Delta Air Lines, Alaska Airlines broaden marketing alliance

Tuesday, November 18, 2008, 11:09 by Aviation Correspondent

Delta Air Lines, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, the United States, and Alaska Airlines, based in Seattle, Washington, the United States, have announced that they will become “preferred alliance partners” along the Pacific Coast.

The airlines said in a joint statement: “Our customers will see improved access to routes and reciprocity on frequent-flier miles and joint usage of each airline’s lounges. The deal would also help Delta as it expands its international service through the US West Coast.”

In a separate news release, Richard Anderson, CEO of Delta, said: “Alaska Air Group is a perfect alliance partner for Delta as we pair our expansive international network with Alaska’s leading presence across the US West Coast to build a platform for international growth from the West. Building on our existing agreement, Delta, Alaska and (Alaska subsidiary) Horizon will now be able to offer customers more departures and capacity along the West Coast than any United States-based airline with the enhanced ability to feed Delta’s growing global route system.”

Delta Air Lines, the world’s largest airline, operates from hubs at airports in Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, Memphis, Minneapolis-St Paul, New York’s John F Kennedy International and Salt Lake City in the United States as well as Narita Airport in Tokyo, Japan. Delta Air Lines, Delta Connection and Delta’s subsidiary Northwest Airlines offer service to over 376 destinations worldwide in 66 countries and serve more than 170 million passengers each year. Delta’s marketing alliances allow customers to earn and redeem either SkyMiles or WorldPerks on over 16,000 daily flights offered by SkyTeam and other partners.

Alaska Airlines and sister carrier Horizon Air together serve over 90 cities through an expansive network in Alaska, the Lower 48, Hawaii, Canada and Mexico. Alaska Airlines ranked the ‘Highest in Customer Satisfaction among Traditional Network Carriers for 2008’ in a North America Airline Satisfaction Survey conducted by J D Power and Associates.

Delta and Alaska Airlines are already code-share partners.  Northwest Airlines, the new subsidiary of Delta Air Lines, has partnered with Alaska Airlines for over 20 years.

According to the new partnership, by the end of 2009, Delta Crown Room and Northwest WorldClub members will receive access to Alaska Airlines’ Board Room lounges in Anchorage, Seattle, Los Angeles, Portland and San Francisco in the United States and Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada. Consequently, Alaska Airlines’ Board Room members will gain access to Delta Crown Room and Northwest WorldClub lounges.

Delta SkyMiles and Alaska Airlines frequent-fliers who are platinum or gold members will have reciprocity in priority boarding, check-in and seat assignment benefits. Gold and platinum Northwest WorldPerks members already enjoy the same privileges on Alaska Airlines flights.

In a press release, Bill Ayer, CEO of Alaska Airlines, said: “Our customers will benefit from expanded access to Delta’s unmatched domestic and international network and from improved frequent flier and lounge agreements that make it easier to fly with Alaska around the world.”

The new marketing alliance, Bill Ayer added, would help expand the reach of Alaska Airlines’ planned expansions in the West Coast route.

Northwest Airlines will soon start a Seattle to Beijing route, while Delta is waiting for the US government’s approval for a Los Angeles-Sao Paulo service.

Delta and Alaska Airlines’ together offer connections to over 70 cities from Seattle, to over 50 cities from Los Angeles, to more than 30 cities from Portland, and to about 20 cities from San Francisco, the joint statement said.

A majority of new customer benefits resulting from the expanded agreement will be implemented in 2009.

To celebrate the expanded partnership between Delta Air Lines and Alaska Airlines, Delta SkyMiles, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan and Northwest WorldPerks members will be offered a bonus miles promotion beginning in December 2008.

Additional details and terms and conditions will be announced shortly, according to the joint statement.