Vancouver Stories and Tips

Vancouver Airport

Vancouver Airport Photo, Vancouver, British Columbia

Vancouver airport (YVR) is the main airport that serves western Canada and it serves major international and Canadian destinations as well as many local and regional airports.

The airport is located in the southern area of the city and is easily accessible by public transport, car or taxi. The public transport connection is provided by the new Canada Line of Vancouver's Sky Train (which is actually an underground train for a substantial part of this line). It takes approximately 30 to 45 minutes to get to the airport by car (this varies vastly depending on traffic and will be much longer in the rush hour) from central Vancouver areas and around 1 hour by public transport. A taxi cost around 25-35 CAD depending on your starting point (we paid 35 including the tip from the area around Commercial/Broadway).

Despite being a fairly big airport (although small enough to have just one terminal), Vancouver is fairly low in stress-inducing characteristics endemic to such locations. It seems like a well designed airport that does its best to minimise this endemic (and probably unavoidable stress).

Check-in hall is long and narrow, with clearly marked desks and enough room for people to queue but not enough to get lost. The catering and shopping areas are located at two ends of the hall, and don't get confusingly mixed up with the check in.

The one feature of Vancouver airport that makes it particularly pleasant (or perhaps it would be better to say, not as unpleasant as airports mostly are) is the presence of artworks, foliage and water features.

At one end of the check-in hall there is a circular area with benches around a totem pole next to a stone (or mock stone, but realistic enough) wall along which a small waterfall runs. At the other end there is a magnificent brass of ancestor spirits in a canoe by the most famous Native North-West Coast artist, Bill Reid. On the air side, there are more artworks as well as a large fish tanks (when we looked there were two scuba divers in it as well as many colourful fish). There are trees, pond/stream water features and numerous seating areas. Shopping is present, with a good selection of gift items, travel essentials (though book selection was poor in all three locations I went to) and not-so-good but sufficient selection of duty free. But shops don't dominate.

In the gate areas, there is plenty of seating, children play areas and monitors playing The Treehouse (Canadian kids' TV channel, no ads).

The bathrooms are spacious and usually within easy walking distance, and the wi-fi is free.

Altogether, from a user point of view, a pretty good airport and one that makes the nightmare of flying just a little bit more bearable.

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