Funny how personal and business lives mix sometimes. I was at a bar earlier this week and met a friend of a friend who works as a flight attendant for Alaska Airlines. We were talking about all the different liveries Alaska has since they just announced their new one for veterans. Seriously, some days I see almost as many planes with a special livery at Sea-Tac as I do those with the standard livery.
The flight attendant mentioned there was a mysterious plane sitting in a hangar for the last month. It’s not uncommon for planes to get pulled out for maintenance, but a whole month? That’s expensive. I didn’t think much of it until bmvaughn shared this image on Flyertalk the next day.
Brendan’s usually on top of this and my go-to guy for local Alaska Airlines news, so kudos for doing my homework for me. My guess is that they had this plane ready to go before the merger closed on September 30. But the Department of Justice requested extra time to review the plan. Even the new deadline of October 17 has passed, and so the plane sits in a hangar….
I’m more interested to learn about the mechanics of the new loyalty program, how miles and status will be earned, and so on. Paint is something Alaska likes to do to build community spirit, but it won’t really affect the day-to-day experience for travelers. What it does reflect is Alaska’s confidence that the deal will go through. You don’t pull a plane out of service and re-paint it on a lark. In addition, we’ve recently learned that Virgin America and Virgin Atlantic are cutting ties, suggesting the merged carrier will rely on Alaska’s existing relationship with British Airways.
For everyone’s sake, I hope the DoJ will make its decision soon. Judging by some of the questions I get, the suspense for Alaska Airlines and Virgin America flyers is starting to get on everyone’s nerves.