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a harbour air seaplane in the skies with vancouver skyline in background

Taking a Seaplane from Seattle to Vancouver: Is it Worth it?

Taking a seaplane from Seattle to Vancouver is the quickest way to travel between these two jewels of the Pacific, no doubt.

Business travellers swear by it for the convenience, but is it right for prospective Vancouver visitors?

Follow me as I break down the specifics to see if the Seattle to Vancouver seaplane is right for you.

Travelling from Seattle to Vancouver by Seaplane

If you’ve found this article you’ve already likely ruled out taking a car or bus.

And excuse me for being presumptuous, but I’m also assuming you’re out for premium convenience – and maybe a once in a lifetime experience to boot.

So, I’ll start with the obvious comparison between the sea plane option and typical jet travel between YVR and SEA.

It’s clear the Seattle seaplane to Vancouver offers everything that normal flights do not:

  • ‘Door to door’ service from downtown Seattle to downtown Vancouver (convenience)
  • Short border waits due to the seaplane-specific customs lane in Vancouver (time saved)
  • No annoying 90 minute advanced check-in (time saved)
  • Free cancellation up to 24 hours before the flight (flexibility)
  • Stunning scenery from the low flight path (unique experiences)
  • A maximum of 14 passengers (comfort)

Naturally, any traveler from Seattle planning a Vancouver itinerary should at least consider taking the seaplane.

Along the way they even do a pass-by of the legendary Space Needle and Gasworks Park on the Seattle side, then Stanley Park and the Lions Gate Bridge in Vancouver.

Here’s a sneak preview of the seaplane flight between Seattle and Vancouver to give you a better idea:

Related: Seaplane from Vancouver to Seattle

How Long Does the Sea Plane Take from Seattle to Vancouver?

The seaplane goes right from downtown Seattle to downtown Vancouver in just 60 minutes – taking you to the heart of Vancouver’s best tourist attractions.

The whole point here is spending more time there than getting there.

But, is it actually faster than conventional jet travel between the two cities? Let’s take a look:

  • Seattle to Vancouver seaplane: 2 hours 20 minutes (60 minute flight, 60 minute advance check in time, 20 minutes border control)
  • Normal SEA to YVR flights: around 4 hours (60 minute flight, 90 minute advance check in, up to an hour border control, 25 minutes from YVR Airport to downtown)

seattle to vancouver seaplane doing a pass-by of stanley park

Seattle to Vancouver Seaplane Cost

The price of a single seaplane trip from Seattle to Vancouver is $399.79 CAD.

Free cancellation tickets can be booked using the orange button below:

Book My Seattle to Vancouver Seaplane Tickets

Is Seattle to Vancouver seaplane service worth it?

The average commercial jet base fare is around $300.00, though these prices can touch $500.00 if you’re visiting Vancouver in summer.

Jet prices can be cheaper than flying from Seattle to Vancouver by seaplane, yes.

That said, if you factor in the price of getting to Sea-Tac Airport ($40.00 USD taxi, $18.00 for a shuttle) then getting to downtown Vancouver from YVR ($36.00 CAD, $7.75 by transit) it adds up.

Also, with the Seattle Vancouver seaplane you’ll get free checked luggage, free cancellation, and free changes.

With jets you’ll pay a premium for these services:

In all, seaplanes can be cheaper or more expensive depending on circumstances – without factoring the value saving an hour or two and the once in a lifetime experience flight.

Prices looking a bit high? Check out our other Seattle to Vancouver transport methods or consider a Seattle to Vancouver day trip package for just $230.91.

Vancouver to Seattle Seaplane Schedule

Seattle to Vancouver water plane departures are at 9:00 am am, 9:50 am, and 3:20 pm.

To ensure you get the right time it’s recommended to book at least two weeks in advance, as there are only 14 passengers per flight.

Vancouver Seaplane to Seattle FAQ

How does customs work for the Seattle to Vancouver seaplane flight?

Border control is at the Vancouver Seaplane Terminal and is specifically for seaplane passengers. Especially on weekends and holidays, it’s a lot shorter than crossing via the extremely busy Peace Arch Border or at either airport. Expect to save an hour or two just in the border procedures.

How much does a seaplane from Seattle to Vancouver cost?

One way seaplane tickets from Seattle to Vancouver cost $399.79 CAD.

Are seaplane rides between Seattle and Vancouver scary?

If you’re fine taking flights with jets it shouldn’t be a problem. In fact, some fliers have said that they don’t even feel the water landings:

Where is the Seattle Seaplane terminal?

Right along Lake Union at the south of the city’s downtown is where you’ll find Seattle’s Seaplane terminal. It’s essentially in the shadows of the Space Needle, and it’s right out in front of the Museum of History and Industry. You’re just minutes from many of the city’s top attractions.

Where does the Seattle to Vancouver seaplane land?

The seaplane terminal is just a short walk from Canada Place, the Cruise Terminal, Stanley Park, Gastown, and the Central Business District at the Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre. It’s in the downtown neighbourhood of Coal Harbour. 

Related: How Many Days Do I Need to Spend in Vancouver?

Ready for a Seaplane Trip from Seattle to Vancouver?

I hope I’ve answered all your questions on the Seattle to Vancouver seaplane.

My name’s Ash! Nice to meet you. I’m trying to put together the greatest Vancouver tourism resource going, so if something is missing please write me in the comments below.

Anything Vancouver-related, fire away 🔥


I've lived in 5 countries and created content for travel websites like eDreams and Amex Essentials, but here I finally get to work my passion project - my hometown, Vancouver!

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