Skip to content

Alaska Airlines defends its home turf in newest spat with Delta

March 19, 2021
3 min read
Alaska Airlines defends its home turf in newest spat with Delta
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 putting up a fight in Anchorage.

On Friday, the Seattle-based carrier announced its first-ever summer seasonal service between Anchorage (ANC) and Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP). The twice-weekly flight will operate on Saturdays and Sundays between June 19 and Aug. 15, using a Boeing 737-800, with introductory fares start at $98 one-way.

Friday's MSP announcement joins several other recently announced destinations from Alaska's most populous city, including Las Vegas (LAS), Denver (DEN) and San Francisco (SFO). All in, the carrier will offer nonstop flights to 11 cities in the lower 48 from Anchorage, including two to Hawaii: Honolulu (HNL) and Maui (OGG).

Sign up for our daily newsletter
Map courtesy of Alaska Airlines

"With a massive network across the state and our naturally socially distanced outdoor spaces, this route offers easy access to Denali, kayaking, sightseeing, and the most sustainably managed fishing in the world. Alaska is a safe and attractive travel destination for friends and family," said Marilyn Romano, regional vice president, in a statement.

Unless it’s a brand-new long-haul route or another major announcement, individual routes don't typically get their own press release.

Yet Friday's news is different.

It follows exactly one week after partner-turned-adversary Delta Air Lines announced a sweeping expansion across five cities in Alaska, adding new routes and upgauging aircraft from many of its mainland hubs to Anchorage (ANC), Fairbanks (FAI), Juneau (JNU), Ketchikan (KTN) and Sitka (SIT).

Delta's expansion seemingly reignited the competition between the two rivals.

Related: Delta makes big play for Alaska, adds several new routes amid pandemic pivot

The carriers had a strong relationship in the early 2010s that included a robust codeshare and frequent flyer alliance. By the middle of the decade, however, the partnership frayed as Delta moved instead to build its own hub in Seattle, ultimately competing head-to-head with Alaska on many of its most lucrative routes.

The partnership ultimately ended in 2017 amid an escalating turf battle for Seattle. Since then, Alaska's been in growth mode — boosting the Seattle hub with new routes, while also rethinking many elements of the travel experience.

Now, despite the pandemic, the airlines seem to be back at it. Though Alaska's based in Seattle, the carrier's namesake is the state nicknamed "The Last Frontier." The airline seemingly isn't going let Delta expand in its territory without putting up a fight.

Take a look at the second sentence in Friday's press release. "This additional nonstop flight means Alaska Airlines will provide the most nonstops from the state of Alaska than any other carrier," it reads. Guess which airline comes in at number two? Delta, according to Cirium timetables.

Furthermore, Alaska's $98 one-way fares are another jab at the incumbents. (Minneapolis-based Sun Country Airlines also flies between MSP and ANC). At the time of its announcement, the carrier appeared to be undercutting the competition by at least $50 on every single day the route operates.

Since breaking up with Delta, Alaska Airlines has turned to American Airlines to fuel its growth ambitions. The two carriers launched a new partnership, and Alaska is on the cusp of joining the Oneworld alliance later this month.

Want a first look at exclusive CEO interviews? Sign up for TPG’s free new biweekly Aviation newsletter!

“We defended ourselves and grew market share when a major competitor came into our hub and tried to steal share from us,” Alaska's longtime CEO Brad Tilden said about Delta, in an exclusive TPG interview publishing on Monday.

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

TPG featured card

Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 3X points
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points60,000 points
For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent, Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases