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Vancouver Airport Guide

vancouver airport guide

In this section you will find traveller airport reviews as well as our Vancouver Airport Guide with info on WiFi, lounges, facilities and services....and yes, even the name of the airport hotel in case you decide that sleeping in the airport is not for you!

I would like to thank the staff of Vancouver Airport for the most beautiful, clean and comfortable airport I have ever been stuck at. - Bob and Paul

Airport Overview

 airport

To help you plan your layover or overnight sleepover, we are here to give you the low-down on what travellers have reported back to us during their time at Vancouver International Airport.

What to Expect

  • A large, bright and modern international airport. The airport is made up of one large inter-connected terminal that is divided into 3 sections: Domestic, Transborder and Internation. You can transfer to all these sections through the airside area.
  • There are plenty of shops and restaurants to choose from. 24-hour dining is available!
  • The airport’s interior is warm and welcoming, with water features and lots of local, native artwork everywhere. Check out the airport’s aquariums. There are two of them!
  • Free WiFi is available. See WiFi in the airport guide below.

Where to Sleep

  • Airside seating do not have armrests on every seat, so it is possible to stretch out.
  • The international area has the best seating options with a variety of options including: seats with foot stools and cushioned armrest free seating.
  • Reviewers found comfortable spots to sleep in baggage claim (benches without armrests!), behind the American Airlines check-in desks and at the end of the WestJet terminal area. Some of these areas are a bit cold, so have a travel blanket handy. A travel mat or sleeping bag will add comfort to your overnight stay.
  • For uninterrupted sleep, there is a hotel connected to the airport and many nearby hotels. See Airport Hotels in the airport guide below.

Good to Know

  • If you are transiting airside from the Domestic area to the US Transborder area, you will need to go through the International section. If you have a long connection, you may opt to stay here to relax, shop, eat and check out the water displays and aquarium before proceeding to the USA security area. Allow enough time to go through security.
  • Economy class passengers can pay to enter one of the airport’s first class lounge. See Airport Lounges in the airport guide below for locations and rates.

For more information about the services and facilities available, scroll down to continue exploring our Vancouver Airport Guide.


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Vancouver Airport Information

In this guide we may refer to locations as "landside" and "airside". Landside is the public area of the terminal located in the non-secure zone, before security. Airside is the secure area of the terminal that you must reach by going through security.

Airport Lounges

If you are an economy class traveller, you can enter these lounges at Vancouver airport either by purchasing a lounge pass or through a membership program. Visit the individual lounge page for more details (ie. facilities, hours, pass and membership information):

  • Plaza Premium Lounge - Location: Domestic Departures, Airside, Level 3, near Gate A2. Showers are available. Hours: 6:00AM - 10:00PM (Sun - Fri) • 6:00AM - 9:00PM (Sat). Lounge Access: Pay at the Door ($ 40 - 2 hours • $ 50 - 3 hours • $70 - 6 hours) • Book Online (£25).
  • Plaza Premium Lounge - Location: International Departures, Airside, Level 3. Showers and nap rooms are available. Hours: 8:00AM - 1:30AM (Sun - Fri) • 8:00AM - 12:00AM (Sat). Lounge Access: Pay at the Door ($ 40 - 2 hours • $ 50 - 3 hours • $70 - 6 hours) • Book Online (£22).
  • Plaza Premium Lounge - Location: USA Departures, Airside, Level 3. Hours: 5:00AM - 7:00PM (Sun - Fri) • 5:00AM - 6:00PM (Sat). Lounge Access: Pay at the Door ($ 40 - 2 hours • $ 50 - 3 hours • $70 - 6 hours) • Book Online (£22).
  • Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge - Location: Domestic Departures, Airside. Lounge Access: Purchase at time of ticket purchase or online check-in • Maple Leaf Club Membership.
  • Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge - Location: USA Departures, Airside. Lounge Access: Purchase at time of ticket purchase or online check-in • Maple Leaf Club Membership.
  • Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge - Location: International Departures, Airside. Lounge Access: Purchase at time of ticket purchase or online check-in • Maple Leaf Club Membership.

