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Alaska - Question About Flights


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We booked Alaska cruise August 5 and we booked it with air, and the train from Anchorage to Seward. My travel agent says we can remove air and book our own air if we don't like the flights they give us. It would reduce cost of trip by about $1,000 she says. I have searched and there are NO flights the same day of our cruise that would arrive in Anchorage in time to get the train so she says they will probably put us on flights the day before and put us up in a hotel in Anchorage. We are in Los Angeles. Does anyone know if this is how they do it? When do they give you the final flight information?

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Regent paid for our hotel twice -- once when we could not get to Ft. Lauderdale in time for the ship to depart. The second time was in Athens, when the only flights the day of debarkation were too early (at least 50 people were put up at the hotel in Athens).

 

In Alaska, however, the savings you may get by booking on your own -- even if you have to pay for one overnight in a hotel may be better than having Regent book for you.

 

 

P.S. We are doing an Alaska cruise in 2010 and are doing our own airfare. The savings to us was $1,200 for both of us.

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They used Alaska Airlines. When we went (twice) we flew out of Anchorage to LAX and we had a flight at 4 or 5ish. We flew into Vancouver for same day boarding. Flight info is about 30 days out. We have often paid for deviation fees of $100 to select our flights. (I lived in Encino for 20 years)

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We booked Alaska cruise August 5 and we booked it with air, and the train from Anchorage to Seward. My travel agent says we can remove air and book our own air if we don't like the flights they give us. It would reduce cost of trip by about $1,000 she says. I have searched and there are NO flights the same day of our cruise that would arrive in Anchorage in time to get the train so she says they will probably put us on flights the day before and put us up in a hotel in Anchorage. We are in Los Angeles. Does anyone know if this is how they do it? When do they give you the final flight information?

Regent flew us on Alaska Airlines' non-stop from LAX to Anchorage the day before the train departed to Seward, on our cruise last June. They put us up overnight at the Hilton, then transferred us to the train station the next morning. We had plenty of time to walk around and explore Anchorage in the endless "afternoon". The non-stop return flight was scheduled for the morning we disembarked in Vancouver, with the transfer getting us to the airport just in time to pass security and grab a quick bite before the boarding call.

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Thanks Bernaise. I am hoping that's exactly how our air is booked...on the non-stop flights, and going in the day before.
If we book the air ourselves it costs about the same as it does to book through Regent. I guess it must depend where you are flying from as to whether there is a savings.

Likewise, when I priced getting the tickets myself, the cost was similar, around $500/pp. I knew if I used air miles to 'buy' the tickets, I'd be stuck on a flight connecting in Sea-Tac, and I'd be at the whim of the airlines as far as getting us and our luggage to Anchorage on time.

 

Even if Regent's cost is a bit higher, consider any premium a form of built-in "trip insurance" that you'll eventually make the cruise at no extra cost to you no matter what happens as long as you get to the airport for your departing leg on time.

 

In our case, when I found out Regent would throw in a free hotel room at the Hilton and fly us in the night before, along with transferring us to and from the airport, the deal was sealed. I was very surprised that we were on the nonstop flight, as I'm sure it would have been cheaper for Regent to fly us via SeaTac.

 

It got even better once we arrived. We found the Regent rep at the Anchorage airport right after debarking the plane, who handed us over to another rep who personally escorted us down to baggage claim to wait with us for our luggage, then sent the luggage off with yet another Regent rep.

 

When our small group of 10 or so from LAX were all sorted out, they walked us to a waiting bus parked right outside the terminal, and we were treated to a colorful narration about Anchorage by the driver, including a quick stop where we all tried to discern a moose that the driver swore she could see just fine. We arrived at the hotel to find they had set up a special check-in table just for Regent passengers. Our room was already assigned with an packet and keys waiting for us. To my surprise, it was a room located on one of the top floors, with an incredible view. Our luggage arrived within minutes, nothing missing. It was a much nicer welcome to Anchorage than having to get a taxi, deal with my own luggage, wait in line to check in, etc.

