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Lower virus numbers, lower fares: Some hopeful signs for Alaska air travelers




Thinking about a trip on a plane these days can be tedious.

First, there is the possibility of getting sick while you are full of 100 strangers. The good news on airplanes is that everyone has a mask, although most passengers remove the masks at some point to eat or drink.

Recently, the CDC has recommended that everyone double masks. Some airlines, like Lufthansa, are Mandated that the leaflets have top-level masks N95, KN95 or surgical. The most common recommendation for masks is to wear a surgical mask and cover it with a fabric mask, providing an extra barrier.

Of course, not only air travel is a risky business. No, it is also the crowded airport, the airport bar, the bus to the rental car, the hotel boat and the opportunity to be near a whole new group of people. Each of these interactions with individuals outside of your blister increases the risk of you contracting COVID-19 or even unwittingly spreading the virus. These are some of the reasons that the CDC still recommends you not to travel.

That said, experts had a year to figure out some efforts that could mitigate the spread of the virus in addition to staying home on the couch. Masks work. Social distance works at least 6 meters. Hand washing works. Avoiding large gatherings indoors where people do not wear masks works. Also, vaccines work. Hopefully, more people will be vaccinated, making it harder for new COVID-19 variants to spread.

The number of new COVID-19 cases is still high in Alaska and in the Low 48. But those numbers are dwindling. This does not mean that travelers can leave their guards with masks, social distance, hand washing and vaccinations. But it is a sign of hope for future travelers.

The other promising sign is the constant friction between Alaska Air and Delta, resulting in low prices for popular destinations.

Last week, there were deep coast-to-coast discounts for trips ending March 31st. Alaska Air and Delta have been struggling all week and prices continue to rise and fall. But some good things happened just a few days ago.

Many travelers have been asking for cheap fares in recent weeks. But many restrained themselves because COVID-19 numbers could still be high in March. Now, there is a selection of good prices that are valid until March, April and May. These are also some summer travel offers.

Between Anchorage and Seattle, Delta is selling tickets for less than $ 86 one way to travel between March 13 and May 16. From Fairbanks, the Delta rate is $ 93 one way to Seattle. During March, Alaska Air compared the Anchorage-Seattle price. But my guess is that in a day or two, Alaska will match Delta prices. For travel during the rest of the summer, both Alaska and Delta are offering one-way prices of $ 107. These are the cheapest of the vacancies. Alaska calls those prices Saver, while Delta calls them the base rates of the economy. Even with the core economy in the Delta, however, the middle ground is empty until April 30th. Alaska blocks middle places only in the premium class until May 31st.

The price to travel from Anchorage to other key airports in the Northwest Pacific from Anchorage is only $ 129 one way: to Eugene, Medford, Portland, Boise or Spokane. From Fairbanks, the price for these destinations starts at $ 136 in one direction to travel between March 13 and June 9.

From Anchorage to Las Vegas, Chicago or Denver, the price is $ 129 one way to travel until June 9 in the Delta. Tickets from Anchorage to Salt Lake City are slightly higher because it is a Delta hub: $ 149 one way to Delta through June 9th. Prices from Fairbanks are either the same price (Chicago) or just $ 7 more (Denver and Las Vegas).

In addition to good prices from Anchorage and Fairbanks, Delta has lowered prices from Southeast Alaska Juneau, Ketchikan and Sitka to $ 94-106 in each direction. Travel between May 29 and June 9.

My guess is that prices will be lower throughout the summer. Like many passengers, airlines are cautiously optimistic that COVID-19 numbers will continue to fall and that passengers will go back to heaven. As demand increases, prices will rise slightly. For example, without interruption from Anchorage to Hawaii run $ 299 – 313 in one direction to Honolulu, Maui and Kona.

If you fly out for a trip, your return trip will be a little different. Since Gov. Mike Dunleavy and the Alaska Legislature did not renew the COVID-19 nationwide emergency declaration this month, the inbound passenger testing regime has changed.

COVID-19 tests were previously required for travelers coming from outside Alaska, but now they have been done recommended.

Bryan Fisher is an incident commander with the state Emergency Operations Center. He said the detectors will still be at airports offering free tests to everyone, not just Alaskans.

Fisher is clear: The pandemic is not over. We still feel strongly that there are risks associated with travel, especially with new variants of the coronavirus, he said.

We would love to have the request for COVID-19 testing, he added, and have that conversation with the Legislature (Alaska).

We want people to come to Alaska, he said, but we want them to do it safely.

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