Hi all – longtime reader, maybe my second or third post ever. Life-long Seattlelite and constant obsession with the dynamics of airlines and route selection. These are just a few thoughts I had – don’t know if my assumptions are correct or if they make sense, but wanted to contribute. Please correct me if I’m wrong or if I should understand something better.
1. Seattle is the closest contiguous US city to everything West. Its position for receiving feeding traffic from anywhere over the Pacific has that potential flight time advantage (shorter journey time).
2. This I definitely don’t know, but I’d venture to say that few US cities, if any, do more work with Bangalore than Seattle. I’ve been with Amazon for seven years and the amount that each department is somehow integrated with Bangalore (or Hyderabad) is extensive. That, I’d think, be enough of a reason. Then, casually add in the other worldwide giant in Microsoft. And the handful of other companies in the region. Seattle has an INCREDIBLY outsized role in the world compared to its population and has also become a go-to destination on its own merits.
3. But, Amazon has a deal with Delta for employees. Employees can book travel outside of Delta if business warrants it, but I’m not sure if it’s as simple as just having people in Seattle with business there. Pushing through that agreement with Delta could be inhibiting, but I’m still not necessarily concerned. I think it’s important to remember that you can’t get to Bangalore anywhere in the US directly. And Seattle being closest, literally every connection just fans out. If you are from there or have family there, it’s hard to overlook the relatively convenient connection for such a far-away destination.
4. Vancouver is 15% South Asian. AC flies to Delhi, but I can see people driving the three hours to Seattle to save them a connection in Delhi.
5. Americans will start traveling to India in larger numbers as we’ve seen in China. It’ll happen. Seattleites are constantly looking for new places that are not the typical destinations. Some people, completely removed from the tech sector or biz travel will see this in the Seattle Times and say, “hmm, maybe we do think about that gigantic India trip we’ve been thinking about that before sounded like too difficult a journey to get there.”
6. Alaska currently code shares with Emirates and Singapore. Does Singapore go away because of Alaska joining OneWorld? Does Emirates go away because of Alaska joining any major alliance?
7. Someone mentioned plane noise in Seattle. I live below one of the normal flight paths and I honestly can say I haven’t noticed anything different.
8. In peak time, there are four daily flights to Heathrow from Seattle. (BA dep. 13:50 and 19:20, VS dep. 19:55, DY dep. 13:45). That sounds crazier to me than one direct flight from Bangalore to the entire US. I can’t imagine that American makes it a fifth. In fact, I feel like BA is going to need all the metal they can get for routes that VS is about to hammer them on with DL/AF/KL plans. So, anywhere a friend can take care of you (AA), they’ll probably do it.
9. If memory serves, DL did not try this with Alaska. Didn’t the international expansion at SEA happen after the divorce? Maybe there was a Tokyo and a Seoul flight, but I thought the other additions happened later on. So, not sure if comparing a past Delta effort with this one is fair. Again, could be wrong.
10. Cathay and Qantas have already been Alaska partners, so what would the alliance do to increase the chances of those flights starting to Seattle? I actually don’t know, can someone tell me? Devoid of more details, Sydney and Hong Kong seem like no-brainers.
11. Manila for me needs to happen. Even if the biz traffic isn’t there. Again, SEA is closest and in addition to the easy connection to the rest of the country, Seattle has a huge Filipino community, and ever-growing. PAL flies to YVR – with WestJet helping codeshare on the other end. AA/AK wouldn’t have a codeshare for flights arriving in Manila, but maybe just connecting traffic from the US is sufficient – p.s., unless Duterte rescinding the American military agreement alters a lot of things, I think Manila/Philippines are going to rapidly join the frays of many multi-national companies looking to alternatives to increasing costs in other outsourcing locations that are getting more expensive. English is widely used in school and in business. The other thing here is that Delta had the SEA-NRT-MNL-NRT-SEA sewn up pretty well. Now, I think DL wants everyone to go through ICN to get to Manila because of the JV with Korean. AA flying to MNL could work in its own right, but could also be another hit against Delta.
12. This is my last one – slightly out on a limb, but we all know that a new international hub doesn’t mean two flights. More is coming. Transpacific flights are the most reasonable. Flights to China aren’t in the cards financially, but any thoughts about these destinations:
a. Busan (no flights outside of Asia). Could connect anywhere East of Seattle when they arrive. Could also be a jab at Delta and Korean.
b. Sapporo (Sydney seasonal and Finnair to Helsinki are the only intercontinental). Customers would have to backtrack to Tokyo to get on a JAL flight to stay within the partnership.
c. Osaka (could there be enough demand that it wouldn’t undercut JAL operations?)
d. Taipei (EVA flies to Seattle with no codesharing upon arrival except for flights to UA hubs)
e. Hanoi (Vietnam Airlines is partnered with Delta, but I don’t know if there’s a move to be made or an opportunity with Bamboo)
f. Ho Chi Minh City (Same as above)
g. Kuala Lumpur (Not as serious about this one – but definitely a part of OneWorld).
Sorry for the length! Thanks!