Alaska Airlines and American Airlines on Thursday announced they would extend their partnership that allows their customers to book flights on each others' network and earn frequent-flyer miles to international flights, in a bid to chase high-spending technology giants' corporate travelers.
American said it plans to launch the first flight from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, near the headquarters of Amazon and Microsoft, to Bangalore, India, and another flight from Seattle to London Heathrow. American is planning to start the Bangalore service in October and the London flight in March 2021. The airline had ended its India service in 2012 when it stopped flying between Chicago and New Delhi.
The existing partnership between Seattle-based Alaska and American that applies to domestic flights was set to be scaled back at the end of the month when reciprocal mileage redemptions would have ended. The new agreement allows travelers to book as well as earn and burn miles on each other's flights and includes American's international service from Los Angeles to China, New Zealand and Australia, in addition to the upcoming international destinations from Seattle.
"The way our agreement had been structured ... it wasn't creating the kind of value that we wanted it to," said Brett Catlin, Alaska Airlines' head of network, schedule and alliances. "So we really wanted to reinvent it with this international tilt."
Catlin did not say how much revenue he expected the revamped partnership would add for each airline. Alaska is planning to join the One World alliance, which includes British Airways, Japan Airlines and Qantas.