Alaska Airlines has new partner, and it’s an airline that’s quickly expanding its footprint across North America.
Alaska this week announced a new interline agreement with Canada-based Porter Airlines. It’s the Seattle-based carrier’s 30th airline partner.
From the outset, the arrangement will be fairly simple: Alaska Airlines customers will be able to book itineraries aboard certain Porter flights through Alaska’s booking channels. Mileage Plan members will also be able to earn miles on those flights.
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Customers booking through Porter’s website will be able to book itineraries featuring connections to a slew of cities in Alaska’s West Coast network.
Sometime early next year, customers will also be able to make connections at shared Canadian airports.
Later in 2024, the two carriers plan to expand their partnership with fully reciprocal mileage earning and redemption opportunities for loyalty members.
The move figures to give Mileage Plan members new connections to Canada, and adds to Alaska’s robust list of airline partners, which includes airlines that are part of the Oneworld alliance and a handful of other international carriers that aren’t.
The deal may be of increasing value to Alaska loyalists as Porter continues to take delivery of a fast-expanding fleet of Embraer E195-E2 jets and, in the process, grows its U.S. route map.
Recent months have seen Porter beef up its East Coast service, and the airline has plans to continue expanding westward with its 132-seat economy-only jets that don’t have any middle seats.
Notably, in the context of this partnership, Porter will begin service from Toronto Pearson Airport (YYZ) to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on Jan. 16, and to San Francisco International Airport (SFO) on Jan. 25. Both West Coast hubs are key Alaska operating bases.
“Porter Airlines opens new opportunities for our guests to travel to Canada in style,” Alaska’s Vice President of Loyalty, Alliances and Sales Brett Catlin said in a statement announcing the news. “We’re thrilled to partner with a vibrant and growing airline that offers a refined experience including top-notch inflight service and terrific onboard amenities.”
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How the Alaska-Porter partnership will work
It appears the Alaska-Porter partnership will evolve over the course of 2024.
Early in the year: Earn partnership
Starting in January, the arrangement will be a bit limited.
Porter will be an “earn partner” with Alaska, which means customers can book flights on Porter aircraft through Alaska’s website and earn Mileage Plan miles — which will count toward elite status.
Here’s an example: a nonstop February flight from Los Angeles to Toronto, available through Alaska’s website but aboard Porter Airlines, for $161.
VIPorter loyalty members will be able to do the same on Alaska flights booked through Porter’s website.
This January itinerary from Toronto to Portland International Airport (PDX) features one leg on Porter and a connection to a second leg aboard Alaska to reach the final destination.
As shown above, this deal will allow customers to book single itineraries featuring seamless connections between the two carriers. This will allow passengers to travel on one itinerary without having to check back in or recheck luggage.
This option will also be available for customers booking flights via third-party online travel agencies.
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Expanded partnership to come
This partnership will expand later in 2024, the airlines revealed. Customers will then be able to earn or redeem miles with either airline, regardless of which booking channels they use.
The carriers “will continue to strengthen their partnership in 2024,” a statement said, perhaps teasing some sort of reciprocal benefits arrangement for elite members of the two airlines’ loyalty programs.
Though this deal falls short of a full-scale codeshare agreement like Alaska has, for instance, with American Airlines, it’s an additional option for Mileage Plan members to gain increased access to Canada on a fast-growing airline.
Combined with Alaska’s partner airlines in Europe, Asia and Latin America, and its larger network of Oneworld partners, there’s certainly a growing list of connectivity options for Alaska loyalists.
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