Allegiant Air MD-83
If you follow Allegiant Airlines on Twitter, you noticed a lot of announcements for new routes recently. I have been talking a lot about their Boeing 757’s getting painted in their livery, but I wanted to talk about all the new action their MD-80’s will be seeing. Here is a list of new routes they announced that will be starting next week:
Some of the new Allegiant routes start next week
Just in time for the winter to allow people in colder climates to get to warmer ones. All these new flights will be flown by Allegiant’s MD-80 aircraft. This means (hopefully) there should be some more announcements here in the near future that involve Allegiant’s new Boeing 757s.
One destination I am disappointed not to see is Paine Field. As I discussed earlier in the year, Allegiant Air and Horizon Air were looking to fly into Paine Field, which is located about 20 miles north of Seattle. At this point, everyone is still waiting and no decision has been made. Image: Silenus81
Two Horizon Air Q400's at Seattle
Last week I wrote a post about regional airlines and their legacy counterparts and explained how Horizon and Alaska Airline’s relationship is different. Some flights Alaska does pay Horizon to fly, called capacity purchase agreement (CPA), but other flights Horizon flies under its own brand and not being paid by any outside airlines.
Now, it looks like things are changing and Horizon Air will stop flying under its own brand and only fly under CPA. By January 1, 2011 all Horizon brand flights will be converted over to CPA under Alaska.
I spoke with Jen Boyer with Horizon Communications told me, “This is mainly behind the scenes change and do not anticipate any visible changes on the customer facing side.”
I asked if Horizon will be looking for other airlines to fly for and Boyer told me that Horizon will only be working with Alaska at this time and their main goal is to work on increasing profitability. When I asked if the Horizon brand might one day be changed to Alaska, Boyer told me, “the Horizon brand will be on the planes still and out there in the marketplace, no decision has been made to change that aspect at this time.”
Thanks to Dan Webb over at Things in the Sky for pointing out this story!
Me about to board the Q400 in Seattle. I should have waved, presidential-style.
I have flown the route from Seattle to Reno many times in my life. From Reno Air back in the day, to Southwest, to America West to Alaska Airlines. The flight is easy, only about 1.5hrs, enough time to take off, get a drink and snacks and start the descent. In April 2008 Horizon Air took over the route for Alaska and since then, they have been the cheapest to fly. I actually prefer the flight on Horizon’s Q400’s versus Alaska’s Boeing 737 (or MD-80’s back in the day).
The main reason is, I love flying in smaller planes. It really lets the passenger connect with the flying experience. I think a lot of people do not like flying on smaller planes just for this reason. Unlike the larger planes, you get to board on the tarmac, which allows you to see the entire plane, not just a few inches around the door when you board in a jetway. The inside of the Q400 is set up in a 2-2 layout, so you always get a window or aisle. Of course I always go for the window, but I am happy to know if I don’t get one, I won’t be stuck in the middle.
Mount Rainier, just outside of Seattle, was one of many mountains you can see on the Seattle to Reno flight.
On this trip I was in a group of four people, which allowed me to get a few photos of me with the plane and even better photos from both sides of the plane while flying. The flight from Seattle to Reno is beautiful. From Mount Rainier to Crater Lake, if it isn’t cloudy, you are in for a real treat. The Q400’s fly quite a bit lower at about 25,000 feet versus 30,000 to 40,000 with larger aircraft and their wings are high, which means everyone has an awesome view.
We all checked in the day before online and only had carry-ons, so we didn’t have to wait in any Horizon lines, just put up with the security ones. Horizon has a semi-hybrid option between carry-on and checking your bags, called Ala Cart. Since the overhead bins are smaller than you would find on larger aircraft, not all carry-ons can fit in them. If yours cannot fit or you don’t want to lug it on the plane you can put your carry-on on a cart while boarding. They will put it on another cart when you arrive at your destination. It’s way quicker than having to wait in baggage claim not to mention, the Ala Cart option is free. If you do need to check your bag, it will cost you $20 per bag, up to 3 bags. Like their sister carrier, Alaska Airlines, Horizon also provides the 20 minute checked baggage guarantee.
Beautiful downtown Reno, just about to land.
