This is one in a series of subjective airport assessments by me, using arbitrary criteria that I care about.
1. Free Wifi
Yes. Provided by the airport, no time limit. Also lots of power outlets to charge your electronics.
2. Train Connection To Somewhere Worth Seeing On A Four-Hour Layover
Yes. The Canada Line is a largely underground, fully automated light rail line that connects YVR to Downtown Vancouver. The trip from the airport to downtown takes 25 minutes and the fare is CAD$8 dollars.
3. Duty Free Costs
1L Bombay Sapphire gin = CAD$22
Coco Mademoiselle eau de parfum 50ml = CAD$88
4. Security Screening
Fine. A single security screening, polite staff (as compared to other security officers, not real people). My screening at 9:30am for a large flight to China was 10 minutes.
5. Ease of Orientation
Very easy. My assessment may be biased as YVR is my home airport but it’s a single building with no external connections and good signage. Bonus: major art pieces like the jade canoe are easy-to-describe meeting places if you get separated from your travel companions.
6. Pre-Flight Food
Passable. At 9am a greasy eggs-cheese-chili sauce breakfast wrap and a Starbucks Americano is the best I could find at the quick-serve restaurants on the Departures level. That said, I’m guessing the Fairmont Hotel attached to the east end of the terminal would make you eggs Benny and a proper espresso.
7. Transit Hotel
A shower, maybe some time at the gym and a few hours of horizontal sleep in high thread count sheets can be heaven on a long layover. The Fairmont Hotel does allow day use rentals for a 6 hour period between 8am and 8pm. This convenience isn’t cheap, but can you really put a price on your girlfriend’s sanity?
8. Architecture/Interior Design
A beautiful glass box. Like a lot of public architecture in Vancouver, the airport building gets out of the way so you can see the scenery – in this case snow covered mountains and lots of planes. High ceilings, great natural light, ample seating, well-maintained interior finishes.
Overall Rating for YVR: 84%
Photo credit: Hideyuki Kamon