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Alaska Airlines-Virgn America Seattle PI Article  
User currently offlineUnited777 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 1657 posts, RR: 0
Posted (6 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 3376 times:

An article from the Seattle-PI regarding Virgin America arrival in SEA competing Alaska Airlines.

After flying Alaska Airlines from Seattle for the past 17 years I think it's time for a change for more options for Seattle-California flights. Alaska Airlines just isn't the airline it used to be. I would love to fly a hometown airline that soon will have an all Boeing fleet but I'm tired ot the bad customer service and late flights. I've noticed in the past six months Alaska Airlines is some what much better but it might be just too late. The Boeing 737-800's and 737-900's are nice but no IFE like Virgin America and Jet Blue. Hopefully with the arrival of Virgin America and JetBlue it'll make Alaska Airlines back to the same airline it once was. For now as a frequent flyer from Seattle to the Bay Area I'm ready to try another airline.

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/355409_alaskavirgin18.html

14 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineB757capt From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 1407 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (6 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 3121 times:

With a username like United 777, why aren't you flying UAL?


The views written by this user are in no manner the views of my employer and should not be thought as such.
User currently offlineWedgetail737 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 5948 posts, RR: 6
Reply 2, posted (6 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 3110 times:
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I think a lot of people around the SEA area are willing to try something new. It's not any different than going to a new restaurant or department store in the area. We like new things up here, but at the same time, we like to protect our regional stuff as well.

I noticed around here that AS has rented billboards that say "Fly Local, Buy Local." I would be curious to see what kind of response VX (LAX and SFO) and B6 (LGB and SAN) will get once they actually start service. Hey! The more service we get out of SEA, the merrier.


User currently offlineEA CO AS From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 13704 posts, RR: 61
Reply 3, posted (6 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 2890 times:
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Quoting Wedgetail737 (Reply 2):
I noticed around here that AS has rented billboards that say "Fly Local, Buy Local."

While they're AS ads, they're being paid for by Boeing.



"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan
User currently offlineWedgetail737 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 5948 posts, RR: 6
Reply 4, posted (6 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 2752 times:
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Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 3):
While they're AS ads, they're being paid for by Boeing.

Hence, the "Proudly All Boeing" is also mentioned on the billboard ad as well.


User currently offlineSANFan From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 5557 posts, RR: 12
Reply 5, posted (6 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 2722 times:



Quoting Wedgetail737 (Reply 2):
I would be curious to see what kind of response VX (LAX and SFO) and B6 (LGB and SAN) will get once they actually start service. Hey! The more service we get out of SEA, the merrier.

I still remain puzzled at Virgin's hesitation (so far anyway) to connect SEA and SAN. While I'm pleased to see Blue starting a flight (key point: "a" flight, as in "one") between Lindbergh Field and SEA/TAC, I think Red would be more likely to offer frequency and service aimed at competing with Alaska for more business-oriented flyers. So far, outside of the usual summer adjustment (+1 flight), all AS has done in the SAN-SEA market is re-time flights to an "easy-to-remember" departure schedule (and in the process, spread them out a bit.)

I have nothing really against AS these days. I just think SAN-SEA is a big enough market to see and enjoy some n/s competition (non-existent since UA gave it up years ago.)

We'll see what happens here; maybe one of these players will make a another move soon (or someone currently watching on the sidelines might still jump in and make it really interesting...)  Wink

bb


User currently offlineLY4XELD From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 858 posts, RR: 15
Reply 6, posted (6 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 2655 times:



Quoting SANFan (Reply 5):

I have nothing really against AS these days. I just think SAN-SEA is a big enough market to see and enjoy some n/s competition (non-existent since UA gave it up years ago.)

Didn't B6 announce service to SAN and LGB from SEA also?



That's why we're here.
User currently offlineF9Animal From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 5116 posts, RR: 28
Reply 7, posted (6 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 2563 times:



Quoting United777 (Thread starter):
An article from the Seattle-PI regarding Virgin America arrival in SEA competing Alaska Airlines.

After flying Alaska Airlines from Seattle for the past 17 years I think it's time for a change for more options for Seattle-California flights. Alaska Airlines just isn't the airline it used to be. I would love to fly a hometown airline that soon will have an all Boeing fleet but I'm tired ot the bad customer service and late flights. I've noticed in the past six months Alaska Airlines is some what much better but it might be just too late. The Boeing 737-800's and 737-900's are nice but no IFE like Virgin America and Jet Blue. Hopefully with the arrival of Virgin America and JetBlue it'll make Alaska Airlines back to the same airline it once was. For now as a frequent flyer from Seattle to the Bay Area I'm ready to try another airline.

You are absolutely right about the fact that Alaska is nothing of what it once was. The airline really is going to face serious competition from both blue and virgin. WN is also slowly eating away at them. Lets face it, the execs at AS have no choice but to change the business plan, or eventually face failure. Granted oil is a killer at this point for all airlines, passengers care about value in what they pay for. VX and B6 offer much more in terms of service, and that is going to be what attracts passengers. If I was offered free tickets on AS, but VX and B6 offered me a $10.00 ticket, I would certainly pay $10.00. I like IFE and good service. Who will win? Hard to tell. But, I like the odds of B6 and VX in this one. As a leisure traveler, I could care less about frequency.

