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

While everyone is in the hunt for a cheap airfare (myself included), we shouldn't let that make us miss out on big savings available on cars and hotels.

There are plenty of tools now available to help you get some cheap sleep -- in a nice place.

"Priceline" is one of the first words that comes to mind when you're thinking about cheap hotel rooms. Sometimes the magic works -- and sometimes it doesn't. But there are some additional tools that help bring sky-high lodging prices down to earth...

Scott McMurren

The Star Alliance is one of three worldwide airline alliances that includes United Airlines, Lufthansa, USAirways, Continental and Air Canada, among others. Competing alliances include SkyTeam (Delta, Air France, Korean Air) and OneWorld (America, British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Australia's Qantas).

Alaska Airlines has its own alliances, which used to include Continental, but still includes Delta (including Northwest), American and Qantas...

Scott McMurren

Usually, Anchorage gets the best air fare deals in the state. Why? Simple: competitive pressures force airlines to woo travelers on several fronts: flight frequency, service and price.

So, when Frontier Airlines decided to begin service from Fairbanks to its hub in Denver on May 12, 2010, there was a flurry of activity. The result? Significantly lower prices for summertime travel.

Frontier Airlines is not part of Frontier Flying Service, which is based in Fairbanks. In fact, Frontier Flying Service is changing its name to Era Alaska, following the merger of those two companies last year...

Scott McMurren

As 2010 gets started, it's clear there will be some winners and losers on the travel front. Let's take a look at some of the most popular topics and see what we can expect:...

Scott McMurren

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