When it came time to plan our yearly “big trip,” it was a decision between some place exotic (Croatia), some place warm (Mediterranean) or some place we have been wanting to visit/live since forever (Alaska). Alaska won due to the fact that it only cost 25k frequent flier miles for a RT ticket from DCA.
The thing about life is that nothing comes for free. And when using FF miles to literally travel across country to arguably the most remote place in the US, well, you can pretty much factor in that something will not go as planned.
Our original tickets had a combination of 3-4 flight changes at rinky dink airports in cities I didn’t even know had airports. We arrived early to DCA, checked our bags in, headed to the terminal, and then realized that our flight was delayed by a couple hours, causing us to miss our connecting flights. We used our United miles (good riddance), but our flight was on a partner airline for this leg. Since we booked through United, there was drama in getting another flight since we had to now book through the partner airline, not United.
Long story short, we were able to get a direct flight to Phoenix, where we had an 8 hour layover before flying into Anchorage. We arrived in Anchorage around 1am, and decided that since we had to be back at the airport to fly out to Juneau in 4 hours, it didn’t make sense to get a hotel room.
We spent the night in the Anchorage airport, setting up camp in a little corner next to one of the many stuffed bear displays. The Anchorage airport is surprisingly busy from 1-4am, as in the froyo shop seemed to be open 24hrs and always filled with people even in the wee hours of the morning. Between all the people eating froyo at 2am, and the annoying dude who got up and sat down on my chair-bench-bed like 400x at 3am, we didn’t get a good night’s rest.
Like I said, nothing comes for free. But 20 hrs later, and we (and thankfully our luggage that traveled on our original flight) were finally in Alaska!