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Alaska Air summer flights Mammoth - LAX - reliable?

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Alaska Air summer flights Mammoth - LAX - reliable?

Postby OzSwaggie » Sun Jan 19, 2014 1:46 am

Hello All

I'm having a lot of trouble getting information about the dependability of the one flight per day between Mammoth Lakes and LAX in July/August. The airline can't/won't help ; various flightstats websites don't have the information and a broad search of the internet has come up with no useful information, so as a last resort I'm hoping the knowledgable folk on HST might be able to help.

Is there anyone out there who maybe lives in or near Mammoth Lakes or in some other way has knowledge of the reliability of the one-flight-per-day operated by AlaskaAir in the summertime? All the airline can say is that if the flight is cancelled they will get us on "the next available flight" (which would be the next day, at the earliest, assuming there is room, I guess!)

Reason for asking is that we're flying in from Australia in July and at the end of our backpacking trip (late August) back to LAX to catch our flight to Australia. Last time we were there someone casually said "Oh those flights are cancelled all the time". This alarmed us quite a bit, and we are not sure whether they meant only in winter...

Cheers
Donna



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Re: Alaska Air summer flights Mammoth - LAX - reliable?

Postby maverick » Sun Jan 19, 2014 12:14 pm

Hi Donna,

Not much info on-line but here are some threads I found:
http://www.yelp.com/biz/mammoth-yosemit ... moth-lakes
http://forums.mammothmountain.com/viewt ... 80&start=0

There was some more info on tripadvisor.com, but not much
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Re: Alaska Air summer flights Mammoth - LAX - reliable?

Postby rlown » Sun Jan 19, 2014 12:20 pm

ask markskor.. he's using one from mammoth. two threads here.. collapse/delete one. Weather will screw you anytime. build some flexibility into your trip for a possible storm.
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Re: Alaska Air summer flights Mammoth - LAX - reliable?

Postby markskor » Sun Jan 19, 2014 12:45 pm

Coincidently, (BTW, have never flown Alaska Air... yet, but), I am flying down to San Diego using Alaska Air to visit my son Tuesday...will ask around then.
Prices are a mixed bag...$248 one way on weekends -
$118 round trip weekdays.
Cannot drive for that price.
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Re: Alaska Air summer flights Mammoth - LAX - reliable?

Postby OzSwaggie » Tue Jan 21, 2014 5:49 pm

Thank you

All the info I can find on the net seems to be regarding winter flights - not finding much about the reliability of summer flights.

I'm wondering how much flexibility we should allow for storms. If we can't fly one day, would we be pretty certain to be right for the next day? - or would two days be a safer option.

Allowing two days means a couple of days in LA ... (which we'd rather be spending in the mountains!)

We might look into ground transportation options, maybe there's a bus between Bishop and LA or something...

Cheers
Donna
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Re: Alaska Air summer flights Mammoth - LAX - reliable?

Postby rlown » Tue Jan 21, 2014 6:51 pm

depends on when you book the flight.. If now, then you have no storm horizon. if you wait, then cost might go up. 2 days should be ok. Nothing to do in LA?
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Re: Alaska Air summer flights Mammoth - LAX - reliable?

Postby OzSwaggie » Wed Jan 22, 2014 12:44 am

Oh well there are one or two things to do in LA, that's true :) Just we're having trouble fitting our intended schedule into the dates we have booked our international flights, bit of a chicken and egg problem! - and trying to squeeze every day we can into hiking in the mountains. We live in a big city anyway, but there aint no Sierras where we come from!
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Re: Alaska Air summer flights Mammoth - LAX - reliable?

Postby maverick » Wed Jan 22, 2014 11:08 am

You could fly into Reno and use the shuttle service ESTA
(http://www.estransit.com/CMS/) or take Metrolink train to
Lancaster and then take bus to Bishop, check #7: http://climber.org/data/shuttles.html
Personally driving would be my preference, especially if I
had a flight to catch on the way back. Yes it will cost more
but you'll be in the mountain in 5-6 hrs, not have to subject
yourself to the mercy of public transportation.
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Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Alaska Air summer flights Mammoth - LAX - reliable?

Postby markskor » Wed Jan 22, 2014 1:05 pm

Sitting here in San Diego...just flew Alaska and asked...
They said weather in summers - winds, etc can cancel flights, but rare...does happen.

More importantly is their "cap" policy where occasionally heat/ inversions severely limits plane capacity and thus they Cap the passenger numbers back - maybe to half full. Those with reservations confirmed are not capped.
Take your chances but I would get confirmed (whatever that means?) and fly into Mammoth.
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Re: Alaska Air summer flights Mammoth - LAX - reliable?

Postby austex » Wed Jan 22, 2014 7:24 pm

The cap talked about is to compensate for what is called density altitude. The hotter the temp and higher the altitude the airport is; the less they can carry at takeoff. The hotter, less dense air offers less lift and the essentially they need longer runway length than is available so they either cut back weight by cutting the number of pax and or cargo or reduce fuel on board.
As far as a cap on passengers? If you have a confirmed/ticketed reservation I don't know what that would mean. An involuntary bump and be denied boarding? I'd call Alaska Air and ask some specifics. The "what if" scenarios. They fly Bombardier Q400's which are pretty stout tried and true aircraft so I wouldn't think afternoon t-showers would stop them;gusty cross winds, maybe. Mainly the density altitude issue and limiting weight. Hope this helps if you decide on flying.
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Re: Alaska Air summer flights Mammoth - LAX - reliable?

Postby OzSwaggie » Sun Jan 26, 2014 3:01 pm

Thanks Austex that is really interesting! - and reassuring.

We did notice when booking these Alaska flights that on all the flights about 1/4 of the seats are marked not available - the same seats - and wondered about this. Must be just keeping the plane lighter!

Thanks also (sorry forget who it was) for the information about the ground transportation by bus. We did hire a car on one trip but found driving on the "right/wrong" :) side of the road and the high speeds driven in California kinda undid the relaxation part of our trip!

We've fiddled with our schedule to give us an extra two days at the end of our trip, and we'll have one day in Mammoth and two in LA.

Thanks for all the information and advice. I don't know what we would do without HST!
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Re: Alaska Air summer flights Mammoth - LAX - reliable?

Postby Rockchucker » Sun Jan 26, 2014 3:48 pm

OzSwaggie wrote:
Thanks also (sorry forget who it was) for the information about the ground transportation by bus. We did hire a car on one trip but found driving on the "right/wrong" :) side of the road and the high speeds driven in California kinda undid the relaxation !

Driving in LA is unnerving for ANYONE. Very stressful, I'll be driving at 70 mph and people pass by me like I'm standing still. So take a buss until Lancaster then get a car, pretty easy driving from there on out.
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