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How To Book the Alaska Airlines Milk Run [2024]

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James Larounis
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James Larounis

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554 Published Articles 1 Edited Article

Countries Visited: 30U.S. States Visited: 35

James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in...
Edited by: Michael Y. Park
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Michael Y. Park

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Michael Y. Park is a journalist living in New York City. He’s traveled through Afghanistan disguised as a Hazara Shi’ite, slept with polar bears on the Canadian tundra, picnicked with the king and que...

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The world-famous Alaska Airlines “Milk Run” is a must-do adventure for an aviation geek. It’s definitely something to add to your bucket list if you’re a plane enthusiast, though it can be a bit tricky to book if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

In this guide, we’ll show you all you need to know about booking the Milk Run, so you can be sure you’re booking the right flights!

What Is the Milk Run?

Many small towns in Alaska have no roads in or out, so the only means of transportation are planes or boats. Even Alaska’s capital city, Juneau, has no roads leading out to the outside world! Because Alaskans rely so heavily on air transportation, the Alaska Airlines Milk Run was born.

Alaska Airlines operates daily services to these places to provide residents with necessary supplies (including milk). This mirrors the earlier use of the term elsewhere to describe the multiple-stop routes trains or truck drivers had to make to dairy farms and processing factories, and thus the name.

In past years, these short hops were served by special planes whose capacity was filled half with cargo and half with passengers. Thanks to advancements in airplane technology, all routes are now served by modern Boeing 737 aircraft with an all-passenger configuration with normal cargo below.

Milk Run Routes

There are 3 Milk Run routes, both running north and south, starting in Seattle (SEA) and ending in Anchorage (ANC). Certainly, there are other small cities that Alaska serves, though these are the only ones where Alaska flies in and then continues on to another small town afterward, rather than heading to a big city.

Alaska Airlines Milk Run poster
Image Credit: Alaska Airlines

Northbound From Seattle, Washington

  • Alaska Flight 61: Seattle (SEA) to Juneau (JNU) to Yakutat (YAK) to Cordova (CKU) to Anchorage (ANC)
  • Alaska Flight 65: Seattle (SEA) to Ketchikan (KTN) to Wrangell (WRG) to Petersburg (PSG) to Juneau (JNU) to Anchorage (ANC)
  • Alaska Flight 67: Seattle (SEA) to Ketchikan (KTN) to Sitka (SIT) to Juneau (JNU) to Anchorage (ANC)

Southbound From Anchorage, Alaska

  • Alaska Flight 62: Anchorage (ANC) to Juneau (JNU) to Sitka (SIT) to Ketchikan (KTN) to Seattle (SEA)
  • Alaska Flight 64: Anchorage (ANC) to Juneau (JNU) to Petersburg (PSG) to Wrangell (WRG) to Ketchikan (KTN) to Seattle (SEA)
  • Alaska Flight 66: Anchorage (ANC) to Cordova (CKU) to Yakutat (YAK) to Juneau (JNU) to Seattle (SEA)

Booking a Milk Run Flight

When you go to the Alaska Airlines website, the key to finding a Milk Run flight is to look for flights that have several stops between the city pairs. Alaska does not specifically call out which flights are Milk Runs, so you can either look for the specific flight numbers noted above or look for flights that have multiple stops.

Take this Juneau-to-Seattle flight, for example:

Juneau to Seattle with Stops
Image Credit: Alaska Airlines

There several nonstop flights a day, but this particular flight is a Milk Run. It’s flight number 62, and it stops in multiple cities. Between Juneau and Seattle, it stops in Sitka and Ketchikan.

Alaska 62 Itinerary from JNU
Image Credit: Alaska Airlines

Fares on Milk Run flights tend to be around the same price as shorter flights, though these flights are substantially longer.

Hot Tip:

To save on your Milk Run flight, consider booking with one of the best credit cards for airline purchases. Cardholders of the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card and Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Credit Card can also utilize Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare, allowing the purchase of a second ticket on a round-trip flight in the Main Cabin for $99 plus tax.

Flying a Milk Run Flight

You’re probably wondering what it’s like to fly a Milk Run flight. In short, it’s just like any other flight!

  • Because these flights are so short, you may not have an opportunity to use the restroom in the air, and there may be no inflight service or Wi-Fi.
  • Most airports (like Wrangell or Sitka, for example) have no terminal services, so you’re asked to stay on the plane after it lands in these smaller towns. These airport terminals are essentially sheds, and there’s limited staff. The person who checks you in is the same person who boards you and loads your baggage. During these stops, you can use the bathroom on board, stand up, stretch, and chat with fellow passengers. Flight crews usually won’t let you outside for security reasons.
  • At longer or larger stops, such as Juneau or Ketchikan, you may have the opportunity to go into the terminal and grab a quick bite. “Quick” is the operative word here: You’re typically given a limited amount of time to do so. Usually, you can either deplane for a few minutes or remain on board.
  • Between stops, if you’re traveling the whole way through, an Alaska gate agent will come on board to check who’s in each seat so you don’t have to rescan your boarding pass.
  • Expect to see many people deplaning and boarding at each stop. Depending on how much cargo has to be loaded or unloaded, that could mean delays.

As you fly between each city, you’ll probably see breathtaking scenery. We highly recommend you get a window seat!

Hot Tip:

A Milk Run can be particularly difficult to get an upgrade on since, thanks to the single flight number, the upgrade needs to be available on the entire journey, not just an individual leg. If just 1 leg of your flight is sold out, you likely won’t receive an upgrade.

Final Thoughts

If you’re able to head up to Alaska to do a famous Alaska Airlines Milk Run, it will be well worth your while. You’ll get to see how remote villages in Alaska receive essential supplies, talk with locals getting on and off these critical flights, and see absolutely stunning scenery as you weave in and out of mountain ranges in America’s largest state. Though it’s a long day of air travel, it’s worth it, especially if you can find a decent fare!

The information regarding the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it called the milk run in Alaska?

Because many Alaskan communities don’t have access to the outside world besides through air travel, milk, and other fresh supplies need to be brought in daily. This is why it is called the “milk run.”

How do I search for the Alaska Airlines Milk Run flights?

When searching on the Alaska Airlines website, search for flights between Seattle and Anchorage. You’ll know it is a Milk Run flight if it has several stops in between, and the time of the flight is much longer than usual.

How much does it cost to fly the Alaska Airlines Milk Run?

The Alaska Airlines Milk Run can be very pricey, depending on your set of flights, due to the remoteness of the cities. It’s not uncommon to pay several hundred dollars for just one of the short segments that may only be 20 minutes long.

Where does the Alaska Airlines milk run fly to?

There are several Milk Run flights, and they all depart Seattle and go to Anchorage (and vice versa). The milk run transits smaller cities such as Juneau, Yakutat, Cordova, Sitka, Ketchikan, Petersburg, and Wrangell.

James Larounis's image

About James Larounis

James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in dozens of travel publications.

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