The Nerd Bird Thrives

Last Updated Sep 3, 2009 10:25 AM EDT

In June, American ended its Nerd Bird flights between San Jose and Austin. A week later, Alaska announced it would step in to fill the void beginning yesterday (Sept 2). Now Alaska is ramping up even further.

I said about Alaska's first move back in June, "It might work or it might not." Clearly it seems to be working. They've already announced a second daily flight beginning in March 2010. This will add an afternoon eastbound and a morning westbound to complement the morning eastbound and afternoon westbound. That certainly makes for a better business schedule.

The fact that they're adding a second flight before the first one even starts is a good sign that bookings are strong. You have to wonder what Alaska is seeing that American didn't. It could be the additional feed from the Pacific Northwest. Alaska's first flight goes Portland-San Jose-Austin, so maybe they're able to bring a bunch of traffic through.

Or maybe Alaska is just responding to customer feedback here. Having both a morning and an afternoon flight makes for a much more attractive option for travelers. This could be Alaska's effort to woo the big guys on the rout who might have to connect today because of timing limitations.

Either way, I always find it interesting when one airline walks away and another steps in to successfully fill the void.