2016 has been a busy year for the Alaska Air Group Inc. It is considered as an industry frontrunner in customer satisfaction and performance. It has given recognition by different awarding organizations. FlightStats consider it as the No. 1 on-time major North American carrier for consecutive six years. J.D. Power 2016 North America Airline Satisfaction Study has cited the company as "Highest in Customer Satisfaction Among Traditional Carriers in North America, Nine Years in a Row." And for the past three years, it remains to be on the top spot in the Wall Street Journal's annual Middle Seat Scorecard.

This year the company declared that they have succeeded its acquisition of Virgin America. The merger agreement was signed in April and was agreed upon by Virgin America's shareholder in July. The historical fusion of the two airlines is an exciting news for world travelers. Brad Tilden, CEO of Alaska Air Group, said in a report of Travel Daily News, "Alaska Airlines and Virgin America are different airlines, but we believe different works - and we're confident fliers will agree. Together, we'll offer more flights, with low fares, more rewards and more for customers to love, as we continue to offer a distinctive travel experience. The two airlines may look different, but our core customer and employee focus is very much the same."

The acquisition will greatly affect its costumers experience in the next level, it is expected to extend its service by providing more frequent connections to international airline partners in the Bay Area, Seattle and Los Angeles. Statistics projected that the carriers will offer 289 daily flights to 52 destinations from California, counting 105 daily nonstop flights to 37 destinations from four Los Angeles area airports and 113 trips to 32 destinations from three Bay Area airports.

The fusion will also help increase Alaska Air Group's entree to high-demand airports like Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport and LaGuardia Airport. Tilden also announced that beginning Monday, December 19, the Mileage Plan members will be able to gain miles on Virgin America flights and Virgin America Elevate members will be able to earn points on Alaska Airlines flights. The union of the two of the world's best airlines makes Alaska Air Group lands in the 5th place as the largest U.S. airlines.