Alaska Airlines cuts 4 domestic routes, hitting Austin and LA hardest
Alaska Airlines is the latest carrier to tweak its route network.
The Seattle-based carrier is cutting four routes from its schedule, as first seen in Cirium network data and later confirmed by an airline spokesperson.
You'll find the full list of route cuts below:
- Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) — Palm Springs International Airport (PSP), effective Nov. 30, 2022.
- Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) — AUS, effective Jan. 9, 2023.
- LAX — Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC), effective Nov. 30, 2022.
- San Diego International Airport (SAN) — Santa Barbara Municipal Airport (SBA), effective May 23, 2023.
The hardest-hit airports are Los Angeles and Austin, which are each losing two destinations. Perhaps most interesting is that the carrier is dropping two routes from its hub in LA.
All six major U.S. airlines operate hubs or focus cities in Los Angeles, and they compete fiercely for the local market. When Alaska exits the LA-to-Austin route, it'll cede the market to a mix of American, Delta, Southwest, Spirit and United.
The five aforementioned airlines, along with JetBlue, also fly between LA and Salt Lake City, perhaps making it difficult for Alaska to fly the competitive route profitably. (Of course, it's worth noting that Alaska's rival Delta operates plenty of daily flights between these two hubs.)
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Meanwhile, pulling two routes from Austin comes as the city has seen explosive growth in airline service in the past few years, even with the pandemic, as the Texas city has seen many major companies opening offices or moving headquarters there.
No carrier has grown in Austin recently as much as American Airlines has. Even with American's mega-hub and headquarters just about 200 miles away in Fort Worth, Texas, the airline keeps adding new routes and spreading its wings from Austin.
Though American isn't ready to call Austin a focus city, it's now the airport's second-largest airline, behind Southwest, by the number of flights, Cirium data shows. American is even building a brand-new Admirals Club in the Texas capital that is poised to be one of the nicest in the entire network.
The cuts aren't all bad news for Alaska and its flyers. That's because Alaska and American are both members of the Oneworld alliance and they partner under a so-called West Coast international alliance, which includes reciprocal elite benefits, mileage earning and redemption opportunities, complimentary elite upgrades and more.
American operates flights on all the routes that Alaska is cutting, except for the one from San Diego to Santa Barbara — which as of May will be unserved by any carrier.
Alaska added the short, 192-mile, intra-California service last summer as a way for flyers to avoid a four-plus hour drive that's often slower with traffic. The airline averaged just about 25 passengers per day paying an average gross fare of $93 during the third quarter of 2021 (which includes much of the summer season), according to Department of Transportation data.
While Alaska is a fan favorite for many West Coast flyers, at least these travelers can still accrue Mileage Plan perks and status with American flights on all but one route.
In a statement confirming the cuts, an Alaska Airlines spokesperson said it had "removed four routes from our schedule after determining they were not popular among our guests."