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These airfare deals will have you dreaming of London, Mexico and Japan

  • Author: Scott McMurren
    | Alaska Travel
  • Updated: August 31
  • Published August 31

When you spend a lot of time searching for a good airfare, every now and then you’re likely to stumble upon a real humdinger.

Many of the folks I told about a fare to Lomé, Togo, didn’t even know where that was. “Simple,” I said. “It’s two countries to the left of Nigeria.”

And it’s a long way from Seattle. That makes the $589 roundtrip fare all the more compelling. Delta offers the fare in conjunction with its partners Air France and KLM. At this time, the fare is available between Sept. 24 and May 18, 2020. On this particular itinerary, which includes a layover in Paris, you can check two bags at no additional cost.

Two weeks ago, there was a similar fare from Seattle to Abidjan, capital of Côte d’Ivoire, or the Ivory Coast. That fare, of $616 roundtrip, also was on Air France. It’s no longer available — but West Africa now is on my radar!

I’ve always got South America in my sights. Now that Brazil has dropped its expensive visa charges, I’m waiting for a good deal to Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paulo. In the meantime, I was looking at a crazy fare from Anchorage to Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia. I don’t know much about this city, other than it bills itself as “Bolivia’s commercial center." You can fly from Anchorage for $680 roundtrip. But you have to work for it. I found the cheap tickets on LATAM Airlines between Oct. 28 and Nov. 20 on Mondays and Wednesdays. Depending on the date you travel, you’ll connect to LATAM in Orlando or Los Angeles on United or Alaska. You can check two bags at no additional cost.

Right now there’s a great fare on Delta to London — with a twist. The fare is good: $571 roundtrip, for travel between Sept. 30 and March 31, 2020. There’s a price spike at Christmastime. Here’s the catch: you have to book the fare on KLM’s website. You may end up flying on Virgin Atlantic or Air France or Delta. Of course, these fares are subject to change. But every time I went directly to Delta’s site, it cost more than $1,200.

Do you want to go to Mexico? I do — I love Mexico. Tickets to Guadalajara from Anchorage are very cheap. If you fly on Sept. 24 on Alaska Air, you can go from Anchorage to Portland, then to San Jose, California, and then to Guadalajara. The $421 roundtrip fare isn’t available every day, but I found lots of available dates between now and Dec. 10.

If you want to fly farther and spend less, set your sights for Liberia, Costa Rica. It’s Costa Rica’s second airport in the northern part of the country. United Airlines offers a fare for $376 roundtrip from Anchorage. This is a “basic economy” fare with United. That means you’ll pay extra even for a full-size carry-on bag. But hey — that’s cheap. It’s also last-minute: fares are available only between Sept. 4 and Sept. 27. Fly from Anchorage to Denver, then to Houston and then on to Liberia. There’s an eight-hour layover in Denver on the outbound flight and a 10-hour layover in Houston on the return.

If you want a great deal right here in the U.S., consider flying to Los Angeles from Anchorage on Alaska Air’s nonstop. It’s just $148 one-way. There are just a few dates when this fare is available, including Sept. 25, Oct. 2, Nov. 9, 13, 16 and Dec. 4. But many more dates are available for $153 one-way.

It’s difficult to find a good deal from Anchorage to Japan. But tickets to Shanghai and Beijing are cheap. From Anchorage to Shanghai, you can fly on Delta for $458 roundtrip. You can save a few bucks flying on Alaska to Seattle and then Hainan Air to Shanghai — just $448 roundtrip. But there’s a 9.5-hour layover in Seattle. You also can fly on United for about the same price. But you have to fly to Denver, then over to either Los Angeles or San Francisco for the flight to China. Of course, you’ll fly right over Anchorage on your way across the Pacific.

Flights to Beijing cost about the same — again, you can choose from Delta, from United or Alaska/Hainan. The advantage with Alaska and Hainan is that the Hainan flight will count toward your Alaska Air mileage account.

If you’re in Honolulu and you want to keep going across the Pacific, check out JetStar. The airline is owned by Qantas and flies Boeing 787s from Honolulu to Sydney and Melbourne. The amenities are spare, the legroom is tight for the 10-hour flight. But you can get a $128 one-way fare from Honolulu to Sydney on Sept. 4. If you need more time to plan, wait until Feb. 25, 2020, when you can fly one-way for $118. Return from Sydney to Honolulu on March 3, 2020 for $129 one-way.

The fares from Honolulu to Melbourne are similar, from $155 one-way, starting Feb. 14, 2020. Those flights are nonstop from Honolulu on a Boeing 787. To Auckland, New Zealand, travelers connect in either Sydney or Melbourne. Tickets are available for as little as $175 one-way, starting Feb. 22, 2020. I’ve never seen tickets that cheap to New Zealand.

Remember — good fares come and go. If you find one you like, buy it. You’ve got 24 hours to get your affairs in order, during which time you can cancel without a fee.

To find these fares, I used Kayak.com’s map feature (www.kayak.com/explore), the Google Flights tool (www.google.com/flights) and the websites of several airlines, including Alaska Air, Delta, KLM and LATAM.

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