The era of romantic aviation can be easily forgotten with modern nuisances like extra baggage fees, crowded jets, and middle-seat views. However, in America’s most southernmost island a seaplane tour company dazzles visitors with spectacular service and surreal views of the sparkling waters below. Key West Seaplanes offers several scenic tour options to passengers, plus a thrilling water landing and take off so they can see what flying is really about.Key West Seaplanes — Photo courtesy of Rob O'Neal
The owner, Julie Ann Floyd is a commercially-rated seaplane pilot who operates three amphibious aircrafts (with a fourth luxury plane soon to join the fleet) including one custom-built plane that was the 2012 Sun N’ Fun Grand Champion Seaplane.
The company offers four options for classic Florida Keys' flights: the basic 30-minute flight around Key West; the long flight around the back country’s isolated islands; the extra flight which adds time to each part of the latter; and the ultra which lasts 100 minutes. With each flight, passengers can see through the water to spot marine life such as turtles, rays, the occasional manatee, dolphin, hammerheads, and tarpon (with better chances on the lower and longer flights).Key West Seaplanes — Photo courtesy of Rob O'Neal
If that isn’t tempting enough, tours can be customized to include your favorite fly-over places like lighthouses, the Marquesa Keys, and Dry Tortugas National Park. Other possible options are a sunset flight or a seaplane getaway – which includes time spent on a secluded island. Nothing says vacation like a private flight to your own slice of paradise with picnic lunch provided by one of Key West’s local restaurants. Perhaps a wedding ceremony is on the agenda, complete with a band and photographer on the island (Julie is also a notary public). Some passengers like to island-hop the entire length of the Keys, while others like to combine the flights with jet ski rentals. If you can dream the perfect aerial vacation – Key West Seaplanes can make it happen.Key West Seaplanes — Photo courtesy of Rob O'Neal