Alaskans continue to benefit from an airfare battle to and from Seattle. The latest deals come from JetBlue, with Alaska Airlines offering up some mileage perks as well through its Club 49 program.
Between May 18 and June 22, JetBlue is selling roundtrip tickets between Anchorage and Seattle for $194 roundtrip. After that, the fare floats up to $266 roundtrip for the remainder of the airline's summer schedule through Oct. 14.
Starting May 17, JetBlue will offer a single red-eye flight southbound from Anchorage to Seattle, departing at 12:25 a.m., arriving in Seattle at 5:03 a.m. This is the first summer that JetBlue is operating the Anchorage-Seattle service. On the same day, JetBlue will relaunch its seasonal Anchorage-Long Beach nonstop flight. This will be the third year the airline has offered the nonstop service to southern California.
By comparison, Alaska Airlines offers 17 daily flights in late May between Anchorage and Seattle, plus a daily nonstop between Anchorage and Los Angeles International (LAX).
This fare cut is just the latest salvo in the battle between Alaska Airlines and JetBlue. Alaska is matching JetBlue's prices to southern California on its nonstop flights to LAX, currently around $338 roundtrip.
On Wednesday morning, Alaska Airlines announced that all participants in the Alaska-centric Club 49 loyalty program will receive double miles on all Alaska flights between May 17 and Sept. 3. If you are enrolled in Club 49 (it's free to all Alaska residents and includes two free checked bags on all Alaska Air flights to and from the state), you automatically receive the bonus miles. Additionally, members will earn triple miles between Anchorage and Seattle on qualifying flights this summer.
The "Battle for Seattle" is not the only airfare war this summer -- it's just the most pronounced. Between Anchorage and San Francisco, both United and Virgin America are offering nonstop flights starting June 6. Currently, the lowest rates are hovering around $263 roundtrip.
All of the airlines are getting in the act for low fares to Alaska. Delta is offering a great rate to Miami for $448 roundtrip. Icelandair (another new carrier) is offering roundtrip tickets for nonstop flights to Reykjavik for as little as $584 roundtrip starting in May. American and Frontier also are offering great rates, although they come and go from day to day.
Scott McMurren is an Anchorage-based travel marketing consultant who has lived in Alaska for three decades, spending much of that time traveling the far-flung corners of the state. Visit his website at www.alaskatravelgram.com and follow him on Twitter at @alaskatravelgrm