MIAMI– Seattle-based Alaska Airlines (AS) is rapidly growing its route network in Florida along with its already-dominant position in the US west. The announcement comes as winter rolls around and families may want to vacation after a tumultuous and “stay at home” 2020.

Focus on Leisure Across the US

This trend of expanding leisure routes this summer is not uncommon this year, as United Airlines (UA) has announced an expansion to Florida, specifically Fort Myers (RSW) and Tampa (TPA), and Southwest Airlines (WN) announcing Miami (MIA) and Palm Springs (PSP) routes.

As demand for business travel decreases with more people working at home, the flip side of the coin is leisure travel, which airlines turn their focus to as families may want to make their way out of the house for a vacation.

Alaksa Airlines A321Neo landing in Seattle. Photo: Luca Flores

Florida Expansion

After a few small route additions consisting of LAX-Medford (MFR) and LAX-Eugene(EUG) starting October 1, November is a huge month for airports all over Florida as they welcome AS service.

Non-Florida November Route Additions

RouteStart DateFrequency
San Diego(SAN)-Cancun(CUN)Nov. 204x Weekly
Los Angeles(LAX)-Bozeman(BZN)Nov. 201x Daily RT
San Diego(SAN)-Santa Barbara(SBA)Nov. 201x Daily RT
Portland(PDX)-Cancun(CUN)Nov. 213x Weekly

Florida November Route Additions

RouteStart DateFrequency
Portland(PDX)-Fort Lauderdale(FLL)Nov. 204x Weekly RT
San Diego(SAN)-Fort Lauderdale(FLL)Nov. 204x Weekly RT(SAN-FLL 3x Weekly, FLL-SAN 4x Weekly)
Los Angeles(LAX)-Tampa(TPA)Nov. 20(TPA-LAX Nov. 21)1x Daily RT
San Francisco(SFO)-Tampa(TPA)Nov. 20(TPA-SFO Nov. 211x Daily RT
Seattle(SEA)-Fort Myers(RSW)Nov. 21 4x Weekly RT
Los Angeles(LAX)-Fort Myers(RSW)Nov. 20(RSW-LAX Nov. 22)4x Weekly RT
For several months after the merger these Virgin America planes flew for AS before being repainted. Photo: Luca Flores

West Coast Dominance

Even before the 2016 merger with Virgin America (VX), AS had a strong west coast network with its Seattle hub and strong presence in Los Angeles and San Francisco. The merger boosted this further, setting up Alaska to compete with UA and their regional carriers who before had the most flights up and down California.

Now with winter on its way, Alaska’s announcement of huge west coast expansion focuses on resort destinations like Palm Springs (PSP), Reno (RNO) and Jackson Hole (JAC).

West Coast December Additions

RouteStart DateFrequency
Los Angeles(LAX)-Salt Lake City(SLC)Dec. 171x Daily RT
Los Angeles(LAX)-Kona(KOA)Dec. 173x Weekly RT
Los Angeles(LAX)-Lihue(LIH)Dec. 174x Weekly RT
Los Angeles(LAX)-Cancun(CUN)Dec. 17(Ends Apr. 12, 2021)1x Daily
Los Angeles(LAX)-Reno(RNO)Dec. 171x Daily RT
San Jose(SJC)-Palm Springs(PSP)Dec. 172x Daily(Winter) RT
1x Daily (Summer RT
Reno(RNO)-Palm Springs(PSP)Dec. 17(Ends Apr. 12, 2021)5x Weekly RT
Boise(BOI)-Palm Springs(PSP)Dec. 17(Ends Apr. 12, 2021)1x Daily RT
Seattle(SEA)-Jackson Hole(JAC)Dec. 175x Weekly
San Jose(SJC)-Jackson Hole(JAC)Dec. 175x Weekly
San Jose(SJC)-Jackson Hole(JAC)Dec. 192x Weekly
An Alaska 737 touching down on 07R at LAX. Photo: Luca Flores

It seems Alaska will dominate the west coast market this winter, but in a rapidly changing year, we can only wait and see if these routes end up being a hit for travel seekers, and AS.

Featured image: Luca Flores