» Buy a Lounge Pass

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Airport WiFi / Internet

Free WiFi is available at Vancouver Airport.

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Airport Hotels

If sleeping in Vancouver Airport does not appeal to you, there is a hotel inside the airport:

  • Fairmont Vancouver Airport - (10 min walk from Domestic Terminal or 5 min walk from within International Terminal) Located inside the International Terminal, above the USA departures desk. They offer drop-in access to the Health Club for $18 per person. Day use rooms available for rent in blocks of 4, 6, or 8 hours between the hours of 8:00AM and 8:00PM. Earplugs and eye masks are provided if required.
  • Pacific Gateway Hotel Vancouver Airport - (5 min from the airport) A new hotel open near the airport. Free 24-hr airport shuttle available daily, no reservation required. Shuttle picks up at both terminals.
  • Days Inn Vancouver Airport - (8 min from the airport) Free airport shuttle service available.

To find a cheap room, there is a list of hotels near Vancouver Airport on Tripadvisor that can be sorted by price.

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More Services, Facilities & Things To Do On A Layover At The Airport

  • Airport Ambassadors - Steve tells us "Volunteers in green vest/jacket are located throughout the terminal and information counters airside. Staff in blue vest/jacket can be found at information counters landside and at customs hall."
  • Aquarium - There are two satellite Vancouver Aquarium exhibits: The main exhibit is a large 114,000-litre aquarium showcasing 850 indigenous sea animals, and the other is a smaller 1,800-litre jellyfish aquarium. Location: International Terminal, landside, Level 3 (main exhibit) and Level 4 (jellyfish exhibit).
  • ATMs / Cash Machines - Locations:  International Arrivals (next to ICE currency exchange) • International Departure (next to ICE currency exchange) • Domestic Arrivals (next to Tim Hortons) • Domestic Level 1 (at 7-11, Scotiabank - the only one at the airport) and others scattered throughout the terminals. Update by Steve.
  • Baby Care Facilities - Cribs, playpens and a changing area are available in the Nursery. Location: US Terminal, landside, Level 3, next to the restrooms.
  • Banking - A full-service Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) is available. Location: Domestic terminal, landside, Level 3. Hours: 9:00AM - 4:30PM (Mon-Fri).
  • Chapel - Gather your thoughts in peace at the interfaith chapel. Location: International Terminal, landside, Arrivals Level 2.
  • Children's Play Area - Location: Domestic Terminal Food Court (landside) • Domestic Terminal Gates 3 and 43 (airside) • International Terminal - Gate 54 (airside) • Domestic Terminal, Departures Level 3, Gate 13 (airside)
  • Currency Exchange - International Currency Exchange (ICE) offices are located:
    • Domestic terminal: landside (Level 3) and airside (Gate B17)
    • US terminal: landside (Level 3) and airside (Level 3 and Gate E86)
    • International terminal: landside (Levels 2 and 3*) and airside (Level 2 and Gate D53) Hours: Hours vary per location. *The International terminal (Level 3) location is open 24 hours.
  • Dental Services - Check-ups, cleanings and a full range of preventative and emergency dental services are available at the Vancouver Airport Dental Centre! Location: Domestic, landside, Level 1. Hours: 8:00AM - 6:00PM (Mon-Fri), 9:00AM -4:30PM (Sat).
  • Dry Cleaners - Airport Fabricare Cleaners offers same day service if you need a quick alteration. Location: Domestic terminal, landside, Level 1. Hours: 7:00AM - 6:00PM (Mon-Fri), 9:00AM - 5:00PM (Sun).
  • Duty Free & Shopping - A variety of duty-free shops are available airside on Level 3 (US and International terminals), in the D gates area (International terminal) and Gate E85 (US terminal).
