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Vancouver International Airport: A Layover to Enjoy

Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is the second busiest airport in terms of flights and passengers in Canada after Toronto Pearson International Airport. YVR serves over 20 million passengers a year on flights to Asia, Oceania, Europe, US, Mexico and throughout Canada.

vancouver airport departure screen image by Flickr user gotovan
Image Courtesy Flickr user GoToVan

YVR is just a 20-minute drive from downtown Vancouver or a quick 33-minute ride on the Canada Line SkyTrain. The Canada Line is part of Vancouver’s rapid transit rail service, which was built to support the 2010 Winter Olympics . This line of the SkyeTrain is especially convenient if you have a long layover at the airport for a quick zip into the city to explore or even visit the nearby McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Vancouver Airport for some luxury outlet shopping at stores like Polo Ralph Lauren, Banana Republic, Calvin Klein and more.

Canada Line Skytran by flickr user Michael Chu
Image Courtesy Flickr user Michael Chu

YVR was named the “Best Airport in North America” for seven years straight by the Skytrax World Airport Awards and is updated frequently.

Wi-Fi

An always important aspect of travel, the airport provides free Wi-Fi throughout the entire airport.

Fun Facts About YVR

Since it is a Canadian airport there are no TSA pre-check lines available however they do accept Global Entry and NEXUS cards which will fast track you to the front of the security screening lines or to their own separate priority lines. If traveling to the US you will go through US Customs pre-clearance in the airport before your departure from Canada after passing through security.

The airport has two terminals the Main Terminal where all domestic and international flights arrive and depart from and the South Terminal where float planes arrive and depart from. YVR is one of the only international airports in the world with scheduled floatplane flights.

an air canada flight departs vancouver airport - image by flickr user Canadian Pacific
Image Courtesy:  Flickr user Canadian Pacific

The airport has some of the best views of any airport in North America. From the north side of the main terminal, you can see way out past the city to the beautiful snow-capped North Shore Mountains. Be sure to look for them out of your plane window when arriving or departing.

To help you navigate through the airport it even has it’s own AP which is available for both iPhones and Androids. It is available in the app store or on Google Play as the “Vancouver Airport Authority” app. The app features a 3D map that will lead you to your gate, it can provide you with flight status notifications and gate changes, you can use it to search for places to eat and there is even a suitcase packing game in the APP where you can compete against other passengers.

Jade Canoe the spirit of Haida Gwaii art sculpture at Vancouver airport image by Flickr user Tony Hisgett
Image Courtesy Flicker user Tony Hisgett

YVR also currently houses the biggest private collection that is publicly displayed of Northwest Coast Native art in the world. There is so much art on display at the airport that there are actually guided and self-guided tours available and that is just to the artwork in the pre-security areas with even more being featured past security.

large aquarium tank at YVR image by flicker user Alan King
Image Courtesy Flickr user Alan King

Being close to the ocean a nice calming feature of the international section of the main terminal in the airport is also the two aquariums exhibits, which are managed by the Vancouver Aquarium. One is a 114,000-liter tank with 5,000 various fish and creatures and the other smaller tank is 1,800 liters and holds 12 jellyfish all in both tanks being native to British Columbia.

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