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chrisair
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Re: Alaska "Beyond" problems, Seattle Times finally catches on

Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:46 am

First off, I'm not sure how much some of you dismissing this article fly Alaska. From someone who's flown Alaska since 1989, been a gold since 1992 (except for the period between 2005-08), and a 75K since that level was introduced, the service has gone down immensely. Most FAs and other front line employees are great, but it's hard to provide great service when you're not given the right tools to do the job.

I know there's a blip in service from mergers (saw it for more than a year at WN after they picked up AirTran), but this seems much worse at AS. This is worse than the TANGO days. It's as if the folks at HQ are so blinded by the decline in revenue that they're just trying to take the easy way out and cut expenses on the pax. Perhaps they need to look outside their offices by Angle Lake and look at that billboard with the giant Delta logo on it; or the billboard outside LAX or SFO that has Southwest or United on it. You can't compete with Southwest when they offer 10 flights and Alaska offers three.

EA CO AS wrote:
o I've been loudly criticizing the passenger experience from the standpoint of lacking a mid-cabin lav. I know it costs more long term, but I believe it's worth it.


That ship sailed when the four or five 900s were retrofitted with the new seats. Not gonna happen ever again. Sadly.

EA CO AS wrote:
o PDBs in F are easily done at other carriers, yet at AS they're hit-and-miss at best. Not sure why this wasn't rectified a long time ago.


PDBs were done on AS for years. Now they stopped them because "it's too hard for the crew to greet pax" and do a PDB.

EA CO AS wrote:
o The Premium Class snack box is a joke. Either do a proper snack, or don't offer one at all and make the value proposition 3" more legroom and early boarding only.


Agree. I heard the snack boxes were getting cut. Not sure if that'll happen.

EA CO AS wrote:
Now, these are, in the grand scheme of things, little first-world-problem issues, and ones that ultimately DO cost money, but you've got to spend money to make money, and I think change in tactics on these little things would help elevate (see what I did there?) AS above the DLs and B6s of the world for good.


B&B are too busy trying short term fixes to shore up the balance sheet for the stock analysts that they're going to hurt the airline in the long run.
 
PlanesNTrains
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Re: Alaska "Beyond" problems, Seattle Times finally catches on

Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:31 pm

EA CO AS wrote:
PlanesNTrains wrote:
Most recently, it was the astonishment that they didn't get a Christmas bonus - just a card.


There hasn't been any sort of "Christmas bonus" since the mid 90s. Not sure why anyone would be astonished by that.

Having said that, there are times where I do disagree with the track Brad, Ben, and Brandon have taken, but they haven't led the company totally astray yet. And I'm inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt, but I, like my co-workers, do call out things when they make no sense. For example:

o I've been loudly criticizing the passenger experience from the standpoint of lacking a mid-cabin lav. I know it costs more long term, but I believe it's worth it.
o I understand the business case behind not installing in-seat IFE, and even agree with it. Yet I can't help but think AS misses that inherent "wow" factor DL, B6 and others who have them get from their customers, even though they're a service failure waiting to happen.
o PDBs in F are easily done at other carriers, yet at AS they're hit-and-miss at best. Not sure why this wasn't rectified a long time ago.
o The Premium Class snack box is a joke. Either do a proper snack, or don't offer one at all and make the value proposition 3" more legroom and early boarding only.
o We used to send boxes of cookies to our MVP Golds around the holidays, which they loved and looked forward to, and they were discontinued. Why we can't offer them to a much smaller subset of Gold 75K members is beyond me.
o AS offers what I believe to be the best buy-on-board products in the industry, yet the hot meals that were previously on flights over 2 hours are now on flights that are 3 hours or more, eliminating many prime routes from contention (LAXSEA, for example) and missing the chance to wow guests.
o F/C catering has gotten a bit better, but needs to be ramped up even more. People are done with polenta and quinoa - move on!

Now, these are, in the grand scheme of things, little first-world-problem issues, and ones that ultimately DO cost money, but you've got to spend money to make money, and I think change in tactics on these little things would help elevate (see what I did there?) AS above the DLs and B6s of the world for good.

That's my $0.02 worth, so take it for what you will. I still say that even with these aforementioned missed opportunities, I think AS provides one of the best, if not the best, services in the skies.


That’s my point - why whine about things you haven’t gotten in years. Or rant about things like they are a personal attack rather than a workplace issue. Aside from tha, I’ve no quarrel with your comments.
-Dave


MAX’d out on MAX threads. If you are starting a thread, and it’s about the MAX - stop. There’s already a thread that covers it.
 
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diverdave
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Re: Alaska "Beyond" problems, Seattle Times finally catches on

Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:55 pm

n7371f wrote:
Not same models. AS is a Recaro slimline.


Everybody is installing slimline seats. VX would have done the same at some point.
 
VS11
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Re: Alaska "Beyond" problems, Seattle Times finally catches on

Mon Jan 08, 2018 2:51 pm

neomax wrote:
vadodara wrote:
MaverickM11 wrote:
If VX’ soft product mattered it wouldn’t be blown away by AS’ profit margin, never mind UA


Ha, ha! VX was happy (& lucky) to get Jet Blue and Alaska get into a bidding war. Neither of them got into that for the soft product.


I can't help but feel bad for AS because they were in what was essentially a lose-lose situation.


AS was not in a lose-lose situation but they put themselves into it by choosing to stick with the Alaska brand instead of the Virgin brand. Despite the royalties paid to Branson, the Virgin brand and product sells well in the millennial demographics that everyone is after. They just bet on the wrong horse (brand). I wish them well but I don’t see a way out for them.
 
CobaltScar
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Re: Alaska "Beyond" problems, Seattle Times finally catches on

Mon Jan 08, 2018 2:59 pm

vadodara wrote:
MaverickM11 wrote:
If VX’ soft product mattered it wouldn’t be blown away by AS’ profit margin, never mind UA


Ha, ha! VX was happy (& lucky) to get Jet Blue and Alaska get into a bidding war. Neither of them got into that for the soft product.



