Frequently Asked Questions
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How does Harbour Air’s goFARES structure work?
Harbour Air offers four main goFARES to choose from: goGOLD, goFLEX, goLITE and goFAST. We also offer a goINTERNATIONAL fare on our route between downtown Vancouver and Seattle. Recognizing the preferences of different travellers, our goFARE levels offer a range of flexibility, value, and amenities. Click here to learn more.
Do you offer discounted fares for infants and children?
Yes, please click here for full details.
Do you accept Unaccompanied Minors?
Yes, Harbour Air offers an Unaccompanied Minor program for children between the ages of 5 and 11 travelling alone. Please click here for more information.
What is the cancellation policy for scheduled service flights?
For group bookings of four or more passengers: any partial or whole cancellations for goGOLD, goFLEX, or goLITE* fares made within 24 hours of departure are subject to a 50% cancellation fee. GoFAST fares are non-refundable. *GoLite fares are non-refundable within 4 hours of departure time. For groups with three or fewer passenger, the change/cancellation policy depends on the goFARE category. Click here to read more about our goFARES.
For international flights, cancellations within 24 hours of flight time result in a full forfeiture of the fare. Cancellations more that 24 hours prior to departure will remain as a flight credit for use within 18 months of the first cancellation date.
I just finished booking a flight and realized I made an error. Do you have a cancellation grace period?
Harbour Air is happy to offer a 2-hour cancellation grace period on most domestic bookings. Please call our Reservations Centre at 1.800.665.0212 should you need to cancel your flight. Please note that this grace period cannot be extended to International flights or bookings made within 24 hours of flight departure time.
What if I switch from one fare to another, what is the charge?
The flexibility of your booking depends on which goFARE you booked.
- goGOLD & goFLEX – You may change or cancel your flight up until 15 minutes prior to departure time with no change fee. However, changes are subject to the difference in fare value.
- goLITE – There is a change fee of $35 for any changes to a goLITE fare. If upgrading from a goLITE to a goGOLD or goFLEX fare, the change is subject to the difference in fare value.
- goFAST – Once a booking has been made, goFAST fares are not changeable.
Click here to learn more about goFARES.
What if I book on goGOLD and see a goFAST fare, am I allowed to switch?
Absolutely, you are welcome to cancel or change your flight at any time as long as it’s within the guidelines of the last fare that you reserved.
What if I buy a goFAST fare but arrive early and there is a plane going with an empty seat, can I switch then?
Changes are not allowed on goFAST fares but if upgrades are available for a flight on the same day, passengers may purchase the upgraded ticket and change their flight. Alternatively, if a passenger arrives early for their goFAST flight then they may request to be listed for standby for an earlier flight while retaining their existing reservation. Standby passengers will be confirmed on the flight 15 minutes prior to departure if space is available, at no additional cost.
What is a change fee?
A goLITE fare will offer you savings but it carries a change fee ($35) every time you change a time, date, or routing.
Can I make changes and cancellations online?
Yes, depending on the conditions of the fare, changes can be made online or using the Harbour Air mobile app.
What if I miss my flight or show up after the cut off time?
To maintain on-time operations and to respect the schedules of other passengers, flights cannot be held for guests who are running late. If a passenger has not checked in at least 15 minutes prior (for domestic flights and 60 minutes prior for international flights) to departure time they forfeit their seat and will be charged a 100% No Show Fee.
Uh oh, I’ve been charged a No Show Fee. Is there anything I can do to dispute this charge?
If a passenger has not checked in by the stated check-in they forfeit their seat and will be charged a 100% No Show Fee. If you would like to dispute this charge, please fill out the form here and our Customer Care team will follow up with you within 5 business days.
I booked a flight with Harbour Air, when will my credit card be charged?
A credit card is required at the time of booking, however, payment is not processed until the date of travel.
How soon before flight time should I check-in?
In order to operate on-time, we require passengers to check-in 25 minutes prior to departure time for all domestic flights. Unclaimed seats will be offered to standby passengers within 15 minutes of departure time. International flights require earlier check-in times, please click here for more information.
What kind of identification do I need to show at check-in?
All passengers 18 years of age or older are required to present a piece of government issued photo identification upon check-in for both scheduled flights and tours. There are additional requirements for passengers travelling on international flights, click here for more information.
Do you offer standby fares?
Harbour Air offers several options for standby travel such a student standby, military standby, senior standby and more. Click here to learn more about our Standby Travel Programs.