 

The next morning, it was even easier. Just leave the luggage outside the room. They took it away and the next time we saw it was when we arrived in our stateroom on the Mariner. The train ride was beautiful, even included a glass (or two) of "champagne", and we happily paid the inflated prices for a couple sandwiches and margaritas knowing they'd be the last food and drink we'd have to buy for a whole week.

 

The Regent air experience went so smoothly, I'd find it hard to do otherwise unless there were a large savings or I needed to use my own airline to upgrade to or buy biz class tickets with miles. I was worried about that five-hour direct flight to Anchorage in coach, but we lucked out with our own three-seat row for the two of us on that flight and the return flight from Vancouver.

 

For our upcoming Paul Gauguin cruise, I again almost decided to try to fly to Tahiti with air miles and do my own pre-cruise hotel stay, but Tahiti is rather difficult to get to if you're not an American Airlines customer (partner of ATN), and my options flying there on Air France sounded dismal. Since we were using Regent for air, my choice was to get a "free" room at the Sheraton using my Starwood points versus stick with Regent and do their precruise package at the Intercontinental. Again, when I tallied up the extra perks of staying with Regent, I gave up on my freebie idea. Regent waived the air deviation fee for flying in early if you used their package, plus included all transfers and luggage handling, plus threw in a daily breakfast buffet that alone I've heard costs $50/each. When I added up a couple hundred bucks for two days breakfast for two, a couple hundred bucks for the air deviation, and a hundred bucks for all the transfers, it was like getting the two nights hotel at the beautiful Intercontinental practically for free!

 

And now I find myself eyeballing some of the Med cruises, again thinking I'll use miles to book my own flights. This time, I actually might, since the travel is longer and biz class far more affordable with miles instead of real money. Even if I were to pay for the biz class upgrade over Regent's "free" air, they only upgrade the trans-Atlantic portion of the flights and I'd be stuck in coach for the five hours from LAX to the east coast. So the best answer always does depend on the particular situation. For LAX to Alaska, with the hotel room thrown in, our best answer was definitely to fly with Regent.

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Even if Regent's cost is a bit higher, consider any premium a form of built-in "trip insurance" that you'll eventually make the cruise at no extra cost to you no matter what happens as long as you get to the airport for your departing leg on time.

 

 

This has been my experience on each of 6 or 7 Regent (Radisson) sailings. While there is often a premium to pay for using their air/hotel packages, it is MORE than offset by your reduced effort/stress in getting everywhere you need to be ontime.

 

Enjoy the PG! We have been on her a couple of times over July 4th (and once on New Years)!

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This has been my experience on each of 6 or 7 Regent (Radisson) sailings. While there is often a premium to pay for using their air/hotel packages, it is MORE than offset by your reduced effort/stress in getting everywhere you need to be ontime.

 

Enjoy the PG! We have been on her a couple of times over July 4th (and once on New Years)!

And reduced stress is what vacations are mainly about, at least for those us not yet retired. I've had a few vacations start out as nightmares and that definitely impacted my enjoyment of the remainder of the trip.

 

With Regent, if anything went wrong during our trip to the ship, as things so often can at just the wrong time, I'd feel confident we were in good hands and just sit back and let them do the work.

 

I'm anticipating enjoying the PG so much that I'm even going to enjoy my cramped coach seat for the 8.5 hr flight there!

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It's still worth comparing prices. We flew roundtrip Seattle - Ft. Lauderdale for half the price of what Regent quoted (note: it was a First Class airfare). Even after paying for the hotel for one night -- we were saving several hundred dollars.

 

In terms of convenience -- having Regent do everything for you is wonderful. It's a matter of how much extra you're willing to pay for that convenience.

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One thing about using Regent air that's important to keep in mind is that this in no way assures that your air travel will go smoothly, or that the ship will wait for you if you're late. I understand, and have experienced, the nicety of having Regent reps meet you at the airport, of having transfers and overnight hotels taken care of. But when I read people saying they use Regent air because Regent gets you where you need to be on time, I worry that some readers might be putting more faith in Regent's air department than warranted.

