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There has been no shortage of good news these past two weeks for Alaska Airline for its merger with Virgin America. First it announced that it received approval from the Department of Justice. Then there were words that Alaska settled a few lawsuits. And Finally, the merger, which was announced in April and originally planned to close in October, was closed on December 14. Two very different airlines will become one, it sure will take different work as Alaska says but it promises passengers there will be “more to love“. Alaska is also giving away free trips and you can enter to win here.
I live near San Francisco which is one of Virgin’s hub, naturally I do price their flights when I plan my trips. But I always end up going with either Alaska or Delta. Some of the routes operated by Virgin might be affected because of the merger. Travel Codex has an article written in length about what routes that might be affected. I am glad to see that only two routes out of SFO operated by Virgin overlap with American – to Chicago and JFK. If those two routes are dropped it won’t affect me much as I prefer flying Delta from SFO to JFK and I have yet to take the family to visit Chicago (I like to go someday during St. Patrick’s Day).
Like any other airline mergers, changes are coming as soon as Monday December 19, such as mile earning, elite benefits, and eventually you will be able to book Virgin flights on Alaska’s website, as well as redeeming award travel on both network.
As a MVP gold member with Alaska Airline, I am looking forward to the new routes that the merger will bring to the Alaska network, and the new opportunity to redeem my Virgin Elevate points that I transferred from SPG back in May. I expect that Alaska will eventually moves to Virgin’s fancy Terminal 2 at SFO . I can’t wait to see what will happen to existing Virgin routes from SFO to Hawaii (Honolulu and Maui), to Mexico (Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas), and to Newark NJ, as Alaska flies to the same destinations from the nearby San Jose airport. Secretly I am keeping my fingers crossed that the codeshare between AA and Alaska for the flight between SJC and Maui won’t be affected — AA often sells this Alaska flight substantially cheaper than Alaska itself, and it’s been my go-to cash fare option to get to Hawaii when award seats were not available.
How will the Alaska/Virgin merger affect your family’s travel? Do you live in one of the cities that Alaska and Virgin fly to? If so, it might be time to consider applying for the Alaska visa if you don’t already have one (or two), as the annual $99 companion certificate represents a great value in family travel.