Kantishna Air Taxi

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Return to Larry and Linda Pearson -> 2006 Alaska Vacation

To see every single blessed picture taken flying over Denali, CLICK HERE!

Kantishna Air Taxi (KAT) bills themselves as the "Exclusive concessionaire for charters within Denali National Park." They are able to fly out of a small airstrip in Kantishna, the area of the park where the Denali Backcountry Lodge is located. Kantishna also maintains offices just up the hill from the Lodge.

After a six hour bus ride from the Denali National Park Entrance to the Denali Backcountry Lodge where Larry became motion sick, we began to seriously consider changing our return travel arrangements. The decision was based on balancing the cost of flying versus the long arduous bus ride. Flying won.

The Kantishna based local representative of Kantishna Air Taxi visits each of the Kantishna Lodges multiple times daily enabling Lodge patrons to make travel and flightseeing arrangements. The local guy is very nice. I just can't remember his name. Anyway, the local guy is very easy to work with and accommodating.

Kantishna AIr Taxi has a sliding per passenger pricing scale based on the number of people flying between locations. The per person cost for four people (around $160) is less than the per person cost for two people (around $225). KAT makes every effort to group people together for flights to save their patrons on travel cost. If you indicate a willingness to pay a higher per passenger cost, they will appear to be more accommodating on flight schedules. We paid a higher price (gladly) so we could have a few extra hours at the park entrance to fool around.

KAT flights depend on weather conditions. You have to be flexible on scheduling.

The planes are small. We sent our two LARGE 50 pound bags with the Denali Backcountry Bus to the park entrance. Before the bus left, we tagged the bags with Alaska Train tags labeled Anchorage (our destination). This approach was recommended by the KAT representative. The bags were delivered as expected without any problems.

Linda looks on as the pilot loads our carry-on baggage and the local representative completes some last minute paperwork.

Larry is riding shotgun in the co-pilot's seat.

Linda is seated in the seat behind Larry and the pilot. There is another seat behind Linda that is very small. Midget sized. In theory, you can seat 6 people in this aircraft. Sure you can!

Flying over the park provides views and perspectives that aren't really possible from the ground. Our pilot was very knowledgeable about the park. As we were flying over different points of interest, he would talk about them. He made a very nice tour guide. It was overcast and cloudy the day we flew out. The peaks and valleys were shrouded in clouds and mists.

A stream snakes its way through a valley.

Linda looks out the window.

"Dang! That airstrip looks awfully small from here!" went through my mind on our approach to the dirt and gravel airstrip at the Denali National Park Entrance.

Our wonderful pilot assists us in gathering our stuff as we leave the plane.

Our flight took 45 minutes. This is a far cry from a six hour bus ride. On the other hand, we were unable to see any wildlife on our flight out. That may have been a function of the weather. I didn't mind missing the wildlife. The plane ride was considerably smoother (and shorter) than the bus ride.

Copyright © 2006 Larry Pearson - All Rights Reserved