Alaska, Virgin America add non-stops from Portland and L.A. to eastern US

Two of the airlines operated by Seattle-headquartered Alaska Air Group (NYSE:ALK) will begin new daily non-stop service connecting Portland, Oregon (PDX) and Los Angeles International (LAX) to three major hubs in the eastern United States.

Alaska Airlines will begin daily flights from PDX to Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW) on Aug. 30 and from PDX to New York's John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) beginning Nov. 6. Virgin America will begin daily flights from LAX to Philadelphia International (PHL) on Sept. 1.

With this new service, Alaska and Virgin America will provide Portland residents access to 130 daily nonstop flights to 58 destinations, more than any other carrier serving PDX, the carrier said in a statement announcing the new service.

This added service provides Portland-based travelers greater access to two of the New York metropolitan area’s major airports: JFK and Newark International (EWR). JFK is the country's busiest international gateway, and is a prime point of connection for fliers traveling to Europe and beyond. With the new service to Detroit, Alaska Airlines will offer the only daily, year-round nonstop service from Portland to the Motor City, the company said.

Virgin America’s LAX-PHL flight, which adds to the 27 new markets the combined airline has added from California since their merger in December, reestablished service to a market that Virgin America previously served from April 2012 to October 2014.

Schedule of new service

Starting Aug. 30, Alaska flights will depart PDX daily at 10:30 p.m., arriving at DTW at 5:30 a.m. the following day. Return flights will leave Detroit at 7 a.m., arriving in the Rose City at 8:45 a.m.

Virgin America’s Philly-bound flights will leave LAX daily at 8:45 p.m. starting Sept. 1, arriving at PHL at 5 a.m. the next morning. Return flights will leave Philadelphia at 6:30 a.m., arriving on the West Coast at 9:26 a.m.

Starting Nov. 6, Alaska’s daily flights to JFK will depart at 11:05 p.m., arriving in New York at 7:30 a.m. the next day. Return flights will leave The Big Apple at 9:30 a.m., arriving in Portland at 12:55 p.m.

Alaska’s flights will be operated with Boeing (NYSE:BA) 737 aircraft, which Alaska operates in seven different configurations, according to, including a “Combi” version which carries a combination of passenger and cargo, generally within the state of Alaska.

Of the six versions operated in the Lower 48, First Class seats are generally 21 inches wide with 36 inches of pitch, while Economy seats are 17 inches wide with between 31 and 32 inches of pitch on most aircraft. Where available, Premium Economy seats are also 17 inches wide but offer 35 inches of pitch. Pitch is the distance from the back of one seat to the back of the seat in front of it, and is generally used as an indication of the amount of legroom available.

Virgin America’s flights will be operated using aircraft in the Airbus A320 family. According to, those aircraft currently offer First Class seats that are 21 inches wide with 55 inches of pitch, Main Cabin Select (premium economy) seats that are 17.7 inches wide with 38 inches of pitch, and standard Economy seats that are 17.7 inches wide with 32 inches of pitch.

More information is available and tickets can be purchased on Alaska Airlines’ website and Virgin America’s website.

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Photos by Carl Dombek
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