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In 'Battle for Seattle,' airlines offer cheap fares from Alaska

Scott McMurren
Alaska Air is following up its Permanent Fund Dividend sale with more low fares to the Emerald City of Seattle from several Alaska communities. But the real deals come next spring. Dan4th / cc via flickr

The Battle for Seattle is heating up again. This week, Alaska Airlines put Seattle on sale in its weekly “Club 49” airfare sale. From Anchorage, the rate is as low as $360 roundtrip for travel between Dec. 3 and March 5. Don’t count on the discounted rate during the peak Christmas dates, but if you’re flexible, you can save a bundle off of the regular $544 roundtrip air fare. Just last week, Alaska was offering Anchorage-Seattle flights for $400 roundtrip as part of the Permanent Fund Dividend sale. 

Discounted rates to and from Seattle are available from many Alaska cities, including:

• Fairbanks-Seattle $478 roundtrip
• Juneau-Seattle $358 roundtrip
• Sitka-Seattle $339 roundtrip
• Kodiak-Seattle $494 roundtrip
• Nome-Seattle $502 roundtrip
• Cordova-Seattle $439 roundtrip
• Ketchikan-Seattle $358 roundtrip

Tickets must be purchased no later than Thursday. United Airlines, which offers two daily flights between Anchorage and Seattle, has matched Alaska’s fare between the two cities. Alaska Airlines serves 19 destinations around the state, while United only flies to Anchorage. 

The real fireworks on the Anchorage-Seattle route start on May 15, when JetBlue ramps up its seasonal Anchorage-Seattle service with a single red-eye flight. On that date, the rate drops to $242 roundtrip on either JetBlue or United. Alaska has not yet dropped its rates to match the lower fare -- but it will.

On June 5, Delta Air Lines is adding two daily 757 flights between Anchorage and Seattle -- up from one flight last summer. The flights mirror United’s schedule, with one -- the red-eye -- leaving at 12:35 a.m. and another departing 4 p.m.

The Battle for Seattle is not the only front in the never-ending tussle for air passengers. But it’s an important one for Alaska Airlines. So the extra flights from Delta Air Lines means travelers can count on cheap air fares all summer. That is, unless JetBlue decided to exit the market. Then, even with Delta and United in the mix, fares would drift back up to around $544 roundtrip. Neither Delta nor United have any interest in lower fares. 

Seattle is not the only bargain travel destination this week. There are several cities that now are on sale only in November, including:

Anchorage-Los Angeles/LAX: as low as $376 roundtrip on USAirways between Nov. 19 and Nov. 28. There are just a couple of dates left at this rate -- although other dates are available at rates between $403 roundtrip and $417 roundtrip.

Anchorage-Chicago: as low as $398 roundtrip for travel between Nov. 19 and Dec. 15 on USAirways. All the flights route through Phoenix -- and the connections for the return flight include some long layovers. 

Anchorage-Newark: USAirways is offering rates as low as $408 roundtrip for departures between Nov. 12 and Nov. 15. Again, all the flights are via Phoenix. Be prepared for a long layover on the return trip. 

Looking into January and February, there are more options for bargain air fares, including:

Anchorage-Charlotte: There still are a few dates in early December on Delta for $384 roundtrip. But more seats open up after Jan. 5, 2014 for a $380 roundtrip on Delta. The bargain fare is available almost every day in January and February. 

Anchorage-Las Vegas: Alaska Airlines is offering great rates on the new nonstop flights for around $380 roundtrip after Jan. 1. 

Anchorage-Phoenix: Again, Alaska is offering great deals once the kids are back in school. After Jan. 1, you can pick up a deal on the nonstop for as little as $420 roundtrip. 

Online resources:

Check out Condor Air’s new interior on the Boeing 767s they operate between Anchorage and Frankfurt. Click here for video.

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 or follow him on Twitter for breaking travel news.