Traveling is a privilege. Not the trip you take to work at a remote site, or the flight you take to see the doctor. No, I’m talking about flying to Hawaii on vacation or going on a trip to a foreign country
Until last year, many travelers took the holidays for granted. But in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, we found that the virus had spread rapidly on plane flights and cruise ships.
What followed was a long year of deaths, disease, lockdowns and quarantines. Now, however, the vaccines are available. Those who like to travel have a special obligation to get vaccinated as soon as possible. The vaccine protects you and helps stop the spread of the virus, whether at home or abroad.
Countries around the world are wondering how to safely reopen to welcome visitors. Earlier this week, Iceland announced it would welcome fully vaccinated U.S. citizens, allowing them to avoid mandatory testing and quarantine.
Some countries welcome visitors without any test, including Mexico. More countries are welcoming travelers from the United States with negative COVID-19 tests, including Egypt and Costa Rica. A growing number of destinations are requiring travelers to purchase insurance covering expenses related to COVID-19. But others, like Vietnam, Indonesia and Japan, are completely closed to vacationers.
Speaking of international travel, Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian said in an interview, “Vaccination will be the ultimate form of entry into international markets.
Meanwhile, two international airlines, Condor and Eurowings, still have scheduled nonstop flights from Anchorage to Frankfurt from late May and early June. But taking off these flights on time depends mainly on the closure of Germany’s borders. At present, American travelers are not allowed to visit Germany on vacation. There are a few exceptions for connecting travelers. But remember that these flights are primarily designed to bring German visitors to Alaska.
Delta’s Bastian predicts that large-scale international travel will take place in at least a year. Many countries, including France, Italy and Portugal, are still locked up and do not accept tourists. In the meantime, Delta is focusing on flights within the United States. This may be one of the reasons the airline has stepped up its schedules to Anchorage and Fairbanks.
[Travelers want to visit Alaska this summer — and airlines are responding with a full slate of flights]
With the new flights have come lower prices. From Anchorage or Fairbanks to Seattle, Delta has lowered the fare to $ 90 one way, starting April 10. From Anchorage to Tampa, the price dropped to $ 138 one way between April 10 and May 16. From Fairbanks to Salt Lake City, the fare is just $ 100 one way on Delta starting May 6. And Delta dropped the price of Juneau, Ketchikan, and Sitka in Seattle to $ 99 one-way between May 29 and September 30. On its new nonstop weekend to New York and Detroit from Anchorage, Delta is offering tickets for $ 149 one way starting May 29.
Alaska Airlines was quick to respond, announcing new weekend flights between Anchorage and Minneapolis, starting at $ 98 one way, starting June 19. Additionally, Alaska has lowered the price of its non-stop flights between Anchorage and Los Angeles to $ 99 one-way starting May 6. On Alaska’s new non-stop service between Anchorage and Las Vegas, fares start at $ 107 one-way starting May 20. Rates change all the time and are subject to change without notice.
As more airlines continue to look to Alaska for the summer, expect fares to drop and stay low for the summer. One exception is Hawaii, where non-stop fares are still high, over $ 300 one way.
Hawaii, due to strict anti-COVID protocols, has mainly kept the virus at bay. The island of Kauai was even more restrictive than the other islands, essentially cutting off almost all tourist arrivals. Next month, however, Kauai plans to join the state’s “Safe Travels” program, which calls for a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of your flight to Hawaii. One encouraging statistic that has helped authorities move forward is the vaccination rate in Kauai: 23% of the island’s residents have received at least one vaccine.
It looks like we’ll have another “Show Yourself for Alaska” summer this year. The big cruise ships don’t come and the Canadian border is still closed. But residents, along with visiting friends and relatives, are keen to see more of Alaska.
Already in Seward, gray whale cruises are available by early May. Kenai Fjords Tours and Major Marine Tours offer four-hour scenic cruises on Resurrection Bay.
On board a Kenai Fjords Tours Coastal Explorer trip last weekend, many families with young children enjoyed the cruise. For parents and children alike, it was an opportunity to go out and see some curiosities. The gray whales were not out, but the crew spotted bald eagles, sea lions, porpoises, seals, sea otters and cormorants – against the backdrop of a bird day blue on the water. The captain approached the boat near a cliff with a frozen waterfall to the delight of the children on board. Most of the travelers on board were Alaskan, but there were also visitors from Europe.
If you want to boost your summer travel plans in Alaska, take part this week, from March 22 to 28, in a virtual treasure hunt, the “Quest for the ultimate adventure in Alaska”. (Full disclosure: I’m the organizer of this event.) Questers take on challenges to earn points and win prizes for travel to Alaska: plane tickets, train rides, glacier cruises, and guided adventures in Alaska’s national parks. The cost is $ 10, or $ 15 for a team of two.