Alaska Airlines has begun flying special “tag-on” routes today.
Some of you may be familiar with Alaska Airlines’ special “Milk Run” flight. Alaska’s new tag routes are something similar, but not quite.
Starting today, April 10, through April 30, 2020, Alaska Airlines is operating six special tag flights.
Seattle – Dallas/Ft. Worth – Houston: 1 daily 737-900ER
Seattle – Kalispell – Helena – Seattle: 1 daily Dash-8 Q400
Seattle – San Luis Obispo – Santa Barbara: 1 daily Embraer E175 (Skywest)
Seattle – Minneapolis/St. Paul – Columbus OH: 1 daily A320
Seattle – Pittsburgh – Baltimore/Washington: 1 daily 737-900ER
Seattle – Raleigh/Durham – Charleston SC: 1 daily 737-800
Of these destinations, Seattle is the only airport that’s Alaska’s hub. The tag flights are simply Alaska’s original destinations, but you now have a new stopover.
Each of these tag flights are bookable on their own, so you can fly Dallas/Fort Worth to Houston or Pittsburgh to Baltimore without originating in Seattle.
Other Tag Flights:
These tag flights are pretty rare, especially in the United States as airlines are focused on the hub-and-spoke model.
American Airlines used to operate a special tag flight from Meridian, Mississippi to Hattiesburg, Mississippi using a CRJ-200.
United Airlines currently operates double-daily tag flight from Jamestown, North Dakota, to Devils Lake, North Dakota using the CRJ-200.
Qantas operates (operated) a Brisbane to Los Angeles to New York JFK flight, but the LAX-JFK sector isn’t bookable on its own.
There’s a variety of other tag flights, commonly found outside the United States, such as Emirates’ Sydney to Christchurch or United’s Island Hopper service in Micronesia.
Why is Alaska Airlines doing this?
Two simple reasons:
- Due to COVID-19, air travel demand has declined, so Alaska Airlines, like many other airlines, planned on cancelling destinations and flights.
- Due to the United States’ CARES Act, which includes $50 billion in government aid for airlines, Alaska must maintain service to all of its U.S. destinations to receive a part of this bailout. So, Alaska got creative and launched these tag flights to seven specific destinations instead of cancelling the direct Seattle flight.
With COVID-19 and the CARES Act, we could potentially see even more “tag” flights from other airlines.
What are your thoughts on these tag flights?