The only winner was VX leadership and large stockholders. VX was a failure that only barely scrapped by because of their rock bottom labor pay/benefits/work rules. Their employees were strung along with the whole , "we are new just struggle with us a bit longer then we will enter into a golden age!" Well all that sacrifice was for nothing and look who sold out with way more than their airline was really worth.

Now I don't envy AS position. They gained more of California out of VX but then turned around and all but abandoned the other half of VX's business, the trans cons. JetBlue dropped the other shoe on them when they announced a big ramp up in MINT trans cons (and to Seattle and other big west coast cities) weeks after they lost the bidding war with VX.

Truth be told AS/B6 should of come to an agreement with themselves and dismembered VX between them for a song. That would of been the justice VX management and financial backers deserved for their failed venture.

As is , the writing is on the wall. AS will have to shoulder the burden of VX themselves without any upside due to uncompetitive transcon offerings and stiff competition for every inch of California territory. They will slowly digest these costs hopefully just in time for the 100 percent inevitable B6/AS merger to come.
 
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NameOmitted
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Re: Alaska "Beyond" problems, Seattle Times finally catches on

Mon Jan 08, 2018 3:35 pm

I've been flying Alaska so long I have a Gold Coast card. I can say definitively, service is not what it was. No complimentary playing cards. No samovar tea service. I'm moving you anther legacy that stl does all this...

Well. As soon as I can find one.
 
frmrCapCadet
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Re: Alaska "Beyond" problems, Seattle Times finally catches on

Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:10 pm

Alaska likely needed to grow to survive after the big 6 became the US3. Buying Virgin likely was the best way to do it. All of which is not to say it will be easy.

By the way, I am appalled by unions now largely representing high income people. Union power on wages should be limited to those earning less than $35 an hour.
Buffet: the airline business...has eaten up capital...like..no other (business)
 
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EA CO AS
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Re: Alaska "Beyond" problems, Seattle Times finally catches on

Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:12 pm

VS11 wrote:
AS was not in a lose-lose situation but they put themselves into it by choosing to stick with the Alaska brand instead of the Virgin brand. Despite the royalties paid to Branson, the Virgin brand and product sells well in the millennial demographics that everyone is after. They just bet on the wrong horse (brand).


Actually, the in-depth research done on both brands during the "Which brand are we going to keep?" phase showed that the VX brand scored less favorably in many of the key consumer metrics than the AS brand did.

It's not 1995 anymore, and the "Virgin" brand doesn't carry anywhere near the cachet it once did.
"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan

Comments made here are my own and are not intended to represent the official position of Alaska Air Group
 
ASFlyer
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Re: Alaska "Beyond" problems, Seattle Times finally catches on

Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:35 pm

EA CO AS wrote:
VS11 wrote:
AS was not in a lose-lose situation but they put themselves into it by choosing to stick with the Alaska brand instead of the Virgin brand. Despite the royalties paid to Branson, the Virgin brand and product sells well in the millennial demographics that everyone is after. They just bet on the wrong horse (brand).


Actually, the in-depth research done on both brands during the "Which brand are we going to keep?" phase showed that the VX brand scored less favorably in many of the key consumer metrics than the AS brand did.

It's not 1995 anymore, and the "Virgin" brand doesn't carry anywhere near the cachet it once did.


Everyone raves about how AS should have kept the VX brand but, as someone else just above me pointed out, VX was barely scraping by. They weren't making tons of money - the money they were making was because of their ultra cheap labor and cheap fuel. They didn't own one single market they operated in and weren't able to command a revenue premium for their product... not even their First Class. They offered some things that were nicer than what AS offers, most notably their inflight entertainment and their First Class product. Beyond that, their Coach product wasn't any better than anyone else. Keeping the VX brand wasn't doing VX any good it doesn't seem.
 
CobaltScar
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Re: Alaska "Beyond" problems, Seattle Times finally catches on

Mon Jan 08, 2018 5:16 pm

frmrCapCadet wrote:
By the way, I am appalled by unions now largely representing high income people. Union power on wages should be limited to those earning less than $35 an hour.


Great, so you support all the Airline FA unions, the majority of whos work forces make less than that per hour.
 
stlgph
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Re: Alaska "Beyond" problems, Seattle Times finally catches on

Mon Jan 08, 2018 5:21 pm

I get it.

The fan boys will hate the article.
The critics will love the article.

Blah blah blah.

In the end - one quote, no matter what side of the argument you're on, is the home run: "How is this different from Delta?"
if assumptions could fly, airliners.net would be the world's busiest airport
 
alaskan9974
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Re: Alaska "Beyond" problems, Seattle Times finally catches on

Mon Jan 08, 2018 5:29 pm

usxguy wrote:
Alaska has had a lot of "little" squabbles and the Seattle Times are just connecting some dots. Its more than just a few threads on FlyerTalk or the pilots groups. When you add them up, yes, Alaska is having a few hiccups. A group of pilots are pissed. 5th best is a mantra going around. Raises are nice, but lack of scope has many bothered. Slowdown may be a handful of pilots. Could be more, who knows. Seattle goes to hell quickly when there's a snowflake involved (and I don't necessarily mean the political kind). Sabre is having a few hiccups.

regarding biscoff, Alaska used to serve snack mixes by King Nuts - we had a ranch mix, savory, and hawaiian blend. Its been replaced by 2 single small biscoff cookies. Its noticed by frequent flyers and regulars, so the lack of cookies after 10AM would have been noticed by many more.

Virgin's product is very nice - its a MIX of everything though. When you start chipping away at it, as Gordon Bethune said "you have a tasteless pizza with no toppings".

Recaro seats - Virgin's seats are NOT the slimline (I don't know whats on the NEOs though). Alaskas are the slimline.

Biscoff cookies are bland, I miss the ranch or savory snacks.

