Seattle Airport – Getting there from Victoria (and the rest of Vancouver Island)

Tuesday 19th, February 2013 / 22:13 Written by
Seattle Airport – Getting there from Victoria (and the rest of Vancouver Island)
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In this series, I will talk about how to use Seattle as an alternate airport for those in the Vancouver area and Vancouver Island.

Related Posts

In a previous article, I commented on the benefits of using Seattle Tacoma airport (SEA) as an alternative airport for both Vancouver (YVR) and Victoria (YYJ). In this article, Ill discuss the best ways to get from Victoria and other points on Vancouver Island to SEA.

The Skinny

Service Locations Cars Allowed Cost Total time from Victoria to SEA
Victoria Clipper
Tel: 800-888-2535

www.clippervacations.com
Downtown Victoria to downtown Seattle Passengers Only $85 / person ferry + $2.75 / way (Seattle Link) Or $50 for taxi service 4 hours
Washington State Ferry
Tel: 888-808-7977

www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries
Sidney BC to Anacortes Vehicles allowed $18 / adult & $39 / vehicle + $35 / person airport shuttle OR Drive 5 hours
Coho Ferry
Tel: 360-457-4491

www.cohoferry.com
Downtown Victoria to Port Angeles Vehicles Allowed $20 / person & $50 / vehicle +$ 50 / person airport shuttle Or Drive Or $10 – $20 by local bus 4 hours
Via Vancouver Vehicles Allowed
By Air
www.alaskaair.com
YYJ – SEA Passengers Only $150 / way,or see hack below 45 mins + airport waiting

Getting to SEA from Vancouver Island (Victoria area)

The regions of Victoria and the other parts of Vancouver Island are not connected to the mainland by bridge. As a result the only ways to get across are by ferry or by air. Victoria is actually significantly farther south compared to Vancouver and in terms of actual distance, it is significantly closer to Seattle than Vancouver is. There are a few ways of getting from Victoria and the other parts of Vancouver Island to Seattle as noted in the above table.

Some of the things that will need to be considered for a trip between Victoria and Seattle airport will be whether or not you want to take a car. The methods where you go by shuttles and ferries may require constantly moving modes of transportation and dragging luggage along. This should be a serious consideration for people traveling with a lot of luggage or when traveling with elderly people or with small children.

Victoria Clipper Ferry

The most efficient way to go between Victoria and Seattle Airport would be by using the Victoria Clipper Ferry. This method will save you time and headaches as it will take you directly from Victoria’s Inner Harbor to Seattle’s Pier 69. The ferry takes less than 3 hours by the schedule. If you take this route, you can get from downtown Victoria to the airport in under 4 hours. You will also need to account for the immigration process at the ferry terminal. (http://www.clippervacations.com/ferry/travelinformation)


View Larger Map

This ferry is a passenger only ferry. This means that you will have to figure out a way to get from between Seattle’s ferry terminal and the airport that is not your own passenger vehicle. As I have mentioned earlier, there are a few ways to get from the ferry terminal to the airport.

Once you arrive at Seattle downtown, there are a few different ways to get to the airport.

First, if money is a concern, you can take the Metro Light Rail all the way to the airport. The rates are $2.75 / ride on the light rail. This takes about 1 hour.

If you are not as concerned about money, or if you have a few people interested in going, a taxi should cost you about $40 and takes about 20 minutes. Taxis should be easy to hail from outside the train station.

Also, there are some shuttle services that cost about $20 / person for service between downtown and Seattle airport. Downtown Airporter will cost about $20 for the first person and $8 for additional passengers. Given that these are shared run services, you may be spending an hour or more in transit. Given the price / time / hassle, I think that the shuttle services are really not the best option here.

The price of the Victoria Clipper Ferry is quite high. I would budget about $90 / person each way as the base fare. At the time of this writing, there are discounts for buying roundtrips and also significant discounts if buying on specific days. There is currently a promotion for $85 for a roundtrip or $121 for a roundtrip including a hotel. If you can leverage some of these promotions, then you can reduce your transportation costs significantly.

Washington State Ferry between Sidney and Anacortes

If you are interested in driving to the airport, or you are not in the downtown Victoria area, you might be better off taking your car and using the Washington State Ferry system. There is a ferry that runs from Sidney BC and Anacortes. The ferry takes about 3 hours from Sidney and drops you off in Anacortes. Driving from Anacortes to the airport takes under 2 hours. You should budget 5 hours + some time for immigration at the ferry terminal for your entire trip.


View Larger Map
Driving from Anacortes to the airport is quite straight forward:

  • Hwy 20 Eastbound to I-5
  • Hwy 5 Southbound to Seattle
  • Take Exit 154B, WA-518 W toward Sea-Tac airport

If you are not interested in taking your car, there are ways of getting to the airport from Anacortes. The Airporter charges $33 / person each way and the ride takes about 3 hours by the schedule. You can call them up at 1-866-235-5247 or check out their website for further details.

