Alaska Airlines strikes back in Seattle with route to Delta focus city

Mar 6, 2020

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Alaska Airlines is striking back in Seattle with a new route to Delta Air Lines focus city in Cincinnati, as battle for Seattle between the rivals appears to be heating up again.

Alaska will add Cincinnati (CVG) to its map with a daily flight from its Seattle (SEA) home, the carrier said Friday. The airline will fly Boeing 737s on the new route, which begins Aug. 18 and will go up against Delta’s nonstop service on the route.

The Cincinnati addition comes as competition between Alaska and Delta in Seattle heats up. On Monday, Atlanta-based Delta unveiled new routes between Seattle and Columbus (CMH) and Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) — a fortress hub for Alaska partner American Airlines — as well as more flights on other routes from the Pacific Northwest city. The new Delta flights will go head-to-head against both American and Alaska to DFW and against Alaska to Columbus.

Sign up for the free daily TPG newsletter for more airline news

Delta’s route announcement of those routes came just two weeks after Alaska and American unveiled a renewed partnership. The pact includes new flights on American between Seattle and Bangalore (BLR) and London Heathrow (LHR), with Alaska helping funnel connecting passengers to and from those flights.

All of the route additions come as U.S. airline executives warn of an imminent air travel slump that could compare to the one seen after 9/11. Fear of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak is driving the drop in demand.

“There is a lot of anxiety, a lot of discussion right now,” said Alaska CEO Brad Tilden at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Aviation Summit in Washington on Thursday. He pointed out that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) head Robert Redfield encourages Americans to keep flying where there is a “low risk of transmission,” but acknowledged that Alaska’s bookings are down for March.

Related: US airline execs warn coronavirus impact ‘could be worse than 9/11’ downturn

Alaska has yet to join JetBlue Airways and United Airlines parring schedules due to the drop in demand. However, Tilden warned Thursday that the airline will “probably have something soon.”

The Seattle area is the current epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. As of noon PT on Thursday, there were 51 confirmed cases and 10 deaths in the metropolitan area, according to King County public health authorities. The CDC reported 99 confirmed cases and 10 deaths nationally on Thursday.

Tilden, for his part, was largely sanguine about the business impact on Alaska from the COVID-19 fears.

“This thing does unfortunately happen in our industry — we will get through it, we will get to the other side,” he said.

Related: Coronavirus flight waivers and changes

Featured image by Alberto Riva / The Points Guy.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.