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We have a 7am flight from YVR the day after our cruise. Can someone give me a good time to arrive at the airport? Will be coming from downtown by taxi.

Thanks

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Following. We will be making our flight reservations in another week or so. Wondering how early to arrive at YVR for a flight to the US. It will probably determine what our departure time  will be. 

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Posted (edited)

They recommend 2 hours for domestic/international and 3 hours for US departures, you will preclear US customs at vancover if flying to a US airport directly.

Edited by mrell345

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Posted (edited)

Don't show up 3 hours early at YVR, unless you're coming from a cruise ship on a day with 3+ of them in port. Especially don't show up that early for flights at that time of day!!!

 

The key factor most folks don't know about Canadian Preclearance airports is that CBP do not work all day - they only have two shifts, starting at 4:30am and ending at 8:30pm. The first 10mins or so is a meeting, so nobody gets processed either. Lack of knowledge about this, combined with the very-commonly-known advice to be 3 hours early for international flights leads to a huge lineup of frustrated people in the wee small hours who have flights at 6, 7, even 8am (because some folks like to be four hours early 'just in case').

 

It takes a while for CBP to clear that backlog of folks once they do start working - which is why personally we show up on the first SkyTrain of the day for a 7am flight. This rolls in at 5:09am, so by the time you walk across into the terminal and drop your bags, get through Security and hit CBP it's more like 5:30am (we have NEXUS these days, so Security is always quick).

 

OP, if you don't have Global Entry or NEXUS I'd suggest rounding back your arrival time to 5am (Edit - since you are cabbing, if you get your hotel to arrange one for you ask it to be there by 4:30am as there's no traffic at that time of day).

 

You'll take a little longer than we do to get security-screened, and since you won't be familiar with YVR it'll take you a little bit longer walking around as you'll have to look for signs, but I'd still ballpark you being through Security and lining up at CBP within not much more than 30mins of arriving. The initial backlog will now be gone, peak passenger load won't be for hours, so you'll most likely be through CBP in under 15mins even if you haven't used the kiosks before and have to read all the screens carefully.

 

By 6am you will probably be queuing up for your last Timmies.

Edited by martincath

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martincath,

I was hoping you would chime in!  Thanks so much, we will be flying fc, so hope there is a line for us to use.  Sometimes it helps to save all those points!

Thanks

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