Insights From Alaska Airways’ Brett Catlin: 2021 And Past

I used to be capable of have a one-on-one dialogue with Brett Catlin, VP of Community and Alliances.  Throughout this thirty-minute briefing, I used to be capable of get a way of Alaska Airways’ post-pandemic marketing strategy.  A lot of you on the market have questions on each the airline and its frequent flyer program.  Right here’s what I used to be capable of be taught.

Brett Catlin, vice chairman of community and alliances at Alaska Airways

The “Worth Proposition”

The airline realizes that enterprise journey as we used to know it’s a good distance from coming again.  Alaska does have a distinct segment market in “enterprise commuters” the place workers who work remotely within the Pacific Northwest have a straightforward commute to their workplace places when they should.   The community basis had been rising over the past 12 months and a half.  The secret is being measured in how the airline grows.  There’s a super worth proposition for being part of a world alliance. Alaska is honed in on the standard of the model and rising buyer loyalty.

The main focus, for now, is on the leisure market.  


Alaska Airline operates at Seattle-Tacoma Worldwide Airport from Concourses C, D and the North Satellite tv for pc.  The development of the renovated North Satellite tv for pc must be accomplished this summer time.  With the entire gates out there, Alaska ought to be capable to develop from 300 – 310 each day departures by including one other 50 – 60 flights.  The airline isn’t seeking to spill into their rivals however to proceed so as to add flights to and from Seattle.

Earlier than the pandemic, Alaska was rising the Portland Worldwide Airport market as a minor hub.  The main focus is on being within the prime markets and rebuilding depth.  The intent is to extend operations at Portland to 140 – 150 departures.  

Rising The Leisure Market

That is one thing that Alaska Airways is excellent at.  After I began flying with Alaska over twenty years in the past, their route construction was primarily Alaska and the west coast.  Alaska grew the Mexico flights, later to the Hawaiian markets and constructing transcontinental routes.  Their flights are full to those well-liked leisure locations.

One other is matching seasonal calls for all year long.  Within the winter, they fly to Palm Springs and prime ski resorts.  Then they are going to transfer the plane to summer time locations.  A few of the not too long ago introduced new routings are:

  • Portland to New Orleans,
  • Portland to Tampa
  • San Francisco to Cancun and
  • Palm Springs to Austin, TX.
Increasing the service to/from Boise, ID. Picture credit score: Alaska Airways.

One of many largest instruments within the toolbox is the Embraer E-175 regional jet with first-class, premium financial system and financial system seating for 76 passengers.  When Alaska begins a brand new route, particularly a protracted and skinny route, the E-175 is the proper plane.  They’ll start with the regional jet and if the route takes off, they will swap the plane to a mainline Boeing 737.  These plane are flown by Alaska’s regional service Horizon Air and likewise beneath contract with Skywest Airways.  These capability administration contracts give Alaska the pliability to change routes as demand adjustments.  The brand new Boise routes are good examples of beginning with the E-175 regional jet:

  • Boise to Phoenix,
  • Boise to Austin and
  • Boise to Chicago.
Alaska Airways E-175 regional jet. Picture credit score: Alaska Airways.

Brett defined that growing regional markets as “feeder” or stand-alone routes are important for the success of the service.  

Alaska Airways just isn’t actually involved with Southwest flying to Hawaii.  The airline has been flying to Hawaii for years they usually have a loyal following due to the inflight expertise they convey.  The expansion within the Hawaii market will probably be in California and by the top of the 12 months, Alaska could have 40 flights per day to Hawaii.  It’s all about constructing the franchise.

For Mexico and past, the service desires to open new locations in Mexico and Central America.  Just a few years in the past, Alaska began flying to San Jose and Liberia in Costa Rica.  They’re increasing to Belize a market that they would like to see work out.  They don’t have any plans at the moment to fly to the Caribbean.  

Beginning Nov. 19, Alaska will fly nonstop from each Los Angeles and Seattle to Belize Metropolis, a brand new worldwide vacation spot.

Moreover, a spotlight will probably be on rising the California and west coast site visitors.  As the brand new service to Cincinnati, the airline will take a look at markets missing connections to the west coast.

Alaska Airways Mileage Plan

The core of the Alaska Airways Mileage Plan is the worth it affords.  With that in thoughts, Alaska Airways will probably be aware on the way it evolves.

Alaska Airways has joined the Oneworld alliance and mileage incomes is out there when flying on associate carriers.  When it comes to award ticket redemption, Qatar Airways reservations must be out there later this summer time.  Redemptions for awards on different Oneworld carriers must be out there by early 2022.

There was no new perception on two of the perks of the Alaska Airways Mileage Plan – award charts and the free en-route cease on one-way award tickets.  

Because the airline business has developed over the past 40 years, Alaska desires to be clear.  They’ve capped most of their income tickets beneath $1,000.00.  It’s the worth proposition that issues.  

The brand new MVP Gold 100K tier remains to be beneath growth and has clients who cut up airline redemptions in thoughts.  One risk could be to make use of “decisions” as a theme for elite tier advantages.

Despite the fact that Emirate will depart this system on July 31, 2021, the opposite non-Oneworld airways like Icelandair ought to proceed their partnerships.

Plane Fleet Plan

All the Boeing 737MAX plane within the Alaska Airways fleet are flying.  The airline has a complete of 88 737 MAX plane on order and will probably be used to interchange Airbus A320 plane and for route enlargement.  The advantage of a single plane fleet is an financial system of scale that brings large monetary advantages to a service.  Southwest is a main instance of how crew certification, upkeep and operations can carry substantial price financial savings.  Alaska Airways loved this plane commonality previous to the merger of Virgin America and inheriting an Airbus A-320 fleet.  The Airbus plane will probably be changed as new 737MAX plane are being delivered and Alaska mainline operations will as soon as once more be primarily based on the Boeing 737.

The primary of three oneworld livery plane. photograph credit score: Alaska Airways.

The regional fleet has 32 Bombardier Q400, 76-passenger turboprop plane.  There’s a sturdy regional market that also wants the economics of flying turboprop plane and will probably be a participant within the community via 2025.

Q400 turboprop. Picture credit score – Alaska Airways.

Last Ideas

There was quite a bit to cowl in a 30-minute timeframe.  I wished to get the solutions to the questions that Alaska Airways Mileage Plan members need to know.  

Alaska Airways is happy with the model it pioneered.  They worth the client loyalty that comes with a product that gives worth and by constructing the Alaska Airways franchise.

The Alaska Airways Mileage Plan remains to be evolving and Journey Codex could have extra particulars after they change into out there.

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