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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 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 likely already 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 Vancouver seaplane and typical jet travel between YVR and SEA.

It’s clear the floatplane 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 traveller planning a Vancouver itinerary should at least consider taking the seaplane.

You’ll receive incredible views of Seattle along the way as well. You’ll even do a fly-by of the legendary Space Needle and Gasworks Park on your way to Vancouver. Then you’ll sneak a birds-eye view of Stanley Park and the Lions Gate Bridge before descending into Coal Harbour.

Here’s a sneak preview of the flight to give you a better idea:

Related: The Seaplane from Vancouver to Seattle

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

Firstly, it departs from Kenmore Air-Lake Union, near downtown Seattle. You’ll land at the Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre in the heart of downtown in just 60 minutes. You’ll find yourself just steps from the best hotels in Vancouver and in striking distance 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 at 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)

So there you have it. The convenience and streamlined check-in procedure will lead to significant time savings. Not to mention, the flight experience itself is unparalleled.

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

Seattle to Vancouver Seaplane Cost

A one-way ticket currently costs $399.79 CAD.

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

Get No Money Down Tickets Now

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 by floatplane, yes.

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

Also, you’ll receive free checked luggage, free cancellation, and free changes.

Try finding that on a budget airline! Trust me, you’ll end up paying a premium for these services:

Seaplanes can be cheaper or more expensive depending on circumstances – without factoring in the value of saving an hour or two and the once-in-a-lifetime experience flight.

Are 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.

Related: The Vancouver to Seattle Train

Vancouver to Seattle Seaplane Schedule

Seattle departures are offered at 9:00 am, 9:50 am, and 3:20 pm.

Booking at least two weeks in advance is recommended to ensure you receive your departure of choice. After all, 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, specifically for 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?

You’ll find Seattle’s Seaplane terminal at 950 Westlake Ave N. along Lake Union, just north of downtown. It’s essentially in the shadows of the Space Needle and right out in front of the Museum of History and Industry. This puts it in easy reach of most hotels and residential areas via transit or rideshare.

Where does the Seattle to Vancouver seaplane land?

You’ll land at the Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre located at 1055 Canada Place. This places you a short walk from the Vancouver Convention Centre, the Cruise Terminal, Stanley Park, Gastown, and the Central Business District. 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 about the most exciting method of transport between the northwest’s two largest cities.

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.

Enjoy your trip aboard the Seattle to Vancouver seaplane?

Related: distance from Seattle to Vancouver


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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