Boarding a flight to New York straight from an oyster bar on the bank of Boston’s Charles River might not be your average air passenger experience. But it is precisely the sort of out-of-the-box thinking that Tailwind Air is banking on to carve a niche for itself in one of the United States’ most competitive markets.
The advent of the jet era and the drastic expansion of airport infrastructure led to the demise of seaplanes as a major form of air travel in the years that followed the Second World War.
However, Seaplanes never went away entirely, and continued to operate scheduled commercial air services in some niche markets, mostly serving remote and island communities.
But fast forward a few decades and with major airports becoming increasingly crowded and passengers facing all sorts of queues, checks, delays, and other inconveniences before they board their flights, some operators have turned to the sea (and rivers) for answers.
From downtown to downtown
Tailwind Air, a private aviation operator, has been operating seaplanes in the northeastern United States since 2014 but then, in 2021, decided to enter one of the country’s largest inter-city travel markets, linking Boston and New York.
Tailwind operates Cessna Caravan amphibian seaplanes able to carry eight passengers (plus two pilots), which are slower than the jets airlines traditionally use on this route. Tailwind, however, wants you to consider the total journey time, because this is where the seaplane has an edge.
Rather than using conventional airports in both cities, Tailwind’s flights take you from downtown to downtown. In New York that means Manhattan’s East River, while in Boston, Tailwind’s seaplanes use Fan Pier Marina on the Charles River.
In fact, time and convenience is one of the differentiating attributes of a service that, with prices ranging between $395 and $895 per person one-way, is certainly not within the budget…