I would love to see VX or B6 head north to Alaska! Oh heck, how about WN? The prices to Alaska are outrageous, and I am sure the folks that live up that way would agree that it would be nice to see a little price relief. I am sure our Alaska folks would also like to have a few choices in air travel too.



I Am A Different Animal!!
User currently offlineWedgetail737 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 5948 posts, RR: 6
Reply 8, posted (6 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 2403 times:
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Quoting SANFan (Reply 5):
We'll see what happens here; maybe one of these players will make a another move soon (or someone currently watching on the sidelines might still jump in and make it really interesting...)

I kind of wondered why VX hasn't made any moves eastward. Now, I know SEA-NYC is pretty saturated, but that's never stopped anyone. What about SEA-IAD? AS pulled out of that market to concentrate on SEA-DCA. UA is it. B6 could do it also, but they are currently only serving JFK and BOS on the eastward trek.

Quoting F9Animal (Reply 7):
Who will win?

We all know that AS will prevail or at least co-exist with the others. VX will have formidable traffic out of here. B6's SEA-SAN route could use another two to three frequencies...especially for business. B6's SEA-LGB is a nice addition.

As a side note, I'm still waiting for FL to fly SEA-ATL year-around.


User currently offlineUnited777 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 1657 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (6 years 8 months 2 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 2220 times:

I'm seeing the Alaska Airlines California flights billboards all over Seattle now. They came out of nowhere. I saw one that mentions they fly to 14 cities in CA and another with a route from Seattle to CA cities. The marketing Alaska Airlines is doing isn't make much sense to me. Everybody here in Seattle knows Alaska Airlines is our airline and has more flights out of SEA than any other airline. We don't need billboards to remind us of their flights from Seattle to California. They need to upgrade their cabins both first class ans economy, get the flights on time and treat their pilots, flight attendants and customer service employees better so that they can treat us passengers the way they used to when Alaska Airlines was the "last great airline". Bring back REAL Alaska Airlines ground crews in SEA too. I could care less about Alaska Airlines flying new 737-800 and 737-900 when Virgin America and Jet Blue are flying just as new A320's with better cabins and a real IFE system. The only thing I will give Alaska Airlines is the website, frequent flyer program and always being the first airline to start something with technology. In-flight WI-FI sounds nice but honestly I'm on a laptop all day and when I'm on a flight I want to watch a movie or some shows while up in the air. Give me a good IFE not WI-FI. Last thing Alaska Airlines has that is great is Horizon Air. Horizon Air is a leader and the best when it comes to regional airlines. Horizon Air gives Alaska Airlines a some what better image.

Virgin America and soon Jet Blue is a true wake up call for Alaska Airlines. It's bad that competion had to wake up Alaska Airlines but let's see what happens. What thing is for sure, that's Alaska Airlines will never fall. The service may not be the same but no airline flies as many flights from SEA to cities all over the west. When it comes down to it Virgin America will never have as many flights to SEA from CA.


User currently offlineWedgetail737 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 5948 posts, RR: 6
Reply 10, posted (6 years 8 months 2 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 2175 times:
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Quoting United777 (Reply 9):
I'm seeing the Alaska Airlines California flights billboards all over Seattle now.

I've some suggestion that these billboards, especially the ones that say "Buy Local, Fly Local" were also sponsored by Boeing.

King5 today had a small blurb about VX starting flights today. Best of luck to both VX and B6 on the new service.

I would have to agree with United777 that AS is not what they used to be, especially if you look back in the 1980's and early 1990's. I've heard that AS first class between SEA and ANC was phenomenal with the menu including lobster, salmon and filet mignon. I was too young to enjoy such service, but not too young to have enjoyed AS back then. Secondly, AS actually used to be fairly small (compared to UA, PS and OC) in west coast coverage.

Despite the changes that are probably not too pleasant at AS, they are the most convenient airline for me. I think I'll stick with them. But it doesn't leave out the opportunity to try something new.


User currently offlineBAW716 From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 2028 posts, RR: 27
Reply 11, posted (6 years 8 months 2 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 2125 times:



Quoting United777 (Reply 9):
They need to upgrade their cabins both first class ans economy, get the flights on time and treat their pilots, flight attendants and customer service employees better so that they can treat us passengers the way they used to when Alaska Airlines was the "last great airline". Bring back REAL Alaska Airlines ground crews in SEA too. I could care less about Alaska Airlines flying new 737-800 and 737-900 when Virgin America and Jet Blue are flying just as new A320's with better cabins and a real IFE system.

Here is the problem: The fact is right now that the price of oil is going to change the business plans of all airlines, including B6 and VX. Now I've stated before that I believe B6 and VX will ultimately merge. The moves that VX are making in the west coast corridor are a perfect complement to the depth of flying B6 has going to the east coast from Seattle. I think that we may see a SEA-IAD on B6 at some point, but there has to be sufficient connecting traffic to make that flight viable (which is why they operate SEA-JFK/BOS.