Talking about Alaska Airlines, Horizon’s relationship with them is quite unique. Some people think of Horizon as Alaska’s regional carrier, but they are set up very differently. Both airlines have a parent company, Alaska Air Group which owns and manages both airlines. Most regionals fly for a larger airlines for fees and Horizon will sometimes fly for Alaska, but they mostly fly under their own brand. Horizon has their own marketing department, their own ads and unique brand of service. You will see the two airlines share a website together, but both logos are prominently displayed.
One thing that does make Horizon unique is offering free, regional wines and micro-brews, ah yea…can’t miss out on this. Our flight left at 7:40am, but that didn’t stop us from trying out some of that free local wine and beer. I mean, come-on it was the blog right?! Horizon is also offering free snack-packs on their Seattle to Portland flight, but I have yet been able to experience that first hand.
Passengers were able to de-board from the front and back of the Q400, making it super quick. Employees are getting the Ala Cart bags out.
A passenger in our group (we shall call her “Rita”) was a little apprehensive about flying on a smaller aircraft. I know many others out there have that same fear. However, I quickly pointed out that Horizon Air is extremely safe and has never had a fatality since they started flying in 1981 and haven’t had any sort of incident since 1990. That made Rita feel much more comfortable and after the flight she very much loved her Horizon experience (maybe the glass of wine she had at 8am helped too).
The Horizon Q400’s might be a bit slower than jet airliners, but they are much more cost effective and friendly for the environment. Horizon has green stickers on each of their planes touting how green they are and even painted one of their Q400’s entirely green (can you see “Shrek” as they call it here or here?)
I definitely get excited to fly on Horizon and flying on the Q400’s and hope that some of you can feel a bit more at ease flying in smaller planes in the future.
Check out my (ok our, thanks Ben, Rita and Amy) additional pictures of the trip.
UPDATE: I have been informed there are two green Q400’s, nicknamed “Shrek” and “Fiona.”
Some of the snacking goodness you will find in the box! Photo from Clint @ Horizon -- Thanks!
I love watching TV on the internet. I don’t even have cable anymore. Yea I still have to sit through a few advertisements, but totally worth it to get 100% free online shows. There have been many instances where looking at ads get you free stuff. Now Horizon Airlines and Air Advertainment are bringing a limited number of passengers free food!
On May 24th passengers on Horizon Air flight 2631 from Seattle to Portland were able to experience the first free food. The first test is being sponsored by Creative Labs, which is promoting a Facebook contest to name a new video camera. The boxes include a variety of snacks and over the next 20 days some 25,000 boxes will be handed out to Horizon passengers.
“With certain airlines cutting services and adding charges, this program is a welcome addition for passengers and operators alike,” said Mary L. Macesich, co-founder and Vice President of Air Advertainment. “Passengers are thrilled to receive a snack or bite to eat, the airlines are excited to be able to provide it at no cost, and the brand finally has the ability to connect with the public in captive environment where they are spending time, largely undistracted. All with a social media kick.”
There is a lot of potential here, since passengers are stuck (well, I love flying, so I never see it as “stuck” but most people do) in the airplane and now have something to entertain them. Like reading the ads on a bus for entertainment purposes.
Companies could also advertise on the boxes and put coupons like “take this to our Seattle/Portland location and get 20% off.”
“We can broadcast in a big way to build a brand image or be really razor sharp with accuracy just like in the Seattle-Portland market,” Mr. Matway said. He said the demographic of the Horizon airline passenger flying that route is of a very tech-oriented and sophisticated traveler with an income of more than $100,000. “Marketers have asked if they could control all of the flights into the [consumer-electronics show] or sporting events like the Super Bowl,” Ryan Matway, president of Air Advertainment told Adage.com.
I like this. It is a win-win-win for all involved. Depending on the contract, airlines could actually walk away making money on giving away free food. Airlines could MAKE MONEY giving out food and passengers pay nothing? How could other airlines not want to add this service?
Jen Boyer Manager of Media Relations for Horizon Air told me that, “passengers have reacted very favorably to the snacks.” When I asked if Horizon is making money off this arrangement, Boyer explained, “While we don’t normally comment on our business practices with other businesses, I can tell you our primary motivation in this partnership was to elevate our inflight services for our customers. Now, in addition to free Northwest wines and microbrews, Starbucks coffee, water and sodas, we offer a nice snack pack free of charge.” If things go well, Horizon is hoping to add the free snacks on additional flights.
Cheers to both Air Advertainment and Horizon for making this work and I hope to see these on more flights in the future!