I’m booking a flight online – why do I need to select my gender?
When flying seaplanes, each aircraft is able to carry a specific amount of combined weight, this includes both luggage, freight and passengers’ weight. For safety reasons, the load and balance of our aircraft is always carefully managed. To assist with this management, Transport Canada provides weight estimates for males, females and children. This information is used to help estimate the weight and balance of the aircraft and to prevent overbookings. To comply with Transport Canada requirements, Harbour Air requires all passengers to indicate their gender when making a booking. If needed, an individual’s weight may be adjusted in the system at check-in to be more accurate. This procedure assists us in reducing the chance of overbooked flights due to aircraft being loaded above safe parameters, and results in our flights being safe and on-time. If a passenger identifies as gender X, please call our friendly Reservations team to make note of this along with the passenger’s accurate body weight.
Do you have any discount programs?
Yes, we have a loyalty program and bulk ticket programs.
With our High Flyer Rewards Program you can earn points every time you fly. Your High Flyer points can be redeemed for flights or other great rewards. Click here to sign up for free today!
With our pre-paid Turbobucks Flight Credits, you deposit a lump sum and withdraw from it as you wish. The more you deposit up front, the more bonus travel credits you receive. Click here to learn more.
Pre-Paid Quick Tickets come in books of ten route-specific flight vouchers. The more books of tickets you purchase, the more you save. Click here to learn more.
Does Harbour Air participate in the Travel Assistance Program (TAP BC)?
How many seats are in the plane?
We operate various types aircraft, seating between 5 – 18 passengers. Please click here to view seating diagrams for each type of aircraft.
How does seating work on the flight?
Most of our aircraft feature a single row of seats along the port (left) side and a double row along the starboard (right). If you would prefer a single seat, would like to guarantee you are seated next to your travel companion, or would like to be guaranteed a window seat, you may purchase a Select Seat at check-in. If you do not wish to purchase a select seat, aircraft seating is first-come, first-served. Your pilot may ask you to take a specific seat to better balance the aircraft’s overall weight. Click here to find out more about Select Seating and to view seating layout diagrams for each type of aircraft.
Can I add a Select Seat when I’m booking my flight online?
Select Seats can be purchased at check-in, subject to availability.
Can I sit in the co-pilot seat?
Depending on the type of aircraft and other operational factors, the co-pilot seat may be available for passengers. If you are interested in sitting in the co-pilot seat you may ask the pilot if it is available when you are boarding your flight.
If I purchase a goGOLD fare will I always be guaranteed the Select Seat?
Yes, Select Seating is included for goGOLD booking on applicable aircraft.
Am I allowed to book a Select Seat if I buy a goFAST fare?
Absolutely, passengers wishing to purchase Select Seats can do so upon check-in, subject to availability.
Why am I sometimes asked to move seats once on the aircraft?
Safety is a core value at Harbour Air and although we do realize it may be inconvenient to have you move to a different seat, when our flight load is maximized our aircraft may require weight to be moved forward in order to ensure a safe and comfortable flight.
Do you require children to be seated in a car seat when on the aircraft?
Child seats are not required by Transport Canada, but a child seat approved for motor vehicle use may be used if it will fit properly in the seat.
How much luggage can I bring on my flight?
The guaranteed luggage allowance associated with your reservation depends on which goFARE and route you are booking. Click here for full details on luggage allowance amounts.
Does my purse or carry-on bag count towards my luggage allowance?
Yes, to ensure the safety of our aircraft, we must weigh all carry-on and checked luggage including purses and briefcases.
Does my pet count towards my luggage allowance?
Yes, if your pet is travelling with you then the weight of the pet and the carrier will count towards your luggage allowance. When booking your flight you may wish to choose a goGOLD fare to ensure you have adequate luggage allowance. To discuss which goFARE category is right for you, please call our Reservations team at 1.800.665.0212.
My husband and I are travelling together, can I purchase a goFAST if he has a goGOLD fare and share the luggage allowance?
Yes, we would be happy to combine the weights.
If my luggage is overweight and I pay the excess luggage fee does it guarantee that my bag will make it on my flight?
Due to the nature of our aircraft we cannot guarantee that excess luggage will travel on the same flight, it will travel on a standby, space available basis. In order to guarantee additional confirmed luggage to travel with you, you can purchase an extra seat, subject to available fare to receive an extra 150 Ibs of guaranteed baggage allowance.
