Emirates has expanded its network in North America through an expanded partnership with Alaska Airlines.
The proposed agreement, which requires government approval, will result in Emirates adding its EK airline code on more than 300 daily Alaska-operated flights to 49 destinations in the United States and Canada, including Honolulu, Las Vegas, Anchorage, Calgary and Edmonton, among others.
The codeshares add to Emirates’ existing network of 11 North American cities with its own metal – Boston, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, Los Angeles, New York (JFK), Orlando, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto and Washington DC. Emirates also has a codeshare arrangement with Jetblue.
While not as extensive as Emirates’ global alliance with Qantas, the Dubai-based carrier’s arrangement with Alaska also includes reciprocal frequent flyer benefits such as priority boarding and priority checkin, as well as lounge access.
Emirates and Alaska’s partnership began in 2012, when the airlines established an interline agreement and allowed members of their frequent flyer programs Skywards and Mileage Plan, respectively, to redeem points and miles for travel on each other’s networks.
It was also in 2012 that Emirates began daily service to Seattle, which is Alaska’s biggest base, with a Boeing 777-300ER. The airline then added a second daily flight to Seattle in July 2015 with a Boeing 777-200LR. Both flights, to a lesser extent Emirates’ Los Angeles and San Francisco service, have received significant feed from Alaska.
“As Seattle’s hometown airline, our partnership already connects 2,500 customers a week to Emirates and we expect that to increase as we streamline the travel experience for customers traveling between Alaska and Emirates,” Alaska chief executive Brad Tilden said in a statement.
A report in August said the one-day record for passengers transferring between the two carriers was 410.
Emirates president Sir Tim Clark said Alaska’s “superior service and exceptional connectivity across the US and Canada, particularly in the Pacific Northwest, perfectly complements our global network and extends the range of travel options for both our customer bases”.
“Passengers will appreciate the greater choice, improved connections and many added comforts and conveniences such as lounge access and priority check-in, as a result of our new codeshare agreement with Alaska Airlines,” Clark said in a statement.
In terms of the lounge access arrangement, Emirates Skywards Gold and Platinum can use Alaska’s premium lounges in Anchorage, Seattle, Portland, and Los Angeles when they are booked on an Emirates flight that connects with an Alaska service. Meanwhile, Alaska MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K members can use the Emirates business class lounge at Dubai.