Alaska Airlines has been ironing out the last parts of its merger with Virgin America. The two airlines combined about 2 years ago, and have since been streamlining operations. Soon, Virgin America flights will become Alaska Airlines flights, and Virgin America will technically cease to exist.
In the process of optimizing fleet use, Alaska has been able to focus its aircraft to its main focus hub: Seattle. The airline has recently launched flights to New Orleans, and is continuing to expand with a new flight from Seattle to Pittsburgh.
SeaTac to Pitt
Alaska will start once daily flights to Pittsburgh starting on September 6th 2018. They will fly the route with their 737-800, and will open up Western Pennsylvania to Alaska fliers. The schedule will be as follows:
Alaska 198: SEA 0825- PIT 1610
Alaska 199: PIT 1720- SEA 1950
The will fly the route once daily, and will expand Alaska’s footprint in Seattle, where the airline is having to battle Delta’s encroachment on their home turf. Prices are reasonable, going for about 350-400 through end of schedule for a round trip.
The Battle for Seattle
Delta and Alaska have been in a series of battles for dominance in Seattle. First, Delta and Alaska ended their partnership. Since then, Delta has aggressively expanded in Seattle, and Alaska responded by flying to Delta hubs. In a sort of proxy battle, Alaska ended their partnership with Aeromexico, a move I suspect was influenced by Delta. Since then, Alaska has added Singapore Airlines as a partner. This is the first route from Seattle to PIT, so Alaska has the advantage here.
Pittsburgh used to be a major hub for US Airways back in the day. Since then, most of the airport has been underused. The are plans for the airport to reinvent itself, and make it easier for passengers and airlines. Recently, the airport announced flights to Frankfurt with Condor. This marks the first new TATL carrier in almost a decade. The new Alaska flight bodes well, too. As airlines return to PIT, as the city grows, more and more airlines will begin to announce service.
Alaska is doing a smart move by being the first to fly from Seattle to PIT. Pittsburgh is becoming a small tech hub, and flights to/from Seattle seem logical. I do expect to see more Alaska flights being announced in the next coming months, as the airline begins to finalize fleet optimization. I would love to see them use the aircraft that will no longer fly to Havana be used to fly new routes to the East Coast. Maybe some day, Alaska will have a focus city in the East.
What do you think? Will you fly Alaska’s flight to Pittsburgh? Is this a positive sign for PIT airport? Let us know!
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H/T: Travel Codex
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