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Transit Vancouver Airport

Brisbane, Australia
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Transit Vancouver Airport

Similar questions has been asked and answered elsewhere in TA so I apologise if I am repeating, but there is a slight variance to the ones I have read...we are travelling to Canada to take a 3 week tour and will arrive about a week early. We plan to arrive in Vancouver from Sydney on Air Canada (scheduled in at 7.30am) and would like to then go to San Francisco the same day (and Las Vegas) before returning for the tour.

If we arrive on an Air Canada flight and depart Vancouver for San Francisco on an Air Canada flight - assuming it is possible for Air Canada in Sydney to check the bags all the way to San Fran (I will phone then tomorrow to ask...) .. must we clear Customs and Immigration in Vancouver before boarding a flight to the US? If the bags are checked all the way through, it is possible for us to go from the arriving flight to the departing flight without clearing Customs / Immigration?? If not, I assume we will have to allow 4 hours to go out and back in (as mentioned in other posts). The only reason I ask, other questions in the forum seem to have involved two different airlines and I was hoping Air Canada / Air Canada may give us a better outcome.

Any advice most appreciated, as always.

Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: Transit Vancouver Airport

Welcome helenandfrank ~

Ah yes, good old AC 34. You will want your luggage checked through to final destinatiom. The directions for making a connection airside at YVR are in the following link:

yvr.ca/en/…connecting-through-yvr.aspx

You will not have to go out through Canadian Customs, you will stay airside and you will arrive and depart in the same International Terminal. But you will have to go through US Customs and Immigration preclearance. You will need to fill out a declaration card for USA as well. They will be found somewhere on your way along airside. I believe you will need an ESTA as you will be flying into their country.

I would allow 3 hours to make the connection. Something for a possible late arrival, 10 min walk in airside corridors, anywhere up to an hour for US Customs depending in the day of the week and month, 10 min to walk to your new gate where they start loading 15-20 min before departure. Vancouver is a nice airport for getting around. Everything makes sense. Signage is very good.

Get your ESTA from the official issuer:

https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/

Brisbane, Australia
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2. Re: Transit Vancouver Airport

Thank you MuftiMixandmatch - excellent advice, and well explained. Sounds like you have some experience with AC34? Thank you for your assistance, most appreciated - kind regards from Brisbane.

Brisbane, Australia
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3. Re: Transit Vancouver Airport

Sorry to respond to my own post..but at the end of our holiday we disembark our ship in Vancouver at 8am and fly out of Vancouver close to midnight. We are travelling business class (is it called Executive First?) and would love to have a shower and a change of clothes in the afternoon before departure. Is there a transit hotel / similar which we could access for a few hours, or does the Air Canada international lounge have showers...any other suggestions how we should pass the time?

Vancouver, Canada
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4. Re: Transit Vancouver Airport

Because your flight departs Vancouver after 4 pm, you can arrange for your luggage to be transferred to YVR for you which would leave you free for the day. I'm not sure if you arrange the transfer with your cruise ship or if you do that directly with Priority Baggage in the terminal.

Priority Baggage's website is notoriously devoid of info, but they are readily available when your ship arrives. Here's some port info that may interest you. See additional cruise related categories in the left sidebar:

portmetrovancouver.com/en/about/cruiseandtou…

Canada Line is an easy 25 min to the airport.

Fairmont Hotel at the airport offers day rooms for that shower.

What to do? Rough suggestion... walk Coal Harbour Seawalk west to Denman and Georgia, rent bikes to explore Stanley Park. Or just keep walking. 3-4 hours. Head to Granville Island for the Public Market and shops, lunch. See the Island. 1-2 hours. Head to Gastown for pubs, bars, restos as well as shops. Walk short distance to Waterfront Station for Canada Line to YVR.

Edited: 10:49 am, November 03, 2013
Vancouver, B.C.
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5. Re: Transit Vancouver Airport

I'm pretty sure you're luggage will be checked through since it's all Air Canada. All your boarding passes should be all printed out also in Sydney.

Vancouver, Canada
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6. Re: Transit Vancouver Airport

Can they get their return flight boarding passes printed out 3 weeks earlier in Sydney? I think I've only been able to do that within 24 hours of flight.

Vancouver, B.C.
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7. Re: Transit Vancouver Airport

What I meant was that the flight from Vancouver to San Fran boarding passes will be issued in Sydney. Sorry I wasn't being clear.

Vancouver, Canada
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8. Re: Transit Vancouver Airport

Oh, yes, of course that makes sense. I had moved on from their first arrival day connection!

Brisbane, Australia
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9. Re: Transit Vancouver Airport

Thank you for your assistance.

Vancouver, Canada
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10. Re: Transit Vancouver Airport

Do you know which terminal your cruise ship will be docking upon return to Vancouver? If Canada Place, you can check into Pan Pacific or Fairmont Waterfront or Fairmont Pacific Rim within walking distance. This would afford you the chance for shower/change with your luggage :) The hotels can keep your bags for you while you sightsee for the day. We usually plan to leave downtown/CBD no later than 21:00/9:00 from Waterfront Station for the flight back to Sydney. (my daughter is in MEL) At that hour, the (post-security-clearance) restaurants in YVR will have limited service, so you may want to have dinner before leaving the city. There will be two "meals" plus snacks on the YVR/SYD flight.

Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge in the International terminal does not offer showers, although the Transborder outlet does. Premium Plus Lounge in the international terminal is under renovation, but may offer showers by the time you are needing.