MIAMI – Alaska Airlines (AS) will terminate a key transcontinental service between New York (JFK) and Los Angeles (LAX).

The route, inherited following Alaska’s take over of rival Virgin America (VA) in 2016, will end on October 6, 2021. Usually operated twice-daily by the carriers 159-seat Boeing 737-800s, it was due to drop to just daily in the fall.

Alaska Airlines N298AK Boeing 737-900(ER) | Photo: Kochan Klep/Airways

A Premium Heavy Market

The transcon market is incredibly competitive and attracts a lot of premium heavy traffic, especially between New York and Los Angeles. Alaska has long been up against United’s ‘Polaris’, JetBlue ‘Mint’, Delta ‘One’ and even its new strategic partner American Airlines ‘Flagship’ cabins.

While AS does offer ‘First’ and ‘Premium Class’ cabins, it does not offer a lie-flat seat. Instead its recliner-style offering in first are on a par with its rivals premium economy seats. Sadly for many passengers this can be a deal deal breaker when choosing an airline for such flights. 

Strangely in January this year, at its fourth-quarter earnings call, the carriers Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Harrison commented that the airline was “thankful” they had refrained from installing lie-flat seats and that their “first class seats” were “spot on for the demand environment.”

Alaska’s premium offering has failed to compete with its rivals. (Photo: Alaska Airlines)

Transcon Shake-up

This announcement follows a number of other cuts in a major shake-up of the carriers transcon operation earlier this year. Philadelphia (PHL) to San Francisco (SFO) and Newark (EWR) to San Jose, California (SJC) were both dropped from its route network. 

The carrier will however continue to fly from New York Newark (EWR) to LAX. 

Featured image: Alaska Airlines N523AK Boeing 737-900ER | Photo: Michael Rodeback/Airways