At worst, this is a piece of linkbait. At best, it's a specious analysis of airline consolidation logic. But it does raise an interesting question; what IS the future of AS? In a US airline market that is going through massive consolidation, there remain few independent carriers of AS' size. 

Alaska Air is particularly strong in the busiest West Coast markets, especially in Salt Lake City, Los Angeles and Seattle. It has also begun to challenge carriers in East Coast markets, including several cities in Florida. Revenue and net income have risen steadily over the past five years. And Alaska Air often ranks highest in customer satisfaction among traditional carriers.