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vancouver to seattle seaplane getting ready to take off in front of the vancouver convention centre

Seaplane from Vancouver to Seattle: Is it Worth it?

Taking a seaplane from Vancouver to Seattle is the fastest way to travel between the two cities, hands down.

The experience on this once-in-a-lifetime flight sells itself. But what’s the difference in price and travel time compared to other options? And most importantly, is it worth it for you?

Let’s break down the Vancouver to Seattle seaplane service to help you find out.

How to Get a Seaplane From Vancouver to Seattle 

The obvious comparison here is traditional flights – but when taking a step back and looking at the particulars, it almost doesn’t seem fair.

In short, the Seattle floatplane is everything a normal flight between YVR and SEA is not:

  • The ability to go ‘door to door’ from downtown Vancouver to downtown Seattle (convenience)
  • Stunning scenery from the low flight path (unique experiences)
  • No annoying 90-minute advanced check-in (time saved)
  • Free cancellation up to 24 hours before the flight and hourly departures (flexibility)
  • A maximum of 14 passengers (comfort)
  • Seaplane-specific border control with tiny crowds (time saved)

The added value here is that these seaplane trips are popular tourist attractions in their own right.

Naturally, any traveller planning a Vancouver itinerary with a bit of extra time should consider squeezing in a day trip to Seattle.

Here’s a sneak preview of what’s in store on the seaplane flight between Vancouver and Seattle:

Related: Seattle to Vancouver Seaplane

How Long is the Sea Plane Flight from Vancouver to Seattle?

As mentioned, the seaplane goes straight from downtown Vancouver to downtown Seattle in only 60 minutes – bringing you straight to Seattle’s best tourist attractions.

The idea? Spend more time there than getting there.

Let’s make a quick comparison of seaplanes and normal jet flights:

  • Vancouver to Seattle seaplane: 2 hours 20 minutes (60-minute flight, 60-minute advance check-in time, 20 minutes border control)
  • Normal YVR to SEA flights: around 4 hours (60-minute flight, 90-minute advance check-in, up to an hour border control, 38 minutes from SEA to downtown Seattle)

Also, if you’re living downtown or have booked one of Vancouver’s best hotels, you’re forgoing the stressful 30-minute trip to Vancouver Airport, which is in the suburb of Richmond.

You’ll grab your flight from the Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre, mere steps from the Vancouver Convention Centre, Canada Place, Vancouver Cruise Terminal, and Jack Poole Plaza

This is a huge time saver for busy business travellers and locals without a car. 

Looking for an Emerald City itinerary? Check out our guide on things to do when visiting Seattle from Vancouver.

a vancouver to victoria seaplane flying over downtown vancouver with stanley park

Cost of Seaplanes from Vancouver to Seattle

A single trip from Vancouver to Seattle costs $399.79 CAD.

Free cancellation tickets can be booked with no money down using the orange button below:

Guarantee Your Seats with No Money Down

Is the Vancouver to Seattle seaplane service worth it?

The average commercial jet base fare is around $300.00, though these prices can touch $450.00 in Vancouver in summer.

Jet prices can be lower, for sure.

That said, the gap closes if you factor in the price of a taxi to YVR ($30.00) and transport to get central in Seattle.

Also, with the seaplane, you get free checked luggage, cancellation, and free changes.

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

In all, seaplanes are about the same price or slightly cheaper for the same service – without even factoring in the value of saving an hour or two and the once-in-a-lifetime experience flight.

Are prices a bit steep? Check out our other Vancouver to Seattle transport methods, or consider taking a Vancouver to Seattle day trip package at just $127.40.

Related: Vancouver to Seattle Bus

Vancouver Seattle Water Plane Schedule

In peak season, the Vancouver to Seattle water plane departs at 7:35 am, 8:25 am, and 1:55 pm.

To ensure you get the right time, booking at least a month in advance is recommended, as there are only 14 passengers per flight.

Vancouver Seaplane to Seattle FAQs

What is the customs procedure for the Vancouver to Seattle seaplane flight?

Border control is at the Seattle Seaplane Terminal and is specifically for seaplane passengers. It is naturally much shorter than crossing via the extremely busy Peace Arch Border crossing (Hwy 99/I-5), so especially on busy weekends, hours of time can be saved.

How much is a seaplane from Vancouver to Seattle?

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

Is the harbour plane ride scary?

If you’re a comfortable flier on jets, you should have no problem. In fact, many guests even remark that they don’t even feel seaplane water landings.

Where is the Vancouver seaplane terminal?

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

Where does the Vancouver to Seattle seaplane land?

Seattle’s Seaplane terminal is located on Lake Union, slightly north of the city’s downtown core. It’s right in the shadow of the famous Space Needle and in front of the Museum of History and Industry. The second you land, you’ll be ready to explore Seattle’s top sights.

Related: How to Spend One Day in Vancouver

Ready for a Seaplane Trip from Vancouver to Seattle?

I hope I’ve answered all your questions about taking seaplane flights from Vancouver to Seattle.

But it doesn’t have to end here.

If you’ve got any more questions about the Vancouver to Seattle seaplane or anything else related to your trip, hit me up in the comments below!

Related: Amtrak Cascades: The Vancouver to Seattle Train


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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