Alaska Airlines Is Cutting Flights to 7 Major Cities, Starting in November
The carrier is scaling back departures to Maui in the wake of devastating wildfires.
One of the more frustrating parts about flying is that things can change just as you're getting comfortable with the experience. Sometimes, this means revising policies on certain perks like lounge access that only affect certain travelers. Others can be more controversial, such as overhauling the boarding process. But even though it may seem like the most basic move of all, carriers often change their schedules in ways that can significantly impact travel plans. And now, Alaska Airlines is cutting flights to seven major cities beginning in November. Read on to see which destinations will be affected by the dropped departures.
Alaska Airlines is scaling back its flights to Maui in the wake of tragic natural disaster.
The devastating wildfires that swept across Maui just weeks ago may finally be extinguished, but their effects are far from gone. The island suffered the tragic loss of at least 115 people, and entire towns were destroyed during one of the worst natural disasters in Hawaii's history, The New York Times reports. Residents are now in the earliest phases of what will be a long and painful rebuilding and recovery process, with as many as 6,000 people still displaced by the tragedy.
The popular vacation destination is also experiencing a decline in visitors in the aftermath, which has decreased demand for flights to the island. As a result, Alaska Airlines has revised its fall schedule and will be cutting flights to Maui Kahului Airport (OGG) from six mainland cities beginning in November, Simple Flying reports.
The changes will affect service from a half-dozen cities.
Schedule data shows that Alaska has pared back 14 percent of its overall service to the Hawaiian island in November, Simple Flying reports. The most affected Maui route will be from San Jose International Airport (SJC) in California, with eight flights dropped from the schedule. The carrier is dropping seven flights from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) that month as well.
Alaska Airlines will drop four flights each in November to the island destination from Portland International Airport (PDX), Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), and San Diego International Airport (SAN), per Simple Flying. And Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC) will have one flight to Maui dropped that month.
A spokesperson for Alaska Airlines confirmed the changes in an email to Best Life, noting that the carrier was still evaluating its flight schedule to and from Maui for mid-October and further out amid decreased demand.
Other major airlines have also scaled back flights to Maui through the fall.
Alaska Airlines isn't alone in scaling back service to Maui in the wake of the devastating wildfires. Other major carriers have also cut flights in response to the natural disaster.
This week, Delta confirmed it had cut its route from Atlanta Hartfield Airport (ATL) to OGG, initially scheduled to restart next month, with all existing data showing no flights planned through at least August 2024. It also dropped its planned route from its hub at Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) to Maui that was set to launch in December, according to an X post by aviation news site @IshrionA.
Weeks ago, American Airlines confirmed it also would reduce service, dropping 50 flights to Maui from LAX over September and an additional 31 flights in October, Simple Flying reported. The carrier also made minor changes to its Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) route, dropping one flight initially scheduled for that month.
And United Airlines confirmed changes of its own. As of Aug. 19, the carrier said it had dropped all flights from Denver International Airport (DEN) to Maui through at least Oct. 29, per Simple Flying. It also suspended service from Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD) as of Sept. 1 while scaling back flights from Los Angeles and San Francisco International Airport (SFO) throughout the month.
There are still travel restrictions in place for parts of Maui, but visitors can access other areas to aid in recovery.
As Maui recovers, parts of the popular island remain under travel restrictions until at least Oct. 8 as residents rebuild, NPR reports. But officials are still hopeful that Maui's thriving tourism industry can help stimulate recovery.
"We ask that people please not travel to the area affected by the disaster in West Maui until further notice, except for returning residents and authorized emergency relief workers," Hawaii Gov. Josh Green said in a press conference on Aug. 18. "However, all other areas of Maui and the rest of Hawai'i are safe and open to visitors, and we continue to welcome and encourage travel to our beautiful state, which will support the local economy and help speed the recovery of those who have already suffered so much."
In an email to Best Life, a spokesperson for Alaska Airlines said the carrier was eager to help Maui recover. Besides encouraging travel, the company has highlighted local businesses that could use support and has listed several charities accepting donations and volunteers.