Alaska Airlines is Experimenting with AI to Suggest Travel Destinations and Booking Options

Last updated on May 6, 2024

Posted on May 6, 2024

Alaska Airlines seems to be experimenting with AI to suggest destinations to travelers. The simple interface can seemingly look at both Alaska flights and partner award options.

It's interesting to see Alaska using AI in a more public way that the customer can interact with. And from the short time that I've been playing with the tool it could be a game changer for booking flights through natural language instead of drop-downs and selectors like all airline websites are designed.

Alaska Airlines AI Destination Search

The data however does not seem to be real time and your fare may be gone by the time you go to book the flight. In the small fine print at the bottom of the website, Alaska discloses that the fares shown were available within the last 48 hours.

*Prices have been available for one-way trips within the last 48 hours and may not be currently available.

This seems to indicate that Alaska is doing some loading of their flight schedule into the AI tool instead of it having real time access to fares and availability.

Playing with AI, Sort of

I was able to find some interesting destinations and airlines that Alaska would let me book by using the tool. What I wasn't able to get it to fully do was book me an around the world flight. It seems as if the tool only is designed to book you round trip flights and will not find multi-city or continuous bookings. Maybe with time, the tool can get better.

I tried to get it to suggest to me an around the world flight going through Sydney and somewhere in Europe. That's pretty standard for an around the world flight and there are many partners that fly those routes including Qantas, Qatar, and British Airways.

But unfortunately, what it gives me is two one-way flights either on Qantas or Qatar going through San Francisco or Doha. Not exactly the around the world that I was looking for.

A More Practical Use

If you keep it as a more practical use in the domestic United States, the AI seems to do much better. It will give you accurate results, and you don't even need to be that specific. I asked to go bird watching in Alaska and it gave options for both Fairbanks and Anchorage, both perfect starting places to explore nature in Alaska during the Summer.

Final Thoughts

For the moment Alaska's AI search tool is very basic and if you give it anything overly complicated it can get confused and throw some weird results. Also, the fact that the AI is not searching real time inventory can hurt your prospects of jumping on any deals or closely assoicated flights.

It needs some work, but the fact that I coudl in natural language give it a departure city, arrival city, and dates was fantastic. I would much rather write out my search query than sit through all the search selections to find the flights that I want. My hope is that it becomes better, and I eventually it'll be able to show you mileage redemption opportunities.

Do you think AI flight search is better than searching yourself?

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