Flying to the Lower 48 this summer? It’ll cost you. A lot.

An Alaska Airlines flight comes in for a landing at the Juneau International Airport.
An Alaska Airlines flight is available in for a touchdown on the Juneau International Airport. (Heather Bryant/KTOO)

Kerribeth Bahr, an plane mechanic who lives in Palmer, has an unmissable journey to Omaha subsequent week. She’s visiting associates she served within the army with, who she hasn’t seen in about 10 years. One of them is touring from Australia to be there. 

“Normally, I can book the whole trip for about $700 or $800,” she mentioned. “But I couldn’t find anything one way under $900.”

Bahr performed round with totally different flight mixtures utilizing a mixture of miles and cash when she was reserving a couple of month in the past. She lastly settled on a flight leaving Anchorage at 3 a.m. to avoid wasting on price.

“It’s just frustrating. Really expensive. I used almost all my miles. I had 100,000 miles and I used almost all of it just on that trip,” she mentioned.

Fares are approach up for everybody, in keeping with Scott McMurren, an Alaska journey author and writer of the Alaska Travelgram publication. He mentioned a part of the explanation costs really feel excessive is that they’ve been unusually low for greater than two years whereas the pandemic curbed aircraft journey.

“And so now when you see $600 or $700 to Seattle, people start coming out of their skin,” he mentioned.

Just a number of months in the past, McMurren was running a blog about one-way flights from Anchorage to New York City that price lower than $100. Looking forward to Memorial Day weekend, one-way flights from Anchorage to Seattle begin at round $400. Coming again, McMurren mentioned, vacationers are eye-popping fares that can set you again as a lot as $1,000.

“There’s a lot of demand right now, and so that’s pushing up the prices,” mentioned McMurren. “The price of gas is going through the roof, and so that’s reflected also in the air prices.”

In reality, the worth of jet gasoline has doubled within the final 12 months, in keeping with a worth index printed by the International Air Transport Association.

Alaska Airlines spokesperson Tim Thompson mentioned in an e-mail that airfare pricing is set by a number of components, together with “available capacity, demand and fuel prices.” He mentioned the corporate is seeing “near pre-pandemic passenger demand” proper now. 

Thompson mentioned a current pilot scarcity, which has resulted in a decreased flight schedule by June, is “not a factor” driving up fares.

Delta Air Lines, which additionally flies nonstop between Anchorage and Seattle, didn’t reply to a request for remark.

But whereas fares are leaping in most locations, there’s not less than one space the place they’re happening. Routes between Seattle and Southeast Alaska are cheaper this summer time due to new competitors from Delta Air Lines, which confirmed earlier this month it’s bringing again year-round service to Juneau.

While costs stay excessive, Bahr, the plane mechanic, is rethinking the remainder of her summer time journey.

“I’m supposed to go down to Texas in July and I don’t know if I’m really going to make that trip happen,” she mentioned. “I haven’t even looked at tickets yet for that but I know it’s going to be insanely expensive.”

Other Alaskans are feeling the pinch, too. On Twitter, some shared tales of sky-high costs they encountered when reserving summer time flights.

McMurren recommends making the most of Alaska Airlines’ companion fares and utilizing up any miles you’ve bought stashed, till gasoline costs and summer time demand come down.

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