Surprised nobody tied the rat that jumped on board one of AS's flights last week and took the plane out until the exterminator could chase it off the plane as a sign of deteriorating quality. (Sarcasm)
 
frmrCapCadet
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Re: Alaska "Beyond" problems, Seattle Times finally catches on

Mon Jan 08, 2018 5:54 pm

CobaltScar wrote:
frmrCapCadet wrote:
By the way, I am appalled by unions now largely representing high income people. Union power on wages should be limited to those earning less than $35 an hour.


Great, so you support all the Airline FA unions, the majority of whos work forces make less than that per hour.


Generally people earning below $35 an hour are at the mercy of their employers, far more than those earning over $100. So yes, FAs probably should be union protected.
Buffet: the airline business...has eaten up capital...like..no other (business)
 
Varsity1
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Re: Alaska "Beyond" problems, Seattle Times finally catches on

Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:40 pm

frmrCapCadet wrote:
CobaltScar wrote:
frmrCapCadet wrote:
By the way, I am appalled by unions now largely representing high income people. Union power on wages should be limited to those earning less than $35 an hour.


Great, so you support all the Airline FA unions, the majority of whos work forces make less than that per hour.


Generally people earning below $35 an hour are at the mercy of their employers, far more than those earning over $100. So yes, FAs probably should be union protected.


Regional FO's earn less than $35 an hour.

Keep in mind pilot and FA's only get paid for 65-75 hour a month. Not the 40 a week like regular jobs.
 
dashdrvr
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Re: Alaska "Beyond" problems, Seattle Times finally catches on

Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:46 pm

n7371f wrote:
Not same models. AS is a Recaro slimline.

kmz wrote:
n7371f wrote:
.................... VA lovers find themselves on Recaro cardboard seats with injection molded plastic starring at them from the front seatback instead of a TV. To be seen...


VA and AS have RECARO seats


I have Recaro's in my car and was delighted to hear they were coming to AS planes. What a rude surprise to find, "They are not your mothers Recaro's". They are so uncomfortable. I would gladly trade the leg room for the old classic seats.
 
alfa164
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Re: Alaska "Beyond" problems, Seattle Times finally catches on

Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:27 pm

EA CO AS wrote:
Actually, the in-depth research done on both brands during the "Which brand are we going to keep?" phase showed that the VX brand scored less favorably in many of the key consumer metrics than the AS brand did. It's not 1995 anymore, and the "Virgin" brand doesn't carry anywhere near the cachet it once did.


That is what happens when you take your "in-depth research" in Seattle... ;)

stlgph wrote:
I get it.
The fan boys will hate the article.
The critics will love the article.
Blah blah blah.
In the end - one quote, no matter what side of the argument you're on, is the home run: "How is this different from Delta?"


This. :checkmark:

Unfortunately, nobody will try to understand the problems and make any efforts to correct them. "I've made up my mind; don't confuse me with the facts."
I'm going to have a smokin' hot body again!
I have decided to be cremated....
 
milemaster
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Re: Alaska "Beyond" problems, Seattle Times finally catches on

Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:29 pm

alfa164 wrote:
EA CO AS wrote:
Actually, the in-depth research done on both brands during the "Which brand are we going to keep?" phase showed that the VX brand scored less favorably in many of the key consumer metrics than the AS brand did. It's not 1995 anymore, and the "Virgin" brand doesn't carry anywhere near the cachet it once did.


That is what happens when you take your "in-depth research" in Seattle... ;)


This made me laugh too.
 
PlanesNTrains
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Re: Alaska "Beyond" problems, Seattle Times finally catches on

Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:45 pm

milemaster wrote:
alfa164 wrote:
EA CO AS wrote:
Actually, the in-depth research done on both brands during the "Which brand are we going to keep?" phase showed that the VX brand scored less favorably in many of the key consumer metrics than the AS brand did. It's not 1995 anymore, and the "Virgin" brand doesn't carry anywhere near the cachet it once did.


That is what happens when you take your "in-depth research" in Seattle... ;)


This made me laugh too.


It seems to me the only legitimate outcome in these threads is that the VX brand survived. Maybe those folks did their in-depth research in San Francisco....
-Dave


MAX’d out on MAX threads. If you are starting a thread, and it’s about the MAX - stop. There’s already a thread that covers it.
 
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EA CO AS
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Re: Alaska "Beyond" problems, Seattle Times finally catches on

Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:45 pm

alfa164 wrote:
EA CO AS wrote:
Actually, the in-depth research done on both brands during the "Which brand are we going to keep?" phase showed that the VX brand scored less favorably in many of the key consumer metrics than the AS brand did. It's not 1995 anymore, and the "Virgin" brand doesn't carry anywhere near the cachet it once did.


That is what happens when you take your "in-depth research" in Seattle... ;)




If anyone is interested, it was a ten month process; a national survey of over 6,000 qualified respondents was done, along with qualitative research in California. Brand fit measures were analyzed against 13 different demand spaces.
"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan

Comments made here are my own and are not intended to represent the official position of Alaska Air Group
 
PlanesNTrains
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Re: Alaska "Beyond" problems, Seattle Times finally catches on

Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:46 pm

EA CO AS wrote:
alfa164 wrote:
EA CO AS wrote:
Actually, the in-depth research done on both brands during the "Which brand are we going to keep?" phase showed that the VX brand scored less favorably in many of the key consumer metrics than the AS brand did. It's not 1995 anymore, and the "Virgin" brand doesn't carry anywhere near the cachet it once did.


That is what happens when you take your "in-depth research" in Seattle... ;)




If anyone is interested, it was a ten month process; a national survey of over 6,000 qualified respondents was done, along with qualitative research in California. Brand fit measures were analyzed against 13 different demand spaces.


Those folks aren't interested.
-Dave


MAX’d out on MAX threads. If you are starting a thread, and it’s about the MAX - stop. There’s already a thread that covers it.
 
