I have frequent flier mileage memberships with at least 5 airlines, but Alaska Airlines (AA) is the only one that I make an effort to fly with. I’ve flown with them 12 times in the last year alone. Despite being a price-sensitive flier, I will often choose Alaska over another airlines even if there is a $10-20 premium (my loyalty only goes so far beyond that though). Why this loyalty? I attribute it to a number of obvious factors, including better service and more flight options for the routes I often take (to SF or Anchorage). However, there are also a few less straightforward reasons that I choose AA which involve branding and retention efforts. Among these are the name itself; as an Alaskan I feel a loyalty to an airline founded in my home state. I am also a life-long AA mileage club member, and even though I don’t ever remember being recognized as such (they should!), I have been given some cool perks, like Club 49 membership (free bags for Alaskans traveling to and from the state). In addition, like many PNW residents, I have an AA credit card, and enjoy additional miles for purchases and companion passes.
At some point a few years back, my mom told me that AA occasionally offers extra discounts through their emails. I signed up right then and still receive emails ever week or so. While I don’t usually open the emails, they do serve as a good notification of upcoming price drops ($69 one-way flights to Oakland this week, for example), which I find helpful for planning trips. I occasionally also see advertisements on Facebook for sales, which are often liked or even shared by Alaskan friends. As for staying connected with me during my travels, AA has done a great job with sending text updates on flights, as well as offering a new passbook option for my tickets.
I don’t think I’ve ever felt the need to share my love to AA via Facebook, Foursquare, or any other social media channel, but I do proudly plop down my AA Visa when splitting dinner bills, and am more than happy to explain why it’s the best mileage card deal to anyone not using one. In another example of word of mouth sharing, I’ve also been proudly boasting about finally getting super close to MVP status to my boyfriend more times than he’d care. And hey, maybe if I do get an upgrade to first class in my next flight, I’ll share it on Instagram this time.