Although it hasn’t gotten too cold outside, the days are getting shorter. And we’re staring Labor Day right in the face. Summer’s almost over.
Alaska always has been a seasonal market, with more flights from the Lower 48 bringing tourists during the summer. That’s still the case this summer, although some flights are sticking around longer, which means more options for travelers in the fall and winter.
There always are big changes for instate schedules as well. But I’m more interested in those jets that come in from out of state. A competitive mix of jet carriers helps to keep downward pressure on airfares throughout the year.
So let’s take a look at which airlines are sticking around a little longer — and which ones are flying south for the winter.
Air Canada flies once each day from Anchorage to its hub in Vancouver, B.C. It’s nice to have a Canadian connection — and the airline is sticking around for an extra couple of weeks, until Sept. 20. That’s consistent with the cruise companies’ offers, some of which stretch into October. Cruisers account for many of Air Canada’s travelers in and out of Anchorage.
Sun Country Airlines has cut back from its daily Anchorage-Minneapolis flights — to three flights each week. Its last southbound flight is on Sept. 9. However, the carrier is offering a real bargain on its last northbound flight on Sept. 12: $53 one-way from Minneapolis to Anchorage. The special fare is available just on Sept. 12. Northbound travelers will have to fly another airline to get back home.
Two airlines are flying nonstop between Anchorage and Frankfurt this summer: Condor and Eurowings Discover, or “Eurowings” for short.
Eurowings’ last flight is on Sept. 9. Condor is offering twice-weekly flights between now and Sept. 23. Condor also has flights for sale for next summer, starting on May 18, 2024. Eurowings has not added any flights for next summer yet.
Condor is retiring its 767s and flying new A330s to Anchorage next year. But the airline does not show any flights between Fairbanks and Frankfurt next year. Condor is an Alaska Airlines mileage partner, although travelers must remember to ask the agent at check-in to put their frequent flyer number in the reservation. There’s no place to enter the number when making online reservations.
United Airlines flies year-round between Anchorage and Denver. During the summer, the airline flies a bunch of nonstops from Anchorage to Newark, Chicago, Houston and San Francisco. The nonstops between Anchorage and Newark, San Francisco and Houston all end on Sept. 4. This summer, United also offered Fairbanks-Denver nonstops this summer. These daily flights will continue until Sept. 17.
United’s Anchorage-Chicago flights will operate each day through Oct. 28. United will pick up that flight again for the Christmas rush, between Dec. 21 and Jan. 8, 2024. Then, on May 23, 2024, United will resume daily flights.
Both United and American Airlines have a hub in Chicago. American also offers daily Anchorage-Chicago flights. These flights end on Sept. 5. American’s other nonstop from Anchorage is the flight to Dallas/Ft. Worth. The summertime schedule also ends on Sept. 5. But American will operate the flight on Sept. 13 and 17, before resuming daily service through Jan. 8, 2024. This is a new service for travelers and it’s especially welcome since American is an Alaska Airlines mileage partner.
Delta Air Lines continues to offer daily year-round nonstops from Anchorage to Seattle (5-6 flights daily) and Minneapolis. This winter, the carrier is beefing up its offers from Fairbanks and Juneau. During the summer, Delta flies Fairbanks-Minneapolis nonstop each day. Those flights end on Sept. 4.
Delta is increasing its Fairbanks-Seattle flights to twice-daily all winter long. And Delta is continuing its nonstop Juneau-Seattle flight through the winter. Delta’s other summertime flights from Seattle to both Ketchikan and Sitka are operated by the carrier’s regional parner, Skywest. Those daily flights end on Sept. 4.
Delta’s daily nonstops between Anchorage and Atlanta end on Sept. 4. The carrier’s Anchorage-Salt Lake nonstops operate four times each week through Sept. 3, then are reduced to three times each week before ending on Sept. 18.
Alaska Airlines has more flights than all other interstate airlines combined in and out of Anchorage.
This summer, Alaska Air operated a bunch of nonstop flights, many of which end in September.
Alaska’s Anchorage-San Francisco nonstops run each day through Sept. 6, then operate twice each week before ending on Sept. 30. Alaska’s Anchorage Salt Lake nonstop only operated on Saturdays. The last flight of the season is on Sept. 2. The daily Anchorage-Denver nonstop ends on Sept. 4, as does the four-times-weekly nonstop between Anchorage and Minneapolis.
From Fairbanks, Alaska Air offers between three and five nonstops each day year-round. The airline also offers year-round Juneau-Seattle and Ketchikan-Seattle nonstops three times each day.
Between Seattle and Anchorage, Alaska operates between 14-19 nonstop flights each day. Additionally, Alaska offers a daily nonstop on Horizon between Anchorage and Everett’s Paine Field.
From Anchorage, Alaska Air offers twice-daily service to Portland. One of those daily flights is operated by Horizon on the E175. I like those jets because there’s no middle seat!
Alaska’s Anchorage-Los Angeles flights run daily through Oct. 3, then five times weekly through Nov. 14. Daily service resumes Nov. 17.
If you want to fly nonstop to Las Vegas, Alaska Air is operating flights on Fridays and Sundays.
Nonstop flights on Alaska between Anchorage and Phoenix fly three times a week through Sept. 4, then six times per week through Nov. 12. Daily service resumes on Nov. 24.
Alaska’s nonstop flights to Chicago operate each day through Oct. 1, before reducing to four times a week through Nov. 12. The Chicago flight operates twice a week through Jan. 6, 2024. Daily service resumes on March 14, 2024.
Alaska’s nonstop flights to Honolulu continue to operate each day. Nonstop flights to Maui are scheduled to begin Nov. 17, but tourists are discouraged. Nonstop flights to Kona resume on Nov. 18.
There are lots of connections in Seattle, Los Angeles, Dallas and Chicago to points around the world. But the nonstop flights are especially valuable to travelers. In the summertime, Anchorage is flush with options. The pickings are slimmer in the winter, but there still are lots of flights from which to choose.