Flights to the Lower 48 are trending down. But as usual the devil is in the details.

Air fares are trending lower between Anchorage and the Lower 48. However, travelers need to be vigilant if they want the lowest prices, since these fares go up and down all the time.

I believe rates will fall further as autumn approaches. But there really are devils in the details, including long layovers and inconvenient flight times.

I always check on prices to Seattle first, since it’s our most common destination from Alaska. Right now, Alaska Air and Delta charge $157 one-way during the first week of September, then starting again on Sept. 24.

I use Google Flights for most of my fare searches. But a lower fare kept popping up between Anchorage and Seattle: $135 one-way, starting on Sept. 29. Clicking through to find out more information, I saw that United was offering this fare if you fly all the way to Denver, before catching another flight back to Seattle. Remember — with United you have to pay extra to bring a standard carry-on suitcase with you in the cabin.

A much more convenient way to save that money would be to fly from Anchorage to Everett, located north of Seattle. Alaska Air’s subsidiary, Horizon Air, flies a nonstop each day from Anchorage to Paine Field for $137 one-way, starting Sept. 30. Horizon flies an E175 jet, which I prefer to the 737 because there are no middle seats.

Between Anchorage and Portland, prices are steady at $157 one-way on Delta starting Sept. 24. That changes in late October, when Alaska Air drops the price of its nonstop flights to $147 one-way.

If you prefer to use Alaska Air miles to fly south, it’s just 9,000 miles one-way to fly from Anchorage to Everett’s Paine Field, starting Sept. 30. To Sea-Tac, the cost is 10,000 miles each way, starting Oct. 16.


All Alaska Air mileage awards are booked in main cabin, allowing for pre-assigned seats and upgrades.

Headed to California? Fly on short-notice to Los Angeles with United Air on Aug. 18, for as little as $203 one-way. But beware: First you fly to San Francisco. Then, your next flight is to Las Vegas, where there’s a 5-hour, 30-minute overnight layover.

If you can hold off until Sept. 23, that’s when the prices drop and a better connection: $176 one-way with Delta. There’s a 95-minute layover in Seattle. Do you want to fly on Alaska Air’s Anchorage-Los Angeles nonstop? You have to wait until Oct. 30, when Alaska drops the fare to $175 one-way.

Flights to Las Vegas are great if you want a last-minute getaway — and you don’t mind the heat. There’s no advance purchase required to get a $164 one-way ticket on Delta or United from Anchorage. Alaska Air, which flies nonstop on Fridays and Saturdays, charges more: $267 one-way.

Phoenix, another hot destination (highs of 110 degrees forecast next week), has some good fares, starting on Sept. 24: $157 one-way on Delta. On Nov. 5, Alaska Air drops the price of its Anchorage-Phoenix nonstop to $147 one-way.

Since both United and Alaska offer nonstop service from Anchorage to Chicago, prices remain relatively low: from $167 one-way on United. The lower prices start for travel beginning Sept. 29.

Last-minute nonstop prices between Anchorage and Minneapolis are lower: $192 to $216 one-way on Alaska Air or Sun Country. Those deals end just before Labor Day. Later, beginning Sept. 29, United Airlines offers one-way flights from $192 one-way. Delta, which offers year-round nonstop service, is holding steady at $630 roundtrip.

If you’re headed to Dallas, last-minute flights are expensive, but not outrageous: $661 roundtrip on either Delta or United. American Air’s nonstop flight costs more than $900 on short notice. Lower prices kick in on Sept. 28, for $429 roundtrip with United.

Sept. 28 also is the date American Air drops its price for nonstop flights between Anchorage and Dallas: $462 roundtrip.

This season, American is keeping its nonstop Anchorage-Dallas flights through Jan. 8, 2024. The $462 roundtrip fare between Anchorage and Dallas is available through Dec. 20. Although American Airlines is an Alaska Air mileage partner, travelers only receive 25% of the actual miles flown toward their Mileage Plan. Still, the nonstop is a great flight!

Travelers flying between Anchorage and Denver are tough to shop for. The fares are relatively high, even though Alaska and United are competing with nonstop flights. There are some pockets in August and September where fares are a little lower: Aug. 22-29 for $383 roundtrip nonstop on United and Sept. 1-8 for $406 roundtrip, also on United. After Sept. 23, fares flatten out at $416 roundtrip on either Delta or United.

There have been a couple of short-term fare sales to a few destinations, mostly by Alaska Airlines. The carrier also has begun sending 10%-off discount codes on Tuesdays out to its Club 49 members.

But I’m checking the rates each day because it looks like a bigger fall price cut is planned. It’s hard to predict the prices — but travelers have come to expect big discounts in the fall, once the kids are back in school.

Even if you have flights booked, it’s worthwhile to check before departure to see if prices have come down. Last month I spent 75,000 miles on a mileage ticket to the West Coast. But just last week, Alaska Air was offering the same seats for 50,000. I called the reservations number and they promptly refunded 25,000 miles to my account.

Scott McMurren

Scott McMurren is an Anchorage-based marketing consultant, serving clients in the transportation, hospitality, media and specialty destination sectors, among others. Contact him by email at Subscribe to his e-newsletter at For more information, visit