  • Food & Drinks - Food concessions throughout the airport operate with varying schedules. These options are open 24 hours:
    • Domestic terminal, landside, Level 3: Subway • Tim Horton’s
    • International terminal, landside, Level 3: Starbucks • Wendy’s
    • International terminal, airside: Hudson News Euro Cafe (Gate D66) • Subway (Gate D67)
    • US terminal, airside, Level 3: Hudson News Euro Cafe
  • Information Desks - There are 12 customer care counters throughout the airport, with representatives available 24 hours a day. Also look for the Green Coat Volunteers for help. SleepingInAirports reader Steve sent us some information regarding the information desks:
    • US Departures: Departure Level 3 (Landside, next to CBSA NEXUS office) • Departure Level 3 (Landside, before Gate E security screening) • Departure Level 3 (Airside, after US CBP).
    • International: Departure Level 3 (Landside, above arrivals) • Departure Level 3 (Airside, after security screening) • Departure Level 3 (Airside, after duty free) • Arrivals (Airside, inside Customs Hall) • Arrivals (Landside, greeters hall)
    • Domestic: Arrivals Level 2 (Landside, outside of carousel 4) • Departure Level 3 (Landside, next to the food court) • Departure Level 3 - LINK (Landside, next to Air Canada check-in counters) • Departure Level 3 (Airside, after Gate C security) • Departure Level 3 (Airside, after security Gate A to the right) • Departure Level 3 (Airside, before Monk's Grill).
  • Luggage & Shoe Repair - Location: Domestic terminal, landside, Level 1 Hours: 9:00AM - 6:00PM (Mon-Fri), 12:00AM - 6:00PM (Sat), Closed Sunday.
  • Luggage Storage & Lockers - Store your stuff at CDS Baggage Services. Short and long term services available for $5 - $8 per item. Located landside on Level 2 in both International and Domestic terminals. Hours: 7:00AM - 1:00AM (Intl) or 5:00AM - 11:00PM (Domestic).
  • Medical Clinic - Travel medicine, podiatry, acute pain management and more, available at Vancouver Airport Medical Clinic. Walk-ins welcome! Location: Domestic terminal, landside, Level 1. Hours: 8:00AM - 6:00PM (Mon-Fri), Closed on weekends.
  • Mobile Charging - Mobile charging stations are available near the seats at the gates throughout the airport.
  • Observation Area - 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). Rate: Free.
  • Pharmacy - Pharmasave is conveniently located next to the airport medical clinic. Location: Domestic terminal, landside, Level 1. Hours: 8:00AM - 6:00PM (Mon-Fri) Closed weekends and holidays.
  • Postal Service - There is a Canada Post branch inside of the 7-11 convenience store. Location: Domestic terminal, landside, Level 1. Hours: 7:00AM - 8:00PM (Mon-Fri), 10:00AM - 5:00PM (Sat), 12:00PM - 4:00PM (Sun).
  • Rest Zones - While the airport has no designated rest zones, there are numerous areas in the International Departures Area that have sleep friendly seating. You will find either lounge style seats near the windows or cushioned block style furniture that are often covered with airport sleepers.
  • Self-Guided Tour - The airport has a self-guide walking tour of the terminal. Take some time to enjoy Cedar Connection • Public Observation Area • Supernatural World • The Jade Canoe • The Great Wave Wall • Clayoquot Welcome Figures • Ksan Totem Poles • Green Wall. [ brochure ]
  • Showers - Airside - Plaza Premium Lounges (International and Domestic Terminals). Landside - The Fairmont Vancouver Airport Hotel offers drop-in access to the Health Club, saunas and showers for $18 per person.
  • Spa - Spa - Manicures, facials, massages and other beauty services are available at Absolute Spa. Hours: Hours vary per location, but most stay open until 7:00PM. Here are the five locations:
    • Domestic terminal: landside (Level 1) and airside (Gates C30, C47)
    • US terminal: landside (Level 4 - at Fairmont Hotel) and airside (Gate E85)

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Airport Hours

The airport is open 24 hours.

