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Scott McMurren

Many Alaskans have grown up visiting Kenai Fjords National Park . Specifically, we’ve taken the boat trips from Seward to go see the glaciers, the mountains and the spectacular wildlife: whales, otters, puffins, seals, sea lions -- even the occasional mountain goat.

But the truth is that unless you have a boat the park is tough to navigate. You can hike into the park at Exit Glacier just outside Seward. But the most popular trail just leads to the toe of the glacier. There’s a more strenuous trail that leads up to the Harding Icefield. It’s impressive -- but it’s impossible to get the same spectacular views that you get from the water...

Scott McMurren

There is good news and bad news for Alaska travelers this month. Let’s start with the bad news: The days are getting shorter. I’m not sure why, but this always comes as a surprise!

The good news is that August heralds the onset of the “shoulder season” around the state. Princess has a couple of great deals which combine rail, bus and hotel...

Scott McMurren

Italy claims her, but Sicily definitely stands alone. The island kingdom was settled by Greeks in the seventh century B.C. The ancient cities of Siracusa and Messina prospered long before Italy existed as a nation. Palermo, the regional capital, once was the richest city in the Mediterranean. The island, which is south of Italian peninsula and just off the coast of North Africa, has been conquered and settled not just by the Greeks but also by the Arabs, the Spanish and the Norman kings, among others...

Scott McMurren

Today, travelers have more choices than ever regarding their airline travel. That’s the good news. The bad news is most of us never imagined that we would have to pay extra for some of those choices. After all, they used to be available at no additional charge. I call it “the great unbundling.” Sandwiched in between all of these optional charges are extra fees over which we have no control: fuel surcharges, passenger facility (airport) charges, TSA fees and such.

While budget-minded travelers may chafe at the idea of being nickel-and-dimed to death, there are a few extra charges that can help you be more comfortable on your trip...

Scott McMurren

In a recent article , the Wall Street Journal cast its gaze on a dust-up in Seattle between Alaska Airlines and Delta Air Lines. Journal reporter Susan Carey does a good job on the metrics between the two airlines at Sea-Tac airport, including a few of the initiatives to win passengers as Delta works to establish an international hub smack in the middle of Alaska’s primary hub.

At the height of the summer travel season, the “Battle for Seattle” is yielding rich rewards for Alaska travelers, especially those in Fairbanks and Juneau...

Scott McMurren

In a recent article , the Wall Street Journal cast its gaze on a dust-up in Seattle between Alaska Airlines and Delta Air Lines. Journal reporter Susan Carey does a good job on the metrics between the two airlines at Sea-Tac airport, including a few of the initiatives to win passengers as Delta works to establish an international hub smack in the middle of Alaska's primary hub.

At the height of the summer travel season, the "Battle for Seattle" is yielding rich rewards for Alaska travelers, especially those in Fairbanks and Juneau...

Scott McMurren

Where have all the low airfares gone? As the solstice passes and the sun begins to weaken in Alaska, it appears all the best fares are fading as well, at least from Anchorage.

In truth, some fares are still low, particularly between Anchorage and Seattle. But fares from Fairbanks and Juneau to Seattle are lower. All summer long, Delta is keeping the fare at $244 round-trip from either city. From Anchorage, the rates during July are between $300 and $400 round-trip.

Anchorage travelers will have to wait until Aug. 21 for the lower fares, when JetBlue drops the Anchorage-Seattle rate back down to $224 round-trip. Then, between Sept. 11 and Sept. 27, the fare sinks to $196 round-trip on JetBlue...

Scott McMurren

Where have all the low airfares gone? As the solstice passes and the sun begins to weaken in Alaska, it appears all the best fares are fading as well, at least from Anchorage.

In truth, some fares are still low, particularly between Anchorage and Seattle. But fares from Fairbanks and Juneau to Seattle are lower. All summer long, Delta is keeping the fare at $244 round-trip from either city. From Anchorage, the rates during July are between $300 and $400 round-trip.

Anchorage travelers will have to wait until Aug. 21 for the lower fares, when JetBlue drops the Anchorage-Seattle rate back down to $224 round-trip. Then, between Sept. 11 and Sept. 27, the fare sinks to $196 round-trip on JetBlue...

Scott McMurren

It's a big world out there -- and planes fly to and fro all day. While many of the price-cutting airfare battles are fought close to home, occasionally the war spills into international markets.

This is one of those times.

As Delta Air Lines spools up its international hub in Seattle, Alaska Airlines is focusing on some of its partnerships with other carriers including American Airlines, British Airways and Emirates. Emirates, by the way, flies a daily nonstop between Seattle and Dubai on a Boeing 777-300ER (extended range). The 7,410-mile flight takes 14 hours and 15 minutes...

Scott McMurren

Correction: I missed a crucial piece of information while dissecting the latest airfare/mileage deals from Alaska Airlines in this column.

The fares from Anchorage, Fairbanks and other Alaska communities to Africa and the Maldives are still pretty good. But my calculations on the elite qualifying miles you can earn are way off.

For example, the miles between Anchorage and Johannesburg really do add up to 25,838 roundtrip. However, only about half of the miles you fly on Emirates (11,390 roundtrip) will count toward your MVP status on Alaska Airlines ...

Scott McMurren

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