I'm travelling with a small child, can I bring a car seat or stroller?
Yes, passengers travelling with infants or small children may bring one stroller and/or one car seat as additional pieces of luggage for their child at no additional charge. These items must adhere to the size and weight restrictions of the aircraft operating on the route of travel, click here for full details.
Can I bring my bike on my flight?
Yes, space permitting, you can bring your bike for a handling fee of $10 per bike. Please ensure the front wheel can be removed. The bike will count towards your luggage allowance so make sure you’ve selected a goFARE that’s suited to your needs.
Do you permit transportation of firearms and ammunition?
Firearms and ammunition are permitted on the aircraft only under the following restrictions:
- Only permitted in checked luggage, and must be disclosed to the customer service agent, and placed in our secure baggage compartment.
- Cannot be loaded with any type of ammunition (including blanks).
- Firing mechanism must be removed from the firearm and sent separately.
- Quantities cannot exceed 11lb (5kg) gross weight per person.
- Only permitted in checked luggage and must be securely packaged.
- Allowances for more than one passenger must not be combined into one or more packages.
- Explosive or incendiary projectile ammunition is forbidden on the aircraft.
Can I bring my pet with me?
We are a pet friendly airline! Due to the size of our aircraft and safety of our crew, we can only accommodate pets up to a certain size and there are requirements for the type of carrier pets must travel in. Please click here to learn more read our pet travel guideline.
Do you provide pet carriers?
Yes, we have pet carriers available for rent! Click here to find out how to reserve a pet carrier for your flight.
How does the shuttle service operate?
Is parking available at your locations?
Yes, parking is available at all our locations. At some of our locations we are able to offer free parking and others have pay parking lots. We recommend visiting the Locations page for the specific terminal you are inquiring about to find full details
Where are you located?
Harbour Air has terminal locations in downtown Vancouver, South Vancouver (YVR), Victoria, Salt Spring Island, Maple Bay, Nanaimo, Comox, Sechelt, Whistler, Tofino, Pitt Meadows and Seattle. Click here for more information about our various locations.
Can I charter a private aircraft?
Yes, click here to learn more about our private flights options.
I’m having technical difficulties with your website and/or App, who can I talk to?
Is Turbo The Otter a river otter or a sea otter?
Great question – Turbo is a river otter! River otters are commonly found swimming in rivers, streams and the ocean and often visit our docks. Seat otter also swim in the ocean but are rarely found on land. Click here to get know our mascot, Turbo The Otter!
What do I need to cross the US/Canada border?
With a handful of very limited exceptions, ALL travelers — regardless of age or citizenship — flying between the United States and Canada in either direction now requires an approved passport. An approved “passport” in this context, refers to a passport booklet. “Passport cards,” “NEXUS” or “enhanced driver’s license” are not valid for air travel.
Canada, Washington and some other states are issuing "Enhanced Driver's License". Isn't that as good as a passport?
No, Enhanced Driver’s Licenses are not valid for international airline passengers. Passengers travelling by air are being held to a higher standard than those using any other mode of transportation. Enhanced Driver’s Licenses will meet identification and citizenship requirements at land and sea border crossings but will not be acceptable for air travel.
What about a NEXUS card?
Although NEXUS cards are acceptable in lieu of a passport at some international airports, none of the ports of entry used by Harbour Air are equipped to accept the NEXUS card.
Your customer service agent sure asked a lot of questions. What's up with that?
Along with all airlines operating cross-border flights, Harbour Air is subject to a set of US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) regulations known collectively as the Advance Passenger Information System (APIS). APIS requires that prior to boarding any international flight, Harbour Air transmit to CBP and receive a positive vetting response from CBP for the identity and citizenship information of every passenger and crew member aboard the flight. This information consists of full legal name (including middle name) as it appears on your passport, date of birth, citizenship, country of residence, passport number and expiration date, and passport country of issue. In addition, for non-U.S. citizens entering the United States, additional information on “person status” is required — specifically, where the passengers are staying in the United States or connecting flight information if they are in transit to another country through the United States.
Why do I need to check in so early for international flights?
