Frequently Asked Questions
Have a question we haven’t answered here? We’re happy to hop on the phone with you and help! Just give us a call: (907) 783-2360
Experience: As the longest-operating tour and charter company in south-central Alaska, we’ve got a well-trained team and have earned the trust of countless happy guests for over 30 years. Our pilots are skilled professionals with excellent training and experience flying in Alaska’s unique terrain. They know the most beautiful spots to land, and will share interesting facts and stories with you along the way.
Easy to book: We make it easy to book online, or you can call us and we’ll help you with every detail of your tour. We are open year-round, seven days a week, ready to make your reservation perfect with one simple phone call or email.
Epic location: We are just 40 miles south of Anchorage, in Girdwood, Alaska. In less than an hour’s drive you’re in a beautiful, historic mountain town that makes the perfect starting point for quick helicopter access to the giant glaciers of the Chugach Mountains and Prince William Sound. Not only are we close to these scenic wonders of ice, Girdwood is a travel destination in itself with a luxury hotel, amazing trails, a mountain resort for downhill skiing and mountain biking, and a new, luxurious Nordic spa.
Friendly Staff: We love serving our guests, and can’t wait to share the beauty of Alaska with you. Every flight is our opportunity to educate and inspire.
Our tours depart from the Girdwood Airport, 40 miles south of Anchorage, Alaska.
No, we do not offer shuttle service from Anchorage, but we’ll give you some helpful tips on how to get here, just keep reading below.
Driving is the easiest way to get from Anchorage to Girdwood. The views along the Seward Highway make it one of the most scenic drives in the country, so you may want to give yourself some extra time to enjoy the view.
Need a car? Here’s what we recommend:
- Rent a car from any major car rental agency at the Anchorage airport or other locations around town.
- Book a car on turo.com, it’s just like renting a car, just from a private party, like a VRBO for vehicles.
Other ways to get from Anchorage to Girdwood:
- Hire a private driver who will drop you off in Girdwood, or will stay with you during your tour and return you to Anchorage. We recommend Evan B: 907-229-9363 or call us and we’ll provide some other options for you. We do not recommend using taxis or Uber or Lyft from Anchorage to Girdwood, because you run the risk of getting stuck in Girdwood since our small town does not have a taxi service or Uber or Lyft drivers who can take you back to Anchorage. We recommend a private driver because they will stay with you in Girdwood or return for you at your specified time to take you back to Anchorage.
- Take the Turnagain Arm Shuttle. The Turnagain Arm Shuttle will drop you off and pick you up at Girdwood’s Glacier Valley Transit pick-up point. This is where you can catch the town’s free shuttle service to get around town during your visit https://glaciervalleytransit.com. If you’ve booked a tour with us, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to get here before your tour and coordinate pickup in Girdwood with an Alpine Air driver.
- Ride the Train: Alaska Railroad’s Coastal Classic and Glacier Discovery trains travel from Anchorage to Girdwood from May through September. Make sure to have us help you coordinate your train arrival time with your helicopter tour time so we can pick you up at the train depot before your flight.
Yes, we do offer round-trip shuttle service to our hangar from almost anywhere in Girdwood for just $5 per person. We pick up from the Alyeska Hotel, Girdwood Train Depot, local B&Bs and other Girdwood locations upon request.
We believe our tours are great for all ages and a wide range of abilities, but please be aware that you need to be able to walk from the hangar to the helicopter on your own and climb aboard the helicopter without assistance. For our dogsledding tours, you’ll also need to be able to walk unassisted 100 yards on uneven snow (no canes), be able to hold onto the sled firmly with both hands, and be able to withstand abrupt stops and starts of a dog sled.
We accept all major credit and debit cards: Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express. Online booking is easy, or just call us and we’ll be happy to make your reservation over the phone: 907-783-2360
Yes, we are open 7 days a week, year-round. Just our dogsledding tours are only available during summer.
People who have experienced motion sickness in an airplane or boat are usually, and often surprisingly, fine in a helicopter because of the smooth ride and great visibility. While rare, airsickness is possible so if you’re extremely prone to it, consider anti-nausea wristbands or motion sickness prevention medicine.
Our pilots and flight crew are constantly checking the weather, and we will not fly in conditions that are unsafe due to low visibility or wind. If we must cancel due to inclement weather, we will give you the option to either reschedule or cancel for a full refund.
We fly tours year-round, rain or shine, as long as flight conditions are safe. We recommend booking your helicopter tour during the early part of your vacation so if weather is an issue you have other dates to rebook to.