CobaltScar
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Re: Alaska "Beyond" problems, Seattle Times finally catches on

Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:11 pm

VX's target audience had been switching to JetBlue for years so its just as well AS gave up on them and are sticking with what PNW wants. The people with money were paying for MINT, while VX was reduced to giving most of its F cabin away for free. (which B6 does not do, as policy).
 
frmrCapCadet
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Re: Alaska "Beyond" problems, Seattle Times finally catches on

Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:30 pm

Varsity1 wrote:
frmrCapCadet wrote:
CobaltScar wrote:

Great, so you support all the Airline FA unions, the majority of whos work forces make less than that per hour.


Generally people earning below $35 an hour are at the mercy of their employers, far more than those earning over $100. So yes, FAs probably should be union protected.


Regional FO's earn less than $35 an hour.

Keep in mind pilot and FA's only get paid for 65-75 hour a month. Not the 40 a week like regular jobs.


Good catch. A better way of stating the income limits would also include annual salary, say anything under $65,000
Buffet: the airline business...has eaten up capital...like..no other (business)
 
VS11
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Re: Alaska "Beyond" problems, Seattle Times finally catches on

Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:45 pm

EA CO AS wrote:
VS11 wrote:
AS was not in a lose-lose situation but they put themselves into it by choosing to stick with the Alaska brand instead of the Virgin brand. Despite the royalties paid to Branson, the Virgin brand and product sells well in the millennial demographics that everyone is after. They just bet on the wrong horse (brand).


Actually, the in-depth research done on both brands during the "Which brand are we going to keep?" phase showed that the VX brand scored less favorably in many of the key consumer metrics than the AS brand did.

It's not 1995 anymore, and the "Virgin" brand doesn't carry anywhere near the cachet it once did.


I can't comment on the study and its results as I don't know how it was done and what the actual results are. The Virgin brand is globally recognized so it is a good platform brand that has already scaled nationally and globally, especially in the hospitality and travel industries - Virgin Hotels and Virgin Cruises have also been launched. Alaska on the other hand is an extremely regional-sounding brand. Maybe they will succeed making it West Coast-y brand but not sure how it will be scaled nationally. Certainly not globally.

To me, Alaska to Virgin America is like Microsoft to Apple - the PC Guy vs. the Mac Guy (I am a PC guy myself). Ironically, another Seattle vs. San Francisco "battle". But Apple has become the undisputed consumer electronics leader while Microsoft gave up the entire consumer push despite having come with many consumer product ideas.
 
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NameOmitted
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Re: Alaska "Beyond" problems, Seattle Times finally catches on

Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:10 am

VS11 wrote:
The Virgin brand is globally recognized so it is a good platform brand that has already scaled nationally and globally, especially in the hospitality and travel industries - Virgin Hotels and Virgin Cruises have also been launched. Alaska on the other hand is an extremely regional-sounding brand. Maybe they will succeed making it West Coast-y brand but not sure how it will be scaled nationally. Certainly not globally.


I think that Alaska as a brand is quite global. There are at least 33 reality TV shows based in Alaska. Aside from them all being bad, they all have the overall theme of "Alaskans get s*** done in the worst possible conditions." If you look at a map of Alaskan town names, you will see a gazetteer of brand names that have been appropriated to sell everything from rugged clothing to reliable hunting gear to hull designs for work boats. The Virgin brand is "we'll treat you like a spoiled millionaire." Neither branding is true, but I'll take Alaska "global" brand any day.

VS11 wrote:
To me, Alaska to Virgin America is like Microsoft to Apple - the PC Guy vs. the Mac Guy (I am a PC guy myself). Ironically, another Seattle vs. San Francisco "battle". But Apple has become the undisputed consumer electronics leader while Microsoft gave up the entire consumer push despite having come with many consumer product ideas.


The interesting thing about this comparison is that Apple succeeded only when they branched away from solid, reliable computers and started competing in the "consumer electronics" business. The actual computer world is still dominated by boring old PCs running Microsoft. Apple has always been too flashy to provide adequate value for corporate dollars on a large scale.
 
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neomax
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Re: Alaska "Beyond" problems, Seattle Times finally catches on

Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:17 am

VS11 wrote:
To me, Alaska to Virgin America is like Microsoft to Apple - the PC Guy vs. the Mac Guy (I am a PC guy myself). Ironically, another Seattle vs. San Francisco "battle". But Apple has become the undisputed consumer electronics leader while Microsoft gave up the entire consumer push despite having come with many consumer product ideas.


I don't know if this was intentional or not, but there is some strong irony- The dominant one in your example is SF based Apple, while SEA based Microsoft is the vanquished one, opposite of the dominant SEA based AS, and vanquished SF based VX. You are right then, it is yet another example of the Seattle-San Francisco rivalry.
 
obelau24
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Re: Alaska "Beyond" problems, Seattle Times finally catches on

Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:30 am

I’ve been saying this for so long I might as well be a broken record: AS made a strategic mistake not taking the best of both worlds and melding them into a stronger, more competitive force. Instead, they chose to so away with anything VX-related and then the airline into AS 2.0 (or maybe 1.2).

VX has a wonderful economy product - the best in the US. From the wide aisles and comfortable seats to the IFE and the ability to order in the IFE - this was a forward-thinking service concept. Why more airlines don’t implement it I don’t know. Instead of doing multiple cart runs, why not let passengers order what they want when they want it? It reduces waste and certainly makes it easier on the crew instead of lugging the carts around multiple times.

Granted that’s the only place VX shone; it’s first class was showy but underwhelming. The FF program was okay but I made more miles earning toward AS. The website and mobile site were inefficient. And the customer service was consistently wanting from the ground to the air. The only area where customer service seemed paramount was with the flight crew - they always amazed me.

AS is nice but aside from the excellent customer service and the wonderful Mileage Plan program, it doesn’t bring much to the table. The product is beaten in comfort and execution in both economy and first by all its competition.

What could have been done? Invest in a dual fleet model: Airbus for long-haul with the recliners and IFE; Boeing for the shorter range with the current seats. Where there’s a revenue premium, throw on the Airbus. Get rid of VX online (obviously) but upgrade AS online to the best that the competition offers (DL has one of the best mobile apps IMO). Throw frequency on important routes to build market share: east coast, HNL, and major markets to stave off DL.

