The MV LeConte ferry. (Courtesy/Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities)
The MV LeConte ferry. (Courtesy/Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities)

The ferry LeConte is back in service and on its way to Haines after weekend engine troubles canceled two planned runs and left travelers scrambling to rebook.

Department of Transportation spokesperson Sam Dapcevich said LeConte will retrieve between 30-35 vehicles, and potentially passengers on Tuesday evening; though as many as 55 cars could be stranded in town

Haines Terminal Manager Ryan Ackerman said Tuesday that all passengers who were booked on the LeConte’s canceled Sunday and Tuesday sailings have been contacted. 

Ferry terminal staff from Haines, Hoonah, Skagway, and Ketchikan spent the weekend emailing and calling people in the order that they booked their travel to get them onto other sailings, according to DOT. 

“We do our due diligence to try to make sure people are aware of what is happening,” Ackerman said. 

Some travelers, however, struggled when trying to self-rescue and rebook ferry travel on their own. Over the weekend, attempts to book tickets online as a walk-on passenger or traveling with a vehicle routed people to sailings happening in July. 

That’s because the marine highway system put a block on earlier travel in the Lynn Canal, to save space for people and vehicles being rebooked according to Ackerman. 

That left people like Piper Haney, a social worker from Juneau who is moving back to the capital city from Anchorage, scrambling. When she hadn’t heard from anyone about the canceled ferry by Sunday afternoon, Haney drove out to the ferry terminal. 

But she wasn’t able to rebook there, either. She said staff told her they would call her. 

“They said they had a big list in front of them, and they were just calling people in the order they booked to tell them it was canceled and reschedule them,” Haney said.

She spent Sunday evening picking through her car to figure out what to bring to Juneau on a seaplane and what to leave behind. She packed bicycles onto a friends’ vehicle and left her car at the Haines ferry terminal unsure of when she’d see it again. 

But, Haney said she heard from ferry staff that her car will be on the special LeConte sailing and headed for Juneau Tuesday evening.

“They offered to drive it off in Juneau so I don’t have to pick it up tonight,” she said. 

As of Tuesday evening, LeConte sailings have been added back to the sailing calendar and there are now available seats and car deck space in late May and early June.