open jaw airfares

The Open Jaw, or the Double Open Jaw and Stopover  is the  travel industry lingo for flying into one place and flying home from another.  Having the knowledge of this airline fare tool is what separates the real travel pros from the pretenders.  Justfares has years of experience deciphering and decoding the complexities of airline fare and routing rules.  We use these to your advantage, saving you money and time in the air.

The term and it’s variations are best described with examples:

Destination open jaw (or just “open jaw”, this is the most common type): fly Seattle to London and return flight Paris to Seattle. The transportation from London to Paris is not included. However, if you wanted to see both cities, you don’t need to backtrack to London.

Departure open jaw: fly Chicago to Cancun and return Cancun to New York. Again, if Chicago is home, you still need to make it home from New York. But if you also wanted to make a trip to New York, you know only need to buy a one way from New York to Chicago to finish your trip. Double open jaw: How about Seattle to Madrid, return Rome to Guatemala City. So I’ll make my way from Madrid to Rome on the train and as for getting home from Guatemala City, I’ll worry about that later. But wait you say! Aren’t those all just examples of two one-way tickets and wouldn’t that be horribly expensive? Well if you call them one ways you’re right. If you were to book the two legs separately you’d pay an arm and a leg (actually you’d pay about 10 legs since a one way is often outrageously expensive). But on many airline fares, hidden in that bizarre fare rules page that no one in their right mind reads (We read them so you can now assume our sanity is suspect), these are often allowed and considered round trip tickets.

Stopovers: Stopovers can often be added to an Open Jaw fare. This is another great way to maximize your travel dollars and your convenience. If your stopover is a city like London that could easily add $100 to your total ticket price for British departure taxes which you wouldn’t pay on a connection. You can combine the open jaw and the stopover usually. Here’s a really great way to get three destinations in Europe with one round trip fare: British Airways Seattle to Paris with a free stopover in London (the stopover can be several days or weeks or whatever) and Rome to Seattle return.  There are many airlines, fares and routings that can be utilized to accomplish this same concept for your next trip.

Internet search engines are all optimized for simple round trip fares, they’ll generally price them correctly but they can’t go that extra mile to tell you what stopovers are possible or what open jaw cities will work. Justfares will perform all that analysis for you. Its our job and we’re good at it.

Try us the next time you have a simple or complex international flight to price – we love to decipher the rules to your advantage.

Submit your trip for a quote here.

Or simply call and talk to a real travel pro – 1-800-766-3601

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emirates airlines seattle

Emirates will offer direct flights from Seattle to Dubai.

Emirates, the giant and fast-growing Middle Eastern airline, will begin daily nonstop flights between Dubai and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on March 1, the airline announced Wednesday.

Seattle corporate and leisure travelers will have an excellent new option to fly from Seattle to destinations in the Middle East, India, Asia and Africa via the airline’s hub in Dubai, which is one of the United Arab Emirates. The quality of service offered on Emirates is second to none and the flight times to India will be fast and convenient.

“Each year the Seattle market grows in stature and the Port of Seattle in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce, Boeing and Gov.Gregoire’s office do a great job of luring international airlines with direct service out of Seattle to our city.” said Kyle Watson, Justfares.com VP. “Justfares has been a preferred sales agency for Emirates and their top producer in the Northwest for over 15 years. We are really excited to have this great new service to offer our corporate and leisure customers. This opens up many new possibilities for business and the quality of service on Emirates never disappoints.”

The airline flies to more than 100 destinations from Dubai, including multiple cities on the Indian subcontinent as well as major cities in China, Japan and Korea.

Flights will leave Dubai daily at 09:50 local time and arrive at Sea-Tac at 1:10 p.m. Pacific Time. With the 12-hour time difference, that’s a flight of 15 hours and 20 minutes.

From Seattle, flights will leave at 5:10 p.m., arriving in Dubai at 7:40 p.m. the next day, a slightly shorter flight of 14 ½ hours.

Emirates will use a roomy Boeing 777 for its Seattle flights. The largest operator of 777s in the world, the airline last year ordered an additional 30 of the jets, bringing its total 777 passenger-fleet commitment to 132 aircraft.

The carrier is a premium service airline, promising high standards of passenger comfort, with “luxurious private suites in First Class, lie-flat beds in Business Class and generously-sized Economy Class seats.”

