Portlanders have an odd love affair with Alaska Airlines. Sure, the airline is named for a different state and headquartered in Seattle, but somehow it feels like it belongs to us. Passengers wearing Alaska-brand-bedecked Timbers gear get to board early. On some shuttle flights, there’s free Oregon beer. And there’s the fact that Alaska—which includes Horizon Air and, since spring 2016, Virgin America—offers 58 nonstop destinations from PDX, eight of them announced just this year thanks to added capacity from the Virgin merger. According to a spring survey, the Alaska Group accounts for more than 40 percent of all PDX flight traffic.
But in the freighted world of airline economics, Alaska’s Portland romance might be in for a little turbulence. Virgin’s $2.6 billion price tag, coupled with rising fuel prices and sticky pilot union negotiations, meant a 46 percent drop in first-quarter profits for 2017. In its big push to become, as CEO Brad Tilden puts it, “the go-to airline for people on the West Coast,” Alaska could certainly fly too high, too fast.
For now, however, book these tickets while they’re hot.
Year-round service launched March 16
The first such direct route from PDX, Alaska’s Orlando service gets Portlanders to Daytona Beach in just over five flying hours.
Seasonal service from June 4 to Aug 27
Alaska’s sole direct Portland flight to the Deep South gives us another connection to the world’s busiest airport.
Year-round service launching Aug 18
Winter in the high desert, surrounded by world-class mountain biking and rafting? It’s a rainy-season no-brainer.
Year-round service launching Aug 30
Thriving Portlandia and the once (still?) mighty Motor City: we’re a study in contrasts, and this red-eye can help us take a closer look.
Year-round service launching Nov 6
Another option to fly straight to the nation’s gateway abroad—or stick around and enjoy the Big Apple.