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What Routes Do You Want Alaska Airlines to Fly? (2019)

What Routes Do You Want Alaska Airlines to Fly? (2019)

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Old Jun 13, 19, 8:48 am
  #166  
 
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Originally Posted by safari ari View Post
Like DEN.....
Totally agree. This year I really wanted to dump AA for good and make AS my preferred airline, have been EXP for 10+yrs, but the holes in Alaska's network keep taking me back to them, it's the middle of the year and now I have to decide whether to maintain my EXP. My next set of travels will take me to BOS and here I would have loved to take AS nonstop, but the need to maintain EXP will take me back to one stop on AA, loosing AS several thousands of $'s of revenue. I have to assume there are many many other examples like me in the bay area.
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Old Jun 13, 19, 12:14 pm
  #167  
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Originally Posted by bdhaliwa View Post
Totally agree. This year I really wanted to dump AA for good and make AS my preferred airline, have been EXP for 10+yrs, but the holes in Alaska's network keep taking me back to them, it's the middle of the year and now I have to decide whether to maintain my EXP. My next set of travels will take me to BOS and here I would have loved to take AS nonstop, but the need to maintain EXP will take me back to one stop on AA, loosing AS several thousands of $'s of revenue. I have to assume there are many many other examples like me in the bay area.
Yes, Alaska's Revenue Management department is reputed for lighting their cigars with hundred dollar bills obtained from company revenue. They absolutely HATE making money and will do anything in their power to avoid it, which includes ignoring routes and concepts that are obvious money makers, like flying hourly SFO-DEN/IAH/ATL service in all-suite configured A380s in a way to get business from influencers and deciders.

Glad to see the FT Executive Vice Presidents for Network Planning are on the ball at pointing out the problems in the AS network.
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Old Jun 13, 19, 3:23 pm
  #168  
 
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[QUOTE=

Glad to see the FT Executive Vice Presidents for Network Planning are on the ball at pointing out the problems in the AS network.[/QUOTE]
Thanks for your snarky comment. I am not AS Network Planning, but a frequent flier (annual spend >20k) who is not tied to a certain airline based on where I live, the kind all airlines compete for. I gave a real world example of where AS's network holes keep me from going all in for them, in a city where they spend $2.8B to buy a competitor.

And BTW, looking at AS's operating margins, maybe their network planning team should be replaced.
https://www.macrotrends.net/stocks/c...erating-margin

Here are DL's operating margin by contrast:
https://www.macrotrends.net/stocks/c...profit-margins
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Old Jun 13, 19, 3:38 pm
  #169  
 
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Originally Posted by bdhaliwa View Post
As to what routes what I love Alaska airlines to fly, how about do a simple exercise of picking the top business destinations from SFO/SJC and sticking with them? If they really want to make Bay Area a true hub of loyal customers who can be very high yielding, they have to serve top business destinations. Right now there are several like ATL and HOU that are completely missing, and others like DAL where Alaska can't get it scheduled straight. When an opportunity came for me to start traveling frequently to DAL earlier this year, there were 7 flights a day from both SFO and SJC, nicely spread throughout Now there are only 5, and the last flight from DAL leaves at 4 PM, which is way too early for a business traveler. And I keep having to go back to dreaded AA when I would love to start traveling exclusively with Alaska.
Originally Posted by bdhaliwa View Post
Thanks for your snarky comment. I am not AS Network Planning, but a frequent flier (annual spend >20k) who is not tied to a certain airline based on where I live, the kind all airlines compete for. I gave a real world example of where AS's network holes keep me from going all in for them, in a city where they spend $2.8B to buy a competitor.
This has been said a thousand times in this forum, many times in this thread, but:

Alaska doesn't have the resources to serve the top business destinations from SFO/SJC with the frequency that frequent business travellers want. They can't compete with United for that market, so they (wisely, I suspect) don't try. Instead, they go after a different market (as they have said explicitly). It's moderately frequent flyers: people who fly infrequently enough that they don't demand hourly flights SFO-Dallas but frequently enough so they're not a pure lowest-fare traveller, who like the AS credit card and/or the fact that AS is a nicer experience for moderately-frequent travellers than three legacies but also isn't Southwest, or other things that AS does a bit better than the competition. They don't pretend that they can attract many travellers out of SFO to fly them exclusively, so they go for getting a pretty good share of traffic from moderately frequent flyers. And when they can they go for markets where they can sensibly sidestep competition. That's a plenty large market for an airline that is closer to AA than UA in size out of SFO.

It's not entirely clear whether that recipe is a) a profitable strategy or b) the best they can do out of SFO with what they have. (And it's entirely possible that a is true but not b or that b is true but not a.) But I don't think it's a crazy strategy given what they have; I think that trying to be all things to frequent business travellers out of SFO would be a crazy strategy given that they don't have the resources to pull it off.

