MIAMI — Over the weekend, Delta Air Lines announced via Twitter that it will launch a daily roundtrip flight between Seattle and Orlando on December 19, 2015; the airline will go head-to-head with Alaska Airlines on the route which makes this the latest battle in the Alaska vs. Delta war.
Delta’s new daily roundtrip flight will depart Seattle at 10:00 PM PT and arrive in Orlando the next day at 6:30 AM ET. The return flight will depart Orlando at 7:00 AM ET and arrive back in Seattle at 10:15 AM PT. A Boeing 737-800 aircraft will be used between the two cities.
Alaska Airlines currently operates one to two daily round trip flights between the two cities, depending on the day of the week and season. When Delta starts flying the route in December, the new flight is timed to be just a few minutes after Alaska’s redeye flight.
Although Alaska and Delta will go head-to-head on the route, it would appear that the market could be big enough for the two. For 2014, the average number of passengers between the two cities, based on the DOT Domestic Consumer Air Fare Report for all four quarters in 2014, is approximately 720 passenger per day on the Orlando-Seattle city-pair. With Alaska only operate one to two flight a day with a 737-800/900, there is are still plenty of room for more seats.
Although, one thing to keep in mind is the price. One airline could attempt to price the other out of the market. Based on a quick check should somebody want to go visit Mickey Mouse or Grandma for a week at the end of December, Delta is currently offering tickets on its non-stop flight significantly lower than Alaska, granted there are many variables that go into ticket prices.
Will there be enough room for the two airlines on the route? The numbers lean towards a yes, but as always, time will tell.
In addition to Orlando, Delta is set to launch new flights between Seattle and Denver later this year, and Alaska will launch flights to Charleston, Nashville, New York JFK, and Raleigh/Durham this fall. The competition is on.