The best Alaska fishing vacations involve flying in Alaska to lodges in remote locations requiring several air travel legs to reach them.
Alaska is a vast state and many locations including Juneau, the state capital, are not accessible by road. Major commercial airline service is available into many communities from nearly anywhere in the world through Seattle, Vancouver, and Honolulu to Anchorage. Smaller regional airlines serve remote towns. Over 90% of Alaska has no roads and on Kodiak Island, in southeast Alaska and the Inland Passage, boat or air travel are the only options.
For most people, flying in Alaska on vacation starts with leaving your home town airport and arriving in Seattle and connecting through to Anchorage. Then, you will take another flight to a regional location (Kodiak City, Juneau, Ketchikan) where you will connect with a regional air service providing service to your lodge. How do you plan your Alaska fishing vacation flights?
Planning Your Flights—Start with Your Lodge Arrival Time
Alaska fishing lodges have specific timing for the rotation of guests arriving for their vacation. Departing guests are typically on the return flight. Rotations are based on several factors:
- Regular weather patterns
- Commercial airline flights departing Anchorage and other cities
- Regional air carrier schedules
- Lodge operations and housekeeping
- Local travel experience
We know the common problems and pitfalls of flying in Alaska to lodge locations. When lodge operators recommend specific flights or arriving a day early, we always take their advice. A night in the hotel can make an Alaska fishing vacation a smooth and relaxing travel experience and there is always a lot of great, fresh seafood on the menu no matter where you stay.
Local carriers operate in the afternoons and early evenings. Remember it stays light in Alaska well into our nights. Fog is common in the mornings and the afternoon sun lifts the fog. Winds have different patterns as well. No one will fly in marginal weather to or from our lodges.
You want to plan your arrival time at the last location before you get to your lodge based on the departure time of your float plane to your lodge. For example when flying in Alaska, if your float plane to the lodge leaves Kodiak City at 4:00 pm, when do you have to be at Kodiak City to catch the float plane? You then work backwards finding a flight that leaves Anchorage to get you to Kodiak City in time to catch the float plane. You plan your arrival to Anchorage in the same manner. When do you have to leave Seattle to get to Anchorage for your schedule flight to Kodiak City to catch the float plane? When do you have to leave your home town airport to get to Seattle?
Things to Consider In Your Air Travel Plan
I know I always want to travel with as little stress as possible and I do not want to be exhausted when I get there. We live on the east coast. When we first started going to Alaska, we thought we were very efficient with a 6:00 am flight from Orlando to Seattle and then to Anchorage, Kodiak City and to our lodge. We made it in one day. Going back was leaving the lodge at 4:00 pm for a red eye out of Anchorage to Seattle and then Orlando for the long drive home. The return was only one day as well—a twenty-two-hour day but still very efficient unless you had a weather issue. Of course, we did not count the recovery time. Those days are long past for us.
There are other factors to plan as well:
- Leave yourself time to change planes—we recommend no less than 1 ½ hours
- Book flights and hotels early as space is limited
- If you are traveling with a group, plan on meeting at a major airport (Anchorage) and travel to the lodge together
- Check baggage weight limits and don’t forget you will be returning with fish
- Check for freezer space if you are staying somewhere overnight
- Consider travel insurance
Weather delays are not uncommon flying in Alaska. Give yourself ample time between legs. An Alaskan fishing vacation should be relaxing. Consider spending the night part way. Flights and hotels do fill up quickly so securing reservations early is important. Competition is strong from cruise lines, trips to Denali and the Interior, and at the times of major fish migrations. Local business activity in the state also increases in the summer. There are many popular activities in Alaska. If you are traveling with a group, consider coordinating flights to Anchorage and travel to your final destination from there.
Some flights and destination have luggage limits. Be sure and check these limits as well as the size of bags allowed. Book flights without long lay overs in warm locations if possible. Hot tarmacs and frozen fish are not a good mix. In Alaska, Vancouver, and Seattle there is freezer space at the airports and in many of the hotels. Alaska Airlines also has freezer space for you in Anchorage and Seattle.
We always have travel insurance policies in place when we go on a fishing trip. Alaska fishing vacations are amazing trips but uncontrollable events can cause delays and additional costs. Our trips are always more relaxed knowing we are protected.
The best travel advice I have received was from one of my good friends and best clients who has traveled all over the world. When we discuss people missing fishing days due to poor planning, flight delays, and missing connections, Fred’s motto is always, “Never Fly in Alaska on Game Day.” Sound advice that I personally always follow.
Travel Safety First
We are all concerned about safety. Aviation is a basic part of Alaskan life. Alaska has six times more pilots and sixteen more aircraft per capita compared to the rest of the country. Airline accidents are extremely rare in our country including in Alaska. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) published its most recent 2015 Alaska Accident Statistics.
Flying in Alaska is only getting safer. Technology has improved greatly and pilot training and certification processes are rigorous and thorough. Air traffic control capabilities have also improved. Flights to our lodges are direct by commercial carriers on established routes. Weather conditions are monitored at the departure and arrival points and flights last less than thirty minutes. The entire cast of pilots, ground crew, airport and air traffic control personnel, and management will not clear a flight unless everyone is positive the plane and conditions are safe to fly.
We have flown in and around many places. Helicopter viewings of glaciers from Skagway, float planes to Admiralty Island to watch bears catching salmon, and countless flights to fishing lodges in northern and southern waters. One of my favorite flights was when my daughter and I were helicoptered out of the Grand Canyon after a seven-day white water rafting trip on the Colorado River.
Let Us Get You To Your Luxury Alaska Fishing Lodge
Flying in Alaska for fishing vacations are not just logistics but part of the whole experience. They are just one set of the memories of a lifetime. These same travel challenges exist in Canada and Central and South America. Let us get your there with ease.
Call your luxury fishing expert Lisa Montgomery at 1-855-711-7773 or complete a request on our Contact Page.
Other Information About Flying In Alaska
- Check out the Alaska Chapter of Ninety-Nines International Organization of Women Pilots and information about flying in Alaska