If you thought the boxing match in Las Vegas the other day was the "battle of the century," you haven't been watching Delta and Alaska Airlines fight it out over passenger traffic in Seattle. The two airlines have been codeshare partners for a long time, but it's hard to see how that can continue much longer.
In the old situation, Delta had a few mainline arrivals and international flights out of Seattle; the flights were fed in part by codeshare passengers coming from West Coast and Alaska cities on Alaska's flights; Alaska has long been a dominant carrier at Seattle.
But starting last year, Delta began developing a hub in Seattle, not only increasing its use as a base for trans-Pacific flights but also starting its own flights to traditional Alaska destinations in California, Alaska and the Southwest. By the end of last year, they were competing on 13 city pairs from Seattle, and Delta had dropped some of its codeshares.
Alaska, meanwhile, struck back by creating a hub of its own at Salt Lake City, an important Delta hub, and making plans to fly to Hawaii from Seattle as well. This week, the rivalry has taken a new turn, as both airlines will be competing head-to-head for the Mouseketeer trade with dueling Seattle-to-Orlando routes. At this rate, how long can their dwindling partnership last?
Detailed analysis of Delta's and Alaska's route rivalry HERE
Latest on the Orlando routes HERE
Photo: Wikimedia / Frank Kovalcheck