A headline caught my eye yesterday – Analyst amazed by Alaska Airlines’s ability to fight off Delta, not ‘just roll over and die’. The article, from the Puget Sound Business Journal, goes on to quote IdeaWorks Co. President Jay Sorenson,
“I don’t think it’s gone according to plan for Delta, because Alaska Airlines didn’t just roll over and die,” Sorenson said. “This intense competition seems to have made them (Alaska) into a better airline, and I would never have predicted that outcome.”
I, for one, am not surprised. Alaska Airlines is a unique company, and an airline I’ve long admired. My first experience flying them was…ahem…a few years ago, aboard a Boeing 737-200 combi from King Salmon to Anchorage. I thought they were unique and cool then, and nothing has happened since to change my opinion, nearly 20 years later. Alaska Airlines has a history of innovation and has been a technology leader in the airline business, a characteristic I value. (Image courtesy of Alaska Airlines)
Admittedly, Alaska’s partnership with Delta has not worked out like I thought it might. In retrospect, I probably should have known better, but I digress. Delta is an airline that is not just confident in its well-documented operational capabilities, it is convinced. One might have envisioned that a long term partnership with an airline that dances with multiple partners, notably one of Delta’s largest competitors, would not sit well in the psyche of an Delta’s leaders for the long term. I suppose the possibility exists that Alaska and Delta could get to some kind of equilibrium in Seattle, but I’m not optimistic. Will it be a bad break up? Who knows? But when it happens, I predict Alaska Airlines will still be standing in Seattle.
-MJ, March 17, 2015