The Surprising Way Some Alaskans Get Their Takeout Delivered

Fast food cravings can be hard to satisfy, especially when you live in rural Alaska. Once a distant dream, bush pilots are changing the narrative. It's now possible for Alaskans in the remotest of tundras to use food-delivery apps like DoorDash and Uber Eats — just expect your order to arrive by plane!

By offering app-users the opportunity to fly-thru, rather than drive-thru, a little piece of comfort and convenience is now a possibility for rurally-located Alaskans, as explained in an article written in The New York Times.

In towns of less than one hundred people, the closest restaurants are hundreds of miles away, and even grocery stores are rare. One Alaskan living deep in the bush even took to TikTok to share how outrageously priced grocery store items can be in remote towns — think one carton of milk for almost $20 (via Fox Business). But, while most Alaskans regularly hunt, fish, and forage to combat the crazy cost of living, we all have our vices, and distance won't change that.

How it works

Although meals might not be as fresh or hot, they satisfy cravings — even if Alaskans have to wait days for their order to arrive, unlike the hour that city dwellers might face. Takeout via plane is pretty identical when it comes to the delivery process.

First, customers place their order through a food delivery app like Uber Eats, Grubhub or DoorDash. Then orders are prepared and delivered to the airport promptly unless customers haven't tipped, which could delay orders from reaching the tarmac (via Today). At the airport, boxes are labeled and moved into refrigerators until departure. If a wicked storm leaves planes grounded by chance, orders are eaten by staff who place orders again for shipment the following day, as Indian Express reports.

Interestingly, small-scale airlines and air taxis that carry passengers make takeout deliveries. If a stop is being made, community members are made aware should they want to place a takeout order. Not including the cost of their food, Food & Wine reports that Alaskans pay around $30 in delivery fees, which isn't too outrageous, given the circumstances.

But do the restaurants supporting takeout-by-plane reap benefits? The New Yorker found that delivery companies take a cut of 30%, leaving restaurants struggling to make a profit after deducting expenses. While it might not be the most lucrative, restaurants in metropolitan Alaska can at least take pride in knowing they're helping others in towns far, far away.