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Where do Amazing Race teams’ bags go during the final leg? Will Alaska: The Last Frontier season 11 happen?

Where do Amazing Race teams’ bags go during the final leg? Will Alaska: The Last Frontier season 11 happen?

In today’s edition of Ask Andy, questions and answers about what happens to The Amazing Race teams’ backpacks during the final leg of the race; streaming options for the delightful Repair Shop; and if we’ll ever see Alaska: The Last Frontier season 11.

What Repair Shop seasons have aired in the U.S.?

The Repair Shop in winter, for 2019's The Repair Shop at Christmas special
The Repair Shop in winter, for 2019’s The Repair Shop at Christmas special (Photo via BBC)

Andy, I hope you’ve had a good start to the new year. I have a question about The Repair Shop. As you know, it just got dropped onto Discovery+ with the first 3 seasons immediately then a 4th season added yesterday. Have you heard anything about whether that 4th season has aired in the US before? The Repair Shop was streaming on another service not too long ago, but I can’t remember how many seasons were available then. Thanks. —Eugene

I’m so glad you’ve found The Repair Shop, which is an absolutely delightful show I highly recommend.

Netflix licensed the rights to the first two seasons back in 2020, and then about a year ago, dropped those and added season three. Now no seasons are on Netflix, because Discovery+ has acquired the U.S. rights to the show.

Like you noted, after adding the first three seasons on Dec. 15, Discovery+ added season 4 on Jan. 2.

There were also day-long marathons of the first three seasons on Discovery Channel—something I hope Discovery repeats, so more people can see the show, even if they don’t buy Discovery+.

Some good news: season five is coming to Discovery+ later this year. But there are even more that could potentially find their way here. The Repair Shop is currently airing season 9 in the UK now, so hopefully the rest will eventually make their way here, too!

What do Amazing Race teams do with backpacks during the final leg?

Amazing Race host Phil Keoghan waiting for the first team to arrive during the finale of The Amazing Race 31, which aired its finale about a year after production ended
Amazing Race host Phil Keoghan waiting for the first team to arrive during the finale of The Amazing Race 31, which aired its finale about a year after production ended. (Photo by Elizabeth Morris/CBS)

…I had a question about the final leg. [During The Amazing Race 32 finale], it appeared that Hung and Chee and possibly the Beard Bros. ditched their backpacks in the New Orleans airport. (I know Hung and Chee did because he was the only one on the team who carried one the whole show.) What happened to these backpacks? I know James and Will won but it seems like it would be an advantage in the future if you could just leave backpacks at airports. —anonymous, via comments

That’s a great question, and one I’ve had during finales before, too—and then promptly forgotten about!

This will, of course, not be an issue for The Amazing Race 33, which stopped production after three legs and resumed filming a year and a half later, using a charter jet instead of commercial airline travel.

But hopefully the race will be back to normal for season 34, and I was also curious, like you, about what happened during the previous 32 seasons, so I asked TAR executive producer and co-creator Elise Doganieri about this.

“Teams sometimes do leave their backpacks behind in the final leg, but it is not a requirement and it is completely up to them,” she told me.

“The most important bag they do keep is their fanny pack, which has all their important documents, like their passport and whatever money they might have,” Doganieri added. “Their backpacks usually only contain their clothing, which some of them ditch so they can run the last leg as light as possible.”

Depending upon the location of the finish line, it may be safe to dump a bag within an area that the production controls. “If they do keep it and run the entire last leg with it, sometimes they drop it just before they run to the mat… when they know they are within a location that we have locked down for the finale and then they could retrieve it when everything is done,” she said.

What I found most fascinating was what Elise told me about those bags that are left at the airport: “Production does not pick up the bag,” she said. So the team would need to return to the airport later to get their backpacks.

The Amazing Race 29, winner Scott Flanary—who was paired with a stranger, Brooke Camhi, for the race—noticed all of this while watching, and he explained in an interview what their plan was. He told Reality TV World:

As a super fan, I knew successful teams usually found a way to race the final leg without bags. We didn’t know there would be so much running in the final leg (somewhere around 6.5 miles with no mistakes), but I think running without bags was certainly an advantage. The only things you need at check-in are your passport and clues, and those easily fit in your fanny pack.

Scott and Brooke checked their bags at the airport, but had an ingenious plan to convince the other two teams that they were not doing that:

The six of us talked about checking bags when we were at the ticket counter, but I discouraged all of us from doing so because we didn’t know if we would get them back or if we might need something during the leg.

That was all a [ruse], though, because Brooke and I planned to gate check the bag after Mom and Dad [Tara and Joey] and Lolo [London and Logan] boarded, which is exactly what we did. (Gate check means we checked the bags at boarding with the gate agent, and the bags go to baggage claim upon arrival.)

Is Alaska: The Last Frontier season 11 coming soon?

Where can we watch a new season of Alaska The Last Frontier? We love that show. —Shannon

Alaska: The Last Frontier hasn’t aired a new season in more than a year, alas. Season 10, the most-recent season, premiered just before Christmas in 2020.

There has not been any news about it since. Last spring, Eivin Kilcher wrote on Instagram,

“As long as everything goes the way we hope we will begin filming season 11 in the spring of 2021. Here’s to an awesome 10 years and hopefully many more to come.”

But without any news since then, it didn’t seem like good news.

However, just before Christmas 2021, so last week, a fan asked Eivin, “Are y’all still filming new seasons?” and he said “yes.” That makes it seem far more like a new season of Alaska: The Last Frontier will air sometime in 2022.

In the meantime, if you’d like to watch the most-recent season, season 10, it’s streaming on Discovery+, which is also available via Amazon, and available on-demand, plus for available for purchase in places such as Apple TV.

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About the author

  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means. Learn more about Andy.

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Scott Flanary

Wednesday 12th of January 2022

Hello from Racer Scott! Elise's comments are correct: it was up to us to retrieve our bags. Since we were in Chicago, there was a risk our flights home were at another airport (O'Hare v. Midway)...luckily we were flying out of the same airport. However, Korean Air (our airline from Seoul to Chicago) did not open until after our scheduled flights home so we spent nearly 8 hours at the airport and over the phone figuring out a way to get our bags (imagine this being an unofficial Route Info: still in sweaty race clothes asking gate agents of sister airlines to see if they can get into Korean Air's baggage hold). We flew home in our finish line attire with no luggage (what you see in my hands in the photo above is all I had in my possession), but we eventually got our bags sent to our home airports about a day or two later. Worth it!

Andy Dehnart

Wednesday 12th of January 2022

Wow! As someone who previously assumed production just picked up backpacks for the finalists and brought them to a hotel or something, what actually happens is basically the opposite of what I imagined. But yes, it definitely seems like it was worth the hassle. I appreciate that additional insight, Scott!