Harbour Air Seaplanes

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Know Before You Go

Know Before You Go

You’re going to love your first seaplane experience, we guarantee it! There are a couple things to know before you go for the first time, we’ve compiled a few of them below for your convenience. Read on and have a great flight! 

Have a question that isn’t answered here? Check our comprehensive FAQ page, give us a call, or drop by. We’ll be happy to help! 

About our seaplanes:

Harbour Air Seaplanes, Whistler Air and Saltspring Air are proud to fly and maintain a showcase fleet of Canadian-made de Havilland DHC-3 Single Otters, DHC-6 Twin Otters and DHC-2 Beavers. These legendary aircraft are world-renown for their safety, reliability and capability. Our aircraft are meticulously maintained and serviced by Aeroflite International. They adhere to or exceed the safety standards set forth by Transport Canada and are equipped with state of the art safety systems. 

Our aircraft are modernized with panoramic cabin windows, which make your view spectacular and your photos even more so! 

Making a reservation: 

This is the west coast, and we’re pretty relaxed around here, but making a reservation for your flight or tour is always a great idea! You can book any scheduled flight, and some tours, online in seconds, or call one of our friendly reservations agents if you have questions or need more information. Should your plans change, our goGold and goFlex flight reservations may be changed without a fee up to 15 minutes prior to departure. 

Checking in: 

Please arrive at least 25 minutes prior to your scheduled departure time, approach one of our friendly customers service agents and check-in. Our waterfront terminals are very unique locations and giving yourself extra time allows you to take pictures, check out the seaplane activity and of course, enjoy all the extra amenities that flying with us offers! (hint: don’t pass up the pastries, they’re pretty awesome!).

Upon check-in, you’ll be given a colour-coded boarding card that’s specifically associated with your flight. Enjoy yourself, grab a complimentary newspaper, coffee or pastry (Really, they’re that good!), and we’ll call you for boarding before you know it. 

Boarding and de-planing: 

Your seaplane trip will start with a short walk to the aircraft. This walk will include a ramp, a floating dock and some short steps up into the aircraft. It’s necessary that all passengers be able to carry themselves to and from the aircraft and board with minimal or no assistance. We’ll be there to help along the way, don’t worry!  

Should you foresee requiring assistance to board or de-plane, please speak to one of our reservations or customer service agents ahead of time so that we may do our best to assist you. 

The flight: 

This is what it’s all about! The roar of the engine, the spray of the water and the precise moment that the aircraft leaves the sea for the sky! It’s exhilarating and we want to make sure that you enjoy every second of it. Here are some things you may want to know: 

• Seating- the majority 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, or just be guaranteed a window, you may purchase a Select Seat reservation at check-in for just $10. Aircraft seating is first-come, first-served otherwise. Your pilot may ask you to take a specific seat to better the aircraft’s overall weight and balance. 

• Depending on the aircraft used, your pilot may ask you to stow carry-on items (including purses and briefcases). Be sure to remove any items (camera, headphones, etc.) you may wish to have with you in-flight before boarding.

• Your friendly pilot will show a quick safety briefing and be happy to answer any questions before you get underway. Please just ask if there’s anything you’d like to know. 

• Hold the phone! Like other airlines, our federal regulations require that your cell phone be off or in “Airplane mode” for the duration of the flight. Please do feel free to use your phone to take pictures or videos. Selfie stick use may not be appropriate due to the close quarters within the aircraft. 

• Make yourself comfortable! Route maps, safety instruction cards, discomfort bags and earplugs are located in the seat-backs in front of you for your comfort. We’re proud to carry BC Business magazines aboard our aircraft for your enjoyment as well- it’s a great read! 

Flying with a Pet: 

We love welcoming our guests- and their pets- aboard our flights! If you’re planning a trip with your pet, please be aware of the following: 

• For your pet’s safety and comfort, pets must travel in a hard-shell carrier or kennel. No part of the animal is allowed to protrude from the carrier. All carriers must be secure and leak proof and as such, collapsible kennels are not accepted, sorry. Pets travel in the cargo area of the aircraft’s interior. 

Pet carriers are available to rent for a per-use fee of $35. The carrier can be reserved in advance via the Reservations Department, otherwise the carrier is available for rental on a first come, first served basis at the terminal. Payment must be made using a credit card as there will be a $50 charge, in addition to the rental fee, if the carrier is not returned.

• Both travel carrier and the weight of the pet are included in the stated passenger luggage allowance, click here to find out more about luggage allowances.

• Pet carriers cannot exceed 30"L (76cm) X 18"W (45cm) X 24"H (61cm) (Medium Size Kennel) due to space restrictions aboard our aircraft. The total weight of the carrier and pet must not exceed 35 lbs. Sorry Marmaduke, you may not fit.  

• Pet Comfort – Pet carriers must be big enough to allow the animal to stand, turn around and lie down comfortably, as per international regulations. We love pets too, and reserve the right to disallow transport based on these conditions. 

• Certified Assistance dogs may travel without a kennel but do require an approved harness (i.e.. Vest Harness) which will be secured on board. Prior notification is required.


When you travel on a seaplane, your luggage may accompany you in one of several ways: 

• Checked luggage may be placed by the crew in the aft of the aircraft, or in a plastic luggage sleeve inside one of the sealed compartments in the floats. 

• Carry-on bags (including purses and briefcases) must be stowed in the baggage compartment when flying aboard our DHC-2 Beaver and DHC-3 Single Otter aircraft, the pilot will assist you with these items when you board. 

• For the safety of our crew, 50lbs is the Maximum Weight for a single piece of luggage.

For more information regarding luggage aboard our aircraft, including travelling with pets and bicycles, please click here.


Welcome to your destination! You’ll be greeted and assisted in deboarding by one of our friendly dock crew personnel. Please visit the counter in the destination terminal if we can assist you with ground transportation, general questions or hotel or restaurant recommendations. Many of our terminals offer complimentary local shuttle service and easy access to taxis and public transportation. 

Don’t forget to write! Did you love your experience? Tell us with a review on www.tripadvisor.com. We love hearing your feedback and welcome encouragement or suggestions- contact us at customercare@harbourair.com

Schedule changes

• Due to logistical and environmental considerations, flight times and aircraft types may be subject to change and substitution. We’ll be sure to inform you if anything should change before your flight and we always make every effort to accommodate guests on the next available flights in cases of disruption or cancellation.

Occurrences beyond our control

Nobody loves to fly more than we do, but there are certain instances in which our operations may be temporarily halted for safety reasons. Adverse weather conditions such as extreme high winds or severely limited visibility can at times affect flights. While we’ll always do whatever is within our power to assist our passengers, we cannot be held responsible for losses resulting from the delay or cancellation of flights. 

International flights

If you are travelling on an international flight between Vancouver and Seattle it is important to familiarize yourself with the special check-in procedures and documentation requirements. Please click here to learn more about our Customs & Immigrations information and International Travel FAQs.