Delta Fires Back At Alaska-American Airlines Partnership With New Seattle Service

Delta has announced new routes and flights out of Seattle showing that they aren’t going to take American’s re-invigorated partnership with Alaska Airlines lying down.

Competition is good, and has been great for Seattle residents since Delta and Alaska began their breakup and Delta built up their own hub at the Pacific Northwest airport. Delta will grow their Seattle service to 190 peak daily departures to 56 destinations for summer 2020, with new service coming beyond that as well.

Effective June 8 Delta will begin:

  • 3 daily Seattle – Dallas – Fort Worth flights with Airbus A220 aircraft
  • Seattle – Columbus with an A220
  • A second Seattle – Austin flight with an A220
  • A second Seattle – Orlando flight with a Boeing 737-900


Delta Sky Club Seattle

Dallas is American’s main hub, and they don’t need to sell a lot of tickets to reach break-even load factor on Airbus A220s. American is building up Austin with new San Jose and Boston flights that compete with Delta. And Delta continues its onslaught against Seattle’s hometown carrier Alaska.

Delta previously announced new service and frequencies out of Seattle to Anchorage; Atlanta; Austin; Boise; Boston; Bozeman, Kansas City; Las Vegas; Orlando; Spokane; Tampa; and Washington-Dulles as well. They’re repeating that growth as part of today’s narrative to make the announcement seem bigger than it is.

Meanwhile, like American, they’re also promising to fly Seattle – London Heathrow in 2021. Delta claims this “complements partner Virgin Atlantic’s twice-daily service and offers customers the choice of three daily flights.” Of course it wouldn’t be a Delta press release without exaggeration. Virgin operates a second flight seasonally up to 5 times a week (not daily).

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. “And Delta continues its onslaught against Seattle’s hometown carrier Alaska.”

    I think “onslaught” is a bit extreme. Others have analyzed this elsewhere, but really, DL’s growth at SEA has come at the expense of UA/AA/WN and others, but not AS. AS’s market share (counting QX) has remained constant at 50-52% while DL’s has roughly doubled, from ~10 to ~20%, since 2013, per public DOT data. UA/AA/WN have all declined.

  2. Delta wants to rule the world and they’re none too scrupulous about how they reach the point to do that. Showing that they’re strong enough to not only take on any individual competitor but even combinations of competitors vividly illustrates just how badly we need to break up the oligopoly of big airlines in the US.

  3. “I think “onslaught” is a bit extreme. Others have analyzed this elsewhere, but really, DL’s growth at SEA has come at the expense of UA/AA/WN and others, but not AS. AS’s market share (counting QX) has remained constant at 50-52% while DL’s has roughly doubled, from ~10 to ~20%, since 2013, per public DOT data. UA/AA/WN have all declined.”

    While it’s true relative market share has declined, they’ve held on the same total number of passengers (actually, slight growth) because Seattle airport’s total passenger count has grown almost 50% since 2013. Smaller relative share of a much bigger pie.

  4. As someone famous once said, “If it’s what you say it is, I love it.” Delta couldn’t beat Alaska in Seattle. It must think it will have better luck with Alaska/American/Oneworld. Delta’s been drinking too much Kool Aid. We’ll see what happens.

  5. For someone who is a “thought leader” in travel, I’m sure you really don’t understand the very thing you write about

    “Delta Fires Back…”

    These new flights were not something thought about yesterday. There’s likely to have been many months of planning to get to this stage. So, it’s likely NOT to have been in response to American / Alaska

  6. Seattle is to Alaska what Texas is to Southwest. It’s their roots. Kudos to Alaska for successfully defending their home turf. They endured and overcame VirginA west coast attack. They now hold their position against Delta. Alaska has a lot of hometown loyalty so let’s hope the strategy with American builds on their longevity and success.

    Delta came into the market looking for a fight and played dirty. I will never forget how a few years ago Delta became a major sponsor for Seattle Pride. A provision of that sponsorship required that Alaska could not have ANY recognition in the annual parade. Of course the locals balked and the rule changed. But the idea that this southerner can come in and dictate to break hometown tradition, shows that Delta only thinks about business.

  7. A year or two ago, DL might have had a chance but this is not Scott Kirby’s AA anymore. AA and AK will hold more then 70% of the traffic and with other One World partners who fly or will fly to Seattle, DL is on the losing end.

    Seat back screens are NOT going to entice the high tech Seattle market and VA only has liimited connects out of LHR verses BA. I think DL just reacted to AA!

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