Alaska Airlines has developed one of the most successful Web sites in the airline industry, according to recent findings by The Seattle Times.
When Alaska became one of the first airlines to sell tickets online in late December 1995, there was no reason to think that a decade later it would have 100 servers on two coasts selling 10,000 tickets a day through AlaskaAir.com.
Last year, AlaskaAir.com pushed past traditional travel agents to become the airline’s largest sales channel. The Web site sold about $900 million in tickets and travel packages, roughly 37 percent of the airline’s sales, compared with 32 percent for brick-and-mortar travel agents.
Steve Jarvis, vice president of sales and customer experience at Alaska, expects the percentage to climb. Web sales continue to grow 5 to 6 percent per year, Jarvis said, as frequent travelers connect through BlackBerry devices, mobile phones and laptops.
“We have tremendous loyalty in our customer base,” Jarvis said, “and airline Web sites are the domain of frequent flyers.”