Airport officials discuss fares, scheduling with Alaska

By on Thursday, June 20th, 2019 in Local News

Photo via the Walla Walla Airport website.

WALLA WALLA, Washington – Walla Walla Regional Airport Manager Jennifer Skoglund says officials are talking to Alaska Airlines about having a consistent schedule. Frequent flyers in and out of the airport, have noticed a lack of consistency in the flight schedule.

Skoglund says that it’s important to keep the flight schedule “as easy and as reliable as possible.”

Through the end of August, Alaska Airlines will serve Walla Walla Regional Airport with three flights a day, four days a week. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, two flights are scheduled.

The airport does not have the official schedule through fall, but Skoglund said it looks like the schedule will remain the same through early to mid-November.

Last year, Alaska Airlines eliminated the third flight a day from its August to November schedule. It appears that will not be the case in 2019.

“That just was a big negative because the weather is getting cooler a little cooler here, wine tasting picks up,” she said. “So we were very excited to hear that will be in place for this year.”

Officials also discussed ticket pricing with the airline

“With our own searches and then hearing from members of the public, we are finding that the pricing was getting a little out of whack here in Walla Walla,” Skoglund said.

She said there’s been a verbal agreement with Alaska Airlines that they would common rate Walla Walla Regional Airport with the Tri-Cities Airport in Pasco within about $20.

“Now, obviously, because of supply and demand, it’s not all seats, but they try to, when possible, at least make it equitable for Walla Walla and for Pasco,” Skoglund said.

The price was getting much lower in Pasco or higher in Walla Walla, and that was a reason that would prompt Walla Walla customers to drive to Pasco and fly out, even with the parking fees charged at the Tri-Cities Airport.

“The price was so great, even with our free parking, we weren’t retaining some people here,” Skoglund said.

The talks appeared to pay off, Skoglund said. Within a week of meeting with Alaska, there were some positive changes made to pricing on the airline’s website.

She said the Port of Walla Walla makes comments when they can to Alaska Airlines and also emphasized the port reminds the airline that it’s vital to retain Walla Walla passengers because if they choose to fly out of Pasco, there’s a good chance Alaska may lose business since other airlines service the Tri-Cities Airport.