We will do our best to accommodate any specific seating requests, but our crew must safely balance the helicopter based on the weight and number of passengers. For this reason, you might end up in a different seat, or flying separately from your group.
We recommend reserving an earlier tour time so that if there’s any weather you can reschedule for later in the day if needed. For the same reason, we recommend booking your helicopter tour at the early part of your travel itinerary so if weather is an issue you have later dates to rebook to.
Yes, since 1991 we’ve had an extremely safe record and set the highest standard for the skilled pilots who join our team. We operate a certified Robinson Helicopter maintenance center and a FAA-approved helicopter flight school. Our aircraft are FAA inspected, certified, and fully insured.
It’s very possible! As we fly over Girdwood Valley and over the Chugach Mountains you might spot moose, black bear, Dall sheep, or even mountain goats. Above the Prince William Sound it is possible to spot seals and sea otters in the water below. Helicopters fly at a relatively low altitude so you can see the animals without the need of binoculars. Our pilots will do their best to point out any animals and give you a chance to see, but we will not circle around or fly in any way that will disturb wildlife.
We have a flexible cancellation policy: If you need to cancel your tour you will receive a full refund up to 7 days prior to your departure date. Bookings canceled less than 7 days but more than 24hrs prior to your departure date are subject to a 50% cancellation fee, or you have the option to reschedule for any future date. If you do not show up or you cancel less than 24hrs prior to departure you are responsible for the full cost of the tour. If we cancel due to weather, we will give you a full refund or reschedule you for a future date, whatever you prefer.
There is no running water at the airport so restrooms are limited (clean, modern outhouses), and we recommend using the restroom before you arrive at the hangar.
A good plan for how to prepare for your helicopter tour is to dress for the weather that day and add an extra layer for warmth.
In spring, summer, and fall, layers are important. Wear a long-sleeved shirt, sweater, and perhaps bring a jacket. Sturdy, closed-toe shoes are key, like sneakers or hiking shoes. Please, no high-heels or sandals.
In winter, temperatures outside can be very cold and there could be deep snow on the glacier. Please wear warm layers, snow boots, snow pants and a warm coat or down jacket, and bring warm gloves and a hat.
For summer dogsledding tours we outfit you with water-resistant outer layers to go on top of your clothes and glacier overboots to go over your shoes.
On scenic flights that include a glacier landing, our pilots will provide you with ice cleats.
Yes, for safety and balance of the helicopter, the passenger seat weight limit for the R44 helicopter is 290 lbs. For passengers 250 lbs and above, a comfort fee will be added to the tour price.
Alpine Air Alaska operates 3-passenger Robinson R44 helicopters for our tourism flights. For larger groups, we use multiple aircraft to take up to 6 passengers (or more) at a time per tour. We also operate 4-passenger Robinson R66, and 5-to-6-passenger Eurocopter Astar AS350 B2/B3 helicopters, but these are typically reserved for charter and utility flights and only used for tourism flights on rare occasion.
If you’re coming from Anchorage, renting a car is best because there is so much in the area to see. Most shuttle services have flat rates to Girdwood. If you enjoy trains, the Alaska Railroad is very scenic.
Most major rental car agencies have locations at the Anchorage Airport and the surrounding area.
- Flightseeing Tours: please arrive 15 minutes before your tour time.
- Dogsledding Tours and Ultimate Summer Tours: please arrive 30 minutes before your tour time so we can outfit you with outer layers and glacier boots to keep you dry for your activity on the snow.
- Wedding/Photo Flights: please arrive at least 15 minutes early to prepare for your flight and coordinate any special requirements.
Be sure to dress in comfortable layers with good, sturdy shoes, and be sure to bring your sunglasses and camera. Alpine Air Alaska does have outer jackets, pants, gloves, and boots to help keep you dry during your day of adventure on Punchbowl Glacier. This is a hands-on activity so your backpacks and purses will stay clean and dry in our hangar or in your car. Please note: there is no running water at the airport so restrooms are limited.
There is no best time of the day for any tour any day of the year. Alaska weather changes frequently. You’ll have a fantastic flight, even if blue skies aren’t in the forecast, but we won’t fly if the conditions aren’t favorable for helicopter travel. On rare occasions, we have to call a weather day, and if that happens, we’ll gladly find another time slot for you after the weather clears. The best thing that you can do is leave some flexibility in your schedule. Reserve the time that works best in your trip, and leave some room in case we need to reschedule for later in the day, or a different date. If a weather day is called by our staff, and you have time later in your trip, we can get you the best tour possible. If we have to cancel your flight due to weather and you can’t reschedule, we’ll give you a full refund.
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