Alaska Airlines expands partnership with British Airways, offers direct flight to US destinations

Alaska Airlines has announced an expansion of its long-standing partnership with British Airways, a founding member of the oneworld alliance, by enabling guests to book nonstop British Airways flights to London directly at alaskaair.com.

This seamless travel experience includes flights between London Heathrow and Alaska’s gateway airports in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, as well as Chicago and New York JFK.

‘We’re excited to add our longstanding partner, British Airways, to our growing portfolio of alaskaair.com book direct airlines,’ said Andrew Harrison, chief commercial officer for Alaska Airlines. ‘London is one the most requested global gateways by our guests and no one serves it better than British Airways and the oneworld alliance.’

British Airways offers significant service to and from London and key West Coast gateways, including:

* Seattle: Two daily flights

* Portland: Daily flight

* San Francisco: Two daily flights

* Los Angeles: Three daily flights

* San Diego: Two daily flights

Additionally, guests can book British Airways nonstop flights from Chicago (three daily flights) and New York JFK (eight daily flights) on alaskaair.com. British Airways tickets purchased on alaskaair.com are for flights beginning June 18 and beyond. Later this year, guests will also be able to purchase Alaska flights connecting to British Airways, along with flights beyond London on British Airways.

‘We are extending our partnership with our fellow oneworld member Alaska Airlines to offer travellers seamless access to British Airways flights to London directly at alaskaair.com,’ said British Airways Chief Planning and Strategy Officer Neil Chernoff. ‘It will enhance the travel experience for our customers, providing convenient connections between London Heathrow and Alaska’s key gateway airports. We look forward to connecting even more travellers between the Pacific Northwest and the UK capital.’

Mileage Plan members earn one mile for every mile flown on British Airways flights booked at alaskaair.com, with 100% elite qualifying miles (EQMs) also awarded. Additionally, flights purchased with the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature credit card earn triple miles, including overseas flights on British Airways.

Aer Lingus to commence new Dublin-Seattle direct service

Irish airlines Aer Lingus is launching a new four times weekly, year-round direct service to Seattle from Dublin Airport.

The new Seattle service will have onward connections from Dublin to 24 other cities including Berlin, Edinburgh, Brussels and Hamburg. Seattle will be Aer Lingus’ third city on the west coast of the US with direct flights from Dublin, the other direct services being to San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Commenting on the new service, Dublin Airport Managing Director Vincent Harrison said, ‘This is Aer Lingus’ 13th transatlantic route from Dublin Airport and its tenth new transatlantic route in the past four years. I have no doubt Seattle will be a popular destination for both business and leisure passengers and will further boost trade and travel between Ireland and the US.’

‘Dublin Airport’s transatlantic traffic has doubled in the past five years and Dublin is now the fifth largest airport in Europe for North American connectivity after Heathrow, Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam,’ added Harrison.

Passengers travelling on Aer Lingus’ new service to Seattle will use US Pre Clearance facilities at Dublin, enabling them to save time on arrival in the US by completing all the necessary immigration and customs checks prior to departure. A pre cleared passenger will be able skip all queues on arrival in the US airport.

The new service to Seattle is one of five new long-haul routes being launched by Aer Lingus this year. The Irish airline has already launched a new direct service to Philadelphia in March, Air Canada will operate flights to Montreal, Cathay Pacific will launch a new direct route to Hong Kong and Hainan Airlines will start direct services to Beijing.

This summer season Dublin Airport will have flights to 195 destinations in 42 countries, operated by 56 airlines, the airport said. More than 8.7 million passengers have travelled through Dublin Airport in the first four months of this year.

Book-loving tourists swarm to US cities

US cities, Portland and Seattle, have been attracting the attention of tourists who are visiting them following their depiction in the novel, Fifty Shades of Grey.

The novel, which is being hailed as an erotic best seller, is expected to increase tourist flows into the two cities. Many of the ‘important’ scenes in the novel take place in Seattle and Portland, and with plans afoot for a film version of the book, the cities are attracting more tourists who are keen to soak up the novel’s ambience. Hotels and service companies have reported higher bookings, supposedly due to inquisitive customers that have been eager to visit the places depicted in the novel.

To re-live the scenes in the novel, tourists have been making dinner reservations, visiting bars, or simply taking in the cities’ atmosphere. There are passages in the book where the main protagonists meet in an elevator, and now the elevator has become a star attraction for tourists.

Hotels have been quick to capitalise on the interest, and for those who want to create their own fantasy, hotels in Seattle and Portland have come up with elaborate packages. One example is Seattle’s Hotel Max, which offers a $1,669 two-night package that also includes a skippered sunset cruise. The sail around Puget Sound enjoyed by the book’s characters has inspired the cruise.

There are also other more-costly packages that include appetisers, wine, dinner and a helicopter ride over Portland.

Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James is part of a trilogy, and has retained its number one spot on the New York Times bestseller’s list for fiction for the past 22 weeks.