Getting To & Around Alaska: Fly
Alaska is located northwest of Washington State and west of Canada’s Yukon. Many Alaska-bound flight itineraries include a stop at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Seattle — the closest major airport to the state — while more and more direct flights are also becoming available.
DOMESTIC AND INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS TO ALASKA
In additional to Seattle, direct flights are available from Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Honolulu, Houston, Kahului (Maui), Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Phoenix, and Portland, some of which only operate seasonally. The airlines with the most domestic flights to Alaska are Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta, and United. Direct international flights are available on Condor and Icelandair.
U.S. citizens do not need passports to fly to Alaska from other destinations in the U.S. Get other travel tips for visiting Alaska.
MAJOR AIRPORTS IN ALASKA
The airports in Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau are Alaska’s primary ports of entry. Anchorage is Alaska’s largest city and the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport is the largest and most heavily trafficked airport in the state. Fairbanks is Alaska’s second-largest city and the chief transportation hub in the Interior region. Visitors can fly in and out of Fairbanks International Airport to destinations worldwide. Juneau is Alaska’s capital city, located in the Inside Passage. The coastal communities of Southeast Alaska are accessible via the Juneau International Airport. Service is also available from Seattle to the Inside Passage community of Ketchikan through the Ketchikan International Airport.
FLYING WITHIN ALASKA
The majority of Alaska is not accessible by road, making airplanes essential for travel throughout the state. Alaska Airlines typically offers the most availability for travel to and within Alaska and has partnerships with several smaller carriers for service between additional communities including Wrangell, Petersburg, Sitka, Gustavus, Yakutat, Cordova, Kodiak, Dutch Harbor, Adak, King Salmon, Dillingham, Bethel, Nome, Kotzebue, Utqiaġvik (Barrow), and Prudhoe Bay.
Smaller regional carriers serve hundreds of other villages and areas. For many remote towns, planes aren’t just the preferred way to travel, but the only way! Air is the best mode of transportation for reaching many Alaska Native villages, especially in the Arctic and Southwest regions, and some coastal communities. These regional carriers operate different types of planes depending on the terrain of their destination: float planes/seaplanes for water, ski planes for snow, and wheeled planes for land.
“Bush planes” are small airplanes that serve hundreds of remote communities. These flights offer a truly authentic wilderness experience and give visitors a glimpse into life in rural Alaska. While multi-day visits are feasible in some locations, many remote communities don’t have hotels or other tourism infrastructure and are best visited on a day trip. Several tour operations offer flightseeing and charter trips with short stops in Alaska Native villages.
Some small regional carriers offer regularly scheduled service to remote communities and locations, while others are accessible by booking a charter flight or air taxi specifically for your trip. If you’re interested in heading out to a remote community or accessing the backcountry, it’s best to contact the air carrier first to check on schedules, availability, and location logistics to find the option that’s right for you. Just like a regular taxi, the cost for air charters/air taxis are often calculated by the hour rather than by the destination.
Flightseeing is one of the most popular day trips in Alaska and can be done by small plane or helicopter statewide. Flightseeing trips often feature landings on mountaintops or glaciers, and many incorporate hiking, dog mushing, and more.
APPROXIMATE FLIGHT TIMES BETWEEN ALASKA COMMUNITIES
Anchorage to Fairbanks: 50 minutes
Anchorage to Juneau: 1.5 hours
Anchorage to Kenai: 30 minutes
Anchorage to Nome: 1.5 hours
Anchorage to Utqiaġvik (Barrow): 2 hours
Fairbanks to Deadhorse/Prudhoe Bay: 1 hour
Juneau to Ketchikan: 1 hour
Juneau to Sitka: 45 minutes
Plan Your Trip
Alaska is a land of superlatives and adventure. Explore five distinct regions and varied travel routes and modes of transportation as you plan your Alaska getaway.
Explore by Region
Alaska’s far north features the country’s only Arctic ecosystem; northern lights dance above the snowy tundra in winter, while birds and caribou graze during long summer days.
The Inside Passage in Southeast Alaska is home to breathtaking temperate rainforests, protected waterways, and glaciers reaching into deep coastal fjords.
The Interior Region is a quintessentially Alaska landscape, bounded by high mountain ranges (it’s home to Denali) and crisscrossed by glorious river vistas.
Southcentral Alaska is home to vividly diverse wilderness landscapes – from beaches to mountaintops to fjords – as well as half the state’s population.
Southwest Alaska’s islands, river deltas, and mountains teem with fish and wildlife.
Alaska: AKA Your Next Adventure
Where will your Alaska adventure take you? Order our Official State of Alaska Vacation Planner and plot your course.