Aviation

Alaska Airlines inaugurates new flights between Portland, Oregon and Newark, New Jersey

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Alaska Airlines launches new flights between Portland, Oregon and Newark, New Jersey, the airline’s first nonstop flight between Portland and the New York City area.

“Alaska Airlines continues to meet Rose City residents’ needs with more nonstop flights to popular destinations,” said John Kirby, Alaska Airlines’ vice president of capacity planning. “Our new flight offers Portland-area customers convenient access to Northern New Jersey and lower Manhattan, and is the only daytime nonstop flight from Portland to Newark.”

Earlier this year, the Federal Aviation Administration approved Alaska’s request to operate four additional daily flights to Newark. New service between San Diego and Newark starts later this month, while new service between Newark and San Jose, California and a third daily flight between Newark and Seattle begin in spring 2017.

Alaska Airlines to launch new flights from Bellingham, Washington to Kona, Hawaii this weekend
Also, Alaska Airlines inaugurates new weekly flights between Bellingham, Washington (BLI) and Kona (KOA), on the island of Hawaii this Saturday. The nonstop, seasonal service begins Nov. 12 and ends April 1, 2017.

“This new flight offers customers living in Northwest Washington and British Columbia, Canada, nonstop travel to beautiful beaches, incredible stargazing, one of the world’s most active volcanoes and the best poke in the Islands,” said John Kirby.

With the new flights, Alaska serves four Hawaiian islands with 86 weekly flights from the West Coast. Alaska also serves Maui seasonally from Bellingham between Nov. 6 and April 2, 2017.

“The island of Hawaii is one of the top rated travel destinations in the world and we are delighted Alaska Airlines is going to provide our customers with nonstop service to this incredible location,” said Sunil Harman, Bellingham International Airport’s aviation director. “Alaska Airlines is offering very competitive fares and we anticipate high demand for these flights.”

“We value Alaska Airlines’ continued commitment to serving the island of Hawaii by offering this new seasonal flight into Kona International Airport, which will provide added convenience and a good option for travelers from the Pacific Northwest,” said Ross Birch, executive director of the Island of Hawaii Visitors Bureau. “The nonstop route will help to fulfill the demand for a Hawaii Island vacation and make it even easier for visitors to experience all that is unique to our destination – from remarkable landscapes, diversity of climate zones, rich culture and history, outdoor adventures, to five national parks including Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site.”

Alaska is operating the new flights with fuel-efficient, next generation Boeing 737 aircraft. Customers can enjoy free entertainment on their own devices and power at every seat, as well as Northwest-inspired food and beverages, such as Beecher’s Flagship cheese, and exclusively blended Canoe Ridge wine.

Alaska Airlines’ New Premium Class section available for purchase today
Alaska Airlines fliers who want a little more legroom will have the option to purchase seats with up to four more inches of space between rows. The airline will debut its Premium Class section for travel on select routes beginning Jan. 5, 2017, as it continues a significant retrofit of its all-Boeing fleet. In addition to four extra inches of legroom, passengers seated in Premium Class will enjoy early boarding, snacks and complimentary drinks.

Alaska Mileage Plan MVP, Gold and Gold 75K members will be eligible for complimentary upgrades into Premium Class at the time of booking, or up to 24 hours in advance of travel, depending on status and the fare purchased. 

With the addition of Premium Class, Alaska’s most loyal customers who aren’t able to upgrade into First Class will see a significantly increased likelihood of getting a seat with more legroom near the front of the cabin.

“Premium Class is the most recent example of the on-going investment we are making to enhance the customer experience on our airplanes,” said Andrew Harrison, executive vice president and chief commercial officer at Alaska Airlines. “We will continue to reward our loyal customers by offering one of the most generous upgrade policies in the industry with an average of 60 percent of the First Class cabin being occupied by upgraded elites.” 

Premium Class seats are located in the front portion of the main cabin, allowing for faster boarding and deplaning. The new section offers an additional four inches of legroom, with 35 inches of space between rows, compared to the 31 to 32 inches between rows in the rest of the main cabin. 

“As a businessman who flies at least 75,000 miles every year, the extra room allowed me to work more comfortably with my laptop and is almost like having a mini office in the air,” said Frank Albano, an Alaska frequent flier who has logged more than a million miles and was recently seated in the new section on one of the reconfigured planes.

First Class cabin enhancements
The aircraft retrofits will also result in significantly expanded legroom in the First Class cabin, which will increase from 36 to 41 or 42 inches, and will be among the most spacious First Class cabins domestically. In addition to the increased legroom, First Class customers will continue to enjoy a seat that is four inches wider, free inflight entertainment tablets, a complimentary selection of fine wines and spirits, and chef-inspired, locally-sourced snacks and meals.

It is expected that nearly half of the fleet will feature Premium Class by the end by the end of 2016, with the balance of planes being reconfigured in 2017. A decision on when the 737-700s will be retrofitted will be announced mid-2017. Alaska will retire its fleet of 737-400s in 2017. The upgrade option will also be available on the Embraer 175s operated by SkyWest Airlines and soon, Horizon Air.

Premium Class is replacing Preferred Plus, which was only available in exit rows and bulkhead seats. Customers on flights that have yet to be retrofitted, can still can purchase extra legroom, during booking, check-in, at the airport, or through the Alaska Airlines mobile app. Once an aircraft is upgraded, exit row seats will no longer be available for purchase.

In the past two years, Alaska has made significant investments to improve the customer experience throughout the aircraft providing customers more of what they love, which includes outfitting nearly half of its fleet with larger overhead bins that increase room for carry-on baggage by 48 percent and providing personal power outlets at every seat. Also, customers can enjoy Pacific Northwest-inspired food from iconic Seattle chef Tom Douglas, local wine and spirits, custom-designed leather seats, and free and premium streaming entertainment on every flight.

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