Flights From Vancouver:  Choosing Your Airport

In researching their options for flights from Vancouver, many travelers begin and end their search at Vancouver International Airport.  That’s hardly surprising, since Vancouver International was voted Best Airport in North America by SkyTrax World Airport Awards.  It also won second place for staff service excellence.  And finally, Fairmont Vancouver Airport Hotel won the award for Best Airport Hotel in North America.  Apparently, the folks at YVR - this airport’s code and occasional nickname - have been working hard.  Congratulations, Vancouver International!

Other things that make Vancouver’s airport popular are its landscaping and art.  In fact, so public-friendly is this airport that it offers free WiFi and  self-guided tours.  There are three tours:  for families, for art and architecture lovers, and for those interested in how the sustainability of this facility is preserved.

There is another airport that Vancouver-based travelers can use:  Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.  It’s located a three- to four-hour drive south, in the U.S. state of Washington.  It also offers many services to travelers, from business centers and currency exchange to free wireless Internet and assistance for international travelers.  The Port of Seattle, which oversees Seattle- Tacoma Airport, is also a popular departure point for cruises.  In fact, one estimation allows for 800,000 cruise passengers departing from Seattle in 2011 alone!

Your Options for Flights to Vancouver-area Locations

Here’s a summary of the facts for each of these airports:

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

Code:  SEA

Nickname:  Sea-Tac

Carriers:  Air Canada, Air France, American Airlines, Continental, JetBlue, Southwest, United - 25 total carriers; destinations include international, US and Canada.

Location:  Seattle, WA - 249 kilometers / 3-4 hours

Lodging: Radisson (onsite), Holiday Inn, DoubleTree, many more

Ground Transportation:  taxis, limos, buses, light rail

Car Rentals: Alamo, Avis, Hertz, Budget, National (Dollar, Enterprise and Thrifty nearby)

Travelers Liked:  Seattle-Tacoma Airport’s light train commuter train service was highly praised for its efficiency and low price.  The facilities at the airport were generally quite clean, and the food was also rated as above the average for airport fare.

Travelers Disliked: Customs can be slow and have long lines. Expect long walks,            and      the overall layout of the airport and especially the baggage area can be confusing.

Vancouver International Airport

Code:  YVR

Carriers:  Over 20 in total, including Delta, Air Canada, Air Transat, Air China, American Airlines, United; over 85 destinations served in the US, Canada, and internationally.

Location:  Richmond, BC - 12 kilometers / approx 20 minutes to Vancouver

Lodging: Century Plaza, Marriott, Travelodge, Best Western, Ramada, Fairmont, many more

Ground Transportation:  Shuttles to downtown area, plus taxi, bus, limos, and trains; bikes are also available to rent at the airport.

Car Rentals: Alamo, Avis, Dollar, Hertz, Budget, National

Travelers Liked:  Pretty much everything.

Travelers Disliked: Look for long, slow lines in customs.

While many people choose the Vancouver Airport for their travel plans, flights from Vancouver can also be accomplished via other airports, particularly near the US-Canada border.  Seattle-Tacoma International Airport offers flights to Vancouver, but it can also serve as a departure point, particularly for cruise-bound travelers.