June 11, 2003 -- You better anchor yourself down for this one. Typically, fares from the East Coast to Alaska during the summer high season are at least $550. But right now, Alaska Air is offering an incredible fare of $316.86, including all taxes and fees, from Newark to Anchorage.
It's bookable, it's real, and we got Alaska Air to confirm this unadvertised special. There's no date restriction and no expiration date, so it could disappear at any time. "I doubt if it'll be around very long," says Alaska Air spokesman Jack Walsh.
This amazing fare applies seven days a week, and all it requires is a 14-day advance purchase and a two-night stay in Alaska. Go buy it right now, before Alaska Air comes to their senses. Book at www.alaskaair.com.
It's a soft tourist season even in Alaska, so the usual high hotel rates are coming down a bit. The Alyeska Resort, a Frommer's Favorite hotel in Alaska, is offering a $159/night weekend special on their Web site (www.alyeskaresort.com) -- a $34 discount off their usual lowest summer rates.
The hotel-maniacs at BiddingForTravel.com have been reporting Priceline prices of $40-110 for high-quality Anchorage hotels -- of course, you can't guarantee that you'll be able to repeat someone else's Priceline deal, but the signs are encouraging.
Everyone Can Play
This fare is about $240 lower than current prices from Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore or DC to Anchorage, so it's worth driving or taking a bus or train from other Northeast destinations to Newark to take advantage of the discount.
From Philadelphia, take SEPTA's R7 suburban rail line to connect to the New Jersey Transit Northeast Corridor Line at Trenton, a 2-hour trip from downtown Philly that drops you off right at the airport for under $40 round trip.
Amtrak stops right at Newark Airport and currently has a 25% discount running, as long as you buy your train ticket before June 15. A midweek, roundtrip ticket to Newark Airport from Baltimore is $112.50; from Washington, the roundtrip is $115.50, and from Boston it's $103.50. Considering you're saving $250 on the airfare, you still come out ahead.
Savings get even keener if you take the Greyhound bus to Newark; connect at Newark's Penn Station for the AirTrain to the airport ($6.80 each way.) Bus and train from DC or Boston works out to $92.60; from Baltimore, it's $82.60.
The absolute cheapest way to get up and down the Eastern Seaboard is to take the Chinese buses which whisk you between New York and Boston for as little as $20 roundtrip, and between New York and DC for $40. (Go here to read our article on this offbeat way to get around.) They drop you off in Chinatown, though, and getting to Newark Airport from there is a bit of a bear. We say, just take a cab from Chinatown. It'll cost you $40-50, but that's still cheaper than the Greyhound!
In Case That Doesn't Work ...
Alaska Air's Walsh didn't want Frommers.com readers to be too disappointed when the fabulous Anchorage fare disappears, so he offered us another low fare: $157 plus tax from Los Angeles to Vancouver, as long as you book at www.alaskaair.com.
That's a good fare, though Air Canada, Northwest and United Airlines are all matching the fare before the $10 alaskaair.com discount. If you're interested, this fare requires a Friday night stay and a 7-day advance purchase, is only available on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, and must be ticketed by June 19 for travel by November 19.