The Seattle route opening is part of an expansion in the U.S. this year.

Emirates already flies into Houston, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, as well as Toronto, Canada. Starting in February, it will add Dallas-Fort Worth.

Justfares as always will be offering preferred pricing on all classes of service on Emirates flights out of Seattle, as well as preferential seat confirmations on wait listed seats and other special requests.

To Book Discounted and Preferred Airfares on Emirates Click Here

Or feel free to skip the online request form and talk to us directly:

Please call Mon-Fri 9am-6pm PST toll free 1-800-766-3601.

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Discount Cruise Airfares

Discount Cruise Airfares Available Exclusively Through Justfares.com

Cruise fares are special discount fares Justfares has access to which allow our customers, who are booked on cruise ship, sailing charters, river cruises, or any kind of water going vessel package or tour to fly there for not only less money but, less restrictions. Our fares allow you to fly over in economy or business class on one airline and back from the same or different city on another airline. The fares often have less restrictions on date changes and are refundable with a penalty. The flexibility and the price advantages alone are worth getting these fares from Justfares.

Most customers book their airfare with the company they book their cruise through, but this is where those companies make their money. Bundling the airfares with the cruise they add markups which you can’t see. Next time you book a cruise ask just for their cruise only price and get your air from Justfares separately.

Online Cruise Fare Request Form

Justfares has discounts on Business and Economy class airfares up to 30% to 40% less than the airlines published rates. The cruise fares offer other benefits over our other consolidated fares such as, less advance purchase, reverse one ways and open jaws (ex. You can fly into Florence and return from Amsterdam) and we can even do reverse one way flights such as Capetown back to the US. There are hundreds of options and we can mix and match airlines as well as classes for example you may want to fly over in business class on one airline and fly economy on the way home on another – we can do it and the airlines can’t.

We have these special Cruise fares on International Airlines and Routes. Domestically we can only offer Alaska Airlines. To get a quote on these great cruise rates please click on the following link and submit your request.

We only need your desired flight route, dates, passenger details and the name of your cruise ship or company along with the cruise reservation code.

Upon receipt of your request one of our professional agents will send a no obligation quote for your review.

If you would like to skip the online form and just discuss your flight needs with a real human –

Please call Mon-Fri 9am-6pm PST toll free 1-877-681-8147.

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around the world airfare trip planner

Let’s face it, saving money is especially tough in this economy. While the economy is at an all time low, prices continue to rise. Many of us have mortgages, children, car payments, school loans, insurance, household bills, and more. So, how in the world are we supposed to save money?

There are many ways to cut down on spending. Although, nobody ever said it was easy! Here’s a quick question for you; If it was easy to cut down on your expenses, would you actually save your money? At first most would say answer “Yes, of course, why wouldn’t I save?” BUT… Would you really?

My belief is that most people tend to make changes to their lifestyles and the way that they spend their money only when they’re feeling under pressure financially. I truly believe that it sometimes takes something unfortunate like a recession or a loss of a job to happen in order for you to make some of the most important financial decisions of your life.

We’ve put a lot of hard work and effort into saving as much money as possible for this trip. Admittedly, we’ve had to make some drastic changes in our lives in order to save the money that we have. On top of that we have created a short list of money saving techniques below that have really enabled us to reach our savings goals and we’re hoping that you’ll be inspired to do the same after reading some of our best tips on How to Save Money for an Around The World Trip! …Continue Reading

Price out your own trip using our Custom Around The World Trip Planner

around the world airfare trip planner

Give it a try for anything from international roundtrips with stopovers thrown in or open jaw flights, and of course Around The World and Circle the Pacific fares.

We sell custom routings, Star Alliance, One World and Sky Team products as well. We can often price out Alliance deals using our own contract rates and save you substantial money over the airlines fares.

Two ways to serve you use our Trip Planner or call our around the world agents direct at toll free 1-888-643-6047.

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around the world airfare trip planner

Planning an around the world trip always seems as daunting as the trip itself. Deciding where to fly and figuring out how much your dream trip will cost is usually the first order of business.  Justfares (originally called, Around The World Travel) has been a leader in the around the world flights market since 1986. Customers like to price out various options before deciding on the perfect route for their dream trip. The Justfares multi-stop Trip Planner is the best place to start.

