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Alaska Was “Shocked” When Partnership With Delta Unraveled

Executives at Alaska claim they were “shocked” when Delta began reducing their partnership.

Alaska Airlines’ leadership said they didn’t expect Delta Air Lines to pull the plug on their professional relationship, but created a major internal problem when they did. The revelations on the internal workings of the Alaska-Delta relationship came to light during an event sponsored by the Puget Sound Business Journal, where Alaska Airlines’ CEO Brad Tilden was speaking.

“At first we were just sort of shocked,” Tilden reportedly told the audience. “The thing seemed to be unraveling.”

According to Tilden, the original partnership was inherited by Delta when the Atlanta-based carrier purchased Northwest Airlines in 2008. However, the Seattle carrier was first alerted of the breaking relationship as Delta started moving to operate more flights out of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA). In November 2014, Delta announced a plan to operate as many as 30 gates at SEA, using the airport as a gateway to Asia. A week later, Alaska announced major changes to how their flyers earn Mileage Plan points while flying on Delta.

In the end, Tilden acknowledged that his airline could have handled the situation better. However, he also commented that the change would only serve to make Alaska a stronger airline.

“Competition is part of life in America,” Tilden told the audience, according to the Pudget Sound Business Journal. “You can sort of begrudge it if you want to, but our viewpoint is that this has made this the greatest economy in the world and we’re going to use this competition to make Alaska the greatest airline in the world.”

In a responding story, executives at Delta told the business newspaper that their intentions were to create better service to the Seattle region and were not based in corporate malice. “There doesn’t need to be a loser in this scenario,” Mike Medeiros, vice president of Seattle at Delta, told the Pudget Sound Business Journal. “This is two carriers offering competition in a market that has been severely undeserved for many years.”

[Photo: Alaska Airlines]

Comments are Closed.
edgewood49 July 9, 2015

Well it appears that Anderson has "stepped in it" a few times along with "legacy three" appeal is falling apart on the open skies. The EK made a great point, tell DL that we buy American 777's providing US jobs while DL, UA and AA buy AB's at a subsidized rate!!!! From a consumer point I fly AS domestically ( for the last 15 years ) and non US metal internationally I much prefer good service and metal that is not in the Smithsonian on exhibit

98103 July 9, 2015

This event was covered by the PSBJ 6 weeks ago. Nothing new here. as for the widget: I find it amusing that Dickie Anderson whines that they'd fly nonstop to India from Seattle if Emirates weren't there. I didn't realize that the presence of one airline prevents another airline from introducing non-stop service to a destination only available via a plane change somewhere else. Where is that rule? You'd think that if he thought it was viable, he'd put a 777 where his mouth is and launch the damn service. From a passenger point of view, which is worse? 15 hours on Emirates and a layover at DXB followed by 3 hours more on Emirates OR 15 hours on Delta? Hmm....10 across 777 with great IFE and decent catering or 9 across 777 with Delta coach service. Oooooooo. Tough call.

FlyingWithers July 8, 2015

I have not flown AS, but kow they are a solid carrier with a reputation for good cabin service. Possibly better than god and better than DL. Things seem to have come apart when DL decided to be KING of coffee city, making it more ofa key Aian hub. For whatever reason DL decided no loner to play nice in SEA, but I doubt that AS was that taken aback. Meanwhile Anderson is joining--well, taking the lead--with the two other U.S. legacy carriers in ranting against the three major Gulfies.

BOB W July 8, 2015

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger and AS is a much stronger and better company IMHO. They were great before, now even better than that!

Sabai July 8, 2015

The cretins at Delta are singing the praises of competition? So why is Xenophobic Dick whining about the ME3? Hypocrite.