Alaska Airlines launches new daily route between San Diego and Atlanta

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Alaska Airlines is expanding in the Peach State.

The Seattle-based carrier announced Monday that it is adding a new daily route from San Diego International Airport (SAN) to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) that begins flying May 16, 2024.

With the new route, Atlanta becomes Alaska’s 37th destination out of San Diego.

Alaska’s latest expansion into Atlanta — which also happens to be Delta Air Lines’ biggest hub — comes after the carrier launched a new status match offer; the offer aims to entice loyal Delta flyers into Alaska’s frequent flyer program after Delta enacted some controversial changes to its program. Alaska currently only flies to Atlanta from its Seattle hub.

Until Oct. 31, Alaska is allowing SkyMiles Medallion members to match within the Mileage Plan program, which also includes matches into Alaska’s top-tier MVP Gold 100K status. This tier has otherwise been historically difficult to reach through a status match.

Delta recently overhauled its SkyMiles program, now allowing customers to earn miles and Medallion status through how much money they spend rather than considering the amount of miles flown. The changes unleashed a firestorm on social media, with many decrying the new loyalty program and some even saying they’ll no longer fly with Delta. Ever since the changes, competitor airlines have been trying to court Delta flyers.

JetBlue on Tuesday launched a similar status match offer for Delta loyalists.

Kirsten Amrine, Alaska’s vice president of revenue management and network planning, said in a statement that the carrier wanted to add the daily route because San Diego and Atlanta are both popular leisure and business destinations.

“We’re excited to connect the cities, especially since Atlanta is our largest unserved transcontinental market from San Diego,” Amrine said.

Kimberly Becker, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority’s president and CEO, lauded the new route.

“This new nonstop service to Atlanta offers Southern Californians direct access to Georgia’s capital and key economic center, while providing easy access for Georgians to the warmth and beauty of San Diego,” Becker said in a statement.