FAQs About Flying in Alaska

If you would like more information about Wings Airways please contact us.

What is a floatplane?

A floatplane is an aircraft that utilizes water as its runway with the use of floats or pontoons instead of wheels. This is a popular mode of transportation throughout Southeast Alaska for access to remote locations or communities without a land based runway.

Will I have a window seat?

EVERYONE enjoys a window seat.

Do you have a weight limit?

Yes, our maximum per person weight is 300 pounds.  Due to the size of the aircraft we are restricted to guests individually weighing under 300 pounds.  We are sorry for any inconvenience.

Where are we located in Alaska?

We are located in downtown Juneau with our own floatplane dock next to the Cruise Ship Docks.

What is the difference between the glaciers of the Juneau Icefield and Glacier Bay?

Glaciers are magnificent where ever they can be viewed. The major difference between these two locations is the time it takes to get to them from Juneau. The Juneau Icefield is directly in our backyard. To access Glacier Bay requires a minimum flight of 45 minutes in each direction. The magnificent glaciers of the Juneau Icefield will be visible just ten minutes after departing our downtown Juneau floatplane base.

Can you drive to the Taku Glacier Lodge?

No road system extends to the remote Taku Glacier Lodge. Access to the Lodge is strictly by floatplane or small-motorized riverboat.

Do you serve anything other than salmon at the Taku Lodge?

We still focus on what we do best…and that is grilling fresh wild Alaskan Salmon over an alder wood flame. However, we have added chicken to our service as an alternative to the Wild Alaskan Salmon. We do recommend that every guest taste the salmon, as even the discriminating palate that dislikes salmon may be surprised by the excellent and unique flavor this fresh and wild salmon provides. ***And special note: with the amazing side dishes NO ONE has ever left the Taku Glacier Lodge hungry!

Where do you get your Salmon?

Fishermen right out of Taku River catch most of our wild alaskan Salmon. Other times of the season we may buy it from a nearby town so you will always have it fresh from the salt water. We only serve Wild Alaskan Salmon (Coho/Silver Salmon).

Are the Taku Glacier Lodge bears “wild”?

Most definitely! The bears have NEVER been fed by anyone associated with the Lodge.

Do glaciers really move?

Motion and change define a glaciers life. Healthy glaciers are always advancing. However, depending on the season and overall climate most glaciers are melting faster than they can move down the valley. The Taku Glacier that you will be flying over is one notable exception having advanced over ten miles down valley in the last 100 years. The Taku is currently near equilibrium – its rate of advance and melting is almost equal.

Will I walk on a glacier?

To sight-see by floatplane is the ultimate opportunity to see more of the glaciers themselves. Although we will not land on a glacier we will be flying past a variety of glaciers and their amazing surroundings. Floatplane travel allows you to experience an overall view of the Icefield and the different personalities of the glaciers that flow from it.

Will I see the Mendenhall Glacier?

Locals know the Mendenhall Glacier as the “drive-up glacier”. All glaciers are magnificent and this is one that you can see while in Juneau with a simple twenty-minute drive from downtown. The visitor center provides access for viewing from approximately one mile away.  The face of the glacier is typically not accessible by foot, unless a hearty and long hike is part of your plans. Its easy access has made the Mendenhall Glacier well known. We highly recommend that you also see glaciers from the air!  *Fun fact: the Taku Glacier, included in our tours, is the LARGEST glacier in the Juneau Icefield!

Why do glaciers look so “dirty”?

Glaciers are one of Mother Nature’s most effective erosion agents. The various rock debris you see on the glaciers are the result of the scouring of the bedrock as it moves down the valley.

Should I tip my pilot?

Tipping is not required, however should you feel your pilot or the staff at the Lodge provided that extra effort in service, then tips are always appreciated.

What kind of weather should I expect?

Expect the unexpected! We have experienced “typical” summer days ranging from 45 degrees and raining to 85 degrees and sunny…and all in the same week. It is always smart to plan for anything up here in Alaska.

Do you fly in the rain?

The Tongass National Forest, an actual rainforest, makes up much of Southeast Alaska. We Alaskans have learned to appreciate the rain and never let it stop us do what we need to do. If it is otherwise safe and quality flying weather, we will fly in the rain. A little known fact is that the rich blue hues in the glaciers are more vibrant to the eye on an overcast day. Most photographers utilize Mother Nature’s magic when trying to capture the amazing blues!

What if the weather is “bad”?

Our pilots are experts in the decision making process when it comes to Southeast Alaska weather. Safety of our passengers and employees is our number one priority. We will not fly if it isn’t safe. Our second priority is quality, and we wont fly if it isn’t going to be a quality tour. Our reputation is too priceless to send guests out…and have them not see anything.

What if I have a physical limitation?

Some mobility is required to enter and exit the planes. We do have assistance in the form of additional ramps into the planes and a motorized “jitney” (or Alaskan 4-wheel drive golf cart ) at the Taku Glacier Lodge for guests seeking assistance between the floatplane docks and the main Lodge building. We simply ask that you know your own limitations. Entrance into the planes requires negotiating five to six ladder -like steps and there is minimal walking at the Taku Glacier Lodge. Although some guests will want to participate in the interpretative nature walks and nature trails you can make the time at the Taku Lodge what you want!

Can I take photos from the plane?

Everyone will have a window seat for fantastic opportunities to take photos. We highly recommend you bring plenty of film and back up batteries. Digital still and motion cameras also work well and are highly recommended. One important tip is to make sure the flash is OFF to avoid glare from the windows.

What should I wear?

The weather can vary drastically here so the best idea is to bring layers to be prepared for anything.

Do you want my weight with or without clothes?

Well, what ever state you happen to be in at the time of your flight. (We actually get this question often)