The feud between Delta Airlines and Alaska Airlines enters a new stage as the partnership that allowed their airport club members to visit each others lounges has been discontinued effective January 1st 2016.
The two carriers are in a bitter fight over the Seattle gateway which is also Alaska Airlines Hub on the west coast of the United States.
In the past both airlines have been cancelling a good number of code share flights after Delta Airlines tried to feed more Alaska passengers onto their own long haul flights ex Seattle. Alaska didn’t like this plan as it would have undermined some lucrative partnerships they have with selected international carriers such as British Airways or Korean Airlines.
There is a detailed article on Alaska Dispatch News (access here) about that dispute. I wont go into details because it’s not really related to the matter on hand.
Now both airlines have announced on their websites that the end of their reciprocal lounge benefits is near. Effective January 1st 2016 members of both Alaska Board Room & Delta Sky Club will not be able to access each others lounges anymore.
Here is the announcement on the Alaska Airlines website (access here).
At the same time Delta Airlines also informs their members about the changes (see here).
From what can be read it certainly sounds like that this change originates from Alaska Airlines, though you never really know. It wouldn’t be surprising given the relatively cheap pricing of the Alaska Airlines Boardroom Membership (as low as 295 USD for 75k Elites – or 340$ for non Elites in a 3-year subscription) compared to Delta Skyclub who charges 450$ per year. I can see how Alaska pays quite a bit out of pocket if a frequent Delta passenger utilizes this substantially cheaper membership.
It’s hard to determine what the motivator has been for the termination of the lounge agreement, either pure financials or a higher purpose such as not wanting to mix with Delta customers anymore.
Alaska Airlines has a very useful network for those traveling on the West Coast. I really like their flights between Los Angeles and Vancouver because they use proper aircraft and not regional jets. Their frequent flyer program Mileage Plan is great because they have a wide variety of partner airlines to collect miles on including Emirates, Korean Air, American, British Airways, Iceland Air, Hainan & Fiji. Some of these airlines you fly only once in a blue moon and it’s not worth to enroll in their own FFP for that. Alaska offers a great way to pool such flights mileage wise.