Feb. 13 (UPI) -- Alaska Airlines and American Airlines expanded their relationship Thursday, announcing a new "West Coast international alliance" that's designed to appeal to business travelers in the tech industry.
Airline officials said the new arrangement includes the ability for travelers to earn and use miles on both Alaska and American, starting this spring, and grant access to each carrier's airport lounges.
The new partnership is expected to bring more international flights to Alaska's home Seattle base. As part of the deal, American announced the first nonstop flight from Seattle to Bangalore, India, starting in October and new service to London in early 2021.
The West Coast and Pacific Northwest are major technology hubs for companies like Amazon and Microsoft.
"This alliance opens the world for Alaska Airlines guests," said Alaska Executive Vice President Andrew Harrison. "And importantly for our employees and the communities we serve, this West Coast international alliance enables Alaska's continued independent growth."
The move is a competitive upgrade for Alaska, which is mainly a domestic airline serving the West Coast. American competes with rival Delta in Seattle, but Delta offers no nonstop routes to India.