 

Yes, Regent will go to work for you if your flight is late, but if your flight is cancelled and you miss your ship, it may be days before they can get you to a port where you can board. On a 7-day Alaska cruise out of Seward, for example, you'd miss Hubbard Glacier, Sitka and Tracy Arm before catching up the the ship in Juneau -- so even if Regent picks up your hotel for 3 nights and flies you to Juneau, it's not going to be much consolation for missing nearly half your cruise! With Mt. Redoubt huffing and puffing this spring, all flights into Anchorage have been cancelled on a number of days. And with fewer scheduled flights and most flights flying nearly full these days, getting another flight can entail longer waits than in the past. So if you're flying to Anchorage the night before your cruise and your flight is cancelled, due to the volcano or any other mechanical or weather problem, you might make your cruise on time if you get a flight early the next day... or you might miss it if the next flight you can get doesn't arrive until the following evening -- and booking your air through Regent isn't going to solve that problem.

 

I don't mean to scare anyone; just to raise awareness that Regent air isn't a panacea or guarantee the ship will wait for you if you're delayed. To me, flying to wherever your cruise departs -- especially if it's a distant city like Anchorage or Papeete -- an extra day early is often a wise precaution with the way airlines have cut back nowadays, whether you book on your own or pay Regent's $100 deviation fee. And with that all being said, if Regent's air pricing is close to what you can get on your own, using Regent for the transfers and extra help if you're late can certainly be comforting and helpful.

 

-- Eric

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I'm not disagreeing with you in that Regent can't work wonders by dissipating volcanic ash or even by using its leverage to make airlines do things they don't necessarily want to do in all cases. Delays and hassles are inevitable in any situation where the passenger has missed the boat and then it's a question of whether Regent can make things happen quicker and easier (and cheaper for the innocent passenger).

 

But couldn't they fly passengers who were delayed arriving in Anchorage into Sitka rather than Juneau? They'd still miss Hubbard Glacier, but it beats the alternatives of being dropped out of a jet plane onto a moving ship or else missing half the cruise.

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Yes, Regent will go to work for you if your flight is late, but if your flight is cancelled and you miss your ship, it may be days before they can get you to a port where you can board. On a 7-day Alaska cruise out of Seward, for example, you'd miss Hubbard Glacier, Sitka and Tracy Arm before catching up the the ship in Juneau -- so even if Regent picks up your hotel for 3 nights and flies you to Juneau, it's not going to be much consolation for missing nearly half your cruise! With Mt. Redoubt huffing and puffing this spring, all flights into Anchorage have been cancelled on a number of days. And with fewer scheduled flights and most flights flying nearly full these days, getting another flight can entail longer waits than in the past. So if you're flying to Anchorage the night before your cruise and your flight is cancelled, due to the volcano or any other mechanical or weather problem, you might make your cruise on time if you get a flight early the next day... or you might miss it if the next flight you can get doesn't arrive until the following evening -- and booking your air through Regent isn't going to solve that problem.

 

 

-- Eric

 

For this reason, we decided to fly in the day before our pre-cruise Denali excursion. So, we won't have a transfer from the airport, and we had to pay the extra night in the hotel in Anchorage, but it's worth it to us for the peace of mind. And we did our own air travel plans as well. Just works for us.

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For this reason, we decided to fly in the day before our pre-cruise Denali excursion. So, we won't have a transfer from the airport, and we had to pay the extra night in the hotel in Anchorage, but it's worth it to us for the peace of mind. And we did our own air travel plans as well. Just works for us.

That's always the best "insurance" for any cruise if you can afford the extra time. We missed a twice-a-week connecting flight once because of a mechanical delay and ended up having to delay an entire day at the airport (sat at LAX from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.) and then fly an entirely different route on a different airline to get to our Asian destination. Fortunately we had planned two days of precruise sightseeing that ended up becoming only one.

 

Besides, it's not as if there's a shortage of things to do in Anchorage or most other cruise ship departure ports for that matter, so unless you've already "been there, done that", it merely adds to the overall adventure.

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