Low Fare Roundup: UPDATED!

In Airfares, Uncategorized by scott

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Warm up some coffee grounds. It’s time for an updated “Low Fare Roundup”. Above, I flew with “Air Arctic” from Fairbanks to Coldfoot the other day. G-r-e-a-t flight north over the Yukon River and up to the foothills of the Brooks Range!

Following is an exhaustive list of the best-and-brightest fares to/from Alaska in the next 75 days. We’re racing towards summer–with some new, competitive air service. That means some great deals–even if you have to jump through some hoops to get ’em.

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Me. On a flight. No upgrade. Hmph.

Speaking of hoops…and the jumping through of them…many readers ask: “How do you find these fares?” It’s an honest question. Here are some of the tools I use:

a. A good travel agent. After your eyes glaze over with the options, the restrictions, the layovers and the other endless details of today’s air fares, you can opt to pay someone to sort it out. Your travel agent can be a valuable resource. Most importantly, they can take care of the details while you get back to work (hint). My friends at USTravel charge $38 per ticket. They have offices in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, Ketchikan, Kodiak, Pruudhoe Bay, Dutch Harbor, Seattle, Spokane, Portland…you know…everywhere. Aside from cheap air fares, of course, they can line you up with your rental car, hotel, cruise, adventure tour…the works. Call: (800)544-2217. Tell ’em “Scott sent me”. No, really.

b. Google’s ITA Software Matrix.  I especially like the “calendar” function so I can scan a month’s worth of fares. You can’t purchase tickets on this site, tho’ they do offer an option to send the detailed fare calculation via email, which you can forward to your travel agent.

c. Fare Compare’s deal map.  There are other maps out there, like Kayak  or Sky Scanner. I loathe Kayak and every single screen that pops up. And Sky Scanner is weird, too. Fare Compare’s map has a moderate amount of phantom fares (good fares but no seats) in the display. You just have to sift through that junk. And they miss some of the best deals. But on average, it’s an OK tool. I guess. For Heaven’s sake, don’t ask FareCompare.com to book a ticket for you. There’s a hideous Kayak-esque series of pop-ups “PICK ME, PICK ME” to redirect you to their favorite OTA (online travel agent). SATANIC, I say.

d. Individual airline websites. AlaskaAir.com has a handy “calendar” search. And since the vast majority of my travel is on Alaska Airlines, I check it quite a bit. I also check Delta.com, USAirways.com, AA.com, FlyFrontier.com, JetBlue.com, FlyEra.com, United.com, Condor.com, Icelandair.com and VirginAmerica.com .

There are other tools I use, but I have to light candles and get out the Ouija Board. Sometimes I just stare at the screen and the fares change before my very eyes. I am not making this up. Well, OK, I don’t use a ouija board. I can barely spell it. HA

The low-down: I worked on these fares late into the evening. Each listing is followed by notes detailing actual dates when the fares are available.  Happy hunting.

To/from Juneau:

OK, I’m traveling to Juneau today so I wanted to throw them a bone. They just don’t get very many deals.

-Juneau-Montreal: Fly Apr. 30-May 7 (other dates available in the first week in May), $445rt on American. You have to overnight in Chicago on the outbound segment.

-Juneau-Ottawa: Fly May 1-6 (other dates available in the first week in May), $438rt on American. There’s a 7:20 minute layover on the return in Chicago.

Naturally, your Juneau-Seattle flights are operated by Alaska Air, sold through American’s code-share deal.

To/from Fairbanks:

Whoa. Stand by to ROCK, Fairbanksans.

-Fairbanks-Minneapolis: May 17-31, $420rt on United.

-Fairbanks-Kansas City: May 20-31, $456rt on Frontier.

-Fairbanks-Denver: May 17-25, $348rt on Frontier (nonstop)

-Fairbanks-Las Vegas: May 20-31, $439rt using Frontier on the o/b (outbound), United on the return

-Fairbanks-Phoenix: May 17-21, $444rt on Alaska Airlines

-Fairbanks-Chicago: May 17-31, $494 using Alaska on the o/b, United on the return

-Fairbanks-Austin, TX: May 17-31, $487rt using Frontier on the o/b, United on the return

-Fairbanks-Orlando: May 17-31, $536rt on United

-Fairbanks-Milwaukee, WI: May 20-29, $491rt using Frontier on the o/b, American on the return

To/from Anchorage:

Let’s start with the international flights.

-Anchorage-Reykjavik, Iceland: starting May 16 from $643rt on Icelandair (nonstop)

-Anchorage-Oslo, Norway: May 16-26, $917rt on Icelandair

-Anchorage-Helsinki, FInland: May 20-June 2, $1,008rt on Icelandair

-Anchorage-Frankfurt: starting May 7 from $962rt on Condor (nonstop)

–and the “domestic” roundup:

-Anchorage-Seattle: starting May 17, $260rt on JetBlue and Alaska (nonstop)

-Anchorage-Denver: May 16-21, $296rt on Frontier (nonstop)

-Anchorage-Los Angeles Int’l (LAX): starting May 28, $338rt on Alaska (nonstop)

-Anchorage-Long Beach/L.A.: starting May 17, $338rt on JetBlue (nonstop)

-Anchorage-Orange County, CA (SNA): starting April 8, $360rt on Delta

-Anchorage-Fresno, CA: May 15-19, $360rt on Delta

-Anchorage-Phoenix: starting April 16, $456rt on United

-Anchorage-Austin, TX: May 16-23, $348rt on American

-Anchorage-Kansas City: May 20-29, $387rt using Frontier on the ob/, returning on United

-Anchorage-St. Louis: May 20-29, $412rt w/Frontier on the o/b, return on American

-Anchorage-Boston: May 16-21, $348rt on American

-Anchorage-New York: May 18-29, $357rt on American (NOTE: Fly in to LaGuardia, out of JFK)

-Anchorage-Las Vegas: May 20-29, $348rt on American

-Anchorage-Des Moines, IA: May 17-25, $401rt w/ Frontier on the o/b, return on Delta

-Anchorage-Dallas/Ft. Worth: May 16-21, $349rt w/Alaska + American on the o/b, returning on American (NOTE: this is essentially an L.A. fare w/a free stop in Dallas. So, fly nonstop Anchorage-L.A. on Alaska, then pick up American for the connecting flight to Dallas. Return home to Anchorage on American’s nonstop flight.)

Anchorage-Charlotte, NC: Fly Apr. 16-27, $460rt on United

-Anchorage-San Diego: starting May 18, $440rt on Alaska

As usual, these fares change like the wind. If you see a fare you like, pounce on it. There are many cities not included on the list, such as Portland, Cincinnati, Detroit, Miami, Albuquerque and such. Why? Because the fares are much, much higher. However, if you have a special request, feel free to drop me a note. Please include your preferred destination and your dates of travel: [email protected] .

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