Using our trip planner you can pick the cities you want to fly to, put them in the order you want, add dates of departure and submit it to one of our expert agents. You’ll here back the same business day and be able to start the process of perfecting your itinerary with your agent. Its free, simple and there is no obligation. When you’re the best at what you do there is no reason to charge for kicking the tires.

Price out your own trip using our Custom Around The World Trip Planner

Give it a try for anything from international roundtrips with stopovers thrown in or open jaw flights, and of course Around The World and Circle the Pacific fares.

We sell custom routings, Star Alliance, One World and Sky Team products as well. We can often price out Alliance deals using our own contract rates and save you substantial money over the airlines fares.

Two ways to serve you use our Trip Planner or call our around the world agents direct at toll free 1-888-643-6047.

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This is a great post by Lisa Lubin TV producer/writer/photographer/video consultant on why its totally feasible to travel around the world for an extended period of time.

One of the most common questions I am asked is: “How did you afford to travel around the world?”
Here is the simple answer:

I saved money by traveling. In other words, it would have cost me a lot more to stay and live in Chicago than to travel around the world.
My monthly expenditures were significant:
Home: Mortgage + fees + taxes + insurance + utilities (cable, internet, phone, gas, electric, cell phone) +
Food/Home Goods +
Entertainment (dining out, movies, concerts, theater) +
Transport (Car: fuel, insurance, maintenance, parking, permits), public transport costs +
Miscellaneous (gym membership, gifts, random weddings, parties, clothing, medical, etc.)
Plus, in a normal year just living at home, random costs often come up as well — car needs repairing, furnace needs replacing. And I never could get out of Target without spending more than one hundred bucks.

While traveling I mostly had to worry about transport, lodging, and food.

I did not need to maintain a car. I did not need to stock up on all the things you ‘need’ when you have a home: from toilet paper to vacuum cleaners to sheets to towels to clothes for every season to furniture to shower curtains and so on. I did not receive any bills except a credit card bill and a monthly storage bill. I canceled my cell phone and all my other utilities. I lived out of a bag and life was easy. Sometimes variety is the spice of life, but oftentimes, less is more.

Plan your own trip using our Custom Around The World Trip Planner

No stuff = No worries.

So, back to that question. On average I spent about $2,000 each month, depending on where I was in the world. In Asia and Central America you can cut that in half. In Australia and Europe, things were pricier so I started Couchsurfing more and my costs fell accordingly. I stayed for a month in London and never paid for lodging. For all the talk of it being such an expensive city, some prices didn’t really affect me at all. I didn’t dine in fancy restaurants; I ate at my hosts or friends’ houses a lot, and enjoyed the free museums.

A few times on my trip a friend met me somewhere in the world. So when we were in expensive Dubai, we were splitting most costs in half, which also made it affordable for me.

I splurged on occasion and stayed in a nicer hotel instead of a hostel or someone’s home. I also splurged on a few tours, like the once in a lifetime week-long boat-tour of the Galapagos Islands. That shot my totals up for Ecuador, which could have been a ‘cheap’ country. But for me, it was worth it. Then, a country like Vietnam or Cambodia, evened it all out because it is so inexpensive. Lunch can be a huge plate of noodles for $2 and a beer for 50 cents. Yes, 50 cents.

Many people’s first assumption is that traveling for an extended period of time must be very expensive. But this is just not so unless the words ‘budget’ or ‘cheap’ are not part of your vocabulary. The most expensive part of your trip will be transportation, but even then… it’s still cheaper than you assume because you are only booking one way tickets and your dates are more flexible so you can find amazingly good deals. My first 15 months traveling around the world cost me less than $5,000 in airfare, and that is with stops in about twenty cities on nearly every continent. I can thank to STA Travel and the great internet deals on budget airlines in Asia (Air Asia) and Europe (Wizz Air, Ryan Air, Air Berlin… nearly every country has a slew of its own budget airlines that fly all over). That’s pretty great when you consider just one round trip ticket to Australia from the U.S. can be more than $2000.

