Posted September 28th, 2012, 11:49 AM
Just my opinion (as a pretty frequent flyer, including to/from Alaska) but I think that looking at ticket prices for August 2013 in September 2012 is not an especially good idea.
That far out, the airlines don't know what their own costs are going to be - fuel prices, new labor contracts, etc. - so they tend to "hedge" by setting prices high, so that if their costs go up in the meantime their back ends are covered. So you pay an "uncertainty" penalty, and of course you give the airlines the use of your money for almost a year.
Closer to flight date (e.g. by, say, April 2013) the airlines have a much better idea of their costs, of who they're competing with on any given route, and on how the economy is doing, so they're better able to forecast demand on a given flight/route/date, and can adjust prices accordingly. Airline ticket prices change all the time, and not just in one direction.
I know it's uncomfortable for many cruise passengers who like everything planned out and settled far in advance, but waiting a little while to book your airfare really doesn't have that big a downside.
For travel next summer, you have plenty of time to poke around and look not just for the best airfares, but also to get familiar with websites and resources that can help you find them. For example, go to http://matrix.itasoftware.com/
and learn how to use the "multi-city" option. It will show you numerous alternatives, which you can then use to purchase your ticket directly from the airline or from an online agency like Expedia or Orbitz. Substitute Seattle for Vancouver on the return, for example, and you can see the difference badda-bing.
The idea is, when you do purchase your ticket, you'll have done your homework and given it your best shot, which is really all you can do.