Whatever is done, there needs to be a spirit of innovation at AS to keep it current and relevant.
 
VS11
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Re: Alaska "Beyond" problems, Seattle Times finally catches on

Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:32 am

NameOmitted wrote:
I think that Alaska as a brand is quite global.


As a geographic concept, yes, it is known globally. I was referring though as an airline. I doubt many people in Europe for instance have heard of Alaska Airlines or have any particular idea about it if they have heard about it.
 
VS11
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Re: Alaska "Beyond" problems, Seattle Times finally catches on

Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:36 am

neomax wrote:
VS11 wrote:
To me, Alaska to Virgin America is like Microsoft to Apple - the PC Guy vs. the Mac Guy (I am a PC guy myself). Ironically, another Seattle vs. San Francisco "battle". But Apple has become the undisputed consumer electronics leader while Microsoft gave up the entire consumer push despite having come with many consumer product ideas.


I don't know if this was intentional or not, but there is some strong irony- The dominant one in your example is SF based Apple, while SEA based Microsoft is the vanquished one, opposite of the dominant SEA based AS, and vanquished SF based VX. You are right then, it is yet another example of the Seattle-San Francisco rivalry.


But VX got vanquished as a result of corporate boardroom drama, not because it lacked popularity. I don't think the Virgin brand itself got vanquished. I was talking about more about brands and what they stand for.
 
BoeingGuy
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Re: Alaska "Beyond" problems, Seattle Times finally catches on

Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:43 am

obelau24 wrote:
I’ve been saying this for so long I might as well be a broken record: AS made a strategic mistake not taking the best of both worlds and melding them into a stronger, more competitive force. Instead, they chose to so away with anything VX-related and then the airline into AS 2.0 (or maybe 1.2).

VX has a wonderful economy product - the best in the US. From the wide aisles and comfortable seats to the IFE and the ability to order in the IFE - this was a forward-thinking service concept. Why more airlines don’t implement it I don’t know. Instead of doing multiple cart runs, why not let passengers order what they want when they want it? It reduces waste and certainly makes it easier on the crew instead of lugging the carts around multiple times.

Granted that’s the only place VX shone; it’s first class was showy but underwhelming. The FF program was okay but I made more miles earning toward AS. The website and mobile site were inefficient. And the customer service was consistently wanting from the ground to the air. The only area where customer service seemed paramount was with the flight crew - they always amazed me.

AS is nice but aside from the excellent customer service and the wonderful Mileage Plan program, it doesn’t bring much to the table. The product is beaten in comfort and execution in both economy and first by all its competition.

What could have been done? Invest in a dual fleet model: Airbus for long-haul with the recliners and IFE; Boeing for the shorter range with the current seats. Where there’s a revenue premium, throw on the Airbus. Get rid of VX online (obviously) but upgrade AS online to the best that the competition offers (DL has one of the best mobile apps IMO). Throw frequency on important routes to build market share: east coast, HNL, and major markets to stave off DL.

Whatever is done, there needs to be a spirit of innovation at AS to keep it current and relevant.


I don’t agree at all that AS’s economy product is the least comfortable. On two recent trips, my seat in the AS 738 was more comfortable and roomy than an AA 738 or even an AA 789.
 
QXAS
Posts: 366
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2015 5:26 am

Re: Alaska "Beyond" problems, Seattle Times finally catches on

Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:44 am

alaskan9974 wrote:
usxguy wrote:
Alaska has had a lot of "little" squabbles and the Seattle Times are just connecting some dots. Its more than just a few threads on FlyerTalk or the pilots groups. When you add them up, yes, Alaska is having a few hiccups. A group of pilots are pissed. 5th best is a mantra going around. Raises are nice, but lack of scope has many bothered. Slowdown may be a handful of pilots. Could be more, who knows. Seattle goes to hell quickly when there's a snowflake involved (and I don't necessarily mean the political kind). Sabre is having a few hiccups.

regarding biscoff, Alaska used to serve snack mixes by King Nuts - we had a ranch mix, savory, and hawaiian blend. Its been replaced by 2 single small biscoff cookies. Its noticed by frequent flyers and regulars, so the lack of cookies after 10AM would have been noticed by many more.

Virgin's product is very nice - its a MIX of everything though. When you start chipping away at it, as Gordon Bethune said "you have a tasteless pizza with no toppings".

Recaro seats - Virgin's seats are NOT the slimline (I don't know whats on the NEOs though). Alaskas are the slimline.

Biscoff cookies are bland, I miss the ranch or savory snacks.

I’m so happy I’m not the only one with this opinion. The snack mix packets were the best. Whenever I’d board a flight I’d always be excited to see which one it was going to be. I loved the variety, and it gave the onboard product a lot more character and feel a lot more unique.
The Biscoff cookies are bland, boring, and scream “we’re just like Delta, but without PTVs, and layflats, and an intercontinental network”. The Biscoff cookies on DL even have DL branded packaging. There’s nothing unique or exciting about them. If you’re going to go with something generic like the Biscoff cookies at least have a couple choices of boring generic food options like on WN and oh that’s right, DL.
What I miss most about “old AS” are the snack mix packets and the greater variety in hot BOB options and shorter flights where they’re available. Being able to have one hot item on my 2:20 minute flight and then 4 days later have a completely different hot meal on the 2:20 minute flight back.
Are there still macadamias on Hawaii flights? I haven’t flown AS to Hawaii since 2012 ish.
I love AS, but if the cookies are the best they can do, might as well not have them at all. I’ve rarely seen both travelers sitting next to me eat their cookies. I’m sure that’s not just a coincidence, I’ve flown enough times for that not to be the case.
I am NOT an employee of any airline or manufacturer. I speak for myself, not on the behalf of any company.
 