Now, costs can certainly add up if you are staying at four and five star hotels and traveling in first class. It also can be very affordable if you stay in hostels and small, independent hotels and get all the discounts you can. Most hostels average around $20 per night depending on the country you are in (in Costa Rica I stayed at one that was $6 a night for a single room and in Australia some were $30 a bed). At the average rate it only costs me $600 a month for lodging. That’s way less than the rent or a mortgage payment in Chicago. And that’s not even taking into account all the nights I used couchsurfing.com — the amazing worldwide hospitality network in which like-minded locals open up their homes to you free of charge as part of a larger cultural exchange. But what about before you left: Did you have some savings to feel secure in taking such a trip?

Good question. Well, first, I worked my ass off full time in television production for about 13 years. I have always been a saver and not much of a big spender so I put a lot of what I earned into the piggy bank. I never accrued any credit card balances or debt. I don’t buy new shiny things just to have them or keep up with the Joneses or Garcias. For example: I owned the same used Honda Prelude my entire adult life.l I only sold it when I left to travel.

I’ve managed to avoid the other American dream — to be a sucker for marketing and feel the need to run out and buy the latest iPhone, Plasma screen TV, DVD or even the fanciest latte. I am simply not much of a shopper, especially when it comes to clothes and shoes. I like cute stuff, but don’t need name brands and don’t need a million pairs of shoes.

So, don’t let anyone scare you. Long term travel is totally doable and affordable. The fact that it cost me less to travel than to stay at home is a testament to that. And whatever savings I did spend, I certainly don’t miss at all.

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Around The World Airfare Sale


Book your dream around the world airfare now and in honor of Independence Day blast an extra $100.00 off the total price per person.

Justfares has been helping people fly around the world for over 30 years. We are direct to the source provider of international discount airfares and undisputed experts in creating amazing deals.  Submit your multi-stop itinerary using our easy to use Trip Planner. One of our expert agents will receive your request and get you a great fare and info about your journey the same day.

Example Trip:
Los Angeles -Auckland x Christchurch – Sydney x Brisbane – Bali – Kuala Lumpur x Bangkok – Delhi x Mumbai – London – Los Angeles

Combining the South Pacific, South East Asia and Europe – A classic route.

All of the flights above including all taxes and fees $3237.00 – $3964.00 for a trip leaving after to july 1st, 2011 though September 1st or we can send you again starting in March 1st, 2012.

Get it while its hot.

We can customize this routing to start and end from other cities in the USA – prices will vary. This is a truly unique route at a great price.

This is an exclusive Justfares deal. You wont find it anywhere else at this price.

Submit this trip or better build your own using our Trip Planner or call toll free 1-888-643-6047.

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By Nancy Trejos, Published: May 6 | Updated: Monday, April 25, 1:54 PM

On New Year’s Day, James Vaughn gave his travel agent a tough assignment: Book a 10-day trip to India. Departure date: Jan. 13.It took David Rubin of DavidTravel in Corona Del Mar, Calif., just 48 hours to book flights and hotel rooms and hire tour guides. He even called the manager of a sold-out hotel and finagled a room out of him.

But the work didn’t end once Vaughn and his husband boarded their flight from Los Angeles to Delhi. When their flight from Delhi to Agra to see the Taj Mahal was canceled, Rubin came to the rescue. “They would have been on the phone for the next several hours trying to sort out what to do,” he said.

Instead, they went sightseeing while Rubin’s local contacts did the sorting. By the time the couple returned to their hotel, their bags had been packed and loaded into a car, and a driver whisked them off to Agra.

The irony, Vaughn said, is that Rubin had initially tried to get them to drive to Agra rather than fly, but they hadn’t taken his advice. “Ultimately, he was right,” said Vaughn, a public-affairs consultant. “Seeing a camel going through a toll booth on a highway is not something you get to see while you’re flying.”

For years, it looked as though the travel agent had gone the way of the milkman. As online booking sites such as Orbitz, Expedia, Travelocity and others soared in popularity, travel agents became the butt of jokes. A scene from a “30 Rock” episode this season said it all. Desperate at the prospect of losing her writing job, Liz Lemon is invited to live in a subway tunnel with people whose occupations have become irrelevant: an American auto worker, a rock band saxophonist, the CEO of Friendster — and a travel agent.

But the travel agent has been given a reprieve. That’s because many vacations have become as hard to plan as the name of last year’s traveler-stranding Icelandic volcano was to pronounce. Natural disasters cause flight cancellations. Revolutions put tourist destinations off-limits. Airlines and rental car agencies confound with ever-increasing fees. And the Internet spews so much information that it manages to hurt consumers as much as it helps them.

