LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - Alaska makes it tougher to fly in afternoon

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Alaska Airlines (formerly Horizon) has released conflicting information about its service to Walla Walla.

It went to a larger plane because it was more fuel efficient. Does that mean the plane uses less fuel than the smaller plane? Or does it mean the fuel/passenger ratio is less fuel used per passenger if the plane is full?

I interpret "more fuel efficient" to mean it uses less fuel, therefore greater profit for the airline if the plane equals or exceeds the passenger load of the smaller plane (37 passengers I think).

So now we have a plane that carries 78 passengers that is more fuel efficient.

This summer Alaska made a decision to cut midday flights on Tuesday and Wednesday. If you are trying to book a flight via the Internet for future travel after August you may find that the afternoon flight to Walla Walla is not an option if it is a joint flight with Delta.

Instead you have only the evening flight option. If you can connect with the afternoon flight the airfare is higher than the evening flight.

Does this mean Alaska is trying to discourage people from flying on the afternoon flight by charging $75 more for it. And why is the afternoon flight not showing up on share fares for/with other airlines?

If you ask me, Alaska Airlines is doing its best to prove the afternoon flight is not profitable to operate, thus justifying a higher fare, which may persuade a customer to select the evening flight to save money. All the more reason to say the afternoon flight is not profitable.

I suggest the Port approach other airlines and make them an offer they can't refuse if Alaska Airlines can't seem to make a profit with more fuel efficient aircraft and record passenger loads out of Walla Walla.

I have done my best to support local air service, but I find it difficult to support local air service if the "not as profitable" air service makes its options more expensive to justify a cut in service. That is how I see it.

So a message to Alaska Airlines is: If I have to drive to Pasco, I will not fly on Alaska Airlines because I have several more options.

Robert Keatts

Walla Walla

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