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Passengers May Benefit From More Flight Options

Air Passengers in Alaska and Hawaii Could Enjoy More Travel Options, Better Benefits

Joanna Teljeur
Written By Joanna Teljeur
2 minutes read
Last Updated: December 05, 2023

Industry analysts say that positive changes in air travel are in store for residents of Hawaii and Alaska following Monday’s merger of Alaska and Hawaiian Airlines.

Alaska Airlines introduced a $1.9 billion agreement on Sunday to merge with its smaller counterpart, contingent on approval which should come sometime in 2024. Hawaiian Airline shareholders must also approve the deal, but the premium offered by Alaska Airlines suggests that the approval is nearly certain. Hawaiian Airlines’ stock value tripled on Monday which underscores the enormous benefits the merger will have on its shareholders.

Increased benefits for passengers in both states

Air passengers in both Hawaii and Alaska are expected to enjoy the benefits of more travel options. This is especially true for Alaskans who take frequent trips to Hawaii. The merger could also give Alaskans more access to the various Hawaiian destinations including international destinations like Japan and Australia via Seattle or Honolulu. Also, passengers can look forward to the possibility of boosting their mileage rewards with Alaskan Airlines since Hawaiian Airlines isn’t currently a miles partner.

The combined company plans to operate a hub in Honolulu that would be second only to the headquarters in Seattle. Both airlines were founded more than 90 years ago in their respective states and focus their business to residents in more remote areas which provides much needed services.

More international and domestic destinations 

Industry analyst Brett Snyder pointed out that the merger helps to align with Alaska Airlines’ focus in the West Coast market where there is a large and growing demand for flights to Hawaii. Airline passengers will also enjoy the new travel possibilities that will arise from the combination of Hawaiian widebody aircraft for international flights with Alaska’s narrow-body planes for domestic flights. The merger could make Honolulu a trans-Pacific hub that would give Alaskans more travel options.

Even though some Alaskans are skeptical, the majority view the deal as an exciting development. The merger could bring new life to Honolulu’s status as a trans-Pacific hub which could provide more travel opportunities and mileage redemption.

Waiting for regulatory approval

The merger, as it stands, will not affect operations until regulatory approval is finalized. The plan is to maintain both airline brands under one rewards program. The new company hopes to offer flights to 138 destinations as well as non-stop flights to 29 international destinations.

The merger is generally supported by financial service firms even though there is some concern about regulatory scrutiny. While the deal makes sense to some, they still worry that federal regulators may not approve it.

The merger should bring benefits to residents in both states and strengthen each airline individually. One potential drawback, especially for Hawaiians, is that the new headquarters in Seattle could have a negative impact on local jobs.

Peter Forman, an aviation historian, feels that Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines are an ideal match as both have a commitment to offering service to communities that rely heavily on aviation. He sees the move as a positive fit for both airlines.

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