Coho Ferry to Port Angeles

The Coho Ferry offers vehicle service from downtown Victoria to Port Angeles on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. If you are interested in driving what would be a more scenic drive to the airport, or you want to drive your own car from downtown Victoria to the airport, this is the way to go.


View Larger Map

The Coho Ferry runs regular service and takes about 90 minutes to get to Port Angeles from Victoria. From Port Angeles, you can take the drive through the Olympic Peninsula via highways and bridges all the way to the airport. The drive to the airport takes about 2.5 hours. You should budget about 4.5 hours + some time for immigration at the ferry terminal. Taking the ferry and driving is a simple way to get the airport. Another way you might want to do this is to use the Bainbridge Island ferry at Winslow. This ferry will take you from the Peninsula to downtown Seattle. You can then take I-5 to the airport from there. The route would be as follows:

Driving from Port Angeles to the airport via hwy is as follows:

  • Hwy 101 Eastbound
  • Hwy 104 Eastbound toward Hood Canal
  • Hwy 3 Southbound
  • Hwy 16 Eastbound
  • Hwy 5 Northbound to Seattle
  • Take Exit 154B, WA-518 W toward Sea-Tac airport

Port Angeles to Seattle Airport via Bainbridge Island:

  • Hwy 101 Eastbound
  • Hwy 104 Eastbound toward Hood Canal
  • Hwy 3 Southbound
  • Hwy 305 Southbound to the ferry
  • Take the Ferry to Seattle
  • Take 6th Ave to Airport Way
  • Follow Hwy I-5 Southbound to Portland
  • Take Exit 154B, WA-518 W toward Sea-Tac airport

Coho Ferry Route – by public transport

If you want to take the ferry to Port Angeles, but don’t want to drive, there are options for getting from Port Angeles to the airport via public transportation.

First, there Dungeness Line provides service direct bus service between Port Angeles to Seattle Airport twice daily. This is an agent of Greyhound. The rate is $50 each way or $79 roundtrip. Check out the schedule if this makes sense for you. I don’t think that this is the best way to go, as there are not many savings over going the more convenient and faster Clipper Ferry route.

Coho Ferry Route – The most cost-effective (only for the truly adventurous)

Next, if you are really more concerned with costs, and don’t mind switching a few times, there is a method of getting there by public transportation. This method is not for the faint of heart.

The total costs for this would be less than $10 from Port Angeles to the airport, and less than $20 from the airport to Port Angeles.

If you are interested in doing this route, I strongly suggest checking with each of the local bus lines to make sure you are not waiting for a very long time at a single location. There is no commuter bus 30 on Sundays, for example. Google maps claims this can be done in 3 hours and 18 minutes. I wouldn’t try this myself.

Going via Vancouver

Going to Seattle via Vancouver is not the most efficient way of going to Seattle from Victoria. If you are interested in making the way to Seattle airport from Victoria / Vancouver Island via Vancouver, you probably are going to Vancouver for a specific reason and likely know your own way to Vancouver from where you are. You would be best to get yourself to Vancouver, then consult my article on getting to Seattle from Vancouver.

Flying

For many people living in Victoria, time is more valuable than money. If you really have no interest in doing the 4 hour journey to Seattle airport, but are trying to pick up a flight in Seattle, your best bet would be to fly from Victoria’s International Airport (YYJ) directly into SEA. That way you are already at Seattle airport, and you only need to get yourself to Victoria airport.

Cash Fares

Alaska Airlines runs direct service on the route YYJ- SEA. I like to check out www.expedia.ca for the pricing and schedules, but the Alaska Airlines website works well too. The flight takes about 45 minutes, with an extra 1.5 hours budgeted in Victoria for airport security. When you land in Seattle, you will have to clear US customs there, so make sure to budget enough of a buffer there between when your next flight departs. In terms of fares, I was able to see that flights cost about $150 / person each way. This can end up being quite pricey if you have to add an extra $300 to your flight out of Seatle to get you to Victoria.

Miles Flights

The route YYJ – SEA is a very short distance and is served well by British Airways partner Alaska Airlines. British Airways award chart is based on distance, and as a result short flights can end up being very cheap if miles are used to redeem them. In the case of YYJ-SEA, this flight only costs 4500 British Airways Avios miles each way (9000 round trip) and less than $50 in taxes and fees for the round trip. Assuming you value British Airways miles less than 2 cents each, this flight costs you well less than $250 you would have to pay in cash. The easiest way to earn British Airways miles is through their RBC British Airways credit card. Look out for future posts on British Airways Avios miles.

Recap

There are variety of ways to get from Victoria and Vancouver Island to Seattle Airport. Some methods are more efficient than others. The routes are:

  • Clipper Ferry from Victoria
  • Washington State Ferry from Sidney BC
  • Coho Ferry from Victoria
  • Bridges to Vancouver
  • Flying on Alaska Airlines from YYJ to SEA

 

 

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