Vancouver International Airport

Vancouver, CA


Getting around the airport


Vancouver International Airport lies around 14km south of Downtown Vancouver. It's a world-leading airport, ranked best airport in North America for five years in a row, and in the top 10 in the world in 2013 and 2014 in the Skytrax World Airport Awards. It is known for its excellence in accessibility and sustainability and for its efficiency, good dining options, plentiful seating and natural light. That said, some travellers have reported delays in receiving baggage, and long waits in customs at peak times. 

It has two terminals: 

  • Main Terminal: Handling most flights. Split into the Domestic Terminal (Concourses A, B and C) and International Terminal (Concourses D for international flights and E for US flights). The International Arrivals hall is noteable for its large waterfall and eye-catching artwork.
  • South Terminal: Handling domestic flights, helicopters, chartered flights 'floatplanes'. A free shuttle bus runs to the ground floor of the Departures level from the Arrivals level of the International Terminal.

The Main Terminal has four floors and is easily walkable (although distances can be long):

  • Level 1: Airport Services Plaza
  • Level 2: Arrivals
  • Level 3: Departures
  • Level 4: Train station for the SkyTrain to the city, accessible from both International and Domestic Terminals 

Useful for those flying on to the US, the airport has US Border Preclearance facilities so you can clear security in Canada, and save time when you land in the US.

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Getting into Vancouver

Take the Canada Line

The easiest and most cost-effective way into Vancouver is by train, taking you downtown straight from your terminal.


The Canada Line of TransLink's driverless rapid transit SkyTrain takes you to downtown Vancouver in 26 minutes and downtown Richmond in 18 minutes. It runs to Waterfront station, via Vancouver City Centre station, every 6-7 minutes at peak times, and 12-20 minutes at off-peak times, from Mon-Sun, 05:02-00:47.

If you're coming back to the airport, when you get off the train turn left for domestic flights and right for US and international flights.

Tip: You can avoid paying the 'AddFare' by buying Faresaver tickets at (books of 10 reduced-rate fares) 7-Eleven or Pharmacare in the airport (you can't buy them at the vending machines)

Cost: CAD 4 for a two-zone ticket, plus a CAD 5 'Canada Line YVR AddFare' when leaving the airport
Buying tickets:
 Vending machines in the station (cash or card)
Location: YVR-Airport Station, Main Terminal, Level 4 (follow the Canada Line signs from both International and Domestic Terminals)


As of 2014, taxis taking you into Vancouver have to offer a fixed rate. Journey time is around 20-30 minutes.

Cost: CAD 31-35 flat-rate to downtown (plus tip)
Ranks outside Domestic and International Terminals, Arrivals, Level 2   

Arriving late at night?

You'll need to take the night bus after the trains have stopped running. From the Main Terminal, take the N10 to downtown Vancouver or Richmond. 

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Three locations

Vino Volo

Great place to spend the time comfortably with a glass of wine. The selection includes international wines as well as local BC varietals. Try the wine flights. Fresh small plates and entrees like smoked salmon crostini, brie and fig jam sandwich, charcuterie or cheese platter or tomato soup to go with the wine. Airport prices but worth it. Very nice service. 

Download their app and start listing points if you travel often.

International terminal, before security, arrivals, level 2
Hours: 13:00-21:00 daily

Domestic terminal, A/B connector, Concourse C, after security, near Gate B17
Hours: 11:00-23:00 daily 

US Terminal, after security, Concourse E, near Gate E83
Hours: 09:00-20:00 daily

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Dining past security

Early closure

If you have a late flight beware that most food places after security close at 22:00.

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At the International Terminal

The airport has a large, 114,000-litre aquarium showcasing 850 indigenous sea animals. This is a great place to take the kids and kill a bit of time whilst you wait for your flight.

Location: International Terminal, Departures Level

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Plaza or Air Canada

There are six comfortable lounges for you to relax and work in before your flight:

Plaza Premium Lounges (airside)

These are available for all passengers, and cost USD 32 for 2hrs, USD 40 for 3hrs, USD 56 for 6hrs:

  • Domestic: Domestic Departures, airside, Level 3, near Gate B15. Showers available. Tel: +1 604 276 0082. Hours: 06:00-22:00. 
  • International: International Departures, airside, Level 3, near Gate D53. Showers and nap rooms available. Tel: +1 604 276 6688. Hours: 08:00-01:00.
  • USA: USA Departures, airside, Level 3, near Gate E87. Tel: +1 604 244 1700. Hours: 05:00-20:00.