Harbour Air requires all passengers travelling on international flights to check-in at least 45 minutes prior to departure time. Harbour Air needs ample time to get Canada Border Patrol’s (CBP) approval on all transmitted passenger information before boarding international flights. Without extending our check-in time, we would have inadequate time to meet CBP’s reporting and vetting requirements, and flight departures could potentially be significantly delayed. The additional time is required to enable CBP to respond to any last-minute changes to our flight manifests, such as no-show passengers. We apologize for the inconvenience.
What if I'm a US citizen stuck in Canada without a passport and need to get home urgently?
Unfortunately, there are no exceptions to current passport requirements for emergencies. You simply cannot fly into the United States without a passport. You will need to contact the nearest US consulate for assistance.
I'm not a US or Canadian citizen. Do I need a Visa as well as a passport?
A passport will be required unless you’re traveling under very special circumstances. Visa requirements are sometimes complicated and are beyond the scope of what Harbour Air can offer concrete advice on. Each passenger is responsible for determining the immigration requirements applicable to their situation and for taking the necessary steps to meet those requirements. Contact the nearest US or Canadian consular facility in your home country for more details. Please review ETA & ESTA requirements as well.
- Canadian Electronic Travel Authorization – passports are required to obtain an ETA.
- US Electronic System for Travel Authorization – the US Department of State’s Visa Waiver Program permits Visa-less entry into the United States for citizens of 36 countries, subject to certain requirements. The most important of these is that citizens of Visa Waiver Program countries apply for and receive authorization to enter the United States through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, or ESTA.
What is ESTA?
The Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) is the system by which citizens from Visa Waiver Program countries can lawfully enter the United States without a Visa. Application for entry through ESTA is easy and free of charge. It can be completed as long as two years prior, or as soon as a couple hours prior to travel, though it is recommended to apply at least 72 hours prior to travel. ESTA is not required of, or available to US or Canadian citizens, citizens of countries that are not in the Visa Waiver Program, or citizens of any country who are traveling on a visa. Click here for complete ESTA details.
What is ETA?
New entry requirement now in effect: Visa-exempt foreign nationals who fly to or transit through Canada are expected to have an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). Exceptions include US citizens and travellers with a valid Canadian visa. For complete eTA details, click here.
What about the kids?
Children, regardless of age, are subject to the same passport requirement as adults. Canadian Customs & Border Services requires additional documentation for any minor children entering Canada without both parents or legal guardians. The purpose of this documentation is to insure the safety of children and to enable Canadian authorities to contact absent parents or guardians regarding their children should such a need arise. Such children must carry a letter of permission from the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) not travelling with them. This letter should specify the dates, the itinerary and the accompanying parent or guardian for which and with which the child has permission to travel, as well as contact phone numbers for the absent parent(s) or guardian(s). Additionally, divorced parents with shared custody rights should carry legal documents establishing their status. If you and your spouse or partner are both travelling with your children, you will not need additional documentation to enter Canada. However, you are nevertheless encouraged to carry a letter of permission with you in case your travel plans change.
Will past legal troubles affect my ability to fly internationally?
There are certain crimes that are considered misdemeanors in the United States but felonies in Canada. Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is one example. If you have been convicted of any of such crimes, you can be denied entry into Canada. More detailed information on the Canadian “criminal inadmissibility” law, as well as procedures for overcoming past convictions, can be found here.
What about pets?
How about firearms?
Firearms can be carried across the border with certain restrictions. Regardless of which border you are crossing, Harbour Air requires all passengers carrying firearms to complete a Firearms Declaration prior to tendering baggage or boarding an aircraft. Harbour Air reserves the right to inspect firearms prior to boarding to ensure that they are safely configured for flight. If you intend to travel on Harbour Air with a firearm, please discuss this with a Reservations Agent at the time you make your booking to ensure that you are informed of all applicable policies and procedures.
What if I am denied entry?
This FAQ is designed to address the most common questions regarding international travel between the United States and Canada. Ultimately, however, it is each passenger’s responsibility to ensure that he or she is in compliance with all applicable regulations for the country he or she is entering. If you are denied entry into the United States or Canada for any reason, you are liable for the cost of your return flight to the country of origin. Harbour Air cannot be liable for any expenses or inconveniences arising from denied or delayed entry.
When is the next Turbo Ticket sale?
Turbo Tickets are typically released a couple of times a year. The sale date is announced a few days before the sale goes live. The best way to stay in the loop on Turbo Tickets is to sign up for our email newsletter. Click here to sign up!
How do I buy Turbo Tickets?
