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Airfare for Alaska Cruise, Advice?

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My cruise in Alaska is a year away, and I cannot yet get prices on airfare, but I will be able to in a few weeks. Does anyone have any insight into the timing to get best ticket prices (for me from Atlanta to Vancouver and return from Anchorage)? Based on your experience, what would be a good price range from Atlanta? Any other thoughts or experiences are welcome.

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How are going to buy the airfare? Thru the cruise line or on your own?

I would compare the two before deciding.

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Decide what you are willing to pay for airfare. If the price is less than that, or near that, book it. When I was looking last fall in September and October for our flights this August, the prices kept creeping up higher and higher. I was nervous they would jump a lot, so I just booked them and let it be. I never saw the prices go down I was searching. Once it was booked I didn't bother checking anymore except at random times and the tickets were $200+ more.

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Use a search engine that allows you to compare flights each way on different airlines. We used one airline to Vancouver and a different airline from Anchorage since that offered the best overall price.

 

Also check flights to Seattle, since they can SOMETIMES be substantially cheaper, even factoring in transportation from Seattle to Vancouver.

 

 

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When I book, I look at seat availability for my flights. For example, our outbound flight has a connecting flight. I have been watching the flights very carefully. The first flight has lots of seat availability; the connecting flight is already beginning to fill up. Since I want this particular flight combo because it gets me into Vancouver early, I will probably book soon in order to ensure we get seats on the connecting flight.

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I would be asking this on the Cruise Air board...lots of experience there.

 

There IS NO magic time to book airfares. You need to do research...monitoring airfares, to see what the fares look like, then buy when you find a fare that you can live with, and DON'T LOOK BACK.

 

The next thing is that last year's, or this year's, fares have nothing to do with what you might pay for your air fare next year. Things in air fare markets change regularly. You can only base your decision on what the fares are doing for the time frame you want to fly.

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Here's what happened for us. We are in a city (Richmond, VA) where airfares are steep and flights are almost always non-direct. I kept watching fares over a year before we were to sail and had chosen the flights I wanted by both price and time - R/T Seattle in August 2018. I checked daily and, the very day that the fares for our date opened, I found the lowest fare I ever saw, so low booking Comfort was less than the usual economy. Needless to say, I jumped on tickets and have noted, even the next day, that the fares were never anywhere near that low price again. My recommendation is for you to monitor fares for a month or two and choose the flights you want. Find out the day your flight opens for purchase (I found this out from checking when I could book on the airline site) and book early that day. This worked amazingly well with Delta for us. Good luck!

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Two suggestions.

 

First, use ITA for your search engine. http://matrix.itasoftware.com/ Use the "multi-city" tab to price "open jaw" itineraries - Atlanta to Vancouver (YVR) and Anchorage (ANC) to Atlanta. ITA is the workhorse behind many airline and online travel agency (OTA) websites, like Kayak. You can't book through ITA itself, but as ITA is now owned by Google, you can switch easily to Google Flights, through which you can book tickets. You can try pricing through Seattle, but chances are by the time you add the necessary extra hotel nights (due to flight timing) and transportation costs from Seattle to Vancouver, you won't save any money.

 

Second, be patient. Quite often the prices you'll see when the reservation period opens are far from the cheapest. While it's true that trying to "time" airfare is like trying to "time" the stock market (i.e., don't) a little common sense helps. When airlines first open the booking window (typically 11 months out) they might not have a handle on their operating costs a year later, particularly the price of fuel. So to hedge against the possibility of their own costs going up and their profits coming down, they'll "hedge" by only making available those fare categories ("buckets") that will insure a decent profit even if their costs spike in the meantime. But once their own cost forecasts are more reliable, they can release seats in cheaper "buckets" hence lower price to the consumer. I like to say that sometimes the early bird gets cats.

 

So be patient and wait a while - maybe three or four months into the booking cycle - before buying. And as stated, once you've pulled the trigger don't look back. Buyer's remorse is a b*tch.

