Scott McMurren

On a recent JetBlue flight from Portland to Anchorage, my seatmate confided, “I feel like I’m cheating on Alaska Airlines by flying JetBlue .”

She was one of the mothers accompanying a girls soccer team back home after games in Seattle and Portland. When asked if JetBlue did a good job, the consensus of the moms on board was two thumbs up, particularly considering the low prices.

“I’d definitely fly them again,” said Becky Martin of Anchorage, one of the chaperones. One of the young soccer players added that she liked the seating arrangement better than on Alaska Airlines. “There’s more room,” she said...

Scott McMurren

Fairbanks is a year-round destination for travelers from around the world. In fact, there was a party last week on the Riverboat Discovery honoring Condor Airlines ’ 15 years of nonstop service from Fairbanks to Frankfurt, Germany.

On the international front, the Europeans arrive in Fairbanks , also known as the Golden Heart City, during the summer on Condor’s flights. Tourists from Asia tend to arrive in the winter on charter flights from Japan and Korea...

Scott McMurren

Traveling to Juneau is always fun, especially in the summer. There are several must-do adventures on my list that anyone can enjoy:

1. The Mount Roberts Tram . This high-speed lift takes travelers 1,800 feet straight up Mount Roberts for a million-dollar view. Depending on the weather, you can huddle in the mountain terminal, which features a restaurant and a coffee stand. But you’ll be happier if you strike out on the trail. There are several vistas where you can see the Alaska Airlines jets flying by at eye level, in addition to an occasional flightseeing helicopter...

Scott McMurren

JUNEAU — The damp mist is hugging the mountains in Juneau, but that didn’t stop our Alaska Airlines pilot from finding a hole in the clouds and easing our 737 in for a smooth landing first thing this morning...

Scott McMurren

When I meet travelers at airports, restaurants or the grocery line, they often ask: “What’s the best website to find good travel deals?”

Although it is a simple question, the answer is difficult. In fact, there is no one “silver bullet” website for the best travel deals. Because of the various distribution channels, bargains can -- and do -- pop up in unexpected places.

There are some websites that I check more than once each day. There are others that I check less frequently. Sometimes readers and other travelers alert me to great bargains. Here are some of my favorite sites:...

Scott McMurren

There are many paths through Alaska’s wilderness. Some are paved, most are not. Where the highways end, rivers begin. And eventually, the rivers meet the sea.

Adventurers have many options throughout the state to see some awesome landscapes, land some incredible fish and see some big wildlife. Along the way, you’ll probably learn about the history of the region and its ecosystem. Some trips last all day. Others are 10-12 days and involve camping, flights and lots of bug dope...

Scott McMurren

Alaska has a disproportionate number of “Sky People.” We see them everywhere: “rotorheads,” “AvGeeks,” “wing nuts.” These are folks who spend most of their time on the ground working to get back up in the air. Many of these folks are pilots. Some have their own aircraft. Most of them (like me) just like the view -- and are most appreciative of the miracle of air travel.

It’s no surprise, then, that there are many opportunities around the state to get a whiff of that rare air while flying over some incredible scenery. Here are some of the favorites:...

Scott McMurren

Sure, summer’s just started. So is it wrong to talk about late-summer and Christmas holiday specials with the airlines? Sure, because if you have a big trip on your holiday wish list, right now might be the time to buy your ticket.

Because of the fight between Alaska Airlines and Delta , the early-season deals lasted longer and there hasn’t been much of a bump for peak-season travel. And by “peak season,” I mean July. On Aug. 3, Delta is putting seats on sale to Seattle from all five of its Alaska gateways: Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, Sitka and Ketchikan...

Scott McMurren

There’s more than one way to skin a cat. And by golly, there’s more than one way to sell an airline ticket.

As competition heats up this summer, the prices are dropping. If you haven’t noticed, many destinations on the West Coast are selling for cheap:

Anchorage-Seattle: $177 round trip on JetBlue (from June 18), $197 round trip on Alaska or Delta (from June 24).

Anchorage-Portland: $197 round trip, nonstop on JetBlue (from June 18), $214 round trip on Delta and $237 round trip on Alaska (starting in late June).

Anchorage-Long Beach: $196 round trip on JetBlue (from June 18). This is a nonstop flight...

Scott McMurren

“What’s in your wallet?” That phrase was the tagline for a clever set of ads from Capital One, promoting their credit cards for frequent fliers.

While most frequent-flier plans zoom in on rewards and bonuses for miles flown, Capital One, American Express and Chase focus on dollars spent. Specifically, they are using the allure of free flights as an incentive to get you to carry their credit card.

Despite years of consolidation in both the airline business and financial markets, competition remains fierce on the credit card front. Alongside the offers, bonuses, promises of free flights and “elite status,” a group of “travel hackers” has sprung up to encourage travelers to think a little bit differently about points, miles and awards...

Scott McMurren

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