Sunday, August 11, 2013

Why You Should Fly Jet Blue And Virgin Air Out Of Alaska This Summer

Jet Blue flies to Anchorage this summer from Long Beach and Seattle.  Virgin flies non-stop from San Francisco.  Their entry into the market caused Alaska Airlines to drastically lower their fares to the LA area and to Seattle.

But I've got an Alaska mileage plan and because of family obligations outside the last couple of years we've flown enough to qualify for MVP, so we have been pretty loyal to

But I waited too long to book a trip to Seattle in July and the Alaska Airline price was around $250 each way.  I checked Jet Blue and it was $119.  That's a no-brainer.  There were two of us going round trip.  It would have been over $1000 with taxes on Alaska for both of us and it was under $500 on Jet Blue.

I understand the hesitation of people to switch.  Besides the mileage, I know the whole routine for Alaska.  But for $500 I was going to get out of my comfort zone.  (We're all supposed to do that all the time anyway.)

You can check in one bag for free on Jet Blue, but we were just doing carry on.

It was an Airbus 320 or 321 and seemed to have more legroom, plus there were tv monitors in the back of all the seats.  AND, on this red eye flight, they gave everyone a sleep mask and ear plugs.  If you had your own ear buds you could plug in and find your tv entertainment.  I had a book so that wasn't an important for me.

JetBlue isn't perfect.  Coming back they moved us up front to the 'even more space' seats because my original seat was broken.  (They did this before we even got on the plane, so that was good.  But if it had been a full flight?)  At the new seat, the tv monitor didn't seem to work.  No loss for me, but it's an indicator of tolerance of less than perfect.  

So, why should you give up miles on Alaska Airlines to fly Virgin or Jet Blue?  Because coming back I talked to a guy at the ticket counter.  We told him we were taking our rolling suitcases as carry on.  He said, "Let me check how full it is."  It wasn't full at all.

If we want Jet Blue and Virgin to keep coming back - and forcing Alaska to lower their prices - they need to fill up those airplanes.  And Alaska needs to know that we are willing to take the other carriers if they keep their prices so high.  Just check the prices in the fall when the competition drops these routes. 

So, if you are flying out between now and the end of the summer, check out Jetblue and Virgin flights.  Show them that we appreciate their giving Alaska some competition on Alaska's home turf.  (OK, I know that Alaska's headquartered in Seattle, but their named after our state and they are the major carrier up here.)  When they have competition, they lower their fares, when they don't they have some pretty high fares. 

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