Air Canada Maple Leaf Clubs (airside)

These cost USD 50 to access:

  • Domestic: Domestic Departures. Showers available. Hours: 04:45-23:30.
  • Transborder: USA Departures. Hours: 05:30-22:30.
  • International: International Departures. Showers available. Hours: 09:00-02:00.

YVR Distinguished Visitor's Lounge (landside)

  • International Terminal, Level 2, Arrivals Hall. An exclusive landside lounge, accessible by reservation only at www.plaza-network.com. Showers are available. Cost: From CAD 180 for a minimum of four people. Tel: +1 604 276 0082.  
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Health Club day passes and day rooms

At the Fairmont Hotel

If you’ve got some extra time and would like to burn off a little steam, you can get a day pass to the Fairmont Hotel’s gym, pool, sauna, and showers for CAD 18 per person. The Health Club is situated directly above the US departures terminal and the health club is open daily from 06:30 to 23:00.

You can also book day-use rooms from CAD 119 (4 hours).

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Pool, workout and showers

Absolute Spa

The Absolute Spa, located on the lobby level of the Vancouver Airport landside is a perfect place to freshen up.

Also at the US Terminal Airside, Gate E85 Plaza Premium Lounges (International and Domestic Terminals).

Cost: USD 15 plus taxes, including access to the pool, healthclub (workout facilities) and showers.

Opening hours: 08:30-21:00.

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Great food and great view


For Pacific Northwest-inspired fine dining, head to the Globe@YVR in the Fairmont Hotel in the airport. They offer sustainably caught seafood, a variety of interesting cocktails, and a view overlooking the mountains and runways. Many travelers have also enjoyed their afternoon tea.

Breakfast: 06:00-11:00 (noon on Saturdays)
Lunch: 11:00-14:30 
Afternoon tea: 14:00-15:30 
Dinner: 17:30-22:00 

US Terminal, before security, level 4
Hours: 06:00-22:00

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Power outlets

Plentiful throughout the airport

There are over 100 charging stations throughout the terminals, located between the seats at the gates. Each station offers six 120V outlets and two USB ports.

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Save on Your Car Rental

Lowest Price Guaranteed

Car rental companies offer cars right beside the terminals buildings, on the ground floor of the car parking area. You can rent from these companies:

  • Alamo/National
  • Avis
  • Budget
  • Hertz
  • Dollar/Thrifty 

In addition, Enterprise offers cars a short distance from the airport. To ask for a shuttle bus, use the direct-dial phone in the car rental bus shelter in the Economy Parking Lot.

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Children’s play areas and self-guided tours

Stay Entertained

There are several Children’s Play Areas located throughout the airport, which are a great place to let kids run around or watch interactive videos to learn about airplanes. The Play Areas are located in Concourse A near Gate 13, Concourse C near Gate 46, and Concourse D near Gate 54, right next to the TV Entertainment Centres (international gates only).

You can also take yourself on a self-guided walking tour with the family (details can be found on the airport's website. The tours follow a number of different themes to help you discover art and architecture, family fun, or sustainability.

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In the lounges

There are no public showers, but you can freshen up here:

  • Plaza Premium Lounges: Airside, International and Domestic Terminals. Cost: USD 32 for 2hrs, USD 40 for 3hrs, USD 56 for 6hrs.
  • Air Canada Maple Leaf Clubs: Airside, Domestic and US Terminals. Cost USD 50 for non-members.
  • Fairmont Vancouver Aiport Hotel Heatlh Club: Directly above the US Departures terminal. Hours: 06:30-23:00. Cost: USD 18 for entry to health club, sauna and showers. 
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Great views

Observation Area

This is a great place to meet your friends or watch the activity on the tarmac at the airport's observation area. There are telescopes, interactive kiosks and an interactive model of Sea Island.

Location: Domestic Terminal, Level 4 (Landside)

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Long Layover

Visit Chester Johnson Park

Chester Johnson Park is a great outdoor space which offers a calm respite from the action of the airport. 

Nestled in the shadow of the Control Tower, the park features the three ‘Ksan Totems, carved by Earl Muldoe and Walter Harris from the Skeena River Valley in Northwestern British Columbia. 

In the park you’ll also find a small pond, benches, and a tree-lined pathway to explore with the kids. 

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Baggage storage

International arrivals

Prices for up to 24 hours vary from CAD 5.50 for small items such as coats and envelopes to CAD 9.90 for oversized items such as large trunks or sports equipment. 

International arrivals, landside, level 2, opposite Hudson news
Hours: 05:00-1:00 daily 

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