Travelers are starting to need vacations from planning their vacations.

“Not only are customers confused and frustrated by new airline fees and events, but they are bombarded by social media,” said John Clifford, president of the luxury travel consultancy InternationalTravelManagement.com. “Everyone is trying to tell you where you should stay, where you should eat, what you should do.”

A study by Forrester Research found that the number of leisure travelers who enjoyed using the Web to plan and book their vacations dropped from 53 percent in 2007 to 47 percent in 2010. And in an American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) survey, 44 percent of agents said that they had more clients in 2010 than they’d had the previous year, with the strongest rebound in rail and hotel reservations.

Vaughn used to plan his own vacations, but three years ago, when his trips got more elaborate, he decided to turn to Rubin. Lately, he’s been turning to Rubin for even the easy trips. For a one-week jaunt to New York, Rubin gave him a list of off-the-beaten-path places to visit. “It’s convenient,” Vaughn said. “I could paint my house or change the oil in my car, but I don’t have the knowledge or the time to do it the best way possible.”

Credit commercial aviation with the rise of the travel agent in the 1920s. Blame online booking sites for the travel agent’s fall in the ’90s. With airfare schedules, hotels and rental-car reservations just a few clicks away, travelers dumped their agents.

In 2001, there were 37,981 travel agencies, according to ARC, a company that provides financial services to travel agencies, airlines and travel suppliers. As of March, there were 16,564. Lauri Reishus, vice president of operations for ARC, said that much of that decline is due to the consolidation of agencies.

The travel agents who have survived have had to change their modus operandi. Airlines used to pay them commissions, but not anymore. To make up for that, most agents now charge fees in addition to receiving some commissions from cruise or tour operators. The average fee agents charge for buying a plane ticket, for instance, is $36. Of the 111,000 travel agents in the United States, 28 percent are now home-based, and to compete with online travel sites, they have to be available to their clients 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And most now have specialties.

“Consumers are looking for specialists. They want a destination wedding specialist, an Africa specialist, a Puerto Rico specialist,” said Tony Gonchar, chief executive of ASTA.

What hasn’t changed, agents say, is the relationships they can build with vendors. Many travel agents can get their clients upgrades or perks, such as breakfast or a welcome cocktail, at hotels they use often. Many are also part of a buying consortium that negotiates special rates with hotels, tour operators and other vendors.

Which raises the question: Do agents steer clients to certain vendors just because they pay commissions?

“I often thought the travel agent I used was trying to sell me what was in their brochure without ever considering my needs or knowing anything about the hotel they were recommending,” said Allison Umbricht of Fairfield, Conn.

Ironically, this spurred her to become a travel agent herself. A former accountant, she started Trips of a Lifetime eight years ago. When clients turn to her to plan a vacation, she has long conversations with them about their needs, wants and expectations. Then she prices out different options with different vendors and breaks everything down for the client.

“We know that once we get a customer, we can keep them for life if we do a great job,” she said.

Ann Lombardi, a travel consultant with the Trip Chicks in Atlanta, said that she often ends up with customers who try to book their vacations on their own but then come upon some hurdle.

Travelers turn back to travel agents

“Somebody pushed a button too soon and didn’t realize the airfare didn’t include several hundred dollars of taxes,” she said. “Or they didn’t monitor their flight and found out it’s changed and they can’t connect with their tour or cruise. Gone are the days when travel agents rack up commissions without doing anything. We’re consultants. We’re not just clerks.”

Michelle Gamble-Risley of Fair Oaks, Calif., books most of her vacations through an agent. On one occasion, though, she thought that she could arrange a stay at Disneyland’s Grand Californian hotel on her own. But she couldn’t get the room she wanted, and she couldn’t get dining coupons. She talked to one employee who gave her incorrect information. Frustrated, she called her agent, who happens to be a Disney specialist.

“I went to her after I screwed up, tail between my legs,” said the chief executive of a publishing company. “That’s what a good travel agent would do. If you make a mistake, they clean up your mess.”

Sometimes, however, it’s the agent who makes the mess.