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Check with the cruise line for air also. I saved thousands on my Princess cruise to Europe booking the air with Princess. I could book the airline and times I wanted. I haven't used Celebrity to check air so am not familiar with their program.

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Check with the cruise line for air also. I saved thousands on my Princess cruise to Europe booking the air with Princess. I could book the airline and times I wanted. I haven't used Celebrity to check air so am not familiar with their program.

 

Celebrity , Royal and Aramara air program isn’t as good as Princess.

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I was also going to mention that if you don't mind a new credit card, the Alaska Airlines Signature Visa card comes with a bunch of Alaska frequent flyer miles when you sign up (currently 30,000 miles, enough for a round trip within North America) but also an annual $99 companion certificate good on any Alaska itinerary. One passenger pays the going price and the companion pays $99 ($121 after taxes) for the same itinerary. So for example if an ATL-xSEA-YVR//ANC-xSEA-ATL* ticket costs, say, $600 (don't know, just guessing) and the second one costs $121, the total for two is $721, or $360 per person. https://www.alaskaair.com/content/credit-card/visa-signature

 

Alaska's mileage plan is a very good one, with numerous partners all over the world.

 

*"xSEA" means with a plane change. Alaska Airlines also offers a free stopover in Seattle in either/both directions if you want.

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I watched the fares and looked at this summer's fares. I recently booked one way flights. Detroit to Vancouver and Anchorage to Cleveland. Since we are between Detroit and Cleveland, we can fly out of either airport. Flying into Seattle wasn't going to be a price break unless we found a major sale from Southwest or a low cost carrier and those flights wouldn't open up for some time. All together, the flights will be $500 per person.

 

I did price the flights with Choice Air, and the price came in over $200 more. I hate paying these prices for flights and then figuring out transportation to airports. But I figured we were going to have to pay somewhere on this trip.

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We're taking our Alaska cruise this August. I purchased the tickets through RCCL's ChoiceAir program because they managed to get the itinerary I wanted for a good price. I purchased the tickets this past January. But, I had been checking prices through a variety of sites for a couple of months before that to have an idea of the price ranges.

 

Because we leave out of OKC, we have to connect. So our outbound was on Alaska, stopping in Seattle to Anchorage and the return is Vancouver to Dallas and on to OKC.

 

The big issue that we had is that the flights that I had originally booked 'disappeared' in about the March time frame when airlines normally juggle their schedules. It took a little over a week to get them sorted after that. Luckily, it was all done at no cost to us, but we did end up losing the day I had hoped to spend in Vancouver.

 

ChoiceAir handled the rebooking, but I told them specifically what flights I wanted.

 

So basically my advice is know your itinerary, know the prevailing prices and then get a quote from your cruise line. They got the flights I wanted that were not accessible to me when I tried to book on my own.

 

(for a little background, I am not a travel agent, but I do programming in the transportation industry and I've been researching flights to book on my own for decades. I usually prefer the control of doing it myself, but this time it worked out having the cruise line do it.)

 

I hope that helps!

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Strongly suggest looking at flying into a Seattle and taking Amtrak to Vancouver. We are doing that next summer. Super cheap flights combined with only 7,000 miles for two of us (14,000 total) to get 4 of us there for $300 in Delta Comfort+ on a direct flight from Texas. It never gets that cheap. So I jumped on that quick! Gives us time to enjoy Seattle -one of our favorite cities, and the train to Vancouver is a lovely relaxing ride which we also enjoy. Going into Vancouver would have required about $800 more in fare plus longer with a connection. Even the $100 Amtrak fare plus travel time and we saved a lot in my opinion.

 

Just booked return flight from Anchorage (sailing northbound) when they opened. Pricier, but when combining both tickets, we are less than $485 per person in Delta Comfort + going Anchorage Seattle and then Seattle back to Texas.

 

Highly recommend and I regularly use ITA Matrix. I also set Kayak alerts and Hopper alerts for flights I am eyeing.

 

Many people jump first chance tix are available and many recommend waiting. You decide your comfort level and price point and agreed - don't look back.