NWADTWE16
Posts: 742
Joined: Fri Jun 29, 2012 5:12 am

Re: Alaska "Beyond" problems, Seattle Times finally catches on

Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:48 am

Those surveys were way off the mark, and we all said they'd hurt for abandoning VX in a complete smack to the face of everything it was to the people that loved it. Now here it is, exactly as expected. Alaska executive team had a good opportunity , granted at a horrible price, but they fumbled on 1st down.

VX in their final 2 years was making huge progress in securing the Business traveler, they were becoming the first or second choice requested from large contract firms. Sabre GDS was a smart move, and they were easily sold on all platforms (their lack of mobile app until the end was mind boggling however). So you can say the brand was old, and they made no money, whatever makes your dream world seem justified to your brain, but they were trending up not the other way around.
I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list!
 
User avatar
FlightLevel360
Posts: 406
Joined: Mon Dec 04, 2017 2:26 pm

Re: Alaska "Beyond" problems, Seattle Times finally catches on

Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:52 am

Alaska does have an excellent frequent flyer program, but from an amenity perspective, I'd say this is where AS is severely lacking behind many of its competitors.
To me, it will always be:
- Bombardier CSeries
- Airbus A321neoLR and A321neoXLR
- EMBRACER ERJ-170, ERJ-175, ERJ-190, and ERJ-195
- MITSUBUSHI MRJ

Anti narrowbody-long range-twinjet gang. Long live the A380 and 747!
 
airzona11
Posts: 1799
Joined: Wed Dec 17, 2014 5:44 am

Re: Alaska "Beyond" problems, Seattle Times finally catches on

Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:19 am

For all the faults or not of this article, how are some on here still saying the VX brand was superior? VX might have been a "trendy" brand, but that doesn't make money. If it did, VX would still be here. Enough with that conjecture.

Everyone will opine for the glory days or "back then I got upgraded all the time" or "the hot meals/ no BoB" but the reality is those days are gone, at every airline. Airlines are more focused on profitability now, the days of yesterday are gone.

AS is a regional player with some transcon flights. They don't operate luxury flat bed intercontinental, they don't need it.

NWADTWE16 wrote:
Those surveys were way off the mark, and we all said they'd hurt for abandoning VX in a complete smack to the face of everything it was to the people that loved it. Now here it is, exactly as expected. Alaska executive team had a good opportunity , granted at a horrible price, but they fumbled on 1st down.

VX in their final 2 years was making huge progress in securing the Business traveler, they were becoming the first or second choice requested from large contract firms. Sabre GDS was a smart move, and they were easily sold on all platforms (their lack of mobile app until the end was mind boggling however). So you can say the brand was old, and they made no money, whatever makes your dream world seem justified to your brain, but they were trending up not the other way around.


How many people loved it? They weren't making money when airlines were printing money. How much longer did they need to trend to make a sustainable profit? Their network was limited, few frequent travelers would choose them. AS isn't losing any of the premier top dollar transcon fliers, those folks never flew VX to begin with. They were on DL/AA/UA/B6 with their better F/J cabins.

Is AS actually hurting or are people opinions of them hurting?
 
questions
Posts: 2337
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2011 4:51 am

Re: Alaska "Beyond" problems, Seattle Times finally catches on

Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:20 am

Why was AS so hung up on going after VX to prevent B6 from acquiring VX? Wouldn’t it have been more strategic for AS and B6 to merge and let VX wither?
 
CobaltScar
Posts: 774
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2017 2:30 pm

Re: Alaska "Beyond" problems, Seattle Times finally catches on

Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:47 am

obelau24 wrote:
VX has a wonderful economy product - the best in the US. From the wide aisles and comfortable seats to the IFE and the ability to order in the IFE - this was a forward-thinking service concept. Why more airlines don’t implement it I don’t know. Instead of doing multiple cart runs, why not let passengers order what they want when they want it? It reduces waste and certainly makes it easier on the crew instead of lugging the carts around multiple times.



no no no NO....... its 1000 percent the opposite of this. The on demand ordering ment VX FAs were the hardest working FAs in the country , while ironically being near the bottom in pay. Service never ended for them, there was always someone ordering something on the IFE.

questions wrote:
Why was AS so hung up on going after VX to prevent B6 from acquiring VX? Wouldn’t it have been more strategic for AS and B6 to merge and let VX wither?


This is what I've been saying for months. People will be people though, and we all know how folks get at auctions and fear of the unknown. VX and its management deserved to wither.

My only hope now is its AS and its investors that pay the price for this error , BEFORE the inevitable b6/AS merger when their problem and debt would then become B6s.
 
USAirALB
Posts: 2394
Joined: Tue Sep 11, 2007 4:46 am

Re: Alaska "Beyond" problems, Seattle Times finally catches on

Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:01 am

I've only flown AS three times- FAI-SEA, SEA-EWR, and PDX-PHX.

My most recent AS flight was the PDX-PHX leg back in March 2016. I was seated in Y, and I found the service to be very impressive.

Immediately after take-off the crew did a beverage run with BOB and snack mix. They then cleared the cabin, and then performed ANOTHER full beverage service, this time with Biscoff cookies. Mind you the flight time was just barely 2 hours long.

Living in CLT, I don't have the opportunity to fly AS as often as I'd like, but I'm saddened to hear the level of service has gone down. I find it especially interesting that DL is now serving complimentary meals in Y on several routes out of SEA that compete with AS, yet AS offers nothing.
RJ85, F70, E135, E140, E145, E70, E75, E90, CR2, CR7, CR9, 717, 732, 733, 734, 735, 73G, 738, 739, 744ER, 752, 753, 762, 772, 77E, 77W, 789, 319, 320, 321, 332, 333, 343, 359, 388
 
atcanobbio
Posts: 57
Joined: Thu Aug 31, 2006 7:06 am

Re: Alaska "Beyond" problems, Seattle Times finally catches on

Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:09 am

airzona11 wrote:
For all the faults or not of this article, how are some on here still saying the VX brand was superior? VX might have been a "trendy" brand, but that doesn't make money. If it did, VX would still be here. Enough with that conjecture.



i believe it was the VX branding that allowed VX to keep flying all these years. It was the branding that made people stick to VX despite their limited network, partners, and operational efficiency.

