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Why is Delta Selling Alaska Airlines Tickets?

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


I stumbled across something interesting today while searching for Delta flights between Seattle and Tokyo.

Delta offers a nonstop flight from SEA to Haneda (HND), plus other options involving connections.

Nothing unusual there.

But several itineraries involving stops in Portland (PDX) are flown by Alaska Airlines.

That Alaska Airlines.

Delta vs. Alaska

You may recall Delta and Alaska once were partnersuntil a rather ugly split in 2017. They’ve since fired shots across each other’s bows a few times. Not to mention, Alaska just expanded a partnership with American.

And just a few weeks ago, Alaska announced nonstop service from Seattle to former Delta hub and current focus city Cincinnatti.

Alaska isn’t listed as a Delta partner here or here.

All that made today’s discovery even more eye-brow raising.

Delta to Tokyo via Alaska Airlines?

Let’s look at these examples.

Delta itineraries from Seattle to Portland to Tokyo.

The top option is 100% Delta metal — and cheaper than the Alaska trip.

Plus, the Alaska trip doesn’t appear to be a codeshare. SkyMiles members won’t earn mileage or segment credit, nor are they subject to benefits such as upgrades.

Here’s another option:

Note that it reads “AS 3436 is operated by SkyWest DBA Delta Connection. You will not earn miles, credit toward Medallion Status or receive Medallion Benefits on this flight.” (Bold mine) Perhaps that’s a typo — but certainly an interesting one.

FWIW, Alaska isn’t selling a trip to Tokyo on those dates.

Alaska Airlines search from SEA to Tokyo.

Other SEA to PDX Flights

I checked Delta flights from SEA to PDX for the same dates. Here were the options:

 

Delta flights from SEA to PDX on July 7, 2020.

Not a single Alaska option in the bunch. Everything’s either Delta or Delta Connection.

Possible Route Consolidation?

Reports suggest airlines may consolidate some routes in order to save money. I wondered, at first, if perhaps Delta and Alaska were consolidating the SEA-PDX line. But why are Alaska options available on the Tokyo itineraries — and not the Seattle to Portland roundtrips?

Or are they consolidating — and the IT is being slow to fully reflect the changes?

Neither Delta’s nor Alaska’s media reps have responded to our requests for comment.

Is This News To You?

I have family up and down the western United States and spend a chunk of time looking at West Coast routes. But I can’t remember seeing Delta sell Alaska flights. (At least, in the past few years.) That being said, it’s entirely possible I missed something. Have you seen DL selling AS tickets? If so, between which cities?

Could the virus usher in a newfound thawing between airlines? (I think we all know the answer but hey.)

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

— Chris

 

Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

4 Comments

  1. All (or at least most) airlines sell tickets for carriers with which they have no relationship (or interline agreement). It’s sometimes viewed as a useful way to book a “mistake” fare without getting it cancelled (airlines can’t cancel a flight issued on different ticket stock).

  2. DL and AS still have limited codeshare and interline, nothing new here.

  3. It makes sense to start consolidating routes, for now, that way they will also know when volume picks up for that route but also can feed their connecting flights or other flights. More questionable there are that many scheduled Delta/Delta Connection flights between SEA-PDX daily in July sure they will be ones canceled.

  4. I noticed around the beginning of the year that DL was selling seats on Japan Air and Singapore for a connection from HNL to SIN. This was in addition to the codeshares with Korean. Delta metal was flown across the Pacific. Not surprisingly, China Air was not to be found. The warning was given about MQM and SM.

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