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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 of 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 jet 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)
  • Free checked baggage up to 25 lbs
  • A maximum of 14 passengers (comfort)
  • A ride on an airline that serves 500,000 passengers a year (safety)
  • 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:

Vancouver to Seattle sea plane flight video

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 55 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 15 minutes (55-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 makes Vancouver to Seattle seaplanes 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.

⚠️ Warning ⚠️ – We’re now in high season and seaplane tickets are in incredibly low supply (max 12 seats per flight). Make sure you lock in your free cancellation seats ASAP booking your seaplane tickets in advance.

a vancouver to victoria seaplane flying over downtown vancouver with stanley park
Vancouver to Seattle seaplane takeoff with Vancouver skyline + Stanley Park

Vancouver to Seattle Seaplane Cost

The cost of the sea plane from Vancouver to Seattle costs $406.28 CAD one way.

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

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, with the float plane from Vancouver to Seattle 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 Vancouver Seattle 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 $144.06.

How to Book Seattle Seaplane Tickets

Warning: There are only 14 seats per flight to Seattle depending on the plane. Once you’ve decided on dates, I suggest locking in your dates (free-cancellation + no money down) using the links in this article.

Securing seaplane tickets to Seattle from Vancouver is as easy as buying socks on Amazon – maybe even easier.

Let me walk you through the steps to book your Vancouver to Seattle float plane.

1. Open the Seattle Seaplane Ticket Link

  • Open up the Vancouver-Seattle seaplane link.
  • Here, you’re booking with a publicly-traded company (Viator) in the Tripadvisor family.
  • Booking here gets you free cancellation tickets to lock in your dates with no risk.
  • You can also book with no money down if you’d like to help with budgeting.
  • You’re also utilizing Viator’s lowest price guarantee.

2. Select Your Seaplane Departure Time

  • Click on the ‘Check Availability’ button on the seaplane page.
  • Select your dates using the calendar.
  • Enter the number of guests and click ‘Apply.’
  • Select your time and click ‘Book Now.’

Again, these Seattle seaplane tickets are super flexible: you can cancel your tickets free of charge all the way up till the day before your departure.

It’s also the only place you can book with no money down – there’s literally no risk in locking in your spot.

Not gonna go in the end? Just cancel them, no questions asked.

Vancouver Seattle Water Plane Schedule

In peak season, the Vancouver to Seattle water plane departs at 8:00 am, 8:25 am, and 12:30 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.

Need to get to Seattle at a different time? Consider the Vancouver to Seattle Train or Vancouver to Seattle Bus.

Expectations for the Vancouver to Seattle Seaplane Flight

Embarking on a seaplane flight from Vancouver to Seattle offers a unique and exhilarating travel experience.

Here’s what you can expect on a typical trip:

  1. Scenic Views: Prepare for breathtaking aerial views of the Pacific Northwest, including coastlines, islands, and possibly marine wildlife. The journey provides a panoramic spectacle of nature’s beauty.
  2. Check-In Process: Guests are usually required to check in at least 25 minutes before departure. This ensures a smooth boarding process and compliance with flight schedules.
  3. Luggage Restrictions: There’s typically a luggage limit to ensure the seaplane’s balance and safety. The limit for the flight from Vancouver to Seattle is 25 lbs. per passenger.
  4. Duration and Comfort: The flight between Vancouver and Seattle is quick, usually under an hour, depending on weather conditions. Seaplanes are smaller than commercial aircraft, offering a more intimate and unique flying experience.
  5. Seating: Seating is often assigned by the flight crew to balance the aircraft. You may not have the option to select your seat, but every seat provides a view.
  6. Safety Briefings: Expect a safety briefing from the crew before takeoff. Pay attention to these instructions, as they are crucial for ensuring a safe flight.
  7. Boarding Process: Boarding the seaplane to Seattle is different from traditional aircraft. You’ll typically walk directly onto the dock and board the plane, with staff available to assist you.
  8. Unique Landing Experience: Landing on water is a unique aspect of the seaplane experience. The approach and touchdown offer thrilling moments as the plane gently glides onto the water’s surface.

Guidelines for Seaplane Flights from Vancouver to Seattle

Prior to boarding your seaplane to Seattle, it’s essential to be informed about specific rules and restrictions:

  • It’s required for passengers to present a valid photo ID at boarding.
  • There is a luggage allowance limit; each passenger may bring up to 25 lbs./11 kgs.
  • Please ensure to check in no later than 25 minutes before your flight departs.
  • Only service animals are allowed onboard.
  • The number of passengers per flight is subject to minimum and maximum limits.
  • Note that seating configurations may be adjusted to maintain flight balance and ensure safety.
  • Unfortunately, flights are not equipped to accommodate wheelchairs.
  • Infants are required to be held on an adult’s lap throughout the flight.
  • Flight times are subject to change based on factors such as wind, weight, and weather conditions.

Vancouver Seaplane to Seattle FAQs

Is there a sea plane from Vancouver to Seattle?

Yes, there is a seaplane from Vancouver to Seattle operated by Harbour Air Seaplanes.

How much is a seaplane from Vancouver to Seattle?

One-way seaplane tickets from Vancouver to Seattle cost $406.28 CAD.

What is the Vancouver Seattle seaplane schedule?

The Vancouver Seattle seaplane runs three times daily: at 8:00 am, 8:25 am, and 12:30 pm.

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.

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.

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!

Photo credits: Harbour Air

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