High cost of Juneau flights not justified

Posted: Monday, July 03, 2006

Has anyone else gotten "sticker shock" from pricing airline tickets out of Juneau? I recently priced tickets to Seattle. What used to be a round trip fare is now nearly the cost of a one-way ticket. I priced a round trip fare to Seattle for next month that would run from $550 to $600. And if you are checking, notice how they have cleverly begun to list one-way prices separately for each leg combining the two fares at the end.

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So I checked round trip air fares from Seattle to San Francisco for comparison; $339.60, round trip. Nearly half the cost of a Juneau-Seattle ticket. Yet, flying from Juneau to Seattle takes about 1 and a half hours, San Francisco to Seattle takes about two hours. So a trip that is a third of the time longer (more fuel) costs about 40 percent less. We are told that the difference is the cost of fuel. While I'm sure that Alaska Airlines has a volume contract with the local airport fuel distributors they probably wouldn't disclose, I checked on a web site that provided the cost of fuel to general aviation aircraft at the airports. While I suppose it is somewhat higher in cost than the fuel Alaska obtains, it ought to offer some level of comparison. Jet A was listed (last week) at $4.80 in Juneau, $4.95 in Seattle, and from $5.80 to $6.13 in San Francisco. So where are the added fuel costs to justify the screwing we get here in Juneau?

Perhaps the governor, with his back-room pipeline negotiation skills, could put those skills to an even greater use by negotiating lower air fares for Alaskans.

Steve Wolf


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