Turbo Tickets are sold exclusively online, in limited releases throughout the year (usually once in the Spring and once in the Fall). Sign up to hear about our next sale by email and don’t miss it – Turbo Tickets sell out fast!
How do I use Turbo Tickets to fly standby?
Are you a Turbo Ticket holder? Lucky you! Turbo Tickets are valid for standby travel only and subject to availability. Need to fly confirmed? You can now choose to boost your Turbo Ticket, exchanging it from standby to a $50 credit on any confirmed seat.
While seats are not guaranteed, here are a few tips on how to best use your Turbo Tickets to fly with Harbour Air:
• Arrive early to list for standby – You’ll have the best chance to fly when you’re higher in the queue. We prioritize our standby Turbo Ticket passengers on a first-come, first-served basis.
• Bring a piece of photo ID and your Turbo Ticket – Passengers are required to show a piece of government-issued photo ID at check-in. You’ll also need to present the actual Turbo Ticket so make sure to bring it with you!
• Pack accordingly – Look for the luggage icon on your ticket to find out how much complimentary luggage allowance is included.
• Enjoy the complimentary amenities while you wait – Our Customer Service Agents will do their best to confirm you on a flight as soon as space becomes available. While you wait, please enjoy some of our complimentary amenities such as WiFi, newspapers and magazines, refreshments, and great views.
• Travel smart by planning ahead – flying using a Turbo Ticket sometimes requires flexibility. If you’re flying on a tight schedule, you might consider trading up your Turbo Ticket for a confirmed flight, which you can do at the terminal or in advance. Read more about Turbo Ticket Trade-Up below.
Who can use a Turbo Ticket?
Great question! Your Turbo Tickets are yours to use or share as you wish. Turbo Tickets are fully-transferable and they never expire! Sorry, unaccompanied minors (11 & under) may not travel using traditional Turbo Ticket standby.
Where can I fly with a Turbo Ticket?
Turbo Tickets are valid for one-way, standby travel on any domestic scheduled flight operated by Harbour Air Seaplanes, Whistler Air and Saltspring Air. Sorry, Turbo Tickets are not valid towards scenic tours, private charters or international flights.
When can I fly standby with a Turbo Ticket?
Turbo Tickets may be used all day Saturday, Sunday and statutory holidays. Monday through Friday, Turbo Tickets may be used on flights departing between 9:00 am and 2:30 pm.
What is the Carbon Neutral program?
All fares include a carbon offset that is used to mitigate the environmental impact of Green House Gases (GHG) emitted by our aircraft by working in partnership with Vancouver-based Offsetters Climate Neutral Society, Canada’s pre-eminent provider of high quality carbon offsets for individuals and companies seeking to reduce or eliminate their climate impact. It is a not-for-profit company that invests funds into renewable energy and energy efficiency projects that would not have taken place without its involvement. Click here to read more about our Carbon Neutral program.
How do I know my emissions will be offset?
All Offsetters projects that receive funds from Harbour Air will be verified and monitored by a third party as generating emissions reductions that are real, permanent, and additional (i.e. they would not have taken place without its involvement). This allows Harbour Air and its guests to be confident that their contribution results in tangible climate benefits.
Who is Offsetters?
Offsetters Climate Neutral Society is Canada’s pre-eminent provider of high quality carbon offsets. Offsetters works with individuals and businesses to calculate, track, reduce, and finally offset their greenhouse gas emissions. It was founded in 2005 by two climate experts from the University of British Columbia: Dr. James Tansey, originally from the James Martin Institute for Science and Civilization at the University of Oxford and now at the University of British Columbia, and Dr. Hadi Dowlatabadi at the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability at the University of British Columbia. For more information, visit Offsetters.ca.
How does Harbour Air’s emissions profile compare to that of its competitors?
Harbour Air’s single engine DHC-3 Otter is already a more climate friendly way to get to between Vancouver Island and the mainland than many of its competitors. For a single traveler going harbour to harbour (Vancouver/Victoria), Harbour Air is cleaner than driving and taking the ferry, jet, and heli-jet.
Have Offsetters’ projects been certified to a recognized standard to ensure quality?
Yes, all of Offsetters’ projects (and therefore Harbour Air’s) are validated and verified to recognized standards. The specific standard for each project [BC Forest Carbon Offset Protocol (FCOP), Gold Standard, VCS & CCB (combined)] can be found within the details of each project in Harbour Air’s portfolio. Click here to view our portfolio.