Airfares between Anchorage, Fairbanks and Europe have been fluctuating for a couple of weeks. But last week, rates took a dive. If you’re considering a trip to Europe, to Morocco or even an island in the Mediterranean, stop now and make sure your passport is in order.
As is often the case when several airlines are fighting in a fare war, prices and terms change all the time. I’ve recalculated the fares several times this week — and every morning when I get up, prices have shifted a little bit overnight.
Here are some of my favorite deals, grouped together by region:
To Spain and Portugal: My favorite destination is Barcelona. United and its Star Alliance partners (Lufthansa, Air Canada) have a $448 round-trip fare. If you want to leave this week, it’s a little more: $488 round-trip. Travel between now and Dec. 19, or between Jan. 8 and March 5. This is a Basic Economy fare, which means you have to shell out an extra $180 round-trip for a checked bag and advance seat assignments.
Delta Air Lines and its SkyTeam partners (AirFrance, KLM, Virgin Atlantic) charge a little more: $472-506 in Basic Economy. The upcharge for seat assignments, a checked bag and SkyMiles Credit, is the same: $180 round-trip. The same fare applies for Fairbanks travelers, although there aren’t quite as many dates available.
Other destinations available at $450-$510 round-trip: Lisbon, Porto, Madrid and Valencia.
To France: Fly to Paris from Anchorage for as little as $474 round-trip. You can leave right away for $479 round-trip in Basic Economy. Fly on Delta for a little more: $507 round-trip. Remember, when the cheapest fares come down, there’s also a reduction in other classes. For example, fly in Delta’s Comfort+ class for $887 round-trip. The Premium Select class with a bigger seat and more legroom, costs $1,865 round-trip.
Other cities in France on sale between $494 and $522 round-trip: Marseille, Nice, Toulouse and Lyon.
To Italy: I could live in Rome. It’s one of my favorite cities. United has the best prices, starting at $456 round-trip. Available travel dates are pretty similar for all destinations. Right now, there’s no advance purchase. You could leave tomorrow. Christmas travel isn’t available (just until Dec. 18). There are plenty of dates in January and February. The last available date for the sale is around March 6. If you want to fly in United’s Premium Economy, the cost is $1,319 round-trip.
Delta charges a little more: $507-$530 round-trip from Anchorage or Fairbanks to Rome.
Other destinations available between $445-$519 round-trip: Naples, Florence, Bologna, Venice, Verona and Milan.
Most of the popular destinations in Europe are available for between $450 and $550: Amsterdam, Brussels, Geneva, Zurich, Berlin, Oslo and Vienna.
But what’s interesting about this particular sale is the number of unique destinations available. There are several cities that I cannot pronounce — or spell.
First, there are seven destinations in Poland, four of which are available for less than $500 round-trip: Warsaw, Krakow, Rzeszow and Katowice. Tickets are available from Anchorage to Warsaw next week for $509 round-trip on Delta. Plan ahead and save a few bucks with United for a $468 round-trip.
Moving south from Poland, tickets to Prague from Anchorage start at $476 round-trip. Depending on your departure date, the cheaper fare may come up on United or Delta. From Fairbanks, there are more dates available on Delta in January and February, from $519 round-trip.
Flights from Anchorage to Budapest, Hungary, start at $482 round-trip on United and Lufthansa. Delta and KLM offer fares for a little more (from $558 round-trip), but the flight time is a little less.
It’s been a while since I’ve seen a great fare to Bucharest, Romania: from $469 round-trip on United. But it’s a 32-hour flight. Delta and Air France offer a 20-hour itinerary for $510 round-trip. There’s another destination in Romania, in the heart of the Carpathian Mountains. I’ve never heard of it: Cluj-Napoca. It’s on sale, too: $465 round-trip on United and Lufthansa. The routing includes three stops, with the last leg on Air Dolomiti flying an E-195 regional jet.
In this region, the destinations get a little more exotic: Anchorage-Ljubljana, Slovenia, for $480 round-trip on United/Lufthansa. Or what about a trip to Zagreb, Croatia, for $522 round-trip? Delta and AirFrance have the cheapest fares.
This morning, I received a message from a friend who recently returned from a visit to Albania. I’m still waiting for the details, but the short story is, “It’s not a destination for all.” Still, if you want to visit, take some euros, since credit cards are not widely accepted. Prices to Tirana, Albania, start at $468 round-trip on United and Austrian Air. It’s a three-stop itinerary through Chicago and Vienna.
Have you been to Skopje, in North Macedonia? I cannot even pronounce it. Fly there on United and Lufthansa for as little as $479 round-trip. To the east in Bulgaria, fly to Sofia for $479 round-trip. To the south in Athens, tickets are available for as little as $461 round-trip on United ($484 round-trip on Delta).
Keep going south and a little east to the island of Cyprus. Fly to Larnaca, on the south coast, for as little as $483 round-trip on United and Lufthansa.
What about a trip to Algiers? Make sure you get a visa. The air ticket in January is available for as little as $446 round-trip. It’s a three-stop itinerary, including the final segment on Air Algerie.
Fly to either Marrakesh or Casablanca in Morocco. Prices start at $515 round-trip on Delta and KLM from either Anchorage or Fairbanks.
Travel to all of the above destinations is available through March 6. Only one destination has seats available for springtime travel: London. Fly Anchorage-London in the winter, but bargain seats are available through March 29, then again from April 16 to May 10. The springtime seats are available on Alaska Airlines and American Airlines.
How to book: Most of the time, you can go to the airline website and book the tickets. But you won’t always find the best fare. I recommend visiting the Google Flights booking site. Type in your desired itinerary and you may find the best prices on a partner site, such as KLM or Lufthansa. Sometimes, the search results will say “call Lufthansa.” But try going to the Lufthansa website and entering the dates and destination. It worked for me.
According to the fare rules, all tickets must be purchased by Nov. 7. But don’t wait until the last minute. Fares are subject to change without notice — and they change all the time.