Alaska Airlines has been beefing up their service from Seattle to defend their home turf from their estranged partner Delta so much that other growth opportunities for the airline has practically been halted. Yet today that all changed when Alaska announced that they would add new service from Santa Ana, John Wayne Orange County Airport (SNA) to Mexico. Pending government approval, the airline seeks to add year round service between Santa Ana Orange County and both Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta.
The new service will be the first time Alaska Airlines provides Orange County with nonstop International service after it converted the short lived nonstop flight to Vancouver to a direct flight via Seattle in 2002. The new Mexico service will operate year round and connect Orange County with Alaska Airlines two most popular Mexican destinations. As Alaska Airline already serves all three stations, initial start up costs will be low as they are not opening a new station by launching these routes.
We’re thrilled to add nonstop service from Orange County to two of Mexico’s popular leisure destinations,” said John Kirby, vice president of capacity planning for Alaska Airlines. “Alaska Airlines continues to add new non-stop service to our two largest Mexico destinations, giving our sun-seeking customers low-fare alternatives to vacation in paradise.”
Alaska Airlines began flying to Puerto Vallarta and Los Cabos more than 25 years ago. Today, the carrier operates 36 weekly peak-season flights to Puerto Vallarta and 50 weekly peak-season flights to Los Cabos—more than any other carrier from California.
The new flights between Orange County and Mexico will be operated with fuel-efficient, next generation Boeing 737 aircraft. Customers can watch hit movies, TV shows and short films wirelessly on their devices, enjoy locally sourced food and beverages, and experience Alaska’s award-winning service. It’s all part of Alaska BeyondTM — a new way to travel, designed to go above and beyond your expectations.
The two new flights to Mexico will face stiff competition as by the time Alaska Airlines starts service Southwest will already have a footprint in both markets. This summer, Southwest operates to Los Cabos twice daily from Santa Ana and Southwest will inaugurate once daily service to Puerto Vallarta on June 7, 2015. The new routes will make Orange County the third Southern California Airport that serves both Mexican destinations by Alaska Airlines, after San Diego and Los Angeles.
The new flights will be operated by Alaska Airlines on Boeing 737 and will operate thrice weekly to Puerto Vallarta and four-times weekly to Los Cabos. Both flight times and fares will be announced in approximately four weeks after Alaska Airline receives the approval from the DOT. Based on history, I would expect introductory fares to be around $175-$200 each way and for double miles to be offered to MileagePlan members during the first couple of months of service, with the first flights departing next fall. Stay tuned for more details.