top of page

Mcneil: Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are my departure and pick up times related to the tide and/or weather?
Yes, travel to and from McNeil River Sanctuary is accessed by floatplane only at high tide. This means only ONE flight per day at high tide (which changes from day to day). The flight times are scheduled to coincide with high tide and to maximize viewing times. As a result it is customary to travel one day prior to your first viewing day and depart one day after your viewing period ends. There are times when weather does not allow for travel as scheduled. Given there is only one flight per day, please include an extra day or two in your travel plans for this possibility.

2. Where do I park my vehicle?
Free parking is available at Northwind Aviation for McNeil River customers. Please click on the google map at the bottom of the page for directions to our dock. 


3. What type of bags may you bring?
A few smaller compressible bags are preferable to large and/or hard-sided cases. There is not a limitation on the size or volume of the contents. The distance needed to carry your gear to camp varies between 200 feet and a quarter-mile depending on conditions when you arrive. You will need a backpack for viewing days as you will be away from camp most of the day.

4. Cost for the 2021 season?
Travel to McNeil is based on seat fare only. Chartering a flight is not available. The below prices are round trip.

Guided Viewing Permit Dates: $725/seat + 7.5% tax with a 270lb weight limit*.

  • Extra weight $2.00/lb up to 320lbs.

  • No minimum passenger total for a trip

  • No extra charge for credit cards

Standby Viewing Permit Dates: $725/seat + 7.5% tax with a 270lb weight limit*.

  • Extra weight does require the purchase of an extra seat fare

  • No minimum passenger total for a trip

  • No extra charge for credit cards

* Combined weight of person and gear.

5. Preflight and Check-in?

Upon booking, you will be provided with your check-in and departure times.  These are chosen to ensure enough time to weigh you and your gear, park your car, pay in full, etc. We are located at Northwind Aviation: 1184 Lake Shore Dr, Homer, AK 99603.  

6. What method do we use for payment?
We accept cash, checks, Visa, American Express, or Master Card*. A $100 per person deposit will be required at the time of scheduling. Payment in full is due at the time of departure.

*There is no extra charge for the use of a credit card.

7. Should I schedule my airline travel the same day in and out of Homer?
No, it would be best to allow for airline cancellation and/or lost bags. Plan to arrive in Homer the day prior to your departure. Please allow an extra day or two in your departure schedule from Homer for possible delays in leaving McNeil due to weather.

8. Where can I find more information?
Please refer to the hand out you received in the mail from Fish and Game for food, water, clothing, and other logistical information. Click on their web page here.


9. What is your cancellation policy?

For Reserved Fares: Cancellation of trips any time before 60 days prior to your trip you will receive a full refund less a 10% administrative fee. After that time, payment/deposits are non-refundable. In the even we cancel a trip due to weather, safety issues, or events beyond our control, you have the option of a full refund or to reschedule on a space available basis. Due to the expense of these trips, we highly recommend purchasing travel insurance to cover any unforeseen circumstances. Call for updated COVID-19 Policy.


10. Northwind Aviation Standard Policies:

To maintain safe aircraft operations and comply with Federal Aviation Regulations, NWA guests must provide our office with the precise weight (clothed body plus gear) of each person in your group.  To ensure accuracy, you and your gear will be weighed at the time of check-in.  If you have misrepresented your weight, and the total aircraft load exceeds the legal limitations, you may be subject to forfeiture of your seat, and no refund will be issued.  We make every effort to accommodate our guests and will try to find another flight or tour option for you, but additional charges could apply.  For safety reasons we have a weight limit of 300 lbs. or less. 

bottom of page