Airline schedules are nothing if not aspirational. It’s sort of like a letter to Santa Claus from the air carrier:
“Dear Santa, We want to fly here, here and here. Please make the virus go away so our customers will want to travel again.”
Back in pre-internet times, airlines used to publish their schedules in little booklets. I had a stack of them on the nightstand. I would go to sleep dreaming about my next nonstop flight to San Francisco or Honolulu.
This year has been a lesson about how fast schedules can change. Starting last March, all of the best nonstop flights from Anchorage began disappearing. Anchorage-Atlanta: gone. Anchorage-Newark: gone.
Now, though, airlines are doing the planning and legwork to get some of their birds back in the air. And it’s not just about the seasonal routes, either. It’s about COVID-conscious cleaning procedures, empty middle seats, fewer restrictions on fares and basically anything to increase traveler confidence. It’s helpful that COVID-19 vaccines are in the pipeline.
Alaska Airlines has the most nonstop flights from Anchorage. Many of them were canceled when everyone stopped flying in the spring. Slowly, the airline is adding the flights back in to the schedule, as demand allows.
Anchorage-Honolulu flights finally resumed in early December. Right now, there are four flights per week. That will drop to three flights per week in January, before ramping up to daily service starting Feb. 10. Alaska is budgeting four flights per week from Anchorage to Maui. Anchorage-to-Kona nonstops operate three times per week.
Last week, Alaska Airlines announced the resumption of nonstop flights to four popular destinations: Las Vegas, Denver, San Francisco and Phoenix.
Currently, Alaska Airlines flies a nonstop Anchorage-Phoenix flight on Saturdays. Starting on Feb. 11, Alaska Flight 172 will operate each evening, departing at 11:55 p.m.
On May 20, Alaska Airlines will resume nonstop flights between Anchorage and Las Vegas. Alaska Flight 707 will depart Anchorage at 11:55 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Alaska Airlines will fly Anchorage-Denver and Anchorage-San Francisco every day between June 17 and Aug. 16.
Alaska’s other nonstops to Chicago, Portland and Los Angeles are resuming slowly between now and Feb. 11, when they are scheduled to operate on a daily basis. The airline is operating 11 flights per day between Anchorage and Seattle.
Delta Air Lines is planning three Anchorage-Seattle flights each day for the summer. Between now and January, the carrier is running between two and four flights a day. Delta also is running a daily flight between Fairbanks and Seattle. But the airline has no plans to operate its seasonal flights between Juneau, Ketchikan and Sitka and Seattle.
Delta is flying a 757 nonstop between Anchorage and Salt Lake City four times a week through Jan. 4. Then, there are no nonstops until daily flights resume on March 3.
Delta continues to fly a 757 once a day between Anchorage and Minneapolis.
Speaking of Minneapolis, Sun Country Airlines will resume nonstop flights on May 14, starting at $117 one-way. The airline will operate between one and three flights per day.
American Airlines will resume nonstop service from Anchorage to both Chicago and Dallas on May 6. Prices on both flights start at $122 one-way. The flights will operate daily until Oct. 6, 2021. Because of American’s reciprocal mileage earning arrangements with Alaska Airlines, travelers can earn Alaska miles on the flights.
United Airlines continues to operate its flights between Anchorage and Denver. Over the holidays, United will fly twice each day, although both of the flights are red-eyes, scheduled a little less than two hours apart. Then, there’s a gap between Feb. 24 and March 15 when no flights are offered. Flights resume on March 16.
Beginning May 6, United will resume its seasonal nonstop to Chicago, as well as a single flight between Anchorage and Fairbanks, through Sept. 29. On June 3, United will launch nonstop service from Anchorage to its hubs in San Francisco, Houston and Newark, through Sept. 6.
Both Eurowings and Condor have made plans to fly nonstop between Anchorage and Frankfurt, although vacationers from the U.S. still are prohibited. Condor is planning to fly starting on Saturday, May 22. Eurowings will start its flights on June 3, but they are not available to book yet.
On the subject of prohibited international travel, Air Canada is offering a daily nonstop flight to Vancouver, British Columbia, starting May 13.
Within Alaska, Ravn Alaska is adding destinations and additional flights after receiving its scheduled route authority. All flights still are operated using the Dash-8 100-series planes, which are configured for 27 to 29 passengers.
From Anchorage, Ravn Alaska has flights to Dutch Harbor, Sand Point, Kenai, Homer, Valdez, St. Paul Island, Unalakleet, Fairbanks and Cold Bay.
There are several other communities that Ravn Alaska plans to serve, according to Ravn Alaska’s Richard Cole. “We’d like to serve Aniak, Kodiak, King Salmon and Dillingham starting in May,” said Cole.
Frequency varies based on customer demand. For example, there are two flights each day between Anchorage and Dutch Harbor. There are six flights per day between Anchorage and Kenai. But there’s just one flight per day between Anchorage and Valdez. And if you’re going to Cold Bay, there are just two flights per week.
All flight schedules are subject to change without notice.