Alaska Airlines is Reducing Operations in California
On the heels of Southwest announcing that they are giving away millions of points to California residents(again); Alaska Airlines has announced that they are cutting back their flights up and down the Golden Coast.
It is interesting to see what one airline thinks of as a market worth expanding in another one deems a less profitable venture. A lot of these routes came from their Virgin America purchase.
Routes that Will be Affected
Here are the following routes that Alaska Airlines is making changes to:
San Francisco (SFO)
- Non stop service to Cancun ended on March 3rd
- Non stop service to O’hare has been slashed to once per day each way
- Minneapolis, Fort Lauderdale, and Mexico City will be eliminated after May 19th
- Denver will be eliminated after June 5th
Los Angeles (LAX)
- Non stop service to Havana and Cancun ended in January 2018
- Non stop service to Orlando will end after July 5th
San Diego (IATA)
- Flights to Mexico City will be eliminated after May 19th
Alaska has said that anyone who is already booked on these routes will now be moved to a flight that reroutes through their Seattle hub. It is unclear if fee free cancellations will be allowed with these changes.
What I find interesting is that the biggest cuts came in San Francisco, which is where Alaska has made a push to grow in recent years. They added four new destinations out of SFO in the past 24 months. And they launched a massive marketing campaign in attempt to gain market share in the area and maintain the loyal Virgin America flyers in the area. I guess this is a sign that those efforts didn’t work.
Less competition is always a negative for the consumer. It does sound like these routes were limited to once or twice per day. That would have had them missing out on the business travelers that needed flexibility on the routes, especially to Chicago.
I find it interesting that others are making a push to grow in Cali while it feels like Alaska is throwing in the towel a little bit. Alaska Airlines says this move will increase their efficiency and direct those planes to routes with higher demand.
What do you think? Is this a bad move on Alaska’s part?