This post is technically three days late, but hey, better late than never. Earlier this spring, I wrote about Alaska’s expansion plans at Dallas Love Field. Alaska scheduled the expansion in two stages. The first, with flights to Portland and Seattle, were scheduled for August. The second, with flights to San Diego and San Jose, launches in February. Well, the day has finally arrived. DFW-area travelers can now fly Alaska Airlines from Love Field, as service launched August 27th.
Fly Alaska Airlines from Love Field to Portland and Seattle
Sure, “Alaska” technically operated from DAL even before the 27th, under the Virgin America banner. But this initial modest foray represents the airport’s first service on Alaska metal. As a reminder, service initially consists of one daily flight to Portland and 2 to Seattle:
Aug. 28 – Oct. 27
All but one Seattle frequency use E-175 aircraft operated by Skywest. These planes feature a 76-seat, three class configuration: 12 First Class seats, 12 “Premium Class” seats, and 52 Economy Seats. Consider “Premium Class” Alaska’s answer to Delta’s Economy Comfort+ – a standard coach seat with 4 extra inches of pitch, plus a free snack and free booze. First Class features a 1-2 configuration, with Premium Class and Economy in the usual 2-2 setup.
I couldn’t make the launch flight on Sunday, but I do have a flight scheduled to Portland next Friday. My main goal, besides trying a new product, is to see just how tolerable a 4-hour flight on an E-175 in coach really is. (This is actually one piece of a bigger trip; stay tuned for a preview post next week.) Surprisingly, though, the new Portland flight doesn’t qualify for Alaska’s current double miles promotion.
More Changes Ahead
As mentioned earlier, Phase 2 of Alaska’s DAL expansion kicks off February 18th with once-daily flights to San Diego and San Jose. Both of these routes will also be operated using Skywest E-175s. Not all the changes are positive, however. Alaska also plans to scale back Virgin America service at DAL by replacing most service to New York LaGuardia and Washington Reagan with Skywest E-175 service. I’ve really grown to like Virgin’s product, especially First Class. So, count me disappointed, though the change is inevitable eventually.
As for Alaska’s existing 1x service to Portland and 3x to Seattle from DFW? No changes on the horizon, at least for now.
I’m always happy to see new choices, though I don’t expect this limited service to have much impact. There’s simply not enough service to really compete with American and Southwest. Perhaps things will change once the Virgin America integration is complete, and we see how Alaska plans to utilize its two gates. But importantly, these new routes provide more options to earn valuable Alaska Mileage Plan miles. As AAdvantage miles continue to spiral towards shinplaster-level worthlessness, any alternative that gets you Mileage Plan miles is certainly compelling.
Photos of Skywest E-175 and Alaska Premium Class courtesy Alaska Airlines via alaskaair.com.