First Glimpse of Alaska from the Air

View from Alaska Airline jet coming into Ketchikan, Alaska, includes a snow-capped mountain and the Inside Passage waterwayView Flying into Ketchikan, Alaska

Whether you are arriving in Alaska for the first time, heading home after a visit to the lower-48, or returning after moving away, the first glimpses of the state from the air are breathtaking. It is incredible how different the perspective between the air and the ground can be.

For two decades, the rugged splendor of the Last Frontier immersed me. I spent eighteen years on the picturesque Prince of Wales Island in the state’s southeastern region.

A closer look reveals tiny lakes, sometimes teeming with trout, delighting the anglers who forego sea fishing; there aren’t many of those, though. The inlet stretches further than you might expect when you see it from the air. Float houses nestle within the protected bays and coves. Remnants of the timber industry emerge as scattered logs on the southeastern Alaskan coastline. When you see this area from the ground level, the panorama truly steals your breath away.

View of islands off the coast of Alaska from jet
Alaska from the Air

Now for the rest of the Alaska Story.

In my Alaska memoir, The Call of the Last Frontier, I described our remarkable introduction to the state from the jet window:

“I have never seen anything like this!” Our jaws dropped at the stunning view of the glacier and snow-capped mountains from the Alaska Airlines jet window. It was, simply put, breathtaking.” – Chapter 1, Meat Market

The cover of "The Call of the Last Frontier" shows the coast of Alaska with Author Melissa Cook standing on the beach
My Alaska Memoir is Available on my affiliate Amazon or

Other Air Travel Posts

Grinning Down on Alaska – Read about my first experiences in Alaska flying

Alaska Floatplane in a Blizzard – A floatplane arrives in Thorne Bay during a blizzard, flying close to a barge and tug boat.

Flying in Alaska – Review flying options on Prince of Wales Island and the impact of Island Air Express providing commuter service by wheel plane.

Southeast Alaska Life – A Typical Day – Residents in remote Alaska rely on bush flights such as this de Havilland Beaver commuter floatplane landing in the foggy bay near Thorne Bay, Alaska.