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...there is no magic time to book airfares. You need to do research...monitoring airfares, to see what the fares look like, then buy when you find a fare that you can live with, and don't look back...

 

this...

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As crazy as flight quotes sounds, don't forget Las Vegas as an option. When I lived in Anchorage (for 13 years) it was cheaper for me to fly non-stop From Anchorage to Vegas than I would fly Vegas non-stop to MSP. On one of my AK cruises I actually went Non-Stop from VanCouver to Las Vegas, then Las Vegas back to Anchorage - and that flight came in cheaper than Seattle or VanCouver to Anchorage. Also if you can get to MSP airport fairly reasonable, look at Sun Country Airlines. They are a charter from MSP with daily service to ANC.

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My cruise in Alaska is a year away, and I cannot yet get prices on airfare, but I will be able to in a few weeks. Does anyone have any insight into the timing to get best ticket prices (for me from Atlanta to Vancouver and return from Anchorage)? Based on your experience, what would be a good price range from Atlanta? Any other thoughts or experiences are welcome.

 

Since you're in Atlanta and it's Delta's main hub (I think...) check with them. I did an open jaw flight on my 2016 cruise that left from Vancouver and returned to Seattle. I did Dallas to Vancouver then Seattle back to Dallas. It wasn't THAT expensive and I didn't have to mess with a transfer from Seattle to Vancouver. You might check the total difference between coach and 1st class too. My trip in 1st class was about $165 more total than if I had flown coach. In 1st you get to check two bags for at no extra cost (saving $60 each way - $120 total) plus the bags can weigh up to 70 pounds each instead of 50 in coach. Good luck!

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Use a search engine that allows you to compare flights each way on different airlines. We used one airline to Vancouver and a different airline from Anchorage since that offered the best overall price.

 

Also check flights to Seattle, since they can SOMETIMES be substantially cheaper, even factoring in transportation from Seattle to Vancouver.

 

 

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Ditto on this plan. When we head back from a southbound cruise next year, we are seeing the best plan is to rent a car in Vancouver, drive to Seattle, then a single nonstop 4 hour flight to Houston. Sometimes as low as $99. Also book ~90 days out

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we did the multi city air through Alaska Air as well. It was buy one get the second one free. (we did the opposite, Whittier to Vancouver) we also took the Amtrak to Seattle for $32 per person, it was a 4 hour ride, we ate dinner and played cards on the train. The next day we flew nonstop to Omaha. YEA!! that never happens. Total RT cost for 2 tickets

Omaha-Anchorage

Seattle to Omaha

$642

 

Amtrak one way Vancouver to Seattle

$64

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I am doing a cruisetour in June 2019, also flying Atlanta to Vancouver and then home to Atlanta from Fairbanks at the end. I just this week decided to go ahead and purchase my plane tickets on Delta. I watched the fares for this June all last spring just to get an idea of what I should be looking for. I wanted some pretty specific time parameters so when I saw something that would work perfect for us at $662 total per person I went ahead and reserved it (booked as multi city RT). To me the main downside to booking so early is that airlines often change the flight times, so my perfect timing could get screwed up! I checked Princess EZAir but they didn't offer any departures after 6pm, and we want to leave Atlanta in the evening, so I didn't even ask for a quote.

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My cruise in Alaska is a year away, and I cannot yet get prices on airfare, but I will be able to in a few weeks. Does anyone have any insight into the timing to get best ticket prices (for me from Atlanta to Vancouver and return from Anchorage)? Based on your experience, what would be a good price range from Atlanta? Any other thoughts or experiences are welcome.

 

I am watching this itinerary also. I live in Atlanta and will be on a Vancouver Anchorage trip in June of 2019, The direct flights will not be loaded for a while yet. I will be watching daily. Others have shared getting good deals about 6 months out last year. My goal is $400 RT open jaw. Good Luck!!

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If I had to do it all over again, for return, I would have waited for JetBlue to open up their flights. If you have a long flight east as in Atlanta, the comfort and space on JetBlue is worth it. On the way up, we flew to Vancouver (not a JetBlue city), so taking lowest fare on a legacy airline was probably okay.

