FILE - In this Sunday, Aug. 23, 2015, file photo, a Virgin Atlantic passenger plane crosses a waxing gibbous moon on its way to the Los Angeles International Airport, in Whittier, Calif. On Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016, Alaska Airlines said it has won government approval to buy rival Virgin America after agreeing to reduce its flight-selling partnership with American Airlines. (AP Photo/Nick Ut, File)

FILE - In this Sunday, Aug. 23, 2015, file photo, a Virgin Atlantic passenger plane crosses a waxing gibbous moon on its way to the Los Angeles International Airport, in Whittier, Calif. On Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016, Alaska Airlines said it has won government approval to buy rival Virgin America after agreeing to reduce its flight-selling partnership with American Airlines. (AP Photo/Nick Ut, File)

What Alaska Air and Delta’s break-up means for Juneau travelers

As of April 30, 2017, Alaska Airlines and Delta Air Lines will no longer be partners. That means Alaska’s Mileage Plan travelers won’t be able to earn or redeem miles on Delta flights, and vice versa. In addition, travelers won’t find Delta flights listed on Alaska’s website, or Alaska flights on Delta’s website.

“This should come as no surprise as our relationship has become increasingly competitive over the last few years,” Charles Breer, Alaska Airlines’ managing director of alliances, wrote on the airline’s blog.

Alaska and Delta both announced the end of their partnership Dec. 19 shortly after the merger between Alaska and Virgin America.

“The decision is a positive milestone for both airlines as Alaska focuses on its merger integration with Virgin America and Delta focuses on creating more customer choice at its Seattle-Tacoma International Airport hub,” Liz Savadelis wrote on the Delta website.

Alaska and Delta travelers can still earn partner miles if flights were booked prior to Dec. 18. Tickets booked on or after Dec. 19 for travel through April 30 can also still earn partner miles. Alaska and Delta travelers will not earn partner miles for anything booked on or after Dec. 19 for travel beginning May 1, when the mileage and codeshare partnership will officially be over.

“Everybody kind of knew that was coming,” travel analyst Scott McMurren said on the phone Tuesday. McMurren writes the Alaska Travelgram website and newsletter.

“This marriage has been on ice for a couple of years ever since Delta planted its flag in Seattle as an international hub,” he explained.

The relationship between the two airlines was further strained, he added, when Delta started serving Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan and Fairbanks. Delta, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, started flying between the capital city and Seattle in the spring and summer of 2014.

“Going forward you will not have the convenience of another hub carrier there in Seattle,” McMurren said.

But, he added, Alaska has “really stepped up their game” when it comes to flights out of Seattle, where the airline is headquartered, “primarily as a result of Delta moving in.” Alaska flies to 89 destinations from Seattle.

The carrier also recently announced enhancements to its mileage plan, including award travel starting at 5,000 miles. The lowest award tier used to start at 7,500 miles. McMurren said Juneau travelers can fly to Anchorage for 5,000 miles instead of 7,5000 miles, and to Seattle for 10,000 miles instead of 12,500.

When Delta returns to Juneau in May, McMurren said the lower fares to Seattle and beyond will return. He said the broken partnership “will only exacerbate the price competition between the two carriers.”

• Contact reporter Lisa Phu at 523-2246 or lisa.phu@juneauempire.com.

FILE - In this Monday, Nov. 14, 2016, photo, fueling manager Jarid Svraka looks on as he fuels an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-800 jet with a new, blended alternative jet fuel, at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in SeaTac, Wash. On Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016, Alaska Airlines said it has won government approval to buy rival Virgin America after agreeing to reduce its flight-selling partnership with American Airlines. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

FILE – In this Monday, Nov. 14, 2016, photo, fueling manager Jarid Svraka looks on as he fuels an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-800 jet with a new, blended alternative jet fuel, at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in SeaTac, Wash. On Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016, Alaska Airlines said it has won government approval to buy rival Virgin America after agreeing to reduce its flight-selling partnership with American Airlines. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

Alaska Airlines coming in for a landing on Dec. 9.

Alaska Airlines coming in for a landing on Dec. 9.

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