YVR’s expansive list of retail partners and services means that the airport no longer stands as simply a port for air travel. It also provides community activity. For the sixth year, “Take-Off Fridays” launches this summer and offers family-oriented fun weekly for visitors throughout the airport. Local entertainers take to the stage, balloon artists twist together creative works, mascots pose for photo ops and a popular paper airplane contest offers a chance to win prizes. If all of that activity works up an appetite, food samples and specials abound throughout the terminals.
If your travel schedule is too hectic to complete that pesky to-do list before heading into security, YVR has implemented a number of services that can help you get the job done. Need to mail something on the run? A post office is neatly tucked inside 7 Eleven in the domestic terminal and – just steps away – Airport Fabricare Cleaners can even handle a little of your dirty laundry. Drop your garments off before you’re “wheels up” and return to collect them on the way home or even take advantage of same-day service if the items have to be squeezed into your luggage before you jet off.
Facing the Elements
Even Vancouver’s well-informed visitors and most-organized locals can still forget to pack an umbrella and face a downpour upon landing at YVR. The airport has you covered – and in more ways than one. Umbrellas can obviously be purchased at a number of retail establishments but the best deal is on Level 1 of the domestic terminal, where a vending machine offers up tote-sized brollies for just $5.
Before you even step foot on the YVR grounds, the Canada Line makes it incredibly easy to wrap up a few luxury deals for any hosts you may be visiting during your travels. The brand new McArthur Glen Designer Outlet – located adjacent to the train line’s Templeton Station – will soon house over 150 designer outlets offering up to 70 percent off retail prices on high-end goods from manufacturers around the globe. Construction began last winter and phase one opens this spring.
If you opt to skip the shopping and drive directly to the airport, Gateway Valet and Concierge can facilitate travel with ease – and a touch of added sophistication. The business offers curbside valet service at both the international and domestic terminals. In addition to passenger drop-off/pick-up and secured on-airport parking, Gateway will also handle your dry cleaning and run a few errands – with no extra service fees. Reservations, mercifully, are not required.
You no longer need to fly first-class to enjoy all of the amenities of exclusive lounges prior to taking flight. Locations of the Plaza Premium Lounge are now open for business – in each of the domestic, US and international terminals. The spaces offer a variety of services for travellers. The recently opened domestic terminal locale boasts a spacious 7,166 square feet of space, thereby making it Plaza Premium’s single largest location in North America. Pay-per-use costs vary, with most locations charging 40 dollars per traveller for two hours of access.
At such a bustling transport hub, the safety of both passengers and staff is a primary concern. In December, YVR’s employees noted the impressive tally of 680 days free of “lost time” accidents – and passengers are not forgotten about once they board flights. In fact, travellers are watched over by a rather strange posse of protectors: three birds of prey. The well-trained group of winged guards – named Goliath, Boeing and Hercules – are released in the area frequently to scare off smaller birds that may pose safety hazards for both ascending and arriving planes.
Caring for little flyers during transit can be challenging. Between the sensory overload of busy check-in areas and the often lengthy waits during peak travel periods, younger travelers need a bit more attention – and YVR has taken that into consideration. In the US departure terminal, a small nursery space has been well-appointed with cribs, changing areas and, most importantly, peace and quiet. Plus, older children will get a kick out of the colouring books and crayons offered up at all info counters prior to security checkpoints.
Find out why YVR has repeatedly been ranked as the best airport in North America
YVR boasted its busiest December on record as it wrapped up 2014. The flight hub frequently climbs to the top of expert lists, including a fifth-in-a-row “Best in North America” honour in 2014 from the SkyTrax World Airport Awards, compiled with the help of over 12.5 million consumer surveys worldwide. But none of this means the airport’s secrets are all out.Click through for a few impressively unique offerings that showcase just why YVR is at the front of the aviation pack.