Alaska Airlines offers flash sale as COVID-19 delta variant weighs on air travel

The 2-day sale is for trips to the airline's tropical destinations like Costa Rica, Hawaii, Mexico and Florida

Alaska Airlines is offering a major sale to certain tropical destinations to boost demand as the delta variant of the coronavirus discourages some people from flying. 

The two-day sale for trips to Costa Rica, Hawaii, Mexico and Florida runs through midnight on Sept. 10 PST or 3 a.m. EST. The sale applies to main cabin travel from Sept. 23 to Nov. 17, 2021. 

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The price of some one-way routes will drop down to roughly $80 – for example, Seattle to Tampa, Florida or Los Angeles to Los Cabos, Mexico. Some routes, such as San Francisco to Maui, Hawaii, will drop to $90.  

At the start of the year, air travel demand picked up as vaccination rates rose across the nation. The pent-up demand in air travel was a welcome relief for the battered industry, with consumers spending $6 billion in domestic flights in June, according to Adobe Analytics. However, online spending in domestic flight bookings dropped by 13% in July and continued "to decline at an aggressive pace" in August, according to Adobe. 

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So far, U.S. airlines Southwest, Spirit and Frontier have blamed the rise of the COVID-19 delta variant for a slowdown in customers booking flights. 

Ben Minicucci, the CEO of Alaska Air Group, the airline holding company that owns Alaska Airlines, also said "the impact of the Delta variant may pose some risk in the recovery trajectory," although the carrier hasn't seen that reflect in its bookings yet. 

"To date, we are seeing no signs of demand slowing, but we will continue to watch booking trends carefully so that we can appropriately match capacity with demand," Minicucci said during the July call.  

The Associated Press contributed to this report.