And BTW, looking at AS's operating margins, maybe their network planning team should be replaced.
https://www.macrotrends.net/stocks/c...erating-margin

Here are DL's operating margin by contrast:
https://www.macrotrends.net/stocks/c...profit-margins
DL is in a rather different place than AS. If DL tried to do what you propose in SFO, they'd be lighting money on fire just as much as AS. And DL is big enough to absorb the losses for a heck of a lot longer than AS if they decided it was a worthwhile strategic investment anyway (witness SEA).

-Your resident FT CEO

Last edited by ashill; Jun 14, 19 at 7:16 am
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Old Jun 13, 19, 4:49 pm
  #170  
 
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Originally Posted by eponymous_coward View Post
Yes, Alaska's Revenue Management department is reputed for lighting their cigars with hundred dollar bills obtained from company revenue. They absolutely HATE making money and will do anything in their power to avoid it, which includes ignoring routes and concepts that are obvious money makers, like flying hourly SFO-DEN/IAH/ATL service in all-suite configured A380s in a way to get business from influencers and deciders.
Makes you wonder; "How do they keep the doors open?"
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Old Jun 13, 19, 5:16 pm
  #171  
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Originally Posted by bdhaliwa View Post
\I gave a real world example of where AS's network holes keep me from going all in for them, in a city where they spend $2.8B to buy a competitor.
Fun fact: that competitor never flew to IAH, MSP, DTW, PHX or ATL. In fact they gave up on PDX at one point (top market out of SFO) because they had to throttle back growth after losing money like crazy for a few years, and had to be selective about growth and the markets they were in (and they thought a gate-capped DAL station + expensive DCA/LGA slots were the way to go).

Additional fun fact: VX wasn't a top 5 carrier in their own hubs by passenger volume when they were bought. The combined entity is now finally at ~10% in SFO by accretion and some targeted growth (which doesn't make them much different in market share from AA/DL/WN in SFO, interestingly enough).

If you were expecting them to draw down SEA/PDX, or go deeply into debt to buy a hundred planes/staff accordingly, so they could launch hourly shuttle service against UA/WN/DL/AA hubs to and from SFO, you might want to adjust expectations. Even in SEA, if you want shuttle service to DFW, you fly AA (who dominates that route). IAH? UA. ORD? AA or UA. As mentioned, they're not making headlong rushes into buzzsaws, like bigger competitors who can blitz them with capacity and $49 fares all day if they want.
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Last edited by eponymous_coward; Jun 13, 19 at 5:28 pm
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Old Jun 13, 19, 5:49 pm
  #172  
 
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Originally Posted by bdhaliwa View Post
My next set of travels will take me to BOS and here I would have loved to take AS nonstop, but the need to maintain EXP will take me back to one stop on AA, loosing AS several thousands of $'s of revenue. I have to assume there are many many other examples like me in the bay area.
You donít need to maintain EXP; you want to. You said yourself youíre not tied to any certain airline. If AA works best for you in a given situation, fly them. Itís that simple. While AS may be losing thousands in revenue from you, it is gaining thousands of revenue from someone like me because their route network does work for me and Iíd much rather fly them over AA, for a multitude of reasons. No airline can be everything to everyone, and thatís perfectly alright.
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Old Jun 14, 19, 3:11 am
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Anchorage - Whitehorse, please
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Old Jun 14, 19, 10:48 am
  #174  
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Originally Posted by eponymous_coward View Post
Additional fun fact: VX wasn't a top 5 carrier in their own hubs by passenger volume when they were bought. The combined entity is now finally at ~10% in SFO by accretion and some targeted growth (which doesn't make them much different in market share from AA/DL/WN in SFO, interestingly enough).
For 2018, Alaska had 13% of all seats from SFO (8.9 million seats). AA had 8%, DL 7% and WN 7%. If you look at total flights instead of seats, the numbers only change +/- 1%. UA, for comparison, had over 30 million seats and 44% of the market.
https://www.sfgate.com/travel/articl...O-13875046.php
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Old Jun 14, 19, 11:11 am
  #175  
 
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Originally Posted by Toshbaf View Post
I would suspect that gate space is not much of a problem at STL. It's a ghost town compared to the days of TWA. 2 concourses are closed. One concourse is not used that much.