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If you buy a ticket on Alaska Airlines directly via their website and the price goes down, you can go back in and ask for the price difference back. It’s very simple. You have to watch the fare yourself. It’s not automatic. But I’ve done it many times. Fares will run from $300-$800 one way to/from Anchorage to the east or gulf coast in the summertime. As someone else said, look into the AK Air Visa card. The perks may be worthwhile for you. We fly mostly on miles and the companion fare.

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Delta prices were great for our recent one way ORD-ANC. It had a stop in Seattle which was fine. Seatback entertainment, too! I bet you will find even better flights from ATL. Once I found a good fare, I redeemed points on my Chase Rewards card to purchase the tickets. I purchased only three weeks ahead of our travel dates. With this much time ahead of your cruise you might consider opening a card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve which gives gigantic sign-up bonuses and discounted point redemptions.

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The direct flights from ATL to Vancouver for 2019 were posted on Saturday. The schedule has changed from this year. It is a direct evening flight 7:30 PM to 10:15 PM. Obviously a hotel stay is required, but I HATE layovers, so I booked it. The direct Anchorage to ATL has not posted yet. I continue to monitor daily.

Edited by plagmah
typo

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The direct flights from ATL to Vancouver for 2019 were posted on Saturday. The schedule has changed from this year. It is a direct evening flight 7:30 PM to 10:15 PM. Obviously a hotel stay is required, but I HATE layovers, so I booked it. The direct Anchorage to ATL has not posted yet. I continue to monitor daily.

 

 

Please keep us tuned in... we just booked Whittier to Vancouver on Royal Princess .. and are looking to get there from Atlanta. So far Princess air has been the cheapest but at $590 pp. We want to fly up to anchorage the week before and do a DIY land tour. However, that puts us flying out to anchorage over memorial day weekend. We are flexible but so far the prices have seemed high. Would love to be in the $400 pp range since there are 4 of us ;).

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Please keep us tuned in... we just booked Whittier to Vancouver on Royal Princess .. and are looking to get there from Atlanta. So far Princess air has been the cheapest but at $590 pp. We want to fly up to anchorage the week before and do a DIY land tour. However, that puts us flying out to anchorage over memorial day weekend. We are flexible but so far the prices have seemed high. Would love to be in the $400 pp range since there are 4 of us ;).

 

 

 

The anchorage to Atlanta direct flights are now open for next summer

 

 

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The anchorage to Atlanta direct flights are now open for next summer

 

 

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Thank you!!! Got us booked. Almost the same price as the 1 and 2 stop flights. Still hoping the price drops but will take the direct flight even if the price stays where it is. Only 1 flight per day? Or during peak summer does Delta ever have more than one or does Alaskan Air ever have a direct flight? Just trying to keep all options open.

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only 1 per day. They did not add a second direct this past summer.

 

Glad you got booked. I am still waiting on the price to drop.

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only 1 per day. They did not add a second direct this past summer.

 

Glad you got booked. I am still waiting on the price to drop.

 

Thank you! Since we are flying over a holiday weekend - glad we got on the direct flight - we are booked through Princess EZair so I can rebook if the price drops with no penalties.

 

Good info that there was only 1 direct this summer.

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Don't mean to highjack the thread, just looking for advice. We are doing a northbound cruise next June that starts in Vancouver and ends in Seward from Friday to Friday. We are leaving from Texas and have 3 choices of airport, since we must drive about 3 to 4 hours to reach any of them, Austin, San Antonio or Dallas, but we must leave and return to the same airport as our car will be parked there for the duration of the trip.

