Alaska Airlines & Porter Airlines Launch Partnership

Alaska Airlines & Porter Airlines Launch Partnership

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Alaska Airlines and Porter Airlines have announced a partnership, which should get increasingly lucrative over time…

Alaska & Porter outline close cooperation plans

Alaska Airlines and Porter Airlines have revealed the details of a new partnership, taking advantage of Porter’s strong presence across Eastern Canada and Alaska’s US West Coast links, to provide passengers more flight options between coasts.

This partnership is initially kicking off as an interline agreement, so that passengers can purchase itineraries that include travel on both airlines through the Alaska or Porter websites, or through online travel agencies.

This collaboration will get more interesting over time:

  • As of January 2024, the two loyalty programs (Mileage Plan and VIPorter) will offer reciprocal mileage earning, but only when booked via that airline; in other words, you’ll be able to earn Mileage Plan miles for Porter flights booked via Alaska
  • Then later in 2024, Mileage Plan and VIPorter will roll out full reciprocal mileage earning for all flights, regardless of where you book; they’ll also roll out reciprocal mileage redemptions
  • There may also be additional cooperation in the future (along the lines of reciprocal elite perks), though details there remain limited as of now

For context, Porter has historically operated De Havilland Dash 8-400 turboprops out of Toronto Billy Bishop Airport, though has lately taken on a new strategy, as the airline has started competing across North America, thanks to new Embraer E195-E2s. Porter is launching flights to Los Angeles and San Francisco, and the intent is that Alaska will provide feed for these flights, with routes across the West Coast.

Here’s how Brett Catlin, Alaska’s VP of Loyalty, Alliances, and Sales, describes this new partnership:

“Porter Airlines opens new opportunities for our guests to travel to Canada in style. We’re thrilled to partner with a vibrant and growing airline, and eager for our flyers to enjoy the refined experience that Porter offers, including top-notch inflight service and terrific onboard amenities.”

Meanwhile here’s how Kevin Jackson, Porter’s EVP and Chief Commercial Officer, describes this new partnership:

“This partnership with Alaska Airlines is a significant win for passengers looking for more choice and better service when flying within Canada and the United States. Alaska and Porter emphasize passenger service excellence on each and every flight. We’re excited about what this means for passengers across North America.”

Porter Airlines is growing at a fast pace

My take on the new Alaska & Porter partnership

I’m thrilled to see this partnership, mainly because Porter will now partner with a major frequent flyer program. I’ve been curious to fly with Porter, but Porter hasn’t had any major airline partners. It’s exciting to think that as of some point in 2024, it will be possible to earn and redeem Mileage Plan flights for all Porter flights. That’s awesome, and a huge value-add.

That being said, in terms of commercial cooperation, I’d say this partnership is better than nothing, but not exactly a match made in heaven. When you look at the Canadian airline industry, Air Canada belongs to Star Alliance (and partners with United), and WestJet partners with Delta, and that doesn’t leave a whole lot for Alaska, American, and the oneworld alliance.

As Porter continues to grow, personally I wouldn’t be surprised to see the airline eventually either join the oneworld alliance, or cooperate more closely with American as well. I feel like this might be the first step in that direction.

Could we see closer oneworld cooperation from Porter?

Bottom line

Alaska Airlines and Porter Airlines are launching a partnership. This is starting with the two airlines adding an interline agreement. Then as of later in 2024, the two airlines will offer reciprocal mileage earning and redemption opportunities across their networks.

Given that Air Canada and WestJet already have partnerships with major US airlines, and also given the pace at which Porter is growing, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the first step toward closer oneworld cooperation.

What do you make of the Alaska & Porter partnership?

Conversations (20)
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  1. T- Guest

    What a great combination (?) Now one can fly to Maui, Seattle and Toronto on one ticket.

  2. Weymar Osborne Gold

    Will one of those two airlines launch service between Seattle and Toronto to compete with Air Canada?

  3. Leigh Guest

    Porter is excellent.

    Would make a perfect complement to oneworld. Would fill a gap in Canada.

  4. JohnG Guest

    This is great news for those of us who travel between the PacNW and eastern Canada. Porter is a pleasant airline to fly with (and if going to/from Toronto, Billy Bishop is super convenient), but their points aren't that useful, especially since they expire. Porter also charges a lot for checked bags, but if your trip starts on AS, and is booked through AS, I assume their baggage policy will apply (e.g., one free checked bag if you have their credit card).

    1. Sam Guest

      You assume incorrectly on the baggage policy.

  5. Canadian Platinum Guest

    Hopefully in 2024 there will be a Canadian credit card that offers rewards/points transfer to Alaska Mileage Plan. MBNA?

  6. Michmill Guest

    You can already see that the moment the Porter flight starts to SFO in late Jan, the market becomes competitive and ACs prices drop a lot. Hopefully this means Porter to Seattle and the end of the AC monopoly to Canada from here. I liked pre pandemic Porter better (no nickel and dining) but it's still fine and no middle seats is nice!

