Aircraft Bring A Taste Of ‘City Food’ To The Alaskan Frontier


In Alaska, Door Dash, Grub Hub and Uber Eats orders come in a Cessna, Beaver or Otter for some customers. According to The New York Times, the popular urban services, which exploded in popularity during the pandemic, have given Alaskans in remote areas the opportunity for a taste of “city food” from time to time to break the tedium of the fare stored or hunted by many far-flung residents. Aircraft are the only way to supply many of the wilderness communities in winter and everything from pizza to chow mein are now a common part of the shipments of more basic necessities. Customers pay from $10 to $30 for their day-old dinners.

The service is so popular that Alaska Air Transit set up a tent in the parking lot at the airport where the delivery drivers drop off and label the orders with the names and villages of the recipients. As might be expected, it’s not quite the same experience by the time the food hits the table after some time in the microwave. “It’s not hot. It’s not fresh. But at the same time, it has the flavor you’re wanting,” said Natalia Navarro, a medical worker in the Upper Kuskokwim region, about 200 miles from Anchorage. “You can order anything you want and once you get it, you really, really savor it.”

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. It is difficult for me to understand how aviation in these places are financed. Is it all free market economics, or are government subsidies involved? That would make an interesting article. Wouldn’t it be far cheaper and healthier for locals in Alaska to cook their own food from ingredients flown in?

    • The financing answer for non-tourist areas is: Primarily by the activities of government (both through operations & subsidy), big oil, and a variety of other resource extraction businesses. And obviously, the vast majority of the food eaten by residents of the villages is in fact cooked on site, and with an ingredient mix that is augmented by locally sourced items. The “treats” that are the subject of the article form only a minor overlay on the cargoes, and are in no way a new phenomenon, flights out to the villages have always carried them, although usually via personal friendship arrangements rather than as a formal delivery service.

  2. I remember the skit that Sam Kinisen had when he talked about Africa. There’s no food, no water and no jobs. What are you doing here? MOVE!