It would have cost AS very little or nothing to adopt the VX soft product (minus the F outdated cabin). I'm indifferent about IFE and ordering food via IFE. It would have been cool is AS adopted the RED content but through the BYOD concept. Adding live TV (like WN) would be neat too. How things are now, AS' post merger mood-lighting sucks, it barely stands out. On my last dozen flights, the blue/green hue has been used only once. The rest of the times, the generic Sky-interior blue that EVERYONE uses has been on. is that per AS policy?

AS is trying hard to distinguish themselves as the "most west coast"airline but their decisions on passenger experience have not done anything to make them unique to attract new customers just like VX did when they first came out.
 
grbauc
Posts: 1469
Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2015 9:05 pm

Re: Alaska "Beyond" problems, Seattle Times finally catches on

Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:25 am

VS11 wrote:
neomax wrote:
vadodara wrote:

Ha, ha! VX was happy (& lucky) to get Jet Blue and Alaska get into a bidding war. Neither of them got into that for the soft product.


I can't help but feel bad for AS because they were in what was essentially a lose-lose situation.


AS was not in a lose-lose situation but they put themselves into it by choosing to stick with the Alaska brand instead of the Virgin brand. Despite the royalties paid to Branson, the Virgin brand and product sells well in the millennial demographics that everyone is after. They just bet on the wrong horse (brand). I wish them well but I don’t see a way out for them.


Plenty of ways out. Marketing and branding change alone with some Pro customer changes. DL was not in the Positive place that it is now. Its been a amazing turn around the last 10 years or so.
 
allegiantflyer
Posts: 366
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2012 6:59 pm

Re: Alaska "Beyond" problems, Seattle Times finally catches on

Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:14 am

I am a bit confused. Didn't AS just roll out this add two month ago priding themselves for their cookies? but this article suggest they are being taken off flights

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBJrohFJfw4
 
abrelosojos
Posts: 4323
Joined: Sun May 29, 2005 6:48 am

Re: Alaska "Beyond" problems, Seattle Times finally catches on

Tue Jan 09, 2018 5:34 am

Having flown several AS flights recently, I am amazed at how much complaining I keep hiring from FA's. Usually seated at the front, I hear over and over staff unhappiness at the cuts, how some internal memo calling it a "merger" was poorly received, lack of management insight, etc.

From an airline management guy, I know the AS senior team. While Brad may be doing the best he can, I think AS has the weakest deputy's amongst all major U.S. carriers, barring American. Some of the VP's are totally clueless egoistical maniacs. If Brad and the Board had any sense, they would fire the greyed out VP's of mediocre airlines in operations, planning, and revenue, and hire some new blood.

Saludos,
Alex
Live, and let live.
 
airzona11
Posts: 1799
Joined: Wed Dec 17, 2014 5:44 am

Re: Alaska "Beyond" problems, Seattle Times finally catches on

Tue Jan 09, 2018 5:55 am

atcanobbio wrote:
airzona11 wrote:
For all the faults or not of this article, how are some on here still saying the VX brand was superior? VX might have been a "trendy" brand, but that doesn't make money. If it did, VX would still be here. Enough with that conjecture.



i believe it was the VX branding that allowed VX to keep flying all these years. It was the branding that made people stick to VX despite their limited network, partners, and operational efficiency.

It would have cost AS very little or nothing to adopt the VX soft product (minus the F outdated cabin). I'm indifferent about IFE and ordering food via IFE. It would have been cool is AS adopted the RED content but through the BYOD concept. Adding live TV (like WN) would be neat too. How things are now, AS' post merger mood-lighting sucks, it barely stands out. On my last dozen flights, the blue/green hue has been used only once. The rest of the times, the generic Sky-interior blue that EVERYONE uses has been on. is that per AS policy?

AS is trying hard to distinguish themselves as the "most west coast"airline but their decisions on passenger experience have not done anything to make them unique to attract new customers just like VX did when they first came out.


For starters, AS was much larger than VX, so it would cost many millions to adopt the VX interior and branding.
AS has run a profitable airline for a while. VX never did. Anything else is trivial. Mood lighting? What part of the soft product? PTVs? Those are up for debate if they add value and becoming rare domestically. Those might be "cool" features, but they bring no value. VX was not attracting new customers and most importantly, not earning a fare premium. They might have been viewed as "cool" but they weren't making money. It did not work.
 
Varsity1
Posts: 2247
Joined: Mon May 02, 2016 4:55 am

Re: Alaska "Beyond" problems, Seattle Times finally catches on

Tue Jan 09, 2018 6:31 am

abrelosojos wrote:
Having flown several AS flights recently, I am amazed at how much complaining I keep hiring from FA's. Usually seated at the front, I hear over and over staff unhappiness at the cuts, how some internal memo calling it a "merger" was poorly received, lack of management insight, etc.

From an airline management guy, I know the AS senior team. While Brad may be doing the best he can, I think AS has the weakest deputy's amongst all major U.S. carriers, barring American. Some of the VP's are totally clueless egoistical maniacs. If Brad and the Board had any sense, they would fire the greyed out VP's of mediocre airlines in operations, planning, and revenue, and hire some new blood.

Saludos,
Alex


Weaker than UA? That's a tall order.
 
MaverickM11
Posts: 18279
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2000 1:59 pm

Re: Alaska "Beyond" problems, Seattle Times finally catches on

Tue Jan 09, 2018 7:01 am

VS11 wrote:
EA CO AS wrote:
VS11 wrote:
AS was not in a lose-lose situation but they put themselves into it by choosing to stick with the Alaska brand instead of the Virgin brand. Despite the royalties paid to Branson, the Virgin brand and product sells well in the millennial demographics that everyone is after. They just bet on the wrong horse (brand).


Actually, the in-depth research done on both brands during the "Which brand are we going to keep?" phase showed that the VX brand scored less favorably in many of the key consumer metrics than the AS brand did.

