Fall is here and airfares are dropping. Here’s your guide to some of the best deals in Alaska.

Fall is here and airfares are dropping. The prices aren’t falling to every destination, though. And it’s quite likely that fares will fall even further from time to time.

Also, there are lower rates to select destinations from both Fairbanks and Juneau.

There’s another destination in the news: Maui. After the horrific wildfire that destroyed Lahaina, much of the western part of the island is closed off to visitors. At the hotels north of Lahaina in Kaanapali, Napili and Kapalua, tourists have been replaced by emergency workers, displaced residents, Red Cross workers and the other crews involved in the massive recovery effort.

Since tourism is the bedrock industry in Maui, business owners are encouraging visitors to come stay on other parts of the island.

Ilihia Gionson, with the Hawaii Tourism Authority, said his office is working with residents and business owners to develop responsible travel demand from the U.S. “Malama Maui is the name of the campaign,” said Gionson. “Malama means to care for, to nurture and protect.”

[Should you visit Maui right now? What locals want from tourists as the island rebuilds.]

Since the fires last month, prices on rental cars in Maui have decreased to about $39 per day. Alaska Airlines in recent days had a couple of short-term sales for 40% off flights to Maui; the sale has since expired. Airfare and rental car costs account for a smaller portion of the overall vacation budget, though. The cost of a hotel or condo is the Big Kahuna in the room.


Jerry Gibson heads the Hawaii Hotel Alliance, which represents more than 29,000 hotel rooms across the state. “The south side of Maui is wide open,” said Gibson. “Occupancy is extremely low.”

As occupancy rates at Maui’s hotels and condos linger at low levels, rates should come down. But they haven’t yet. Many of Maui’s big hotels, including Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott and Four Seasons, charge between $500 and $1,000 per night. Discounted hotel or condo accommodations will be a major factor in jump-starting Maui’s tourism industry.

In the meantime, here are some cheap-by-comparison deals between Alaska and the Lower 48:

Delta introduced lower prices for fall travel recently to many destinations. Travel is permitted starting on Oct.1 through April 30. Prices spike around Thanksgiving, Christmas and spring break. Tickets must be purchased no later than Sept. 7.

Between Anchorage and Seattle, the price dipped to $148 one-way, starting Oct. 1. Alaska matched the rate. These rates are Basic Economy on Delta, so you don’t receive any SkyMiles credit. On Alaska, this is a Saver rate, which means you’ll only earn 30% of the actual miles flown.

Fares between Anchorage and San Francisco have stayed higher than those to L.A. for most of the summer. Alaska Airlines’ last nonstop flight is on Sept. 30. After that, the cheapest and most convenient flight is to San Jose’s airport. Starting on Oct. 1, Delta offers a $188 one-way fare from Anchorage to San Jose. That’s a $31 drop from last week. Alaska also offers this fare.

Travelers to Salt Lake City pay more because the airport is a fortress hub for Delta. But when Delta launches a sale, travelers can take advantage of the carrier’s more convenient flights at lower prices: Anchorage-Salt Lake for $178 one-way between Oct. 1 and April 30. Alaska offers the same fare but on fewer dates.

Fares for tickets to the Midwest from Anchorage are available for less than $200 one-way on Delta to many destinations, including Oklahoma City, Des Moines, Bismarck, Fargo — all the hot spots. Tickets from Anchorage to Nashville cost a little more: $208 one-way on Delta. Travel between Oct. 1 and April 30. Purchase by Sept. 7.

There are two standout destinations from Anchorage: Fort Myers, Florida, and Raleigh, North Carolina. Both destinations are available $199 one-way on Delta, United and American Airlines. Travel to Fort Myers is available between Oct. 1 and Nov. 30, while tickets to Raleigh are available through April 30.

Fairbanks travelers qualify for some extra-special fall travel deals. That’s due in part to Delta’s announcement that they will operate two daily flights between Seattle and Fairbanks all winter long.

To celebrate, Delta is offering tickets from Fairbanks to Seattle (nonstop) for $120 one-way. Fly between Oct. 5 and April 30. If you want to fly first class, Alaska is selling tickets for $289 one-way.

But the best deal from Fairbanks is to Detroit, for $129 one-way. Both Delta and Alaska are offering this fare, but Delta has more available dates, through April 30.

Several destinations from Fairbanks are priced lower than from Anchorage, including Fairbanks-San Francisco ($149 one-way) and Fairbanks-Los Angeles ($159 one-way).

[As fall approaches, airlines are overhauling their schedules for flights in and out of Alaska]

Delta is offering more flights from Juneau to Seattle this winter. The carrier plans daily service on one of the airline’s 737s. Prices start at $90 one-way, starting Oct. 1.

Alaska Airlines is not amused, so the airline introduced a Juneau-Atlanta fare of $94 one-way. You have to work hard to get that rate, stopping in Sitka or Ketchikan on the way to Seattle, sometimes both cities.

For an extra $5, or $99 one-way, you get better routing on the nonstop to Seattle, connecting to Alaska’s nonstop Seattle-Atlanta flight.


The real bargain to Atlanta, though, is riding in first class from Juneau. The fare is just $249 one-way on Alaska Airlines.

Remember, all fares are subject to change without notice — and they change all the time.

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