Juneau International Airport is expected to be busy during Thanksgiving holiday week amid lax COVID-restrictions. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

Juneau International Airport is expected to be busy during Thanksgiving holiday week amid lax COVID-restrictions. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

Juneau International Airport prepares for busy holiday

Long-term lots expected to be full.

According to managing director of the Alaska market for Alaska Airlines Scott Habberstad, there’s no time like the present for travel.

“Travel is back, enjoy it,” Habberstad said. “Smile, get out there and enjoy life.”

With COVID-related restrictions easing all throughout the country, Juneau International Airport manager Patty Wahto said they’re expecting a normal and busy travel season this Thanksgiving holiday week, so people should plan accordingly.

“Plan for a two-hours of check-in, especially if they’ve got baggage to check in and check with the airlines if you think there are weather concerns or other things,” Wahto said. “There are no mandates within the airport at this time and I’m not expecting any to go into effect, so really it’s anyone who wants to wear a mask, they’re certainly still welcome to do so, and you still see quite a bit of that on aircraft.”

Along with no COVID-related mandates within the airport, Habberstad said that Alaska Airlines is also not enforcing mandates of any kind at this time and will rely upon a stringent cleaning process within all of their aircraft instead.

“With respect to masks and mandates, people are flying again, it’s safe to fly and if we’ve learned anything from COVID, it’s keep the airplanes cleaner and cleaner, so that’s what we’re doing,” Habberstad said. “Our folks are committed to your safety and our employees’ safety.”

In addition to airport travel being expected to be busier than the last couple of years, Wahto said, so, too, will the airport’s long-term parking lot.

“It has been exceedingly full, so people may want to just check on that early enough and see what spots are available or just be prepared that if the lot is filled and they’re planning on parking there, they may want to allow themselves plenty of time because that long-term lot has been filled to capacity lately and it’s even been trickling over into the short-term lot,” Wahto said. “We just have a lot of people traveling.”

Wahto added that even prior to holiday travel, the lots have been full and the airport is currently looking into alternate parking and eventually will be addressing the idea of expanding the lots altogether.

Habberstad said Alaska Airlines still have seats available for the week of Thanksgiving and flights are expected to run nearly full.

“It looks like a lot of people will be taking the long week off, which is great for the community, people are enjoying flying again,” Habberstad said. “We’ve got our three non-stops, the early morning one at 5:30 a.m. and 8 a.m. and then the evening flight, but we also have two flights that either go via Sitka and Ketchikan, flight 62, or flight 64 that goes down through Wrangell and Petersburg and Ketchikan towards Seattle, so Juneau is going to have five flights to Seattle a day.”

As for Delta Airlines, Wahto said that currently the airline is only running a Saturday/Sunday schedule. Delta Airlines did not respond to messages seeking comment.

“Their weekend schedule may impact people that are coming back on Sunday or something like that, but as far as I know, they’re still planning that schedule.”

Habberstad said those who are planning to travel by plane this holiday week should remember to allow for enough time to get through the Transportation Security Administration at the airport.

“We Alaskans are kind of accustomed to making it to the airport at the last minute so as to not waste our time,” Habberstad said. “Flights will be running crowded over the Thanksgiving holiday, so the morning departures where we have two departures southbound and then that one northbound, it can sometimes get congested getting through TSA, so just make sure to give yourself enough time to get to the airport. They’ve got a new restaurant out there, it has good coffee and not a bad bagel either.”

For Alaska Airline Club 49 members, Habberstad said to make sure to check in on the mobile app or Alaska Airlines website to ensure benefits are current so as to avoid paying for bags. Lastly, for those who may be traveling last minute, Habberstad added that it’s a good idea to check for the Club 49 30% discount.

“The last thing you want to do is get to the airport and then have to pay for two bags,” Habberstad said. “So, just make Club 49 up to date so you don’t have to pay for your bags and give yourself ample time to get there. Also, don’t forget about your Club 49 30% off last minute travel deal coupon in your inbox. Club 49 members, if they book travel inside of three days, they can take up to 30% off the ticket price with that coupon.”

• Contact reporter Jonson Kuhn at jonson.kuhn@juneauempire.com.

More in News

The Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Encore docks in Juneau in October, 2022. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire File)
Ships in Port for t​​he Week of Sept. 23

Here’s what to expect this week.

A person departs Bartlett Regional Hospital on July 26, a day after a board of directors meeting raised issues about the hospital’s leadership and quality of care, with then-CEO David Keith resigning a week later. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire File)
New Bartlett CEO has lots of experience with mergers, transitions as hospital confronts struggles

Meanwhile former CEO still getting paid for post-resignation ‘transition’ despite leaving the state.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police calls for Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Former Coppa Cafe co-owner Marc Wheeler and current owner Maddie Kombrink smile for a picture at the downtown cafe Wednesday morning. Last week the cafe celebrated its 10-year anniversary in Juneau. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)
‘It’s a wonderful milestone’: Coppa Cafe celebrates a decade of service in Juneau

Ten years is just the beginning, says current and past owners.

Ian Worden addresses Bartlett Regional Hospital’s board of directors via Zoom during a meeting Tuesday night where he was subsequently hired as the new interim chief executive officer. He is expected to begin the job within a month. (Screenshot from Bartlett Regional Hospital video)
Bartlett Regional Hospital, during unusual board meeting, makes yet another interim CEO hire

Longtime Seattle-area executive unanimously chosen as hospital’s third leader in past two months.

Lt. Krag Campbell with the Juneau Police Department smiles for a photo Tuesday evening outside of City Hall. Campbell is one of two finalists seeking the chief position at the department. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)
Juneau officer seeking department’s top spot says 21 years in community an asset

Lt. Krag Campbell one of two finalists for chief of police.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police calls for Monday, Sept. 25, 2023

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola, a Democrat who became the first Alaska Native in Congress a year ago, discusses issues and adjusting to the national political scene on Sept. 8 as part of a three-day visit to Juneau. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
A year after surprising victory, Peltola a popular target in Congress

Spending 9/11 with Biden, being top target of GOP now part of job while dealing with family matters.

Most Read