A couple of years ago, Marian Thier, a leadership consultant in Boulder, Colo., had to go to Charleston, W.Va., on business. A travel agent arranged the trip for her and nine team members. Thier got her boarding pass and proceeded to the gate, where she noticed that the destination sign was for Charleston, S.C. Thinking it impossible that the travel agent had screwed up, she told an airline employee that the gate had the incorrect city posted. The gate agent chuckled. Thier glanced at her boarding pass again; sure enough, she was booked to Charleston, S.C.

The travel agency re-booked the group, covered all the change fees and bought everybody a round of drinks.

The lines blur

The travel agent’s comeback doesn’t mean that online travel booking is losing its luster. PhoCusWright, a travel-industry research firm, predicts that global online travel booking will grow 11 percent in 2011 to $284 billion and 10 percent in 2012 to $313 billion. By 2012, one-third of the world’s travel sales will be booked online.

The online travel community would argue that it has formed a symbiotic relationship with brick and mortar travel agents. Most travel agents use online tools to book their travel. Often, these are sites that the average consumer doesn’t have access to. Orbitz, for instance, has developed Orbitz for Agents, which gives more than 7,500 offline agents special access to its inventory.

“It’s no longer a case of us versus them,” said Brian Hoyt, vice president of corporate communications and government affairs at Orbitz. “The line is blurred.”

Andrew Weinstein, a spokesman for the Interactive Travel Services Association, an industry trade group that represents Expedia and other sites, said that all the online booking companies now have employees available to talk to customers by phone or instant message. Travelocity, for instance, has customer support available 24/7.

“There are no online companies that aren’t providing real world customer support,” Weinstein said. “What you’re really finding is the digitization of travel, offline or online.”

There are some travelers who will always want to do things on their own. Ellen Robin and her husband, Nelson, Germantown residents who own a software consulting company, are diehard do-it-yourself vacation planners. They’ve planned trips to Europe, Israel, Canada, Mexico and other international destinations on their own. They like being able to look at all the options, read the reviews, study the menus and decide for themselves where to go and what to do. They even manage to find apartment rentals overseas. Their tools: guidebooks (yes, they’re still around), online reviews and recommendations from friends.

“I don’t see how a travel agent would add any value,” Robin said. “Who knows best what and when we’d like to do things? We do.”

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On the surface, Alaska Airlines seems like a company that Americans would love to hate, yet exactly the opposite is true. People love Alaska, and it’s no accident. Let me explain.

Think about everything going against the airline. First of all, it’s an airline. Hating every move an airline makes is actually required in the US in order to graduate from high school. If, however, you build a brand as a low fare airline that eschews fees like Southwest, then you get a pass. Alaska is not that airline. Alaska looks more like a traditional hub-and-spoke airline. You’ll pay to check bags and fares aren’t rock bottom. Want inflight entertainment on a long haul? That’ll be $14. How about food? You’ll pay for that as well.

Fly Cheaper On Alaska Airlines request special fares for your next trip with Justfares.

Last quarter, Alaska had an epic meltdown when its computer system failed and thousands were stuck. As if that’s not enough, Alaska is posting record profits. In the first quarter, Alaska had an operating profit of nearly $134 million. Its operating margin was nearly 14 percent. That’s a rock star result.

Were any other airline making that kind of money, people would be screaming bloody murder. Employees would be clamoring for fair treatment and better pay while customers would demand that the “outrageous” fees go away. But that’s not what’s happening here. And here’s why.

1) Alaska is Small
The bigger the company, the bigger the target it is. Think about oil companies. People love to jump on ExxonMobil and BP, but how many people hate, say, Sinclair Oil? Nobody. Well, I’m sure someone does, but it’s not vilified on a daily basis. Sinclair has gas stations in 21 states, so it’s certainly a visible name, but it’s not in the cross hairs when people think of big, bad oil. Being small also means that earnings don’t look so huge. Sure, Alaska had a great margin but its operating profit was only $134 million. Had United achieved a similar operating margin, it’s operating profit would have $1 billion. That just sound enormous.

2) Alaska’s Fees Seem “Fair”
It helps when other airlines set the bar for what the public considers to be greedy. It means if you do something below that level, you look like a hero. The big legacy airlines charge $150 to change a ticket. Alaska charges half that for changes made online. If you want to check a bag on Alaska, it’ll be $20 for each bag up to three. That may not seem that much cheaper than other airlines, but it comes with a promise. If your bag isn’t on the carousel within 20 minutes, you get compensation.