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Airport Transportation: Getting To/From The Airport

Bus

YVR is served by regional buses from Whistler, Victoria, Duke Point (Nanaimo) on Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and Washington State in the United States. YVR Whistler SkyLynx offers service to/from Whistler and Squamish. Tickets are sold online or in the International Terminal (Arrivals Level 2) at the YVR Whistler SkyLynx ticket counter of Pacific Coach. Buses depart from Bus Bay 10. The YVR - Victoria Link offers service to/from Victoria (Vancouver Island), Gulf Islands and Duke Point. Tickets include BC ferry service from Tsawwassen or Swartz Bay ferry terminals, and are sold online or at the Pacific Coach ticket counter. Buses depart from Bus Bay 9. Credit cards are accepted at the ticket counters. Please check-in at the Pacific Coach counters in the International Terminal (Arrivals Level 2) before boarding your bus.

Car Rentals

Avis, Budget, Dollar/Thrifty, Hertz and National/Alamo operate onsite on the ground floor of the parkade. Enterprise has a nearby offsite location, accessible by free Enterprise shuttle bus, which stops at the car rental bus shelter in the Economy Parking Lot. Enterprise can be reached by direct dial courtesy phone in the car rental bus shelter.

Hotel Shuttles

Several area hotels provide airport transportation service as a courtesy to their guests. The hotels shuttle stops are located at the green canopy outside of the International Terminal (Arrivals Level 2) and Domestic Terminal (Arrivals Level 1). Hotel shuttle pick-up can be requested via direct-dial courtesy phone, available on Arrivals Level 2 of both International and Domestic terminals, or at the shuttle bus stops.

The following hotels provide airport shuttle service: Accent Inn Vancouver Airport   •  Best Western Plus Abercorn Inn   •  Coast Vancouver Airport   •  Days Inn - Vancouver Airport   •  Executive Airport Plaza Hotel & Conference Centre Richmond   •  Four Points by Sheraton Vancouver Airport   •  Hampton Inn by Hilton Vancouver Airport   •  Hilton Vancouver Airport   •  La Quinta Inn Vancouver Airport   •  Radisson Hotel Vancouver Airport   •  Pacific Gateway Hotel at Vancouver Airport   •  Quality Hotel Airport (South)   •  Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel   •  Vancouver Airport Marriott   •  Westin Wall Centre Vancouver Airport.

Inter-Terminal Shuttle

The airport offers a free shuttle service between the South Terminal, a regional general aviation hub, and the International and Domestic Terminals. South Terminal Shuttle stops are located in front of the South Terminal, at International Terminal (Arrivals Level 2, bus bay 3) and Domestic Terminal (Arrivals Level 2).

Taxi

Licensed taxis are readily available from taxi stands located on Level 2 of the Domestic and International Terminals’ Arrivals Area. Zone fares apply to rides from the airport to destinations within the zoned areas in Vancouver. Metered rates apply to journeys from the city to the airport.

Train

The Canada Line is a rapid transit commuter rail service that runs between the airport and the city centers, reaching central Richmond in 18 minutes and central Vancouver in just 26 minutes. The Canada Line train platform is located between the International and Domestic Terminals, easily accessible by escalator or elevator. For information on fares, schedules, routes and mass transit connections, visit the Canada Line website.

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Airport Sleeper Policy

As of January 2012, there have been reports that security is now checking airport sleepers throughout the night. Please have your ID, e-ticket and a good reason as to why you are not in a hotel!

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Last Updated: 24 June 2016

The information in this Airport Guide is based on information collected and/or received from the airport's and their web sites. The information above is subject to change without notice. Use it for informational purposes only to help you during your stay. To report errors, or to add/change any items mentioned in the guide, please email us at guides@sleepinginairports.com.

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