When the news that Alaska Airlines was planning to join the oneworld alliance broke last February, it was news that very few people had expected to hear. The airline followed up that surprise with another one when, earlier this summer, it suggested that its membership of the oneworld alliance may be complete before the end of this year. Sadly, that's a target that the airline no longer expects to meet.
Well, this has certainly been a good start to the week for US flyers. First, we have United Airlines announcing that it would eliminate most domestic change fees, then Delta followed suit, and American Airlines rounded off the news from the "Big 3" by improving upon United's change fee announcement and improving its Basic Economy fares too. Now Alaska Airlines has joined in by confirming that has eliminated all change fees on most domestic and international bookings.
Alaska Airlines has announced two pieces of news that should please customers whose plans have been disrupted. The airline is extending the expiration dates for all valid travel credits (vouchers) that are currently sitting in customer accounts and it will be offering customers who have yet to receive/accept travel credits a considerably longer period of time in which to use those credits.
Alaska Airlines and American Airlines have issued a joint statement in which they have announced a new "West Coast International Alliance" under which Alaska's West Coast network will connect up to (and feed) American's long-haul network, which will see Alaska Airlines becoming a member of the oneworld alliance in 2021 and which will see American Airlines launching a new route to Asia and a new route out of Alaska's hub in Seattle.
Alaska Airlines has recently unveiled the refurbished interiors of its Airbus aircraft that it eventually plans to roll out across its entire fleet and the airline is keen to show off what passengers can expect onboard.
The oneworld alliance has scheduled a meeting for 5 December at which, it is said, that a new full member of the alliance will be unveiled (the first new member in over six years) and at which Alaska Airlines is rumored to be unveiled as the second airline to become a "oneworld connect" partner. We don't know for sure which airline will be joining oneworld as a full partner (it looks like it will either be Royal Air Maroc or Philippine Airlines and neither see particularly exciting) but the more interesting story may be the one which suggests that Alaska Airlines will become a oneworld connect partner.
Alaska Airlines has announced that it has opened bookings for 18 daily non-stop flights between Paine Field and eight cities on the West Coast. As long as the government gives the go-ahead (which it will) the flights will launch on 11 February 2019.
When we get airlines announcing "new seasonal menus" they're often promoting a new offering found only in their premium cabin(s) but this time around that's not the case. Alaska Airlines has announced that its rolling out a new "seasonally inspired" menu for its main cabin customers and it actually looks pretty good.
Alaska Airlines has announced that it want's to "make life easier" for passengers by changing the way its calls people to board its aircraft. Importantly, it's not how the airline will have passengers board the aircraft that's changing so much as how Alaska Airlines identifies who boards when.
Alaska Airlines and Virgin America have been in the process of merging their operations since December 2016 and, as of 25 April 2018, the merger will be all but complete and the Virgin America brand will mostly disappear into history. We'll still see a few aircraft with the Virgin America livery dotted around various airports until all aircraft have been repainted in the Alaska Airlines colors but, from 25 April, that will be the only physical sign that Virgin America ever existed.