3) Alaska Operates Out of the Spotlight
Being based in Seattle means that people don’t really pay attention to you. Oh sure, the local papers will jump on stories when things go wrong, but you’re not likely to end up on the national news unless you really mess something up in a huge city like LA, New York, or Washington DC. Being in the Northwest insulates Alaska nationally, both when things are good and when they’re bad so it’s a mixed blessing.

4) Alaska’s Mileage Program is Flexible
Loyalists to Alaska’s Mileage Plan program are VERY loyal. There are so many mileage partners around the globe that members can use their miles to go just about anywhere. Those with MVP elite status get the same kind of benefits as other airlines give but with a lower mileage qualification threshold. (It’s only 20,000 miles to become MVP.) The program is also integrated with Delta SkyMiles to the point where elite members get priority boarding, better seating, and more. So it’s a program that can compete with the big guys and even provide better benefits by partnering across alliances.

5) Alaska Runs a Good Operation
For the twelve months ending February 2011, Alaska was second in on-time performance with 87.2 percent arriving within 15 minutes of schedule. There’s no question that the airline is helped by not flying much in horrible east coast congestion, but that’s not the point. Running on time means that there’s less for people to complain about. It doesn’t matter why you run on time. It just matters that you do.

6) Alaska Understands Customer Service
One of the most important reasons that people don’t hate Alaska is because when things go wrong, the airline is all over it. When computers failed, Alaska was pumping updates out constantly. Execs filmed a video apology and gave details on what happened. Alaska also encouraged everyone impacted to write in so that the airline could deal with compensation individually. It was an excellent effort all around and certainly reduced the negative impact that might have been felt by others in a similar situation.

I’m sure there are more reasons, and I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts. I should make it clear that this doesn’t mean Alaska has a sparklingly perfect record. This is the same airline that in 2000 had one of its MD-80s crash off the coast of California. The resulting scrutiny over the airline’s maintenance created a ton of bad press and without question damaged the brand significantly. Alaska also took a hit after it laid off its 500 ramp workers in Seattle and outsourced the work to a third party. (It was later determined Alaska actually violated the union contract.) For these reasons, some people will always hate Alaska and I can’t blame them. But those people are in the minority today, and Alaska finds itself in one of the most enviable positions in the industry when it comes to customer perception.

Fly Cheaper On Alaska Airlines request special fares for your next trip with Justfares.

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Alaska Air Group has emerged as the early bright during the aviation industry’s quarterly earnings season, surprising analysts with a soaring profit that gave it its best-ever result for the quarter.

Alaska Air — parent company of Alaska Airlines and regional unit Horizon Air — reported a $74.2 million profit, or $2.01 per share. The Seattle Timessays “excluding special one-time gains, (Alaska Air) earned $29.5 million, or 80 cents a share, compared with $13.1 million, or 36 cents a share, in the first quarter of 2010.” That topped analysts forecast profit of 71 cents a share.

Fly Cheaper On Alaska Airlines request special fares for your next trip with Justfares.

The News Tribune of Tacoma writes “the relatively robust earnings were particularly noteworthy coming in the airline’s typically weak first quarter, when travel activity is low to many of its tourist destinations. The earnings record came at a time when other airlines were reporting thin or nonexistent earnings because of rising fuel prices and lax demand.”

“We are pleased to report a record first quarter profit. This quarter’s results are due to strong passenger demand leading to a 16%, or $136 million, improvement in revenue. This profit is especially gratifying given the significant increase in fuel costs,” Alaska Air CEO Bill Ayer says in a statement.

Alaska Air says its passenger traffic has increased 16% on a capacity increase of 12%. Load factor, an industry measure indicating the percentage of available seats filled, rose to 82.3% from 79.5%.

Buoyed by its strong performance, Alaska Air says it plans to increase its year-over-year capacity by 8%-9%. Dow Jones Newswires says “a key focus of Alaska Air’s growth plan for this year is its flights to Hawaii from the U.S. West Coast, though competition has been heating up.”

The company has been adding flights from several West Coast cities to numerous destinations in both Hawaii and Mexico. The News Tribune says that strategy has helped Alaska Air fill “a void left in those markets by the bankruptcy of Mexicana Airlines and the disappearance from the Hawaii market by ATA and Aloha Airlines.”

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