In the C concourse, C27 is vacant and usable. C9, next to C15, might be usable and is vacant.
I didn't say anything about there being a lack of gate space at STL. Indeed, empty gates are abundant. Please re-read my prior post.
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Old Jun 14, 19, 11:21 am
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Originally Posted by metallo View Post
I didn't say anything about there being a lack of gate space at STL. Indeed, empty gates are abundant. Please re-read my prior post.
I had the same reaction to your post; perhaps you weren't clear? You said you "don't know whether STL can handle a third AS route currently. I believe they only have one gate at STL (C15)." I too am confused why AS having only one gate is an issue. Or did you just mean that there isn't enough demand for AS at STL; there's currently so little demand they only need one gate?
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Old Jun 14, 19, 11:26 am
  #177  
 
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Originally Posted by ashill View Post
I had the same reaction to your post; perhaps you weren't clear? You said you "don't know whether STL can handle a third AS route currently. I believe they only have one gate at STL (C15)." I too am confused why AS having only one gate is an issue. Or did you just mean that there isn't enough demand for AS at STL; there's currently so little demand they only need one gate?
OK, I'll spell it out...

Will AS pay all the applicable fees for the additional gate space? Do they need another feeder flight to a hub? Is there enough demand for O/D traffic alone on STL-PDX to justify the addition? Lots of questions, and so far, AS seems to think the answer is that it isn't worth it. STL-SEA is basically a given at this point. But STL-SAN just seems to be a more logical best second route than STL-PDX. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to have all these routes and more, but I'm just trying to be realistic.

Additionally, the originally planned up-gauge of the STL-SAN route from an E175 to B737 this summer appears to have been reconsidered... it's back to an E175 for the remainder of the schedule, as far as I can see. That certainly doesn't bode well for additional routes.
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Old Jun 14, 19, 11:34 am
  #178  
 
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Originally Posted by metallo View Post
OK, I'll spell it out...

Will AS pay all the applicable fees for the additional gate space? Do they need another feeder flight to a hub? Is there enough demand for O/D traffic alone on STL-PDX to justify the addition? Lots of questions, and so far, AS seems to think the answer is that it isn't worth it. STL-SEA is basically a given at this point. But STL-SAN just seems to be a more logical best second route than STL-PDX. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to have all these routes and more, but I'm just trying to be realistic.

Additionally, the originally planned up-gauge of the STL-SAN route from an E175 to B737 this summer appears to have been reconsidered... it's back to an E175 for the remainder of the schedule, as far as I can see. That certainly doesn't bode well for additional routes.
All of that I agree with except the fees for the gate space; it is easy to believe that there isn't the demand for STL-PDX or STL-Alaska territory to justify another flight. I just can't imagine a ghost town airport would set the gate fee be an obstacle for an airline instead of, say, a per use fee on a shared gate or per flight landing fees (no idea how STL charges for gates). Does AS even have to lease an entire gate for their current two flights per day?

So consider my post a nitpick, not a serious disagreement.
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Old Jun 14, 19, 7:08 pm
  #179  
 
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Originally Posted by metallo View Post
OK, I'll spell it out...

Will AS pay all the applicable fees for the additional gate space? Do they need another feeder flight to a hub? Is there enough demand for O/D traffic alone on STL-PDX to justify the addition? Lots of questions, and so far, AS seems to think the answer is that it isn't worth it. STL-SEA is basically a given at this point. But STL-SAN just seems to be a more logical best second route than STL-PDX. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to have all these routes and more, but I'm just trying to be realistic.

Additionally, the originally planned up-gauge of the STL-SAN route from an E175 to B737 this summer appears to have been reconsidered... it's back to an E175 for the remainder of the schedule, as far as I can see. That certainly doesn't bode well for additional routes.
I remember the announcement about upgrading certain E175 flights to mainline from SAN as a seasonal adjustment this summer but don't remember STL being one of the cities that was supposed to get that upgrade. In fact, I feel like I remember thinking that it was odd because I expected that STL was doing well from SAN. The cities I remember them announcing as upgrading to mainline were MSP, AUS, SMF and, I think, SJC. I don't recall STL ever having been announced as one of the cities. I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure that STL was never slated for 737 service from SAN.
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Old Jun 14, 19, 7:09 pm
  #180  
 
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Originally Posted by ashill View Post
All of that I agree with except the fees for the gate space; it is easy to believe that there isn't the demand for STL-PDX or STL-Alaska territory to justify another flight. I just can't imagine a ghost town airport would set the gate fee be an obstacle for an airline instead of, say, a per use fee on a shared gate or per flight landing fees (no idea how STL charges for gates). Does AS even have to lease an entire gate for their current two flights per day?

So consider my post a nitpick, not a serious disagreement.
AS can easily squeeze more than 3 flights a day into one gate. Chicago comes to mind, although they may have one gate at this point they were, at one time, operating like 7 or 8 flights a day from one gate there.
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