B6 and VX are going to have to increase capacity on their aircraft in order to make up for the fuel price crisis. This means, adding seats. Forget 34 in seat pitch, it will go to 31 inches and while the extra F/A will have to come back, the additional 20 seats or so that will be added could very likely cover that cost over time.

As for AS, they do not have the product that they once do...this much is certain. That said, if you look at what AS is trying to do...which is compete with WN, which has a substantially lower cost base than AS (by about 1.5-1.7c/mile I believe) AS is going to be hard pressed to do much more other than to add capacity themselves...and they would have to do major fleet conversions to make that happen. The problem at AS has to do with the cost cutting itself. AS has elected to go low in terms of pay for their front line staff. That means, customer service at the airports are going to continue to suffer. AS has automated the processes as much as they can; however, they cannot automate the airport process completely...and as long as the need for overbooking occurs, so too will the voluntary and involuntary bumping.

On the ramp side, Menzies is arguably less quality than what AS had on their own. That said, it is also substantially less money. Here again, cost cutting has become the be all and end all and especially in the current economic situation in the USA, they are going to have to push the envelope even more in order to compete. I think their strategy in the coast market is wrong; simply adding capacity to California to compete against B6 and VX is wrong; it will take creative thinking to effectively compete against these guys...and again, because of cost cutting, the brain trust at AS is also starting to take a serious hit (not the senior guys...but the managers who really run the operation).

It is very easy to say that AS should improve its product. The dilemma is how to do that and still be profitable in the current environment? If you can answer that question in a way that is cost neutral or less, then whatever solution you propose is simply not viable. I believe what AS has to do now is solve its delay problem, which is the result of poor maintenance practices and ramp handling. If they can do that, then I believe the flyers in this market will continue to support their "hometown" airline, considering it is a defacto member of SkyTeam, with all the marketing agreements that are in place with the SkyTeam member airlines (Delta, CO, NW, AF, etc). The benefits for the frequent traveler that come out of those agreements is the one big reason that AS will continue to dominate in both seat share and market share, both in Seattle and in PDX.

One thing is for certain...things are going to get a LOT worse before they get better.

baw716



David L. Lamb, fmr Area Mgr Alitalia SFO 1998-2002, fmr Regional Analyst SFO-UAL 1992-1998
User currently offlineWatchandlearn From United States of America, joined Mar 2008, 56 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (6 years 8 months 2 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 2114 times:



Quoting F9Animal (Reply 7):

I don't understand why Alaska would have to or want to change anything with their business model. They remain one of the most admired airlines in the industry and the Alaska "2010" plan is a great success to date. JetBlue would love to have a balance sheet that looked remotely as good as Alaska's. "Leisure" travelers are hardly the bread and butter of this industry...and especially not Alaska Airlines. Alaska will continue to have key strengths in its hub market that will make it extremely difficult for competitors: 1) Frequency, 2) One of the best mileage plans in the industry, 3) Young fleet, 4) Competitive fares / declining cost basis, and 5) Strong alliances with feeder carriers.


User currently offlinePacificWest From United States of America, joined May 2007, 77 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (6 years 8 months 2 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 2102 times:



Quoting Watchandlearn (Reply 12):
I don't understand why Alaska would have to or want to change anything with their business model. They remain one of the most admired airlines in the industry and the Alaska "2010" plan is a great success to date. JetBlue would love to have a balance sheet that looked remotely as good as Alaska's. "Leisure" travelers are hardly the bread and butter of this industry...and especially not Alaska Airlines. Alaska will continue to have key strengths in its hub market that will make it extremely difficult for competitors: 1) Frequency, 2) One of the best mileage plans in the industry, 3) Young fleet, 4) Competitive fares / declining cost basis, and 5) Strong alliances with feeder carriers.

I agree... people also have to realize that Seattle isn't some run-of-the-mill east coast city, the region still has a distinct identity. People in the Pacific Northwest take a lot of pride in "what is theirs", a lot of people will think twice about switching from Alaska to something new, especially if the prices are identical.


User currently offlineWedgetail737 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 5948 posts, RR: 6
Reply 14, posted (6 years 8 months 2 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 1949 times:
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Quoting PacificWest (Reply 13):
I agree... people also have to realize that Seattle isn't some run-of-the-mill east coast city, the region still has a distinct identity. People in the Pacific Northwest take a lot of pride in "what is theirs", a lot of people will think twice about switching from Alaska to something new, especially if the prices are identical.

I will have to also agree with this assessment. This discussion targets a lot of downfalls of AS, but this is happening all over the airline industry. My bottomline to sticking with AS is the convenience of the service. A lot of business folks up here would rather fly into smaller, satellite airports in SoCal and the Bay Area than SFO or LAX, unless they are connecting to international destinations. B6's new LGB service will do well, I believe. But service to LAX and SFO is pretty saturated with lower yield.

However, I don't doubt that VX and B6 will give AS a run for its money on the routes affected. I still say good luck to VX and B6 here in SEA. More airlines that serve SEA, the merrier. I would like to see how VX and B6 will fare during the summer.


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