Alaska Airlines Adds Three San Diego Routes

Alaska Airlines has just announced a few new routes out of San Diego, which I find interesting on a couple of levels…

Alaska adds San Diego to Eugene, Tampa, and Washington flights

As part of its commitment to California, Alaska Airlines has announced three new routes out of San Diego. Specifically, the airline will start flying from San Diego to Eugene, Tampa, and Washington.

Alaska Airlines is adding three routes out of San Diego

As of June 15, 2023, Alaska will operate a daily nonstop flight between San Diego (SAN) and Washington (IAD) with the following schedule:

AS400 San Diego to Washington departing 8:00AM arriving 4:10PM
AS451 Washington to San Diego departing 10:15AM arriving 12:30PM

The 2,253-mile flight is blocked at 5hr10min eastbound and 5hr15min westbound. Alaska Airlines will use a Boeing 737-900 for the route.

Then as of October 5, 2023, Alaska will operate a daily nonstop flight between San Diego (SAN) and Tampa (TPA) with the following schedule:

AS476 San Diego to Tampa departing 8:40AM arriving 4:25PM
AS599 Tampa to San Diego departing 5:30PM arriving 7:40PM

The 2,087-mile flight is blocked at 4hr45min eastbound and 5hr10min westbound. Alaska Airlines will use a Boeing 737-900 for the route.

Lastly, as of June 15, 2023, Alaska will launch a daily nonstop flight between San Diego (SAN) and Eugene (EUG) with the following schedule:

AS3477 San Diego to Eugene departing 2:30PM arriving 4:50PM
AS3477 Eugene to San Diego departing 11:30AM arriving 1:50PM

The 850-mile flight is blocked at 2hr20min in both directions. Alaska will use an Embraer E175 for the route.

For those transcon routes, is Alaska running out of consecutive flight numbers for the return journey, or…?

My take on Alaska Airlines’ San Diego expansion

This expansion from Alaska Airlines is cool to see on a few levels.

For one, California is a tricky state for many airlines, and particularly for Alaska Airlines. The airline gained market share in California when it took over Virgin America, but it seems like Alaska Airlines executives haven’t exactly known what to do with the state.

Alaska has maintained a strong presence from San Diego for flights to Hawaii, and along the Pacific coast (including to the Pacific Northwest, Mexico, etc.). However, aside from Boston and New York, we haven’t otherwise seen much transcon expansion.

So it’s really cool to see Alaska add two new transcon routes:

  • Between San Diego and Washington, Alaska will only be competing against United
  • Alaska will be the only airline flying nonstop between San Diego and Tampa; it’s a market some airlines have attempted in the past, but it never lasted

Having grown up in Tampa, I always enjoy seeing how that airport has grown over the years. Going back several years, Alaska didn’t have any flights to Tampa. Now the airline has year-round flights to Seattle, as well as seasonal flights to Los Angeles, Portland, and San Francisco. It’s cool to see a fifth transcontinental gateway added for the airline in Tampa.

At the same time, aside from Seattle to Tampa (which is now served twice daily), it doesn’t seem like Alaska’s service to Tampa has been particularly successful. Portland is now operated once weekly seasonally, which almost fits in the “why bother” camp. Meanwhile Los Angeles and San Francisco service is now seasonal, when in the past it was sometimes offered year-round.

I’m curious to see if this San Diego to Tampa route lasts…

Bottom line

It’s cool to see Alaska Airlines showing California some love, with three new routes out of San Diego. The airline will be launching two new transcon routes, plus a new route to Oregon. This expansion seems a bit random in the context of Alaska’s overall approach to network planning, but here’s to hoping we see the airline continue to look for opportunities in California.

What do you make of Alaska Airlines’ expansion out of San Diego?