I had a nonstop flight booked from Los Angeles to Medford Aug. 15 on Alaska/Horizon. I have just been notified that all of the nonstops in both directions on that airline have been cancelled starting Aug. 3 until Sept 3. Those flights are virtually always full, and it's the height of tourist season. I now have five hours of travel via Seattle instead of two. Why is this happening?
— Paul S., Ashland
We hear Seattle is beautiful this time of year, Paul. Think of close-ups of Mount Rainier and the Seattle skyline as an added benefit.
Here's the deal: For that month, Alaska doesn't have enough planes to cover all of its obligations, so something had to give. In a tug-of-war with other routes, the Medford-Los Angeles International trip lost out.
The good news is that it's only for a month. And remember, there are a couple of other direct flight options: Allegiant Air's thrice-weekly service to LAX and the recent addition of a daily American Eagle flight.
The Alaska flight to Los Angeles usually leaves at 6:47 a.m. and returns at 10:47 at night. Earlier this week, Medford airport Director Bern Case received a letter from Alaska Airlines, about the scheduling change.
"They gave us a heads-up; they aren't required to do that," Case said. "The fact they gave us a restart date takes out some of the sting, and they've booking in September. They call it a seasonal adjustment."
In reality, Alaska just needed the aircraft somewhere else.
"It could be they added too many routes, have a broken plane, or they're not getting a plane they counted on delivered on time."
Coupled with the fact Alaska is flying one less daily trip between the Rogue Valley and Seattle, getting back and forth can be problematic.
Case said the regional jets that Alaska's Horizon unit is hoping to deploy over the next few years are slow in arriving from the factory.
"Everybody is suffering growing pains right now, it's a tough deal," Case said.
He said pricing on American Eagle flights is comparable to Alaska's.
"Depending on your loyalty program, American would be a good option," he said.
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