Flight deals out of Alaska are popping up where you may least expect to find them

Fares go up and fares go down, for a variety of reasons.

For example, during the three-week grounding of Alaska Airlines’ 737 Max 9 fleet last month, fares went way up between Anchorage and Seattle. On some days, short-notice rates between Anchorage and Seattle on both Alaska and Delta exceeded $1,000 one-way.

As more planes returned to the air, the rates went down, but not all the way. Then, both Alaska and Delta ran a three-day sale where one-way tickets dropped to as low as $108 one-way.

But on Feb. 1, rates went up more than 50% to where they are today: $168 one-way. Those rates are available with a 21-day advance purchase. If you need to leave right away, last-minute tickets start at $298 one-way.

My head still hurts from tracking the ups and downs of the Anchorage-Seattle prices. That may be why I missed it when American Airlines rolled out some great prices.

[Flight emergencies have turned some fliers into armchair investigators]

American Airlines paused its daily Anchorage-Dallas nonstop on Jan. 6. But the flights will resume on March 10.


To jump-start the service, American is putting its first-class seats on sale.

This doesn’t happen very often.

American only has one flight in and out of Anchorage in March and April: to Dallas. On May 6, American adds a seasonal nonstop from Anchorage to Chicago. But that’s another story.

Starting on March 10, American Air is cutting first-class fares to select cities, routing everyone through Dallas Fort Worth International Airport on Flight 1233.

Even though the price cuts are substantial, there’s a much smaller number of travelers who will fork over the extra cash to fly up front in the fat seats. Most travelers, when comparing the increased cost of first class, just hope that they’ll be one of the lucky frequent flyers to get an upgrade.

On American’s late-model Airbus A320neo, there are just 20 first-class seats on each flight.

One of the best prices I found to fly first class was from Anchorage to Miami: $475 one-way. American also has a great price to nearby Fort Lauderdale for $539 one-way. Travel between March 18 and April 26 for the best rates.

When I saw those good rates to South Florida, I started looking around to find out what other cities were on sale.

There are two other cities in Florida with lots of available dates for less than $600 one-way in first class: Fort Myers and Tampa. There are good fares to and from Panama City, Florida, but there’s a long layover in Dallas.

Just to recap, when traveling first class on American, you get two free checked bags, pre-assigned seating and you’ll earn Alaska Airlines miles. The seats are much nicer. The service is better, too, even though it’s a red-eye flight.

Another great deal for first-class travelers is from Anchorage to New York. Depending on the date and the airport (JFK, LaGuardia or Newark), the price ranges from $484 to $585 one-way. The best fares are available between March 18 and May 5.

Fly from Anchorage to Boston between March 27 and April 30. The first-class fares range between $474 and $594 one-way.

One of my favorite airfare search tools is Google Flights. I can limit results by price, flight duration, airline and several different variables. For this exercise, I limited the results to 15 hours or less of travel time. If you don’t care how long it takes to get to New York, there are more dates available. But there may be long layovers or multiple connections.

If you want to go from Anchorage to Washington, D.C., the airport with the most available seats is Baltimore (BWI). Baltimore’s Thurgood Marshall Airport is about 45 miles away from Washington, but there’s an AMTRAK train that goes to Union Station. Still, flights are available to Washington’s Reagan National Airport … just not as many.

First-class fares on American range from $483 to $579 one-way, between March 18 and May 7. The return flight schedule from Washington or Baltimore has more days with longer layovers.

[Max 9s are returning to the Alaska Airlines fleet. Here’s what that means for travelers.]

One of the cheapest destinations with this first-class sale is between Anchorage and Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina. The first-class rates start at $444 per person from Anchorage. Travel to Raleigh between March 18 and May 7. The schedules are pretty good and the connections are not too long in Dallas.


However, on the return flight from Raleigh to Anchorage, you could end up with a long layover in Dallas. Just play around with the dates and times to get a good price and schedule.

There’s a wide swath of available destinations in Ohio (Cincinnati, Dayton and Columbus), plus Pittsburgh and Indianapolis. Rates range from $444 to $590, depending on the dates between mid-March and early May.

American Air has a good schedule from Anchorage to Nashville via Dallas, with first-class fares starting at $463 one-way.

American offers a fare to Chicago for $505 one-way in first class, via Dallas. But the better deal is on Alaska Air’s nonstop for $535 one-way in first class. Fly between April 16 and June 25.

It would be logical for American to offer the cheapest rate directly to Dallas on its nonstop flight. But airfare pricing has nothing to do with logic. Accordingly, the nonstop Anchorage-Dallas flight on American costs $594 one-way in first class, between March 19 and May 7.

It’s cheaper to fly via Dallas to New Orleans ($494 one-way), to Austin (from $454 one-way), to San Antonio ( from $469 one-way), to Midland/Odessa (from $454 one-way) or Oklahoma City (from $463 one-way). For better or worse, that’s just how airline pricing works.

If you’re lucky enough to get upgraded to first class, it’s difficult to go “back there” to the economy cabin. That’s especially true if you’ve had the chance to score a lie-flat business class seat while flying across the Atlantic or the Pacific.

For a new experience, take advantage of La Compagnie’s unique all-business-class jets that fly from Newark to Paris and Milan.


La Compagnie’s flies a fleet of Airbus A321neo planes, each with 76 lie-flat seats. The airline is offering a Valentine’s Day special: Newark to either Paris or Milan for $3,800 per couple. The carrier also offers flights to Nice, France for $4,800 for two.

Travelers have to purchase tickets by Valentine’s Day but can fly between now and the end of the year. The special fares are not available every day. The airline flies five or six days a week.

In addition to the lie-flat seats, the airline boasts free, fast Wi-Fi and “gourmet cuisine.”

Whether you’re flying to the Lower 48 or you want to make a trek from New York to Europe, it’s always nicer to sit in the front of the bus. It’s even better when you can score a good fare.

Remember: All fares are subject to change without notice. And they change all the time.

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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