Thursday, December 20, 2018

Leaving on a Navajo Caravan.

Propeller, Aircraft, DetailToday, I'm heading out on holidays. As soon as school is over, I'm hopping the local airplane to Bethel so I can get to Anchorage tonight.

There are similarities with regular cities but there are major differences which I'll share so you get an idea of what I go through.

First, I have to phone the village agent sometime this morning.  The agent will check his list for my name, weight, and the weight of my belongings.  They need to know because they have to sort of balance weights. 

At this time of year, I take my weight and add 15 pounds for my winter gear of boots, heavy duty snow pants, thick heavy coat, plus my extra layers of clothing.  Then I round it up a bit, just in case.  As for my luggage weight, I just say 75 pounds total for everything.  I do not have a scale and everyone just guesses.

Once I've checked in, I sit near a VHF radio, listening for the pilot to call in to the agent letting him know when the plane is about 20 minutes out so everyone can get to the airport.  There is no terminal, only open space so if its a windy day, it can be quite cold and you end up hugging the building for warmth.  Occasionally, the announcement is made by the agent and you have to hope that it is not in the local language. 

So the plane lands which is a small 9 seater usually.  If there are few passengers, it will be filled with mail and cargo so you have to wait until everything and everybody is unloaded.  Once its all clear, you file on board the plane and head off either for another village or head straight to Bethel.  I love the straight to Bethel flights which take about an hour.

About one hour later you land in Bethel and taxi down the runway past Alaska Airlines before arriving at the small terminal for your regional airline.  Everyone disembarks and is walked to the building by the pilot because the planes are parked almost like a regular parking lot.  When you get inside the building, you stop at the desk and check in so they can either note you made it or you have to pay for your ticket.

The last step before leaving the building is to wait until your luggage is unloaded and dropped down a small chute where you grab it and catch either a taxi to your final destination in Bethel or you grab the shuttle to Alaska for the Anchorage flight.  If you are traveling via Ravn, you take everything next door.

That is how you travel via plane in the Bush of Alaska. Have a great day.  Let me know what you think.

No comments:

Post a Comment