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Originally Posted by ffmhoarder
Looking at options for getting around Haines, Juneau and Skagway.
Ferry option is under consideration. Also Wings of Alaska and Air Excursions for flight options.
Any insight that can be offered on the air options will be greatly appreciated.
Ferry is more reliable, and gives you the option of taking a rental car with you from Juneau. The flights on JNU-HNS and JNU-SGY are spectacular, but definitely dependent on the weather. Neither HNS or SGY have any IFR approaches, and SGY is a one-way-in airport, so it's visual-only for both places. I can tell you that many local residents in Haines and Skagway plan their Outside trips around the ferry instead of the planes due to reliability.
Wouldn't want to offend any tender sensibilities in this space.
Wings will get you there if the conditions permit. Sometimes it can take a day or two but just be flexible when planning your trip. The flight to Skagway is breath taking - the ferry is boring. Wings flys Cessna 208 Caravans - very comfortable safe airplane. It is also IFR capable - won't help you getting into Skagway but will ensure you can always make it back to Juneau or a viable alternate. The Wings pilots are very conservative when it comes to making decisions in the weather - they won't hesitate to turn around if conditions deteriorate. I own an airplane and have been flying out of Juneau for years. I've watched both airlines operate and I've got to tell you in my opinion it's only a matter of time before Air Excursions twists some metal. Air Ex pilots get paid extra per flight hour which causes them to constantly push the weather. I've witnessed countless days when Wings and the other operators are on weather hold and Air Ex is flying right thru the clouds. They do this by abusing their Capstone equipment - They fly on instruments when they should be VFR. Air Ex planes rarely turn around. Anyone can dial up the Capstone and fly in bad weather - but it is illegal and flat out unsafe. All its going to take is one electrical failure on an Air Ex plane during marginal weather and your going to see Air Ex crash making the front page of the Juneau Empire. Mark my words --
Examples please? Abusing Capstone equipment/WITH passengers? Have you reported this to the FAA? Sounds serious!!! Should be reported to the FAA, if you know when, where, who, details, you are as responsible for an AirEx crash too if you do not report! Does this have anything to do with Wings fighting mightily against AirEx entering the Skagway market? Wings losing their federal subsidy money because they are no longer the ONLY airline servicing a 'bush' community in Alaska? Sounds like sour grapes to me. But, as I said...if you know details I have no respect for your opinion if you have not reported this to the FAA
Wings will get you there if the conditions permit. Sometimes it can take a day or two but just be flexible when planning your trip. ...The Wings pilots are very conservative when it comes to making decisions in the weather - they won't hesitate to turn around if conditions deteriorate....I've witnessed countless days when Wings and the other operators are on weather hold
Your above statements are just the reason the last time I went to Haines in November I took the ferry (first time I was delayed by a day due to weather). The ferry is much more reliable and many of us don't have days to "be flexible." Not to mention the severe weight limitations imposed by Wings on their flights. Excess baggage is very costly.
The question really comes down to whether or not you want to sit on the ferry for four hours or take a scenic 30-45 minute flight. I would definitely recommend AirEx over Wings any day, simply because if the weather is bad and you cancel your flight and take the Ferry, AirEx wont charge you anything. Wings is owned by a southern corporation, and charges cancellation fees and has onerous corporate bureaucracy. AirEx is locally owned and operated, and the owner himself flies flights regularly. The pilots know the area, and as far as pushing the weather, neither company flies past legal or safe limits, and when on weather hold, both companies are usually on the ground, so its a mute point. Fly AirEx and support the LOCAL ECONOMY, dont send your money down south with Wings.
The question really comes down to whether or not you want to sit on the ferry for four hours or take a scenic 30-45 minute flight.
Welcome to FT.
Or in my case, it was whether you wanted to sit on the ferry for four hours or spend a night in an airport hotel near JNU airport, pay extra for meals, and take the 30-45 minute scenic flight the following day, about 24 hours later than the originally scheduled flight due to fog.
Since then, I take the ferry when I want to get from point A to point B and I book scenic flights when I want scenic flights. So this coming summer I am taking the ferry Juneau-Skagway-Haines-Juneau. It will be very relaxing. Granted, flight delays in the summer are much less common. But the ferry is still a good deal price-wise and no weigh restrictions, which for this trip is important.
There are two different experiences taking the ferry: on some excursions, they use the "fast ferry" (Fairweather) that goes really really fast and takes a short time between cities. The "regular ferry" takes a lot longer. I actually like both. Sometimes when taking the "fast ferry" I feel cheated because the scenery goes by so fast. I would definitely recommend taking the ferry at least one direction -- either the fast or regular ferry.