  7. Chris Guest

    nice, finally a use for my Porter miles!!

  8. Bob Guest

    All the best.

    Anything to decrease AC's market share is a good thing.
    Canadians are tired of putting up with the garbage that is AC

  9. Phil M Guest

    Trying to use my Alaska miles for flights out of Canada has been basically impossible. If I can use them for intra-Canada flights, that would be amazing. For everything else, I'll stick with Aeroplan.

  10. dx Guest

    It makes perfect sense for AA, AS and Porter to partner going forward. Porter can now or does already fly to hubs like SEA, SFO, PHL, DCA, and ORD where AA/AS connections would be possible.

    AA and AS don't really duplicate many of the US-Canada routes now (if at all) that Porter operates now or could in the near future with its new fleet.

    1. ORD_Is_My_Second_Home Member

      Porter doesn't fly to ORD. They fly to MDW.

    2. dx Guest

      Right but not hard to imagine they could change that in the future as it's not slot-restricted and they have the planes to do so.

  11. Ben L. Diamond

    My wife and I are sitting on a huge pile of Alaska miles that have little value to us for two reasons. First, of course, is the widespread shortage of award availability. Second is the fact that we have a 4-year-old with another on the way. I can't imagine we'd be looking to redeem in a premium cabin to Europe or Asia in the next five years. However, I can very easily imagine us booking...

    My wife and I are sitting on a huge pile of Alaska miles that have little value to us for two reasons. First, of course, is the widespread shortage of award availability. Second is the fact that we have a 4-year-old with another on the way. I can't imagine we'd be looking to redeem in a premium cabin to Europe or Asia in the next five years. However, I can very easily imagine us booking four seats to Toronto out of Midway for a 3-5 day family trip. This partnership could be very useful for us!

  12. Nate Guest

    I miss the AA PHL to YOW flight. Even though Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa are so close they can be EXPENSIVE to fly to and the award space is few and far between.

  13. Dave Y Guest

    Let’s not forget that Alaska Airlines just announced it will be buying Hawaiian airlines.

    When you combine these complementary networks, we’ll have about 1,400 flights a day. Those 1,400 flights, only have 12 overlap markets. So from a competitive standpoint, I think that the Porter partnership does really well for Canadian travellers.

    In fact data from Cirium, an aviation analytics firm, shows that Hawaiian airlines has 24% of the available seats on flights between the...

    Let’s not forget that Alaska Airlines just announced it will be buying Hawaiian airlines.

    When you combine these complementary networks, we’ll have about 1,400 flights a day. Those 1,400 flights, only have 12 overlap markets. So from a competitive standpoint, I think that the Porter partnership does really well for Canadian travellers.

    In fact data from Cirium, an aviation analytics firm, shows that Hawaiian airlines has 24% of the available seats on flights between the mainland United States and Hawaii, and Alaska already has 15%, the fourth most behind Hawaiian, United and Southwest, so combining the two would give a single carrier nearly 40% of the capacity on those flights and a real opportunity for vacationing Canadian passengers.

  14. JP Guest

    As someone who lives in Ottawa, which Porter is building into a focus city, I am delighted to read this. Ottawa currently has no one-world airlines serving it, and I have a bunch of Alaska miles to spend from previously living in an Alaska hub. Porter almost always has award availability through its VIPorter program, so hopefully there will be good award partner availability through MileagePlan on Porter once reciprocal redemptions are permitted. I realize...

    As someone who lives in Ottawa, which Porter is building into a focus city, I am delighted to read this. Ottawa currently has no one-world airlines serving it, and I have a bunch of Alaska miles to spend from previously living in an Alaska hub. Porter almost always has award availability through its VIPorter program, so hopefully there will be good award partner availability through MileagePlan on Porter once reciprocal redemptions are permitted. I realize that Alaska will devalue it program in March, but this partnership opens one-world redemption opportunities from Ottawa. Currently, if I want to redeem on one-world, I have to drive two hours to Montreal, or buy a positioning flight.

    1. CP@YOW Guest

      Exactly. I had a couple credit card signup bonuses over 10 years ago that I got good value out of but am left with about 15K AS miles that I haven't been able to use, being in Ottawa. And if I do fly oneworld (sometimes within Europe), I already have Avios that I can use. Happy to potentially get some value out of this.

  15. roger Guest

    Hopefully this initial partnership with Alaska will be a springboard to further cooperation of Porter with other ONEWORLD Carriers such as American, British, Qantas,JAL Cathay and Qatar. Alaska and American could certainly benefit with more coverage throughout Canada and Porter Customers could take advantage of the the US Network that the other two carriers offer.

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JohnG Guest

Care to elaborate?

0
T- Guest

What a great combination (?) Now one can fly to Maui, Seattle and Toronto on one ticket.

0
Weymar Osborne Gold

Will one of those two airlines launch service between Seattle and Toronto to compete with Air Canada?

0
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