There really are three sets of deals on deck for travelers this weekend: in-state, out-of-state and out-of-sight!
On the in-state front, Alaska Airlines launched a sale for travel between Sept. 7 and Dec. 14, 2011. You must purchase your tickets by Monday, Aug. 29. Most Alaska destinations are included in the sale -- some prices are better than others, though.
Era Alaska also offers service to several cities served by Alaska Air (Kodiak, Cordova, Fairbanks and Bethel). Accordingly, Era matched the fares. Here's a rundown of some of the best deals:
- Anchorage-Fairbanks: $185 roundtrip all-in on Era. Alaska charges a little more: $198 roundtrip.
- Anchorage-Juneau: $250 roundtrip all-in on Alaska.
- Anchorage-Bethel: $298 roundtrip on Era; $305 roundtrip on Alaska Airlines.
- Anchorage-Kodiak: $246 roundtrip on Alaska; $238 on Era.
- Anchorage-Cordova: $178 roundtrip all-in on Era; $183 on Alaska.
- Anchorage-Nome/Kotzebue: $305 roundtrip all-in on Alaska.
- Anchorage-Sitka/Ketchikan/Wrangell/Petersburg: $317 roundtrip all-in on Alaska.
Again, you must purchase your tickets by Monday, Aug. 29.
Most of the out-of-state deals have a tight travel window: between now and Oct. 10. Key destinations like New York, Washington, DC, Dallas and Hartford have good deals beyond this date, however. Check online or call your travel agent for the latest information, which of course changes like the wind!
There are no meaningful deals of any kind to between Anchorage and the Pacific Northwest. I finally figured out when Alaska Airlines will offer some good deals to Seattle and Portland: when another airline does. Alaska has proved this theory with their great prices to Denver and Long Beach this summer in order to fend off competing service from Frontier and jetBlue respectively!
So let's start with California:
Anchorage-Los Angeles area: Delta offers a $316 roundtrip fare to L.A. International (LAX). Deals also are available to the surrounding L.A. airports: Ontario ($335) , Orange County ($315), Long Beach ($335) and Burbank ($335). Don't forget Palm Springs, for just $363 using a combination of Alaska Airlines and USAir.
Moving up the coast, there are several bargains to select destinations, including:
- Anchorage-Monterey: $376 roundtrip all-in on USAir (via Phoenix)
- Anchorage-Santa Barbara: $355 roundtrip all-in on Alaska Airlines
The Bay Area around San Francisco is a bargain for travel this month:
Anchorage-San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose/Sacramento: $376 roundtrip on Alaska Airlines.
Moving east, Frontier Airlines offers a great deal between Anchorage and Salt Lake City via its Denver hub: just $424 roundtrip all-in.
Denver has been a bargain all summer long due to Frontier Airlines' nonstop flights from both Anchorage and Fairbanks to Denver. This fall is no exception: fly Anchorage-Denver for as little as $294 roundtrip on either Frontier or Alaska Airlines.
Down in Texas, the deals to Austin last through Oct 9, 2011 only, since that's when Frontier Airlines packs up for the winter and heads south. Until then, fly Anchorage-Austin for just $446 roundtrip all-in.
Between Anchorage and Dallas, fly USAir for just $411 roundtrip all-in. The great part about this fare is it is good beyond Oct. 10 -- well into November and December. I even found the fare available eon June 29, 2012. It's a great deal!
Moving east from there, New Orleans still is on sale, for as little as $320 roundtrip on Continental. Further, you can fly from Anchorage to Alexandria, LA, Lafayette, LA or Monroe, LA for less than $350 roundtrip.
Bargains to both Chicago and Minneapolis are hard to come by. Oh, the fares are there -- but there just aren't that many seats. Between Anchorage and Chicago, Frontier offers a $366 roundtrip fare. From Anchorage-Minneapolis, fly USAir for as little as $415 roundtrip. Good luck finding some seats, though.
Fares have been reasonable all summer long to both New York and Washington, DC. Fly to either LaGuardia or JFK for as little as $460 roundtrip all-in on Delta. Fly to Washington, DC for $423, using a combination of Frontier and USAir.
Finally, fares to Boston are available for as little as $456 roundtrip all-in with Delta. To Hartford, the rate on Delta is just $436 roundtrip all-in.
- Finally, in the out-of-sight category, I discovered some delightful gems:
- Anchorage-Ft. Lauderdale, FL for $324 roundtrip all-in on Frontier Airlines.
- Anchorage-Orlando for $495 roundtrip all-in on Delta. Sure, it's more than Ft. Lauderdale, but any fare to Florida for less than $500 is a great deal!
- Anchorage-Honolulu of $434 roundtrip all-in on Alaska AIrlines. You know--just in case you missed summer!
- Anchorage-Frankfurt on Condor in September for as little as $666 roundtrip all-in (9/1-9/17/2011). Another option on Condor is their business class. It's very nice--and I found seats for as little as $1,106 roundtrip all-in (9/6-9/20/2011). That's an excellent price for business class to Europe!
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.