 

I see we need some way to get from Seward to Anchorage. In your opinions what is the easiest way to do this transfer? I was trying to find a non stop out of Anchorage but I don't see any and if I wait until Saturday to leave prices are a bit higher. Just trying to figure out the best way to do the return. Last time we did a Seattle r/t cruise so it was easier to decide the flights. There are 4 adults in our party. Any advice would be appreciated. TIA

 

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I see we need some way to get from Seward to Anchorage. In your opinions what is the easiest way to do this transfer? I was trying to find a non stop out of Anchorage but I don't see any and if I wait until Saturday to leave prices are a bit higher. Just trying to figure out the best way to do the return. Last time we did a Seattle r/t cruise so it was easier to decide the flights. There are 4 adults in our party. Any advice would be appreciated. TIA

 

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There are several threads here with options and details. Do a search for Seward to Anchorage transfer for more details.

 

The two main options most people use to get from Seward to Anchorage are the Alaska Railroad or a Bus / Van transfer. You can usually book either option through your cruise line or independently, although the independent train transfer will leave at 6:00 pm and get to Anchorage at 10:15 pm. You can also rent a car, but one-way rentals are usually very expensive.

 

I would add that if you should consider seeing some things in the Seward area. We treat Seward as another port day. A Kenai Fjords Cruise is a popular option. If you take the later train or bus option, you will have time for at least the 6 hour tour.

 

 

 

 

 

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There are several threads here with options and details. Do a search for Seward to Anchorage transfer for more details.

 

The two main options most people use to get from Seward to Anchorage are the Alaska Railroad or a Bus / Van transfer. You can usually book either option through your cruise line or independently, although the independent train transfer will leave at 6:00 pm and get to Anchorage at 10:15 pm. You can also rent a car, but one-way rentals are usually very expensive.

 

I would add that if you should consider seeing some things in the Seward area. We treat Seward as another port day. A Kenai Fjords Cruise is a popular option. If you take the later train or bus option, you will have time for at least the 6 hour tour.

 

 

 

 

 

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Thank you for the response. I will look at those options.

 

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I've booked American for our June 2019 cruise - nonstop from Anchorage to Dallas, leaving at 8:20 PM, arriving DFW at 5:40 AM. Though another flight for us to get to Tampa.

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Don't mean to highjack the thread, just looking for advice. We are doing a northbound cruise next June that starts in Vancouver and ends in Seward from Friday to Friday. We are leaving from Texas and have 3 choices of airport, since we must drive about 3 to 4 hours to reach any of them, Austin, San Antonio or Dallas, but we must leave and return to the same airport as our car will be parked there for the duration of the trip.

 

I see we need some way to get from Seward to Anchorage. In your opinions what is the easiest way to do this transfer? I was trying to find a non stop out of Anchorage but I don't see any and if I wait until Saturday to leave prices are a bit higher. Just trying to figure out the best way to do the return. Last time we did a Seattle r/t cruise so it was easier to decide the flights. There are 4 adults in our party. Any advice would be appreciated. TIA

 

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I too would strongly suggest adding time for touring. How often are you going to get there?? With 4 people I find a superior option- a rental car with Hertz. Offers excellent sightseeing opportunities and fare more efficiently with touring- especially if you are short on time. I’d recommend adding several days and perhaps add Homer and Whittier as example.

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I too would strongly suggest adding time for touring. How often are you going to get there?? With 4 people I find a superior option- a rental car with Hertz. Offers excellent sightseeing opportunities and fare more efficiently with touring- especially if you are short on time. I’d recommend adding several days and perhaps add Homer and Whittier as example.
I would love to stay longer but we are already coming in early to Vancouver and we have to get back home for work so we have to come home the day the cruise ends [emoji24][emoji24]. I did find a nonstop flight home that leaves at 8:30pm. I also found a tour/transfer that makes several stops on the way to Anchorage. It would get us to the airport at 4:30pm. Has anyone tried using Alaska Cruise Transfer ?

 

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Thanks everyone. We saw reasonably priced tickets and bought them. It appeared that they best flight options were getting booked; so, I made the purchase.

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I have been flying to Alaska in the summer for over 20 years for fishing. In the past the airlines sometimes run a sale when the state of Alaska issues the PFD payout.This is the money each resident gets from the sale of oil in the state. Checks go out first of Oct. so this might be the time to keep checking! I will be.

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