with an experience that can only be offered by a global airline.”

Delta Airlines currently flies from Seattle to 25 travel destinations with 80 peak-day departures. By next summer, those numbers will increase to 120 peak-day departures to 35 travel destinations.

Seattle’s Hometown Airline

Alaska Airlines, long the dominant air carrier at Seattle/Tacoma International Airport, is beefing up its presence at what locals call ‘SeaTac’, as well.

Seasonal nonstop flights to Cancun on the Yucatan Peninsula began on 6 November 2014 and will continue through 27 April 2015. They will operate daily.

“With more flights from Seattle than any other airline, we are committed to offering the most nonstop service to the popular destinations our customers want to explore, including leisure hotspots like Cancun,” says Joe Sprague, Alaska Airlines’ Senior Vice President of Communications and External Relations.

The Seattle-based airline has also partnered with ski resorts in Western Canada and the United States to offer travel discounts and free skiing. There are participating ski resorts in Alaska, British Columbia, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, and Utah.

“We’re proud to provide our customers more nonstop flights to world-class winter destinations than any other carrier,” Joe says.

“Whether you’re a hard core skier or just looking for an excuse to go play for the weekend, Alaska Airlines’ ‘Ski the West’ promotion makes planning your getaway simple and affordable.”

Coast to Coast

Alaska Airlines has also announced that it will expand links between Washington State and the Washington, DC, area next spring.

The Seatlle-based air carrier already flies from the city to Baltimore-Washington International Airport in Maryland.

The resumption of non-stop flights linking Seattle/Tacoma International Airport with Washington Dulles International Airport will commence on 11 March 2015. Service will operate daily.

“We are delighted to welcome Alaska Airlines back to Dulles International,” says Airport Manager Chris Browne.

“Alaska’s new service from Seattle to the nation’s capital gives the region’s travellers more choice in travel, expands our domestic routes and connects into the region’s international gateway at Dulles International.”

The airline recently launched nonstop flights to the following travel destinations: Albuquerque, New Mexico; Baltimore, Maryland; Detroit, Michigan; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Tampa, Florida.

Alaska Airlines currently flies from Seattle to 79 travel destinations in Canada, Mexico, and the United States with 268 peak-day departures.

Hometown vs Global

What sets the 2 air carriers apart is that while Alaska Airlines has a strong North American presence, Delta Airlines is a truly global carrier.

The airline already flies nonstop to more foreign destinations from Seattle than all other air carriers combine, flying non-stop to Amsterdam, Hong Kong, London-Heathrow, Paris, Shanghai, Seoul, and Tokyo-Haneda.

That’s what the press release says. Are Canadian and Mexican travel destinations included in that tally?

About 10 foreign flag airlines serve the city, and some US carriers also fly to offshore travel destinations from the city.

Delta Airlines is the 2nd largest airline in the United States after American Airlines. The airline serves 333 travel destinations in 64 countries on 6 continents.

The airline’s main hub airport is in Atlanta, Georgia. The airline has additional hubs in Amsterdam, in the Netherlands; Cincinnati, Ohio; Detroit, Michigan; Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota; New York-JFK and New York-LaGuardia in New York; Paris-Charles de Gaulle, France; Salt Lake City, Utah; Seattle/Tacoma, Washington; and Tokyo-Narita, Japan.

Delta acquired Western Airlines – the legendary ‘Only Way to Fly’ – in 1987, which greatly expanded its presence in the Western United States as well as Canada and Mexico.

The airline merged with Northwest Airlines in 2008, which had a major hub in Detroit, Michigan, and an extensive network concentrated along the Northern United States. It also maintained a hub at Tokyo-Narita and served several travel destinations in Asia.

David vs Goliath

Alaska Airlines is the 7th largest airline in the United States. The airline serves 104 North American travel destinations in Canada, Mexico, and the United States.

The airline’s main hub airport is in Seattle. The airline has additional hubs in Anchorage, Alaska; Los Angeles, California; and Portland, Oregon.

Alaska has long positioned itself as Seattle’s hometown airline. Delta is now calling itself Seattle’s global airline.

Looks like a classic battle between David and Goliah. But, with Alaska’s 268 flights vs Delta’s soon to be 120, don’t count the hometown airline out just yet.

Having said that, could a merger be on the horizon? Just a thought …

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