Landing Right in the Harbor: A Seaplane Ride From Plymouth to Boston
By Samantha Butts
Recently, I took a flight from Plymouth, Massachusetts right into Boston Harbor. No really, the plane landed directly in the water.
I took a seaplane with Tailwind Air. Seaplanes are fixed-wing aircraft that can take off and land on water.
Tailwind Air is a commuter-scheduled air carrier and charter airline. The company is experienced in amphibious seaplane operation and boasts of its time savings in comparison to other airlines.
In addition to seaplanes, Tailwind operates and maintains a fleet of over 15 jet and turboprop aircraft based out of Westchester Airport, NY, and Bridgeport, CT.
Tailwind Air operates a fleet of late-model, dependable, and safe amphibious Cessna Caravans.
With a wingspan of 52′ and floats at the bottom of the aircraft, the Caravan is easily recognizable.
In 2022, the airline will travel to Boston Harbor, East Hampton, Bridgeport, Manhattan, Montauk, and Shelter Island. Additionally, the company opened a Plymouth route.
Passengers arriving in Boston, like me, will be dropped off by a water taxi at the Fan Pier Marina in the Seaport District or the Rowes Wharf Ferry Terminal in the Financial District.
Tailwind Air works with the Boston Water Taxi to ensure a mode of safe transport for their passengers.
How much does a seaplane cost?
The flight from Plymouth to Boston costs $75. Passengers are allowed a normal-sized carry-on up to 20 pounds. Excess baggage will incur a $250 fee for each additional bag up to 50lbs.
The seaplane runs from March to early December. The seaplane cannot land in the harbor during the winter with the frigid weather.
Stephen Lind, the seaplane lead and co-pilot, said the service has been, “very popular with those who find it.”
Arriving at the terminal
I pulled up to the Plymouth Municipal Airport bright and early for my 9:10 a.m. flight. As I drove up, I could see the planes and more importantly, the seaplane, peeking from behind the relatively small main terminal.
When I arrived there were plenty of places to park, and thankfully, parking was free.
Inside the small-town airport, there were places to sit and wait and even a small restaurant.
What used to be a small snack shop has transformed over the years to become a welcoming breakfast and lunch restaurant known as Plane Jane’s Place.
The family-run business offers egg sandwiches, pancakes, omelets, triple-decker club sandwiches, and much more.
After securing a drink from Plane Jane’s it was time for me to board my flight.
At the Plymouth airport, the seaplane departs on solid ground but lands in the ocean.
The pilots brought me over to the aircraft and guided me up the ladder right inside. No line or security is necessary.
All Tailwind flights depart from private facilities, so there was no TSA. The airline screens all passengers in advance against a national database.
Inside the seaplane were eight available seats, all with window and aisle access.
Lind told me that when we arrived in Boston we would see the city on our left and the ocean on our right. With this tricky decision at hand, I opted to sit on the right to get a stunning view of the harbor.
Lind returned to the front of the plane to join his co-pilot Evan Phillips and it was officially time to depart the Plymouth airport.
Like a normal plane, the seaplane drove down the track gaining speed before it lifted off the ground, flying us to our destination. Unlike the average airplane, however, the seaplane did not go as high.
I watched through the window as we made our way to Boston. From above you might be surprised by how many cranberry bogs really are in the Plymouth area. Flying over, there were ultimately too many to count.
Through the window, you have a view of the ocean the entire time
Landing in the Boston Harbor
After only 20 minutes it was time to land.
As we neared the harbor, the seaplane began to slow down and lower, until it landed right in the ocean. The aircraft did shake a little as we landed, but no more than I had anticipated.
It was such a shocking feeling landing in the ocean rather than at a regular airport.
After landing, one of the pilots exited the aircraft to tie it to a small dock. Once we were secured, I got off the plane and waited to board the Boston Water Taxi that arrived shortly after we did.
The sea taxi then took me to Rowes Wharf, where I started my journey in Boston.
From Boston, the seaplane then travels to Manhattan, NY.
A quick and easy commute to the Financial District
The small seaplane from Plymouth to Boston offers a fast commute right to the Financial District.
It is a great way to beat the morning traffic and arrive to work in style. With no security lines, the flight would cut your commute time in half and would save you the trouble of finding parking.
However, the flight is great for a simple day trip to the city.
The water taxi can take you right to Rowes Wharf, which is only a short walk from The Institute of Contemporary Art and the Boston Children’s Museum. The wharf is also close to the New England Aquarium.
Tailwind Air offers an exciting alternative to the usual plane or train ride to the city.
This was my first time on a seaplane and after my experience, I definitely want to try it again.