May 21, 2007

With latest deals, airlines look to summer and beyond

After many years of analyzing airfares, I still get a thrill when a hot deal pops up. Oh, there was a fistful of deals last week for travel between now and July 10. But those are gone.

I'm more interested in rates I can use to travel throughout the summer -- and even into fall and winter.

What is the deal-o'-the-day? Alaska Airlines is selling a $179 one-way fare to Denver. That includes the taxes! You can travel between now and Aug. 29.

The bad news is this: The only seats I could find go through Juneau and Seattle on the way to Denver.

But where there is one good deal, there usually is another. In this case, several airlines are putting out some pretty good fares for summer travel. Let's look at some of my favorites:

US Airways has several great deals, using its nonstops from Anchorage to both Phoenix and Las Vegas. The great part is most of these bargains allow for travel through Dec. 31.

To either Orlando or Miami, US Air is offer a fare of $497 round-trip, plus taxes. Those are great deals. In fact, US Air's flight from Anchorage to Phoenix continues to Orlando, making it the quickest one-stop flight this summer!

US Air also is offering a good fare to Boston from Anchorage: $475 round-trip, plus tax. Fares to Memphis and Cincinnati are a little more expensive: $563 round-trip and $547 round-trip, respectively.

On the face of it, these are not fares you can write home about. But the big feature is that they're valid all summer long -- and travel is permitted through Dec. 31.

Delta is getting into the act, too. The Atlanta-based carrier, which just emerged from bankruptcy, is renewing some of its routes from Anchorage this summer, including nonstop service to Atlanta, Cincinnati and L.A.

Also, Delta will be reinstating its second daily flight to Salt Lake for the summer.

My favorite new deals on Delta include a $402 round-trip fare from Anchorage to Pittsburgh. Delta also is offering a $435 round-trip fare from Anchorage to Philadelphia. Right now, you can travel anytime, although that can change.

The great fare to New York for $367 round-trip and to Charlotte for $357 round-trip are fabulous rates. It's important to remember when airlines add flights, it's a great time to swoop in there and get some bargain seats.

For example, I booked a fare to Charlotte outbound on Delta's Atlanta nonstop, returning via the carrier's Cincinnati nonstop. The price? Just $395 "all-in." Remember, all-in is travel talk for the final price, with taxes and surcharges.

Condor Airlines still offers some great deals to Europe in the middle of the summer. Gone are the sub-$500 airfares, at least until October. But I checked on a departure for Frankfurt on May 29, returning on July 1. The price? Just $728 all-in. That's a great deal, compared to $1,100 fares (or higher) for flights via the Lower 48 states. Condor flies from Anchorage, Fairbanks and Whitehorse.

These great fares come and go like the wind, but chances are good that a fresh breeze will yield a new crop of bargains soon.

By Scott McMurren
Scott McMurren is an Alaska travel marketing consultant. Contact him via his Web site,


No comments: