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Alaska Airlines Launches its Most Ambitious Summer Schedule Yet

The airline will offer first flights to Guatemala City this summer, and new international destinations including Toronto and the Bahamas

by Fergus Cole

June 11, 2024

Photo: Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 9. Courtesy of Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines is gearing up for what it expects to be a record-breaking summer travel season by offering the largest summer flight schedule in the carrier’s 92-year history.

The Seattle-based airline announced that it will be adding routes to new destinations, laying on more flights on popular existing routes, and using new technology to enhance the customer experience in response to a surge in demand for travel.

Alaska said it has listened to customer feedback to determine where its customers love flying to the most and which new places they’re most interested in exploring.

Photo: Guatemala City. Courtesy of Leonel Lopez / Unsplash

The airline notes that there is significant interest in Guatemala. Travelers can explore the historic Mayan ruins of Tikal National Park and the scenic shores of Lake Atitlán. In response to this demand, Alaska will offer flights to Guatemala City (GUA) for the first time this summer. Additionally, the airline is adding new international destinations, including Toronto and the Bahamas.

Alaska Airlines also said that interest in national parks is extremely high, adding 16 percent more flights to Jackson Hole (JAC) in Wyoming, the gateway to Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. The carrier is also giving customers more opportunities to explore the wilderness of Alaska itself with the launch of new nonstop flights to Anchorage (ANC) from both New York (JFK) and San Diego (SAN).

Other new routes include Portland (PDX) to Nashville (BNA) and Atlanta (ATL) to San Diego.

Meanwhile, Alaska will add more flights to popular vacation hotspots in Mexico, and the airline claims it will offer more flights south of the border from West Coast airports than any other U.S. airline.

Photo: Cancun, Mexico. Courtesy of Braden Collum / Unsplash

Alaska’s Mexican destinations this summer include Cancun (CUN), Guadalajara (GDL), Los Cabos (SJD), Loreto (LTO), Manzanillo (ZLO), Mazatlán (MZT), Puerto Vallarta (PVR), and Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo (ZIH).

Alaska Airlines claims to have added nearly a million seats during June, July, and August compared to the same period last year. The airline predicts its busiest days this summer to be before and after Independence Day when it expects almost 160,000 daily passengers.

Alaska’s Hubs Boost

Many of Alaska’s hub airports will significantly increase summer flights this year, including 23 percent more in San Diego, 16 percent more in Portland (PDX), 13 percent more in Anchorage, and 10 percent more in Seattle (SEA).

“As best-in-class operators, our top priority is consistently delivering on our promise to guests to take them where they’re going safely and on time – all while showing them the care for which we’re known,” said Andrew Harrison, chief commercial officer at Alaska Airlines.

Photo: Courtesy of Portland Airport

“This summer, we’re prepared to do more flying and welcome more guests to experience not only a safe operation but also a premium experience. We’ve been hard at work on elevating all aspects of the travel journey for our guests from start to finish.”

In addition to new flights, Alaska Airlines is attempting to enhance its customer experience with various new initiatives. This includes the new ‘Upgrade Unlocked’ program that will give one lucky passenger per day the chance to upgrade from the Main Cabin to Premium Class and the expansion of its hot meal pre-order options to Premium Class and Main Cabin passengers on flights over 1,100 miles.

It also recently launched the Alaska Access subscription service, which allows participants to receive a one-time free use voucher for fast in-flight Wi-Fi each month and early access to the airline’s biggest fare sales.

Also, in July, the airline is moving its operations from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Harvey Milk Terminal 1, which will include a new lounge offering 55 percent more seating than before, while its lounge at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport is also getting an upgrade and expansion. Meanwhile, the airline is moving to a new and improved lobby at Portland International and a revamped gate concourse at LAX Terminal 6.