An Airline Pilot's Layover

  • Mar 20, 2015 10:49am GMT

One of the great perks of being an airline pilot is the opportunity to explore cities that I normally wouldn’t get the chance to see. One of those places was Vancouver. My airline flies into Vancouver on a regular basis. Because it’s such a cool destination, pilots senior to me usually end up with those overnights. But when I’m on call, I sometimes snag these good trips when other pilots call in sick. So a few months ago I lucked out when I got the call for a trip with a 15 hour Vancouver overnight. Not a ton of time to explore the city, but enough to get me out of my hotel room for a few hours.

The hotels we get put up in on our overnights are usually located near the airport for ease. Unfortunately that doesn’t always make it easy to get out seeing the sights. I had heard from other crews that you could hit up a restaurant that operated in a seaplane base nearby. The first officer and I convinced one of the flight attendants to join us on our excursion. If you have a car, you can just drive yourself to the restaurant. We did not, so we had to be more creative. We took the hotel shuttle back to the airport where we picked up another shuttle run by a Harbour Air Seaplanes, an all seaplane airline that operated out of that base.

The restaurant is called the Flying Beaver and is located inside the seaplane terminal and overlooked the water and docks where the planes taxied in and out of. The place was packed on a Sunday afternoon so we grabbed one of the last tables in the deck area. We could have spent the entire day there. The food was great and the view was even better for an airplane geek like me!

After I was home, I hit up the internet to find out more about this seaplane base. I then discovered there is an even bigger seaplane base in downtown Vancouver. The Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre opened in May of 2011 to centralize the flight operations of all the seaplane operators that were using the harbor. Its location makes it easy for travelers to have access to restaurants and shopping in the downtown area. It looks amazing and I hope to maybe hop a seaplane flight on my next Vancouver overnight!

Photo Courtesy VHFC and the Flying Beaver