Alaska Airlines adds 4 new routes to pandemic-friendly Montana destinations

Mar 4, 2021

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Alaska Airlines is adding four seasonal new routes between California and Montana.

The routes – two each to the Montana cities of Bozeman and Kalispell – boost Alaska’s schedules to two outdoor-friendly destinations that have fared well during the pandemic.

To Kalispell (FCA) – which sits near Glacier National Park and Flathead Lake – Alaska is adding service from both Los Angeles (LAX) and San Diego (SAN).

Bozeman (BZN), which is near Yellowstone National Park and several other outdoor recreation areas, will get nonstop flights to both San Diego and San Francisco (SFO). Alaska Airlines already offers year-round service between Bozeman and Los Angeles.

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Alaska’s other California-Montana routes are to Missoula (MSO) from both San Diego and Los Angeles, giving it a total of seven between the states.

“For those ready to makes moves this summer, we’re excited to better connect California with Montana,”  Brett Catlin, Alaska’s vice president of network and alliances, said in a statement. “We’ve long offered access to some of the best vacation destinations from Southern California and continue to see opportunities to grow our footprint in the region.”

The new service comes as U.S. carriers have adjusted their networks during the pandemic, adding more “sun and fun” routes that cater to the leisure travelers who currently make up the bulk of those still flying. Destinations that allow for outdoor activities and social distancing have been especially popular – everything from beaches to mountain areas.

More: American, Alaska Airlines outline reciprocal elite benefits, upgrades

Alaska’s new and existing service between California and Montana. (Image courtesy of Alaska Airlines)

Last summer, Alaska Airlines added Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to its route map in one of its earliest pandemic pivots to outdoor-friendly destinations.

More broadly, Montana’s cities near mountain getaways have fared especially well in recent months across all airlines.

Kalispell will get nonstop JetBlue service from New York JFK this summer, one of several notable additions.

Bozeman also has seen a dramatic increase in service. It was just last week that budget giant Southwest announced it would add Bozeman to its rapidly expanding route map while American plans a new seasonal route to Phoenix (PHX).

In total, Bozeman will see 1,100 more flights during the first six months of 2021 compared to the same time period in 2019, per Cirium timetables. This 28% increase from pre-pandemic highs underscores how quickly airlines are responding to changing demand patterns – a response that now includes four more Alaska Airlines routes to Montana’s outdoor destinations.

Related: Southwest Airlines add 6 routes to 2 brand-new destinations, including Bozeman

Los Angeles-Kalispell

Begins May 20. Two weekly flights (Wednesday, Saturday) will operate through Sept. 7 on 76-seat Embraer E175 aircraft.

San Diego-Kalispell

Begins May 20. Three weekly flights (Monday, Friday, Saturday) will operate through Sept. 7 on 76-seat Embraer E175 aircraft.

San Diego-Bozeman

Begins May 20. Five weekly flights (except Monday and Friday) will operate through Sept. 7 on 76-seat Embraer E175 aircraft.

San Francisco-Bozeman

Begins June 17. One weekly flight (Saturday) will operate through Sept. 7 on 76-seat Embraer E175 aircraft.

TPG’s Zach Griff contributed to this report. 

Featured photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images.



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