North to Alaska

Indianapolis, IN to Juneau, AK

Jul 6, 2010

We always tell ourselves that the next time we travel, we will go to bed early the night before we leave. We are always wrong. Rather than facing the trip alert and perky, we always haul ourselves out of bed groggy and dazed. The beginning of this trip was no exception. 4 a.m. is really early to wake up.

Nevertheless, we were ready to go on time and got to the airport by 5:30. Check-in at Indianapolis International was fairly quick and painless and we had a decent cushion of time before boarding our flight.

Indianapolis International Airport

Once aboard, we had a two-seat row to ourselves. Katherine found it very amusing that on this particular flight the attendants felt the need to make an extensive announcement warning passengers that they were only to use the lavatory in their own cabin. Dispensation was made for the possibility that a service cart might block the aisle, but as soon as the cart was removed passengers were to immediately return to the lavatory in their own cabin. While the attendants did not say that they would forcibly remove anyone from the first class lavatory, the threat was implied.

Apart from the class struggle, the flight was uneventful until we touched down in Atlanta. When we had taxied to the terminal, the captain discovered that there was still a plane at our gate, preparing to leave. We waited for several minutes, until finally the captain was told that we were crowding the ramp. So we needed to go out past all of the gates, make a 180-degree turn and re-enter the ramp, going past all of the gates again, and to our gate. We had already only had 15 minutes scheduled before boarding the next flight, but this delay left us only enough time to get from terminal to terminal, find the gate, and use the bathroom before joining the last stragglers onto our next flight.

The flight from Atlanta to Seattle landed a half hour early, which was nice. After taking two trains to get to our next terminal, we had time for lunch and a little relaxation. We ate at "Chili's Too" where Chris had the Mushroom Swiss Burger and Katherine had the Buffalo Chicken Salad. Yum!

From there, our flight out to Juneau on Alaska Airlines Flight 71 was late so the gate crew was a bit strident. There were repeated announcements that passengers would only be allowed two carry-on items, and explained that this was 1 plus 1, and that this was how their system of mathematics worked. They were not overestimating our intelligence. In addition to the lesson on addition, passengers were encouraged to help the crew leave on time by boarding quickly--essentially sitting down as fast as humanly possible. In fact, the flight crew was making departure instructions while the passengers were still in the aisle looking for their seats.

Katherine revelled in the poetic justice as, with all passengers seated, the captain proceeded to call for a maintenance crew to fix the first class lavatory. We waited twenty minutes before the captain announced that nobody was coming so we would just put that lavatory out of commission for the duration of the flight.

Chris had brought his atlas, so Katherine amused herself with trying to identify the fjords below her along the coasts of British Columbia. Since her map-reading skills are poor, and her skill at locating landmarks even poorer, this was not a successful endeavor. Working together, however, Chris and Katherine managed to find and photograph the highway going into Prince Rupert and the international border between Alaska and British Columbia.

International Border

The (0,0)Juneau International Airport is serviced by one airline, Alaska Airlines, and we were told by a tour guide that it is only called International because a flight from Canada comes in once or twice a year. It was certainly small, but was under construction and did feature stuffed and mounted polar and brown bears. We retrieved our luggage with no problem, and caught the hotel shuttle to the Best Western Grandma's Feather Bed.

Juneau International Airport