Seaplanes in Seattle

I was super excited when I saw Seattle on my roster, it was my first ever flight to the States with Emirates and a city that I absolutely fell in love with. It has a certain charm that just draws you in and I hadn’t visited in over 3 years, so was excited to head back for the 2nd time.

Flight time from Dubai was around 14,5 hours, a little bit shorter than my previous flight to Houston but still very long! Luckily despite a full cabin in First Class we weren’t kept too busy (and having an extra crew member in first on ultra long haul flights is always a bonus) and had a good few hours rest in the CRC.

Around halfway through the flight, we were greeted by some stunning views of beautiful white snowy peaks. Somewhere over Greenland, where most of the passengers were fast asleep oblivious to the natural beauty outside, I sat with my head as close to the window as possible and just thought to myself how lucky I really am, to be able to witness these incredible sights.

After arriving into Seattle, where the weather was fairly typical for early March – grey and gloomy, and after a quick freshen up at the hotel, 6 of us strolled down to the waterfront for a late lunch / early dinner.

Despite it being the middle of the night in Dubai, most of us were starving and ready to devour plates full of fresh seafood! Any cabin crew flying to the city will have heard of The Crab Pot, as it seems to be where everyone goes for dinner. They dish up huge portions of seafood, mixed with corn-on-the-cob, potatoes and melted butter. You even get a hammer to smash open the crab claws!

Between the 6 of us we ate our way through almost all of the king crab, prawns, mussels and clams (of which I wasn’t a huge fan, as they were rather gritty!) before admitting defeat.

It was still a little bit early to head to bed so the girls and I headed to target for a little browse, and to pick up a few snacks in case of the dreaded midnight jet-lag kicking in!

The next morning I was up bright and early to attempt to catch a ride on a seaplane! As cabin crew we can show up at the seaplane company, Kenmore Air, and ask to be put on the standby list for the flight. (There are 2 flights a day, leaving at 10:15 and 13:15). Luckily I was the first one on the list, so popped over to the Starbucks next door for a coffee while I waited to see if I would get on. There were 3 other crew from the earlier Emirates flight who were also hoping to get on (the flight normally costs $99 per person!) who I got chatting to.

Just before 10 we headed back to the “terminal” to be weighed and were told that we could all go on the flight! It’s a 10-seater seaplane which takes off and lands on Lake Union, and does an approximately 25 minute tour over Seattle. To say I was excited was an understatement!

The plane was full, but everyone gets a window seat which is pretty awesome. The take-off was very smooth, and if you weren’t looking out of the window you would barely have known that we were taking off from the water!

You can also use the headset provided, and listen to a narrated tour of the city, which describes what you’re flying over.

I sat listening to the narration, admiring the beautiful views over Seattle. Despite the gloomy weather, it was still clear enough to see the skyline, and one of the city’s most famous landmarks, the Space Needle.

Here comes the funny part… despite having been cabin crew for almost 4,5 years, and flying on a weekly basis, about halfway through the flight I began to feel rather queasy!

In fact, I felt so airsick that I almost thought I’d have to use the sick bag in my seat pocket! Fortunately it didn’t come to that, but I have to say I was very glad once we touched back down onto land, or water in this case!

After the seaplane tour, myself and the other crew shared a cab to downtown Seattle, where they had plans for the day. I strolled over to Pike Place Market for a walk around, and a chance to see some of the beautiful flowers on display. I still remember them from my last visit and they certainly didn’t disappoint.

Pike Place Market is also famous for the abundance of freshly caught fish on sale, and I couldn’t help but pick up a huge piece of salmon to take back to Dubai with me. The lovely men at the stall packed it up in a cold pack so it was ready for the long journey home!

If you’re lucky you’ll catch them throwing a huge fish back and forth, which was certainly a sight to see!

I spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing at my hotel, before heading out for sushi and a movie by myself. Such a treat to be able to watch a film without Arabic and French subtitles, which is the norm in Dubai! I watched Lion, which I would absolutely recommend if you’re looking for a new movie to watch.

The next day there was time for a spot of breakfast and a bit of fresh air before the long flight home; a lovely layover seeing Seattle from above!

P.s. Follow me on Instagram & Twitter for more day-to-day updates of where I am in the world! 🙂 


  1. marcelo a
    June 12, 2017 / 10:53 am

    Rachel to see movies online in English or with subtitulos in Spanish I recommend …. in the icon of cc, leave it without color and you appear without subtitles in Spanish..perdon by the English, use the Google translator.greetings from Argentina

  2. homin Lee
    March 31, 2017 / 5:05 pm

    Now 10:00 in Korea . So I see you eat crabs , I get hungry . haha. It’s special experience take seaplane.
    And peaks are wonderful!!! Under the peaks photo that looks like snake.

    • thedubaidiaries
      April 15, 2017 / 5:00 pm

      Thanks so much for your comment, I’m glad you enjoyed reading! 🙂

  3. Asher
    March 29, 2017 / 3:00 am

    Hi Rachel! Thank you for sharing your beautiful trip to Seattle! It certainly appears to be beautiful ….No wonder so many millions of people around the globe want to go to the U.S. it truly is a beautiful country. Does Emirates provides you with a visa to go to the U.S.? It is a very hard visa to acquire. Also what happens to crew members from countries that are barred to enter the U.S? Does Emirates places them on other destinations? Once again thank you!

    • thedubaidiaries
      April 15, 2017 / 4:56 pm

      Hi Asher, glad you enjoyed reading! We are offered a crew visa which Emirates organises for us however we do have to fill out the application and go to the embassy. Most of us get it for 10 years. A lot of people also get the tourist visa at the same time but since I can use the ESTA form I didn’t need to get one. Yes if you don’t have a US Visa you get rostered other flights! 🙂

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