Scott McMurren

The latest round of fare cuts leading up to the summer season has begun. There are three sets of discounts -- we'll go through them one by one.

Alaska Airlines announced early this morning its springtime fare sale between Alaska and the Lower 48, which is almost identical to its sale last month.

The lowest rate between Anchorage and Seattle is the same: $436 roundtrip, including all taxes and fees. There's just a 10-day advance purchase required, though. In part, that is because all travel must be completed by June 10, 2010...

Scott McMurren

Just when you thought you had a handle on the best fares -- everything changes. Overnight.

That's what happened over the weekend. Alaska Airlines had a fare sale. It has come and gone. Some airlines matched the fares dollar-for-dollar. Some did not.

Now, we're approaching the summer travel season, where competition will heat up on nonstop routes to San Francisco, Chicago, Denver, Portland and Seattle. But all fares are not created equal...

Scott McMurren

These are interesting times in the air travel business.

As travelers, we're witnessing downward pressure on air fares as more airlines enter the Alaska market. Earlier this month, United dropped its lowest advance-purchase fares to dozens of destinations from $700 to $900 roundtrip to around $560 roundtrip. There is a 21-day advance purchase -- but the fares are available...

Scott McMurren

It's a busy week in Airline-ville. Everyone's gearing up for their summer season. Adding flights. Hiring people. Oh -- and getting customers. That's my favorite part.

For the past couple of days, I've been really crunching the fares to find the best deals. That said, we always keep an eye on Alaska Airlines -- because of the carrier's dominant position in Anchorage...

Scott McMurren

When you're visiting Seattle, you're bound to see those big double-ended green and white boats criss-crossing Puget Sound. They are ferries owned and operated by the State of Washington.

The Washington ferry system is one of the biggest in the world. Although they do not operate the same type of ocean-going vessels that we do here in Alaska, they move jillions of passengers and cars each year. Many Washington residents commute each day on the ferry from Bainbridge Island, Bremerton, Whidbey or Vashon Island...

Scott McMurren

As a frequent traveler, I often stumble upon destinations that are perfect for the whole family. Sometimes I can drag one of the kids along on a trip. Occasionally, the entire McMurren household hits the road. And that takes a little more planning. Let's review:

A. I don't care what anyone says, make sure you're at the airport at least two hours prior to your scheduled departure time. It's one thing if it's just you and your small carry-on bag. It's quite another if you have the whole gang in tow -- there are checked bags, the God-forsaken TSA and more moving parts to the entire transaction...

Scott McMurren

Maybe it's time to regard Seattle as a high-priced destination. Here in Anchorage, we're accustomed to the idea of taking off for a weekend of dining and entertainment in the Emerald City.

At least we used to be. As competitive air service diminished and Alaska Airlines emerged as the dominant carrier, the air fare has continued to rise. Currently, Alaska Airlines charges about $544 roundtrip -- that is the cheapest fare. How about other airlines? Well, there's only one other carrier: Continental. And they charge even more: $614.09 roundtrip from Anchorage to Seattle. That's just silly...

Scott McMurren

UPDATE (2/23): Do we need any more reminders that air fares change like the wind? I thought not, but Alaska Airlines thought otherwise.

Last weekend, Alaska Airlines filed some sale fares between Anchorage, Seattle and Portland. Initially, the fares were valid for travel right away--with no set "travel by" date...

Scott McMurren

No, it's not summer yet. But the increasing daylight and relatively warmer temperatures are bringing folks out from beneath their wintertime garments to celebrate in a variety of ways around the state...

Scott McMurren

Buying airline tickets from Anchorage to the Lower 48 is a lot like a game of "chicken."

We, as travelers, are making vacation plans, cruising down the trip-planning highway and betting that if we wait long enough, air fares will come back down to earth. Alaska Airlines is driving the car in the other direction in earnest -- keeping fares high in the face of declining demand. Their hope is travelers will simply give up and pay the prevailing rate.

Who will blink first?...

Scott McMurren

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