The race for airlines to add flights to Alaska is on: Alaska Airlines is adding a nonstop flight Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) to Anchorage (ANC) for the summer, just the latest new route to the 49th state.
Alaska confirmed the new route after Thrifty Traveler broke the news. Flight schedules show the airline will launch two flights a week from Minneapolis to Alaska's largest city starting on June 19. Those flights are currently scheduled to operate on Saturdays and Sundays through mid-August, with prices as low as $197 roundtrip.
Alaska is joining Delta and Sun Country operating the route, adding up to as many as eight flights a day from Minneapolis to Alaska over the summer. All that competition is a good thing for travelers hunting for a bargain on airfare to Alaska, though airlines may eventually decide to scale back some of those frequencies depending on demand.
It’s the latest in an explosion of new and increased flights to Alaska as airlines sense travelers are eager to head for the great outdoors this summer after a year cooped up indoors. All three major carriers have announced plans to launch new nonstop routes to Alaska from nearly all of their major hub airports.
Curious about getting into Alaska? Read our state-by-state guide on travel restrictions!
Alaska Airlines itself is also adding new flights to Anchorage from Chicago-O'Hare (ORD) and San Francisco (SFO) while resuming paused service from Denver (DEN) and Las Vegas (LAS) in a drastic expansion of flights into its secondary hub this summer. The new Minneapolis route makes for 11 nonstop Alaska Airlines route to Anchorage this summer.
“We are looking forward to welcoming more guests to the Great Land in 2021 and expanding service for the residents of Alaska,” Marilyn Romano, Alaska Airlines' regional vice president, said in a statement. “With a massive network across the state and our naturally socially distanced outdoor spaces, this route offers easy access to Denali, kayaking, sightseeing, and the most sustainably managed fishing in the world. Alaska is a safe and attractive travel destination for friends and family.”
Its new route to Minneapolis comes in response to Delta, which announced just last week a huge increase in flights to Alaska from its Midwestern hub. The Atlanta-based airline will operate a third daily flight between Minneapolis and Anchorage and a second flight to Fairbanks (FAI) through the summer.
Delta plans to add more than a dozen nonstop flights to Alaska overall, including flights to Anchorage from Detroit (DTW), New York City (JFK), Los Angeles (LAX), and Atlanta (ATL) as well as additional flights into Fairbanks and new service from Seattle (SEA) into farther-flung Alaskan cities like Juneau (JUN), Ketchikan (KTN), and Sitka (STK).
In Minneapolis, Alaska's new route is a reversal. Even before the pandemic, the Seattle-based airline had cut many of its nonstop flights to Minnesota in recent years. It axed flights to San Francisco (SFO) in 2018 and then San Diego (SAN) in early 2020.
Alaska Airlines is set to join the Oneworld alliance at the end of March, which means you'll be able to earn miles with American AAdvantage (or other Oneworld airlines) on your Alaska flights – or redeem AAdvantage miles on an Alaska Airlines flight from Minneapolis to Anchorage.
This is a breaking news story, check back for updates. Thanks to reader Adrian W. for the tip.