YVR Forever - Vancouver Airport Highlights


I never pay much attention to airports, partly because I only travel with cabin luggage. If lucky with the length of the passport control queue, I leave the aircraft and zip through the terminal as quickly as possible.

Even I, however, have noticed the interior of Vancouver International Airport (YVR). There’s something about its blue-green decor, dotted with timber carvings, that relaxes the incoming passenger on the long march to Customs. And I’m not the only passenger who likes the place. In 2017, YVR was named the Best Airport in North America for the eighth consecutive year in the Skytrax World Airport Awards. These awards are voted on by millions of passengers worldwide, conveying credibility. 

So what’s so good about this airport, and why does it make an attractive alternative entry point to North America? Here are some highlights.

1. City Train

YVR is connected to Downtown Vancouver by trains on the Canada Line, which depart from an elevated station just outside the terminals. Trains operate from 5am to 1am every day, taking about 30 minutes to reach Waterfront Station on a C$9.10 fare.

2. Local Food

Beyond the usual chains, there are eateries with a local flavour within the airport. One of the most recent openings is an outlet of the popular Lift Bar & Grill, adding to its original premises overlooking Vancouver Harbour. Wrapped around the airport’s aquarium, the restaurant is decorated in a coastal waters theme and serves Oceanwise certified seafood. 

3. De-stress Dogs

In late 2017, the airport introduced Ambassador Dogs to its terminals in an effort to lower travel tension. These calming canines are trained to interact with humans, reducing pre-flight nerves by allowing passengers to pat a friendly dog before a flight.



4. Lounge Access

Even if you’re not flying in First or Business, you can gain access to the facilities of YVR’s Plaza Premium Lounge. There are four of these lounges scattered through the domestic and international terminals, providing free food and drink, and free wifi. Entry is $C52.50 for a two-hour stay, book via yvr.ca

5. Traditional Art

One of the things that makes YVR distinctive is its plentiful artwork crafted by local First Nations people, drawing on themes of land, sea and sky. In the Customs Hall, look for the Musqueam Welcome Figures, inspired by traditional house posts.

6. Airport Views

The Public Observation Area in the Domestic Terminal is a good place to meet up with local friends or family, as it’s located before security. Through its big windows you can watch flights taking off, and there’s complimentary telescope use for close-up views. There’s also an interactive model of Sea Island, upon which the airport is located. 

7. Aviation Recreation

A local secret next to YVR is Larry Berg Flight Path Park. On the east side of Sea Island, it’s lined up with the end of the south runway, which means it’s a spectacular place to go plane spotting while picnicking. The park also includes a centrepiece globe and signage about the airport’s history. If you can’t get enough of aviation, this place is for you.



For more about Vancouver International Airport’s highlights and services, visit yvr.ca.

Tim Richards visited Vancouver courtesy of Destination Canada (destinationcanada.com) and Tourism Vancouver (tourismvancouver.com).

You can get Vancouver included as a stopover on our Discoverer round the world


Published by Stuart Lodge