It's not 1995 anymore, and the "Virgin" brand doesn't carry anywhere near the cachet it once did.


I can't comment on the study and its results as I don't know how it was done and what the actual results are. The Virgin brand is globally recognized so it is a good platform brand

Say what now? VS was rescued by DL after it lost most of its value, VA is treading water on a good day, and VX collectively lost enormous amounts of money in spite of all the buzz it generated. Meanwhile AS has been printing money consistently for years while fending off DL and WN--strong competitors at the top of their respective game unlike UA @ SFO--in the northwest. Virgin hotels has opened only one hotel so far, and Virgin Cruises *cough* Voyages :roll: has yet to receive a ship, in an industry that is famously difficult. I really fail to see what VX brings to the table that would help AS perform better.
I don't take responsibility at all
 
packmedic
Posts: 76
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2015 4:03 am

Re: Alaska "Beyond" problems, Seattle Times finally catches on

Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:41 am

EA CO AS wrote:
o AS offers what I believe to be the best buy-on-board products in the industry, yet the hot meals that were previously on flights over 2 hours are now on flights that are 3 hours or more, eliminating many prime routes from contention (LAXSEA, for example) and missing the chance to wow guests.


First class menus are being completely revamped in March, with main cabin menus being revamped in July
A319 A320 A321 A321N A332 A333 A359 A388 AT72 B717 B733 B734 B734C B735 B73G B738 B739 B744 B752 B763 B764 B772 B789 B78X CRJ2 CRJ7 CRJ9 DH8D E135 E140 E145 E170 E175 E190 MD80 MD90
 
sxf24
Posts: 1012
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2007 12:22 pm

Re: Alaska "Beyond" problems, Seattle Times finally catches on

Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:56 am

I think there's a general lack of patience among passengers and crew. This phase of the merger is focused on things we can't see. Once there's SOC, the focus can shift to the BBC passenger-focused product.
 
abrelosojos
Posts: 4323
Joined: Sun May 29, 2005 6:48 am

Re: Alaska "Beyond" problems, Seattle Times finally catches on

Wed Jan 10, 2018 2:09 am

Varsity1 wrote:
abrelosojos wrote:
Having flown several AS flights recently, I am amazed at how much complaining I keep hiring from FA's. Usually seated at the front, I hear over and over staff unhappiness at the cuts, how some internal memo calling it a "merger" was poorly received, lack of management insight, etc.

From an airline management guy, I know the AS senior team. While Brad may be doing the best he can, I think AS has the weakest deputy's amongst all major U.S. carriers, barring American. Some of the VP's are totally clueless egoistical maniacs. If Brad and the Board had any sense, they would fire the greyed out VP's of mediocre airlines in operations, planning, and revenue, and hire some new blood.

Saludos,
Alex


Weaker than UA? That's a tall order.


= Look at the background of the team UA is assembling vs. AS, and you'll find the answer.

Saludos,
Alex
Live, and let live.
 
n7371f
Topic Author
Posts: 1861
Joined: Fri Jul 04, 2008 3:54 pm

Re: Alaska "Beyond" problems, Seattle Times finally catches on

Wed Jan 10, 2018 4:55 am

A by product of 2 flight attendants not serving PDB and standing the forward galley for 40 minutes (AS boards really early) is sitting in the first few rows of F and listening to them talk and gossip - they have nothing else to do. And in my experiences the conversations are sometimes not the kind of thing anyone on Angle Lake would like passengers to hear.

EA CO AS wrote:
PlanesNTrains wrote:
Most recently, it was the astonishment that they didn't get a Christmas bonus - just a card.


o PDBs in F are easily done at other carriers, yet at AS they're hit-and-miss at best. Not sure why this wasn't rectified a long time ago.
Last edited by n7371f on Wed Jan 10, 2018 5:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
 
n7371f
Topic Author
Posts: 1861
Joined: Fri Jul 04, 2008 3:54 pm

Re: Alaska "Beyond" problems, Seattle Times finally catches on

Wed Jan 10, 2018 4:56 am

You can't assume the future.

diverdave wrote:
n7371f wrote:
Not same models. AS is a Recaro slimline.


Everybody is installing slimline seats. VX would have done the same at some point.
 
User avatar
Super80Fan
Posts: 1622
Joined: Thu Jul 06, 2017 4:14 am

Re: Alaska "Beyond" problems, Seattle Times finally catches on

Wed Jan 10, 2018 5:24 am

I know this is going to come off bad but I don't mean it in a negative way, just truthfully. Alaska is a glorified regional carrier.

Most people in the US let alone the world don't even know they exist. They might as well be Sun Country for all I care. Unless you're flying in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, or certain parts of California, Alaska either has no presence or are not competitive at all. Throw that in with the merger fun and you can see why the upper management is the worst in the business.

Like I said though, I have no ill will against them and I hope this VX merger is a wake-up call for them to expand (hint hint, East Coast) and improve their product. However the Alaska brand will definitely go away when the eventual JetBlue merger happens.
RIP McDonnell Douglas
RIP US Airways
 
gensys
Posts: 14
Joined: Mon Mar 27, 2017 7:34 am

Re: Alaska "Beyond" problems, Seattle Times finally catches on

Wed Jan 10, 2018 1:34 pm

Super80Fan wrote:
I know this is going to come off bad but I don't mean it in a negative way, just truthfully. Alaska is a glorified regional carrier.

Most people in the US let alone the world don't even know they exist. They might as well be Sun Country for all I care. Unless you're flying in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, or certain parts of California, Alaska either has no presence or are not competitive at all. Throw that in with the merger fun and you can see why the upper management is the worst in the business.

Like I said though, I have no ill will against them and I hope this VX merger is a wake-up call for them to expand (hint hint, East Coast) and improve their product. However the Alaska brand will definitely go away when the eventual JetBlue merger happens.


Odd, my sister in Atlanta knows of Alaska and choses them whenever travels to the PNW.

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