I'm planning a cruise to Alaska this summer. I assumed that northbound was the way to go until I checked the air schedules and it seems any flight coming home was going to be an all day excursion. I saw flights from Fairbanks with 8 hour layovers in Anchorage or the only available fights were either 8AM or 1AM.
It seems if I go southbound, the air works better because you just assume the 1st day is a travel day and then there are more flights to choose from to get home from Vancouver.
Can any of you enlighten me on how well the air schedules worked in either direction?
As you mention- am and late night are the bulk of flights out of Alaska. These are necessary with the time change as none of the lower 48 airports want to remain fully open and staffed for arrivals at 2-3-4 in the morning. If you are flying to the west coast then you do have some afternoon flights available but not for the east coast. I fly all the time on the overnight flights- the bonus of a full day of touring. Just a fact of my travel preference. (I also go the same way out of Seattle, and Ca. for the same reason, I can sleep easily on planes and any inconvinence is worth it to me). Make a list of your pros and cons for your particular choices and maybe on paper you can make a choice that is right for you. Involve your travel group in the decision??
We cruised northbound and liked it--our routing back to the states was out of Fairbanks on Alaska Air connecting to American Airlines in Seattle, so we stayed in Seattle overnight. There are a number of different routing options, so hopefully you will be able to determine what's best for you. We fly overseas to Europe almost every year, so we're accustomed to the long flights and the time changes, but it was nice to break up the trip with the stop in Seattle, which is also a fabulous place to visit.
My family and I are cruising southbound and to save money we decided to drive from Vancouver to Seattle and then fly home from there. It turns out that we got one less flight than what we would of had in Seattle and even if we had decided to fly out of Vancouver we would of had to connect in Seattle anyway. Hope I helped.