After announcing its seasonal flights between Anchorage and Seattle late last year, JetBlue has opted to extend the flights for another six weeks, through Oct. 15.
The once-a-day red-eye schedule is slated to begin with a northbound flight on May 16. Originally, the flights were going to end for the year on Sept. 3. Now, the last flight south will be 12:35 a.m. Oct. 15.
Last month, John Checketts, JetBlue's director of route planning, said, "I'd like to find a way to offer year-round service for Alaska. Sometimes, though, we have to dip our toe in the water and see how it works out."
This marks the third year that JetBlue will offer nonstop service between Anchorage and Long Beach, Calif. Those nonstop flights are still scheduled to end Sept. 3. The new flights between Sept. 4 and Oct. 15 will continue on the same plane from Seattle to Long Beach.
"I think the extended flight schedule between Anchorage and Seattle will enhance our service to Long Beach," Checketts says.
On the pricing front, JetBlue's flights to Seattle are about half the cost of either Alaska Airlines' or United Airlines' cheapest flights. The one-way price with JetBlue is $142, compared with $272 for a one-way ticket on either Alaska or United, according to Google/ITA Software.
Watch for both incumbent carriers to match JetBlue's prices, though. Beginning in May, Alaska Airlines matched JetBlue's prices and is offering triple miles between Anchorage and Seattle.
It's truly a "Battle for Seattle," and the new flights aren't even scheduled to start for 103 days.
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.