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Serving one of Canada’s most exquisite gems, Vancouver Airport is set on Sea Island about eight miles south of the city centre. This facility is a major hub for Air Canada and trans-Pacific links to Asia; nonstop flights are also available to dozens of destinations throughout the Americas, the Caribbean and Europe. Those renting a car here can reach Vancouver’s beautiful downtown area in about 20 minutes and can easily travel to the world-class ski slopes of Whistler within two hours. Otherwise, ground transport is also on offer via Canada Line Skytrain service, as well as via taxis and public buses with limited hours.
Who to Book With
Passengers arriving at Vancouver Airport can find a wide array of vehicles from Budget, Dollar/Thrifty, Avis, Hertz and National/Alamo, all of which have rental counters on the ground floor of the Parkade (opposite the terminal building). Alternatively, Enterprise offers off-airport rentals via shuttle service from the economy parking lot.
Need to Know Essentials
You’ll need the following documents to collect your hire car at Vancouver Airport:
- Your driver’s licence (international permits are not required in Canada)
- A copy of your reservation information
- The credit card used to make your booking
- Your passport
Road conditions and driving regulations in Canada are quite similar to those in Western Europe, the US and the UK. Canadians drive on the right side of the road; roads are well kept in heavily populated areas, whilst hazards may exist in many remote areas and at high elevations. Speed limits on motorways range from 50 to 68mph (80 to 110kph), while the limit for residential streets will generally range from 25 to 31mph (40 to 50kph). Always be prepared for potentially dangerous winter conditions in the whole of British Columbia outside of Vancouver and Vancouver Island.
Vancouver Airport is fairly convenient to the city of Vancouver itself, although getting away via car hire is highly recommended for visitors. Fuel prices are reasonable in Canada compared to those in Europe. Otherwise, the Canada Line Skytrain rail link is the most popular public transport, while taxi service is convenient but expensive. During train closure times, public buses serve the airport.
Passengers can reach the downtown area in about 26 minutes or the city of Richmond in only 19 minutes via the Skytrain from Canada Line YVR Airport Station. The station is accessible via walkway tunnels from both terminals. The cost per person is about £5.50 one-way. Visit Canada Line or Trans Link for more information.
Metered taxi service is available from the airport 24 hours a day. The official taxi rank is situated outside on Level 2 of the Domestic Terminal and just outside the exit doors of the Arrivals greeting area in the International Terminal.
Vancouver Airport to downtown Vancouver is about £20
Vancouver Airport to Tsawassen (Delta) is about £35
Vancouver Airport to Surrey is about £45
Vancouver Airport to West Vancouver is about £45
Trans Link’s route N10 bus service is on offer from Vancouver Airport during Skytrain night closures (roughly 01:30 to 04:40). The fare is around £1.60 and the trip to the city centre takes roughly half an hour. Visit the Trans Link website for schedules.
Vancouver Airport is comprised of two main terminals – International and Domestic – although they are actually part of the same structure and transferring between the two can be easily done on foot. Moreover, the International Terminal also features a special ‘Transborder’ section dedicated to the multitude of flights going to and coming from the United States. US-bound passengers will undergo US customs and border formalities prior to departure.
There are three main car parks available at Vancouver Airport: the Parkade, the economy lot and the long-term lot. The Parkade is most convenient to all terminals; the hourly rate is about £6.50 and the daily rate is around £20. The adjacent economy lot is slightly further out and offers lower fees for daily and weekly stays at £15 and £87, respectively. Finally, the long-term lot requires a shuttle ride from Grant McConachie Way to the terminal and costs about £10 per day or £65 per week.
Wi-Fi access is available throughout the airport free of charge.
There are nine Customer Care counters situated in the airport spread across both terminals. Look for large information counters in the check-in areas for domestic and international flights, as well as another before security at the USA check-in facility. See below for Customer Care contact information.
YVR Customer Care and airport information: +1 604 207 7077
Parking information: +1 604 276 7739
Trans Link information: +1 604 953 3333
Vancouver Airport has contracted a mobility specialist for more than 20 years in the effort of optimising the airport experience for those with special needs and/or reduced mobility. For assistance, contact Customer Care (+1 604 207 7077) as well as your airline. Self-push wheelchairs are available free of charge and dedicated parking is available in all three lots.
Restaurants and Bars
There are dozens of drinking, dining and fast-food options on offer at Vancouver Airport. Before security, look for Harvey’s Swiss Chalet, Subway, Toshi, Pizza Hut, A&W and Stanley’s Happy Landing Lounge near the Domestic check-in area, and Koho Restaurant & Bar, Hamani Japanese and Burger King on the domestic side. Beyond security, head for Tim Horton’s, Starbucks, Camden Food Co and Jugo Juice in the Domestic terminal, and Milestones, the Euro Café and Subway in the International side. Moreover, you’ll find Orange Julias, Vino Volo, Cinnabon, the Skyway Café and several others past the USA flights security checkpoint.
The Plaza Premium Lounge is available to all passengers for a fee. There are three locations: Domestic, International and USA/Transborder terminals. All are located beyond the security checkpoint.
Money and ATMs
Passengers can find a Royal Bank of Canada branch on the public side of the Domestic departures area. Opening hours are from 9:00 to 16:30 Monday to Friday. Additionally, there are ATMs located throughout the airport as well as ICE Currency Exchange booths before and after security in all three terminals (Domestic, International and USA/Transborder).
Vancouver Airport boasts a vast assortment of retail fare in each terminal, including nearly a dozen duty-free stores beyond security in the International Terminal. Names on offer include Hermes, Thinking of Canada, Brooks Brothers, PGA Tour Shop, Hudson News, Virgin Books & Entertainment, Sunglass Hut, Victoria’s Secret, Indulgences and the iStore.