A ferry and a plane are the two main travel options for people wishing to visit Kodiak Island, Alaska. Our decision to fly to the island was solidified pretty quickly when my father-in-law lovingly referred to the ferry as the “Dramamine express”. I think Hubs would have risked it for the scenic ferry views offers, but my motion sickness was not something he wanted to deal with for hours on end when flying was an option.
Flying to Kodiak Island
The whole experience of flying from Anchorage to Kodiak was a bit surreal. We arrived at the airport the (East Coast) customary 2 hours in advance and the place was desolate. We grabbed a quick bite to eat before walking to our terminal via a series of never-ending hallways. (I swear we didn’t see a sole for a good five minutes.) The next thing we knew, we had shockingly arrived at our gate. We hadn’t gone through any security screening! Soon enough, the gate agent made an announcement that she would be checking our ID’s and tickets prior to boarding. It was a bit bizarre for Hubs and me, as we live in the DC area where security is always a top priority.
TIP: Grab breakfast at your hotel or on the way to the airport if possible. At the very least, grab food near the ticket counters. At the time of our visit, only the main terminal had food options or convenience stores. Our gate area/terminal didn’t have any food options or convenience stores.
Would now be a good time to mention that I dislike small planes? Because I do and of course we would be taking one to and from Kodiak Island. I know my issue with small planes is basically unfounded, but I can’t help but think of all the stories I have heard about small plane crashes every time I see them. My unease with them doesn’t stop me from getting on board, but it does make me stop and think twice before I do.
Once our ID’s and tickets were checked by the flight crew, we walked across the tarmac and boarded our twin-prop plane. We grabbed our seats and prepared for takeoff. The plane layout was rather tight, but fine for the short flight. We ended up sharing our flight with a great group of people heading to the island to work, fish, take bear tours, and visit family.
The flight path to Kodiak Island took us over Cook Inlet. I loved seeing the mountains meet the sea, viewing glaciers from the air, and watching the sun twinkle on all the snow. I was glued to the window the entire flight and honestly, for this nature-lover, the views alone were worth the flight!
Flying from Kodiak Island
We arrived at the airport 1.5 hours before our scheduled flight time. It took 15 minutes (or less) to return our rental car, and then we read and played games on our phones for an hour while waited to board. Most of our fellow travelers didn’t bother to show up at the airport until about 20-30 minutes before the flight. Again, in hindsight, I would have arrived 30 minutes prior to boarding. However, if the weather is an issue, you might want to give yourself more time.
Our flight from Kodiak Island to Anchorage was just as beautiful as the flight to the island. We ran into one small hiccup when they announced before boarding that the flight was overweight. Which, for Kodiak, means that people caught too many fish during their stay and they would be holding some bags back until the next flight. Can you guess where this is going?
You guessed it… our bags were in the handful held back and put on a later flight. Unfortunately, the customer support desk for Ravn Alaska Airline was set to close shortly after we landed and well before the next flight landed, which meant that we had to pick our bags up when the support desk opened in the morning. I cannot adequately express to you in words how angry I was as a result.
We had only taken small carry-on size daypacks for our 2 nights on Kodiak Island and were asked to check them as space on the plane was tight. We had left our larger suitcases at the hotel we stayed at on our first night in Anchorage because we would also be spending the night we returned from the island there. So, we had clothes and toiletries even without our daypacks, but I did not have my medicine I needed to take that night. I hadn’t felt comfortable leaving it in our luggage at the hotel (it would have been fine) and learned my lesson to never check it!
Kodiak Island Flight Tips
- Do not check medications in any checked baggage.
- Be sure to add some wiggle room in your travel schedule as there aren’t many flights in and out of Kodiak. Additionally, if the weather is bad, your plane will not be able to land or take-off.
- While you should always follow airport recommendations, for future trips will arrive 45 minutes before our flight time.