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Delta Declares War on Alaska Air with New Seattle Hub

Delta’s incursions into Seattle, home base and main hub for Alaska Airlines, have been a hot topic in recent travel news, as the two airlines have duked it out, tit for tat, with bonus miles, elite status, and new routes.

But there was at least the glimmer of possibility of a rapprochement between the two airlines and former marketing partners, if Delta were to ease up on its mobilization efforts at Seattle and call for a cease fire. There was, after all, a line in the sand that Delta so far had not crossed. For all its growing importance to Delta, Seattle had not yet attained the status of a hub.

That changed this month at the Raymond James Institutional Investor Conference, where Paul Jacobson, Delta’s Chief Financial Officer, commented on the company’s plans for Seattle as follows: “Continuing to expand our network reach through the growth and the establishment of a hub at an international gateway in Seattle, this is a way for us to help to reoptimize through some of investments that we have made.”

That amounts to a declaration of war, and means that the recent skirmishes between Delta and Alaska Airlines are destined to become an ongoing battle.

For travelers flying to or from Seattle, the escalation of tensions should translate into a welcome windfall, with more frequent-flyer miles, easier elite status, lower fares, better schedules, and so on.

And even as Alaska Airlines disentangles itself from its interline marketing and frequent-flyer agreements with Delta, Alaska’s relationship with American is likely to be expanded and deepened.

Stay tuned.

Reader Reality Check

Alaska or Delta, who’s likely to prevail in the battle for Seattle?

This article originally appeared on

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