From March 18th, Alaska Airlines will be flying a new daily service between Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS). Using an Embraer E175, the airline will be connecting the two cities with daily service. Though not unprecedented or earth-shattering, this route reveals some details of what to expect from the enhanced Alaska-American partnership.

Alaska’s new flights between Austin and Los Angeles

Alaska Airlines is growing on its already fantastic slate of routes expected to start in 2021. Beginning on March 18th, Alaska Airlines will be flying a daily service using an Embraer E175 regional jet between LAX and AUS. Come May 20th, the airline will be expanding this to thrice daily service.

Los Angeles is becoming a hub for Alaska Airlines in more ways than one. Alaska Airlines already serves a sizable number of cities, ranging from Boise and Bozeman to Honolulu and Kona, to San Jose and Liberia in Costa Rica, to Washington D.C., and others.

This flight is better suited to catch connections on Alaska metal onwards to Hawaii and Alaska and up and down the West Coast. For other flights, Alaska Airlines already flies to Austin, Texas, from its hubs in Portland, San Francisco, San Jose, and Seattle.

This is one crowded route. Along with Alaska’s three daily flights, JetBlue flies the route once a day, United and Southwest both fly twice per day, and Delta flies thrice per day. American, however, flies this route up to four times per day.

Leading up to joining oneworld

From the end of March, Alaska Airlines will officially be a member of the Oneworld alliance. The airline will unlock enhanced access to joint ventures and codeshare partnerships with major international carriers, including Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, Qantas, British Airways, and more.

With the addition of Austin to Alaska’s network out of LAX, the airline will serve over 40 cities nonstop from LAX. That, however, is not the entirely true number.

Alaska’s number of destinations will be higher out of LAX, actually. Factoring in the connections it can offer onwards on oneworld carriers to Japan, China, Australia, and more, the airline will be poised to compete just as effectively against carriers like United, Delta, and JetBlue.

American Airlines and Alaska Airlines are working to implement an enhanced partnership that includes more codesharing, especially on American’s long-haul international routes. While American is downsizing its international hub at Los Angeles, it still operates some key routes, such as to Australia, New Zealand, and Japan.

Why this makes perfect sense for Alaska

The thought of Alaska jumping in on an already crowded route may bring some pause for many, but it makes a lot of sense for Alaska Airlines.

First off, the airline’s flight times complement that of American Airlines, with whom it is building a more comprehensive and seamless partnership. Second, the airline is using 76-seater Embraer E175s to operate the route.

The E175s are helping to power the global recovery. The plane itself is relatively easy to fill, it is efficient, and it is very flexible. In fact, by using the E175s, Alaska Airlines will be the only carrier on this route that offers no middle seats, as the E175s are in a 2-2 configuration in economy.

Austin is also one of the fastest-growing metro areas in the United States. As both a growing leisure destination and home to offices for several Fortune 500 companies such as Amazon, Apple, Google, Dell, and more, the city’s population is projected to continue to grow, and Alaska is getting its foot in the door. Hawaiian Airlines will also be launching a new long-haul flight from Austin to Honolulu this spring.

Alaska Airlines is showing that it will not hesitate to bring its product on competitive routes where it can leverage its partnerships to offer its loyal passengers more options and to tap into a new base of customers. The partnership with American, though some thought would be a muzzle on Alaska’s growth, seems to instead be facilitating the airline’s growth.

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