By Dimitra Lavrakas
Senior Voice Travel Correspondent 

Travel, activities sparkle in the fall

Plane fares take a dive


October 1, 2023 | View PDF

Courtesy Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines recently repainted a 737-800 with a design by Tlingit artist Crystal Worl. The design is called Xáat Kwáani, which means "Salmon People" in the Alaskan Tlingit language.

The tourists have departed and the land is changing colors, and it's the time when Alaskans can see the state unhindered by tour buses and being asked pesky questions like, "when do the Northern Lights come out?"

Best of all, the fish are running and the crowds are gone.

Hook a fish

Best Fishing Specials Of 2023 on The Kenai River:

• Drifters Lodge,18404 Sterling Hwy., Cooper Landing, AK 99572

20 percent to 30 percent off guided fishing and rafting trips on the Kenai River. Call and book at 907-595 5555 or go to and search for tours savers. Valid to Oct. 8, 2023

• Military veterans get 10 percent off until Dec. 3 at Drill Team Six Fishing Excursions, LLC, in Wasilla. Call Sonia and Dan to book, 702-465-4747. Gift cards available. Veteran owned and operated.

Flights drop from seasonal high

Fall is the time to take advantage of falling air fares, with Delta leading the way and Alaska Airlines following.

On Delta, you can go from Fairbanks to Seattle for $220 nonstop and round trip; Anchorage to Salt Lake City for $256 from Oct. 1 to April 30, with Alaska matching that price, but not the time period; Fairbanks to Detroit is $129 one way through April 30, and Alaska also offers this; and, Delta pulls ahead in the fare wars with more flights out of Juneau (always weather and fog permitting) starting with $180 round trip to Seattle with one flight daily beginning Oct. 1. Hint: if the flight is canceled and there's a plane heading to Seattle still at the gate, even though it may not be the same airline, do not run downstairs to rebook, but try and get on that flight.

Ongoing love-hate with Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines has added yet another category in its seemingly endless quest to wring money from the traveling public and separate us in a class-distinct manner, and on top of that having us line up like cattle heading for the slaughterhouse.

The following restrictions are not for the faint of heart.

The new so-called "Saver" rate will only give you 30 percent of the miles you fly, plus it cuts back on in-flight amenities - no seat selection, no boarding or deplaning early, no extra legroom, no free beer, wine or cocktails, no complimentary food and drinks, no dedicated flight attendant, no access to the Alaska Lounge, and no two free checked bags, except if you're an Alaska Club 49 member.

And do join Club 49 for its specials, like $157 one-way to Utqiagvik beginning Oct. 10, or Sitka to Juneau for $97 one-way beginning Oct. 27. Go to

Granted some of these things were only offered to Premium and First Class passengers, but still, Alaskans should feel dissed. After all, the airlines is named after where you live. Or maybe I'm still holding the grudge that the company didn't offer any cake to the state when it turned 50 and only served it in Seattle.

Additionally, and more insultingly, these restrictions also apply: Seats will be assigned at check-in; no guarantee that parties of two or more will be seated together; no refunds are allowed beyond the first 24 hours after ticketing; for flights booked on or after July 19, 2023, a credit for 50 percent of the ticket value can be issued for flights canceled at least 14 days to departure of the first flight on the ticket; no changes, including same-day confirmed changes, are allowed for Saver fares; no standby is allowed for Saver fares, even for elite status guests; if a guest is a no-show for any flight during a trip, all other flights within that trip are automatically canceled, with no refund available; Saver fares cannot be combined with any other fare types on the same itinerary; and, Saver fares are non-transferable.

They allow you to bring one carry-on.

Please join me in traveling on the wing of the plane from now on.

But then Alaska Airlines does something right: The beloved Salmon-30-Salmon plane has been repainted in an ancient way. Designed by Alaska Native artist Crystal Worl, whose work explores the relationships and bonds connecting her people, the land and the native animals of Alaska, this is the first livery in a domestic airline fleet to have the name of the plane in an Alaska Native language. The aircraft is called Xáat Kwáani, which means "Salmon People" in the Alaskan Tlingit language and refers to the spiritual link between the people who interact with the beloved salmon and the role they play in our environment.


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