Flying from Anchorage to Seattle or LA opens up an array of direct international flights

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The sun sets on international nonstop connections from Anchorage for the summer season. Condor’s last flight to Frankfurt is September 24. Eurowings and Air Canada are pulling out earlier this month.

It’s nothing new for Alaskans to change planes once, twice or even three times to reach their destination. In fact, it’s common practice for travelers who live outside of Anchorage. But with increased attention to flight delays and cancellations, nonstop flights are increasingly in demand.

Two gateways, Seattle and Los Angeles, offer an incredible selection of flight options. A third, Honolulu, has some nice surprises in store that only make sense when combined with Alaska Airlines’ nonstop flight to Honolulu, which is due to resume Nov. 16.

Alaska Airlines uses Seattle as an international hub for flights to Canada, Belize and Mexico – Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, San Jose del Cabo and Cancun.

Because Alaska does not have widebody jets for long-haul international service, it partners with many airlines in Seattle. International airlines take advantage of Alaska’s extensive domestic network to attract more passengers. Travelers benefit as they can “earn and use” their frequent flyer miles to destinations near and far:

• Singapore Airlines is a member of Star Alliance (United). But the airline also partners with Alaska Airlines on its nonstop flights from Seattle to Singapore three days a week.

• Aer Lingus flies nonstop from Seattle to Dublin five days a week.

• Air Tahiti Nui starts twice-weekly nonstop service from Anchorage to Papeete on October 5th.

• Qatar Air offers daily flights from Seattle to its hub in Doha, Qatar.

• Finnair launched three-times-a-week nonstop service between Seattle and Helsinki, Finland.

• Condor flies three times a week to Frankfurt.

• British Air serves London daily.

• Korean Air flies daily from Seattle to Seoul.

• Japan Air flies daily to Narita Airport in Tokyo.

• Icelandair flies daily from Seattle to Reykjavik.

Since establishing a hub in Seattle eight years ago, Delta Air Lines has increased international flights to Europe, Asia and Latin America.

From Seattle, Delta serves San Jose del Cabo, Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan.

To Europe, Delta offers flights to Amsterdam, Paris and London. Delta’s partners add additional leverage in these markets: AirFrance, KLM and Virgin Atlantic.

In Asia, Delta flies from Seattle to Tokyo and Seoul. The airline has filed an application to resume nonstop service to Shanghai from Nov. 1.

[Nonstop flights are almost always preferable. Here are the best options out of Anchorage.]

Other international flights from Seattle include:

• Istanbul: Turkish Airlines began flying four times a week nonstop from Seattle in June. These flights allow the passenger to earn United MileagePlus points.

• Dubai: Emirates was once a partner of Alaska Airlines, but was kicked out when Alaska joined oneworld, in favor of Qatar Air. Yet Emirates flies non-stop daily to Dubai.

• Taipei: Eve Air flies nonstop from Seattle four times a week, starting October 2. Earn United miles on these flights.

• Canada: fly with Air Canada to Vancouver, Montreal or Toronto (earn United miles). Fly with Alaska Airlines to Calgary, Edmonton, Kelowna, Vancouver and Victoria.

Los Angeles is the other international gateway that offers many international flights. I like it better than San Francisco because of the nonstop Anchorage-LA flights in Alaska.

LAX airport offers a feast of foreign connections, unless you’re heading to Africa or India. If you want to see the incredible variety of planes and foreign carriers as they arrive, grab a burger at the nearby In-N-Out restaurant. Airplane spotters from all over flock here to feel the plane blast as the planes land.

To Europe, airlines like Iberian, Austrian, Swiss, Lufthansa, SAS, British, Virgin Atlantic and ITA fly non-stop to their respective hubs. Recently, LOT Polish Airlines recently started flying non-stop to Warsaw. European discounter Norse has launched non-stop service to Berlin and Oslo.

El Al offers nonstop services to Israel six days a week.

Saudia offers three weekly non-stop services to Jeddah. Qatar and Emirates offer daily flights to Doha and Dubai, respectively.

LAX’s strong point is its proximity to Asia and Australia. Four airlines fly non-stop from LAX to Sydney: Qantas, American, United and Delta. Qantas also serves Brisbane and Melbourne. Air New Zealand flies non-stop to Auckland.

For Tahiti, Air France and Air Tahiti Nui fly non-stop from LAX. Recently, Delta announced plans to start nonstop flights from LAX on December 22, 2022.

Fiji Airways flies daily from Nadi non-stop to LAX.

To Asia, there are daily non-stop connections to Manila (on Philippine Airlines), to Taipei (on Eva and China Airlines and to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific).

For Tokyo, there are many choices: Singapore Air, United, Delta, ANA, Japan Air and American. There is also Zipair, a discount carrier owned by Japan Air. They offer the cheapest tickets ($556 round trip). Japan Air also offers a nonstop flight from Los Angeles to Osaka.

For Seoul, Asiana and Korean Air offer non-stop flights.

LATAM, Copa, Volaris, Aeromexico, Avianca and Cayman Airways are some of the airlines you can fly from LAX to points south. This includes 13 destinations in Mexico, Grand Cayman, Lima, Panama City and Santiago, Chile.

Honolulu is a must-visit international gateway, as long as you can fly nonstop from Anchorage.

There are many non-stop connections between Honolulu and the South Pacific islands: Tahiti and Pago Pago (on Hawaiian Air), Nadi and Apia (Fiji Air) and Guam (on United).

Hawaiian Air also offers nonstop flights to three destinations in Japan: Fukuoka, Osaka and Sapporo.

But the best deal in Japan is with Zipair in Tokyo. Round-trip tickets in October are just $506.

For Australia, the Qantas-owned discounter Jetstar is offering round-trip Honolulu-Sydney nonstop tickets for as little as $445, as of February 2023. That’s about a third of the cost on Qantas or Hawaiian.

It takes some research to find the best flights for your international trip, including which mileage plan works best. But there’s a good chance you can fly nonstop from Seattle or Los Angeles. Once nonstop Anchorage-Honolulu services resume Nov. 18, Alaskans will once again have better access to the Honolulu Gateway. And that means better rates to Japan and Australia.

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