Alaska Airlines adding flights to LAX from Fresno

Just a quick post to share some news from Fresno2Minneapolis on Twitter. Starting in September, Alaska Airlines will begin service twice a day between Fresno and Los Angeles! The flight will be on an Embraer RJ-175, operated by Skywest.

If all goes as planned, they would join American Airlines and United on this route. Note that due to COVID-19, those flights are currently not operating. However, if they come back as before, there would be 10 daily flights between the two cities.

The flight schedule, (assuming no more Coronavirus changes) from Fresno to LAX would be as follows:

6:00 AA
6:20 UA
7:30 Alaska
8:01 UA
11:55 AA
13:55 UA
14:00 Alaska
16:10 AA
17:57 UA
19:15 AA

The morning flight slots in at a good time. The 2pm flight would be better an hour later. Of course, they plan for connections, so it’s not easy. Here is the flight schedule from LAX to Fresno

10:20 AA
11:25 UA
12:05 Alaska
14:25 AA
14:42 UA
17:15 AA
18:10 UA
19:55 AA
19:55 Alaska
20:48 UA

Flying at the EXACT SAME TIME as American is pretty dumb.

Aside from that…the flight addition provides new competition on the route, which is much needed because AA and UA have been seen to charge really high fares unless you are connecting elsewhere. When I looked at the most common destinations for people flying from Fresno, I found that the average fare to LAX was $264. Alaska, as an airline with a strong focus on California, will push that down.

Additionally, this will allow for better connections. Unless you’re going to Asia, Seattle is too far out of the way for most routings. The new flight will offer a lot more options, especially for onward travel to Mexico.

If you’re going to the East Coast, there’s good and bad news. Ordinarily, Alaska offers a number of flights to major East Coast destinations from LAX. In fact, they bought Virgin America for those routes. Sadly, they haven’t done that well, and today they announced the following routes would be dropped for the next few months:

LAX – Boston
LAX – Baltimore
LAX – New York JFK
LAX – Washington Dulles
LAX – Chicago O’Hare

But again, this is also subject to change with the virus stuff. On the other side, Alaska today announced new flights between San Jose and Spokane, and the return of their Portland-Denver flights. For being a smaller city and metro than Fresno, Spokane airport sure is well connected … That reminds me, maybe I should update my look at peer cities once the COVID changes settle down.

Did anyone have this flight on their bingo card? In previous posts, I mentioned that Alaska was really ramping up their west coast activity, so a new flight from them is not a surprise. I thought they’d go for San Jose airport though. The other big question is whether the other airlines will try and answer this. I still think Houston from United would be a good addition, especially for connections to Mexico and Latin America. On the other hand, Delta has the weakest presence at FAT, and they might want to compete with Alaska on the Seattle route, as Seattle is the number one destination for Fresno flyers.

8 Replies to “Alaska Airlines adding flights to LAX from Fresno”

  1. I would say SEA is also a good connecting spot for Western Canada (YVR/YYJ/YYC/YEG) and Alaska. Otherwise good post! I am betting AS will be the next new route announcement…2-3 times per week to HNL or SJD. But, IAH has merits too.

    1. Right now I highly doubt the startup of HNL or SJD by AS since they have been cutting Hawaii flights from smaller West Coast airports like SMF because of competition with WN. Maybe they start one of these flights up seasonally and test it since WN does not currently serve FAT. I agree with the IAH flight as well, but I’d think that UA would need to strengthen its DEN flight mainly with more added mainline before starting IAH up, which will most likely be similar to the ORD trial with an e175 and if it’s successful they can bump it up to mainline.

      1. Well, AS is completely dropping SMF-SAN, probably also because of competition with Southwest, yet they recently added a flight to the FAT-SAN route. I think that (plus FAT-LAX) says “we don’t want to compete with Southwest,” as well as “Fresno is strong for us.” I really think LAX is testing the market for Hawaii and Mexico service from FAT with this add; the connections to those places in SAN were just ok (many routes didn’t connect every day or had long waits one direction), but in LAX, those flights will connect well. I think there’s a strong chance AS adds a Hawaiian city if they see a lot of connecting traffic going there; same with SJD (SJD could be an E175).

        As for UA, again, it’s not that simple. UA has run one mainline off and on to DEN for about a year pre-COVID, but they also really like operating the CRJ-200 on routes like that (again, looking at SMF, they fly CR2s SMF-LAX and occasionally even SMF-DEN, although SMF-DEN been very rare during the last few years, with more on the CR7 or mainline). They had no problem adding ORD when there was all CRJ service to other cities from FAT, so this could end up the same way, I think. You are spot on they would almost definitely start with an E-175 on the route.

  2. Did you get this info frm Brian in MN? I like Alaska Air…good cust service, they allow a personal carry and a carry on at no additional cost, they have competetive prices. Theyre increasing routes to midsize cities which is good for us. I disagree with you on the Delta thing. They’re fluttering after the pandemic and have no capitol to expand and compete with Alaska Air. I would like more flights to LV or Hawaii, and Houston would be nice as well to connect to Mexico.

    1. Yes I did, and I believe he got the info from here:

      You’re right that Alaska is a better airline (for customers) than American or United. I hear that Delta is really good, but I never fly them because they never go where I go.

      I think it will be challenging to find a second airline to Vegas. The biggest airlines there are Allegiant Air, which we have, Frontier, and Southwest.

  3. This is great news for FAT! I knew that AS or DL we’re going to add LAX at some point! AS’s decision to launch this flight is huge for the airline, especially along with the mainline SEA flight coming soon as well. AS is going to be really serving FAT well and there is going to be growth in the future for them! I agree that IAH is a potential route, but first I think we need to see mainline service to DEN on UA return permanently and maybe add a second flight to ORD before IAH is added to the route map. For AA, I hope to see their 2 daily a319 flights to PHX make a permanent return to FAT and then they could potentially add ORD service. DL is it going to be expanding too much in FAT, apart from maybe an ATL flight in the future, but at the moment I don’t see that happening for a couple more years. I also hope that F9 or NK(don’t serve FAT currently) will launch service to LAS since that is one of the highest O&D markets from FAT!

  4. Agreed, except I could see IAH coming before the second UA ORD flight since it offers better connection to the SE and Mexico. Remember, MCO (and a few other SE cities) has fairly strong O&D from FAT (relative to other O&D markets), that’s in addition to places in Mexico not served on Volaris/AM like Oaxaca. Houston has fairly strong O&D of its own. Also, yes, LAS definitely needs another carrier. AS could actually choose to do it on an E175; they could probably easily make it work SuMoThFr plus maybe a Saturday morning frequency.

    1. I agree with the IAH flight actually! A few days ago, Y4 just announced a direct flight to MEX twice a week, which is huge for FAT! I wonder if as a result, UA will maybe test IAH. I don’t think it’ll be this year but maybe next summer, like the ORD flight. Also, with JBU announcing about a month ago their move to LAX, I think that they could potentially launch a flight to FAT in the future if they operate the A220 out of LAX.

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