Air Travel: Alaska Migrates Virgin America Into Sabre, New Caribbean Flights

Alaska Airlines opened its first East Coast lounge at JFK Airport this week. (Photo by Alaska Airlines)

New updates in Sabre and a number of new flights to the Caribbean lead this week’s air travel news.

Alaska Airlines reports that it has successfully migrated Virgin America into its passenger services system, which is hosted by Sabre. The migration will allow Alaska and Virgin America to use Sabre systems as one unified airline, Alaska said. The systems integration follows Alaska’s move to remove Virgin’s brand presence from its airport areas and plane exteriors, which began April 24.

In flight news, JetBlue is launching its fourth nonstop flight from New York – JFK to Curacao, starting June 19. The new seasonal flight will depart on Tuesdays and operate through the end of the summer. Currently, the airline flies to Curacao on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.

American Airlines is also beefing up its Caribbean routes, starting this winter. From Chicago O’Hare, the airline has added four new routes to Aruba, Grand Cayman, Nassau and Turks and Caicos, while from Miami, it has added seven additional daily frequencies to Barbados, Curacao, Freeport, Puerto Plata, Trinidad and Tobago, Santo Domingo and Saint Lucia, as well as a new route to St. Vincent and the Grenadines. From Charlotte, it has added two new Caribbean routes, to Eleuthera and Marsh Harbour, while from Dallas – Fort Worth, it has added a new route to Aruba.

American also announced this week that it would start adding new flights to Hawaii this winter. The airline will offer daily winter seasonal service to Honolulu from Chicago – O’Hare.

Air Canada’s route updates announced this week includes new nonstop service between Toronto and Omaha, as well as a lineup of 25 new year-round and seasonal routes launching this summer. The new routes will launch through July 2 and include international services such as Vancouver to Paris and Zurich, Toronto to Buenos Aires and Shannon, and Montreal to Tokyo-Narita and Bucharest.

In Europe, Cyprus-based Cobalt Air inaugurated its twice-weekly direct service to Dusseldorf this week, from Larnaca. Dusseldorf is the second German city served by the airline, after Frankfurt.

In policy news this week, United Airlines announced that it will resume shipping pets in the cargo compartment later this summer. Called PetSafe, United had suspended the program after a number of mistakes that included mistakenly sending a customer’s pet dog to Japan instead of Kansas. United had decided to put the program on pause while it reviewed its procedures.

United also said that it has partnered with American Humane to “improve the well-being of all pets that travel on United.” American Humane is a national humane animal organization that has been in operation for more than 140 years.

Finally, in product new this week, Alaska Airlines debuted its first Alaska Lounge on the East Coast at New York – JFK. The lounge offers guests espresso beverages, full-leaf tea beverages, complimentary fresh foods and a wide selection of microbrews, West Coast wines or a signature cocktail in a living room-esque design.

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