Visiting Vancouver from another province or country? Or are you a local looking to hop on a flight from Vancouver and head out of town? If you’re flying to or from British Columbia’s Lower Mainland there’s a good chance you’ll be making a visit to Vancouver International Airport (YVR).
This massive, modern airport is a hub for the many airlines that provide endless streams of incoming and outgoing flights connecting Vancouver to the rest of the world. YVR features a ton of different amenities to keep you occupied while you wait to board your flight, as well as many services which can make travelling much more convenient. If you’ll be venturing through YVR in the near future, here’s everything you need to know about the airport to make your trip the most relaxing and enjoyable experience possible.
Location and Directions
Located on Sea Island in Richmond at 3211 Grant McConachie Way, the Vancouver International Airport is about 20-30 minutes from downtown Vancouver. If you’re driving to the airport from downtown you’ll need to take SW Marine Drive over the Arthur Laing Bridge which then turns into Grant McConachie Way. This will lead you directly to the airport terminal. For parking you’ll have the choice between gateway valet, the terminal parkade, and long-term parking.
Cabs, limos, and rental cars are a few other excellent ways to get to and from the airport. You can simply head to the taxi stand on Level 2 of the Domestic and International Arrivals area and catch one of the many cabs waiting to pick up a fare. Rental cars and limousines should be arranged in advance to ensure the vehicle you’re looking for will be available.
One of the cheapest and easiest ways to get to and from the airport is via public transit. There is a Canada Line SkyTrain station right outside of the airport, located between the International and Domestic Terminals. The Skytrain can connect you to many parts of downtown Vancouver and out into the surrounding cities of Surrey and Burnaby. If you’re looking to go further, the SkyTrain connects up with many major bus loops which will take you almost anywhere you’d like to go.
About the Airport
Vancouver International Airport is the second busiest Canadian airport with over 25 million passengers flying in and out of this airport every year. This trans-Pacific hub is the base for more direct flights to China than any other airport in North America or Europe. Many major airlines operate out of YVR including Air Canada, Air Transat, American Airlines, and WestJet. Float planes, helicopters, charters, and coastal air services can be found in YVR’s Airport South area, where the South Terminal Building and the public Floatplane Facility are located.
Within the airport you’ll see high ceilings, immaculate surfaces, and modern check in kiosks which will make your travel experience much more pleasant and stress free. British Columbian art and architecture can be found at every turn with gorgeous pieces of First Nations art and sculptures proudly displayed throughout the wide open spaces. The atmosphere at YVR is always clean, comfortable, and enjoyable for those travelling on the busiest days or the quietest nights.
Domestic and International Flights
At YVR you’ll have access to countless flights travelling to airports all across British Columbia, Canada, and the United States. You’ll also have nonstop flight options to many destinations in Mexico, Asia, Europe, Central America, the Caribbean, and the South Pacific. Between nonstop flights and a few possible connections, you can easily travel to just about anywhere in the world from YVR.
You can check in for your flight at one of the full service counters on Departures Level 3 or you can use one of the quick and easy self-service check-in kiosks located in the airport. Check out their incredibly handy Passenger Guides to navigate your way from one area to the next. Choose whether you’re arriving or departing and select your airline to get a step-by-step guide of where you’ll need to go and what’ll you’ll need to do. You may also want to take a look at the Customs and Immigration info on their website if you’ll be travelling internationally.
Every airline has their recommendation on how early you should arrive for your flight but typically it’s going to be somewhere around two hours early for domestic flights and three hours for international flights. Experienced travellers and those very familiar with YVR may feel they need less time but during holidays, special events, or just to have a less stressful travel experience, giving yourself plenty of time is always a good idea. That does, however, leave you wandering around wondering what to do with yourself before your flight. Luckily, YVR is chock full of restaurants, cafes, spas, pubs, and shops to entertain you while you wait.
Check out YVR’s list of amenities before you arrive to give yourself an idea of what shopping, dining, and service options you’ll have near your terminal. You can sort by Canadian, US, and International terminals and you can view the amenities located both before and after clearing security. You’ll find a Starbucks and Tim Hortons in every section and an incredibly diverse array of restaurants to satisfy every craving.
For a really first class travel experience, book a timeslot in the Plaza Premium Lounge where you’ll have access to comfy chairs, showers, and nap rooms. With this lounge package you’ll be provided with all you can eat hot and cold food options as well as all you can drink alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages. Guests can use the free WiFi, fully equipped computer workstations, and charging stations to stay connected while waiting for their flight to begin boarding.
Get in Touch
Vancouver International Airport is operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Their website is full of helpful information that will answer almost any question you might have. If you can’t find what you’re looking for on there, or just want to talk to a real live person, call the airport at 604-207-7077 for further assistance. You can also find their mailing address or send them an email by going to their contact page.