Why and How to Book Alaska Airlines’ Milk Run

By making a stop along the way, aviation nerds can fly this historic and unique Alaska route.
JT Genter
By JT Genter 

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The Alaska Milk Run, hosted by Alaska Airlines, is a unique AvGeek experience on many aviation enthusiasts' bucket lists. These unique routes between Seattle and Anchorage — with several stops along the way — serve as a critical lifeline for several Alaskan communities. For those not traveling to or from these communities, the Alaska Milk Run flights are a great way to see remote Alaskan wilderness and airports from the comfort of a Boeing 737.

Here's what you need to know about these Alaska Milk Run flights, and some tricks for how to book them.

What is the Alaska Milk Run?

Alaska Airlines operates a set of supply routes to cities along the Alaska panhandle between Seattle and Anchorage; these routes are collectively known as the Alaska Milk Run. These supply flights date back to the 1930s when Alaska's pioneer pilots flew mail, medicine, furs, people, and everyday essentials, like milk, in and out of remote cities.

Airports along the Alaska Milk Run vary in size and prominence from Juneau (the capital of Alaska) to Yakutat (a city few have head of). As of the 2020 census, the entire borough of Yakutat had a population of just 662. And yet Alaska Airlines flies there twice daily using a 124-seat aircraft.

These cities don't have roads connecting them with the mainland; they're only connected by sea and air. Since some critical supplies can't wait to be taken by boat, Alaska Milk Run flights are essential for these communities.

As these are supply flights — not tourism flights — passengers who are continuing onward are required to stay on the plane at each stop. However, by strategically booking your flights, you can visit any stop along the way. More on how to do so below.

The Alaska Milk Run routes

The Alaska Milk Run is actually composed of six individual Milk Run routes run by Alaska Airlines. Each daily route serves a different set of destinations between Seattle and Anchorage.

You won't be able to stop at all seven airports between Anchorage and Seattle on just one flight. You'll want to pick your route based on the communities you want to see most. Or you can add more stops by connecting to a second Milk Run flight along the way.

Available routes are as follows.

Northbound flights from Seattle

  • Flight 61: Seattle - Juneau - Yakutat - Cordova - Anchorage.

  • Flight 65: Seattle - Ketchikan - Wrangell - Petersburg - Juneau - Anchorage.

  • Flight 67: Seattle - Ketchikan - Sitka - Juneau - Anchorage.

Southbound flights from Anchorage

  • Flight 62: Anchorage - Juneau - Sitka - Ketchikan - Seattle.

  • Flight 64: Anchorage - Juneau - Petersburg - Wrangell - Ketchikan - Seattle.

  • Flight 66: Anchorage - Cordova - Yakutat - Juneau - Seattle.

How to book an Alaska Milk Run

Alaska Airlines sells Milk Run tickets on its website, alongside its other flights. Each of the six Milk Run flight routes includes end points in Seattle and Anchorage, with several stops in between. You can purchase tickets for one or more portions of a Milk Run route, but you can’t purchase tickets for the full length of the Milk Run.

That doesn’t mean you can’t do the whole Milk Run, though. You just have to do the trip in segments. For example, if you want to fly the entire route of Flight 67, you can take the Seattle-to-Sitka leg, enjoy a few nights in Sitka, and then take the Sitka-to-Anchorage leg to complete your journey.

To really stretch out the experience, you could book Flight 65 from Seattle to Juneau, visit the Alaskan capital, and then take Flight 61 from Juneau to Anchorage. By doing so, you would fly through six of the seven Alaska Milk Run airports — missing only Sitka.

To find your flight options, we recommend using Google Flights. To fly from Seattle to Anchorage — or the reverse — on an Alaska Milk Run, you will need to perform a multi-city search.

You can also use a more advanced flight search tool like the ITA Matrix to book your trip. Simply enter "as61-67" in the routing codes box to limit your search results to Alaska Milk Run flights.

How to save on Alaska's Milk Run

As far as famous AvGeek routes go, the Alaska Milk Run isn't that expensive. However, the price to book the entire route can add up. Plus, if you don't live in Seattle, Anchorage, or along the Milk Run routes, you'll need to book flights to and from the area to do the run.

Thankfully, there are ways to save when booking the Alaska Milk Run.

If you're flying with a companion, the best way to save on Alaska Milk Run flights is by using the airline's companion fare. This fare gives its holder a way to book a companion seat on any paid Alaska Airlines flight for just a base fare of $99, plus taxes and fees starting at $22.

This buy-one-get-one-cheaper fare is the signature perk of the Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card, though as of Jan. 18, 2023, new cardholders will have to spend at least $6,000 annually to get the companion fare. Either way, the card’s sign-up offer helps you save on your next flight: Get 70,000 bonus miles plus Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ from $122 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $23) with this offer. To qualify, make $3,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account.

The Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card can help you save in additional ways on the Alaska Milk Run. As a cardholder, you and up to six companions can check a bag for free. Plus, you'll get 20% back on any snacks or drinks you buy on board and you'll earn 3x Alaska miles on the purchase of your tickets.

If you want to book the Alaska Milk Run

To really nerd out on your next trip to Alaska, consider booking a trip on the Alaska Milk Run. Keep in mind that Alaska will not show the entirety of the Milk Run route as an option when you search for flights on its website — you'll likely need to make a stop along the way to see one of the Alaskan panhandle communities.

Whether you're traveling with others or flying solo, the Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card can help you save on the experience. The companion fare can almost halve the cost for a couple, and other card perks can help save on additional costs of the flight.

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