Precious little logic applies to airfare sales -- they go up, they go down, they go all around -- and when a real hum-dinger pops up, like flying from Alaska to South America for under $600, it's hard not to drop everything, grab the passport and GO!
Here's one of those deals: Fly from Anchorage to Manaus, Brazil on American Airlines for as little as $564 roundtrip. There are just a couple of departure dates remaining, Oct. 9 and Oct. 10, 2012. Come back on one of several days the following week, Oct. 15 through Oct. 19. Keep in mind that availability is limited. If you're thinking of going to the heart of the Amazon rain forest, Manaus is your gateway -- and this is your deal.
U.S. citizens traveling to Brazil must get a visa, which can cost more than $200.
Closer to home, there still are plenty of seats in October for flights to San Juan, Puerto Rico for $574 roundtrip on Delta. That's 9,880 miles -- also "Mileage Run" quality. Here's the kicker: for $854 roundtrip, Delta will give you a confirmed seat in First Class. Trust me, it's a killer deal!
European vacation ideas
All eyes are on Icelandair for their new nonstop service from Anchorage to Reykjavik, starting May 15, 2013. The twice-weekly service, on Thursdays and Mondays, features a Boeing 757-200 single-aisle aircraft. And while Iceland is a popular destination, the big draw is the connecting service to a big collection of European capitals, including London, Paris, Madrid, Copenhagen and more. The fare to Iceland starts at $714 roundtrip -- a great deal in itself -- but the real value is the airline's "free stop" option. Icelandair owns several hotels in Reykjavik and offers some great deals when stays are booked in conjunction with airfare.
If you're ready to travel to Europe right away, fly with Condor later in September. The Anchorage-Frankfurt nonstops are available for as little as $792 roundtrip, Sept. 29-Oct. 6, 2012. Or, fly Sept. 6-18, 2012 for $840 roundtrip.
Club 49 specials
Alaska Airlines Club 49 members will find Chicago on sale this week, the airfare special must be purchased no later than Thursday, Aug. 30:
Alaska also reduced select fares on travel to Honolulu from Anchorage, Nov. 20-Dec. 12, to $545 roundtrip.
Alaska also is offering an October sale on airfares to Seattle from Anchorage: fly Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays for $479 roundtrip.
Looking for in-state travel deals?
Lower 48 deals
US Airways still has the best rates for travel between Anchorage and Long Beach during October, as low as $349 roundtrip, although more dates are available at $383 roundtrip. Still, that's the least-expensive ticket out of Alaska.
United Airlines has a great deal between Anchorage and Phoenix, for $455 roundtrip.
Looking eastward? Check out the United deal on travel from Anchorage to Boston. It's the least-expensive fare from Alaska to the East Coast at $481, roundtrip, in October and November.
Of course, these airfare deals come and go like the wind. But if you set your sail just right, you could be headed on a great adventure -- for less!
1. Air Fare Search: ITA Matrix is a great tool to scan for great rates between specific cities
2. Air Fare Map: Fare Compare offers an overview of the lowest fares to many destinations.
3. Johnny Jet: Hat-tip to Johnny Jet for the great Alaska-Brazil deal.
4. Air Fare Alerts: Airfare Watchdog helps you set up alerts for specific cities.
Scott McMurren is an Anchorage-based travel marketing consultant who has lived in Alaska for three decades, spending much of that time traveling the far-flung corners of the state. Visit his website at www.alaskatravelgram.com. And follow him on Twitter at Twitter.com/alaskatravelgrm for breaking updates.