If you're visiting Vancouver then, of course, it's most convenient to fly in & out of YVR, Vancouver's own airport.
However, the prices for flying in & out of SeaTac, in nearby Seattle, are often MUCH better.
Which brings up the question: "How do I get from Seattle to Vancouver?" There are two convenient ways:
1. Quick Shuttle
2. Amtrak Cascades - Rail & bus service
The former leaves directly from the Seattle airport. But if their schedule is not convenient for you then take a taxi downtown to the Amtrak Station (303 South Jackson St.) and you'll be able to catch something there. Both provide service right into downtown Vancouver.
Vancouver International Airport is Canada's Second Biggest Airport, located on a island between Richmond & Vancouver.
There are two terminals, one for domestic flights & one for international. The main operating airline in Canada is Air Canada.
Vancouver International Airport
Airporter takes you from airport to downtown Vancouver or vice-versa: http://www.yvrairporter.com/
Went to Whistler on Greyhound: http://www.greyhound.ca/
Pacific Coach Lines goes between Vancouver and Victoria (ferry and bus): http://www.pacificcoach.com/
*** 2012 UPDATE: The YVR Shuttle ceased operations at the airport in September, 2009.***
Unless you have someone picking you up at the Vancouver Airport, your best deal is to take the Airporter shuttle bus. Locate the kiosk marked "Airporter" inside the terminal, just outside the baggage caroussels, to purchase your ticket.
The bus leaves approx. every 15-30 minutes, and stops at numerous hotels in downtown Vancouver. In 2005, a one-way ticket cost CAD$10.00, while a round-trip cost $18.00. (Compare this with taking a taxi, which will cost you $25.00 one-way.)
You don't need to specify the date you will be returning, and even if your hotel is not on their scheduled stops, it probably stops within a block or so of yours. Check with the attendant at the kiosk.
Note: the air-conditioning works well on the shuttle, but it leaked on the one I took. Just be careful where you sit! :o)
A cheap and efficient way to get from the international airport to the city centre and downtown area is to take the airport shuttle bus, which costs C$13. The counter to buy a ticket is on your left as you come through the arrivals section into the terminal. Buses leave on the half-hour. Buses stop at major city hotels and from there you can walk to your accommodation if it is in the area.
There are many ways to get to Vancouver. I have flown both with Japan Airlines and Mexicana de Aviacion in a 5-hour flight from Mexico City. Vancouver Airport is huge, beautiful and full of totem poles. It's considered one of the world's most architecturally appealing airports.
When arriving or leaving Vancouver, you can take this bus to the aiport/hotel.
From the airport, it departs from the arrivals level. You can purchase your ticket directly from the bus operator or at the ticket office at the arport (located on level II, outside the main terminal). If leaving Vancouver, buy it through the concierge at your hotel.
Vancouver International Airport is the second busiest airport in Canada, with non-stop flights daily to Asia, Europe, the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean, and other airports within Canada. Vancouver International Airport has three terminals: The domestic terminal, which was constructed in 1968 and recently given a top-to-bottom renovation; the International Terminal, which was newly constructed in the early 1990s, and the South Terminal, which is a portion of the original terminal that is still in use. The International and Domestic terminals can effectively be considered to be one building divided into two sections, while the South terminal is located in a remote part of the airport.
In Vancouver you can clear US customs before you board the plane, so give yourself some extra time to check-in when you leave Vancouver for U.S. destinations. Note that this also means that duty-free purchases are not available at U.S. bound gate lounges or on the plane since technically you are already in the U.S. This also means that there are direct flights from Vancouver into cities that do not have customs clearance facilities.
The cheapest way from the airport to downtown is public bus, $3 one way, exact change only, but this involves a transfer. The bus into downtown tends to be quite crowded and not convenient for carrying your suitcases. More convenient is the YVR Airporter (1-800-668-3141) which costs $12 one way or $18 return, and drops off at major hotels downtown. A taxi ride downtown will cost about $25. The taxi ride is under half an hour. By November 2009 a rapid transit line running from Richmond to the airport to Vancouver is scheduled to be completed
If you are departing from the International Terminal to destinations other than the USA there are painfully few eating places on the other side of security. If you want something more substantial than coffee shops then eat before going through security.
Vancouver's International Airport YVR is a modern facility.
The Olympic Winter Games must have been a driver to set up the terminal in such a spacious way.
Everything I needed was there; immigration was not a special hassle and with friendly service.
I only had trouble to find the shortest way to the rental car agency desk (go right in front of the parking garage and take the path to the basement).
This is the international arrivals and departures level of the Vancouver airport has been recently renovated with this first nations artwork as the centrepiece. There has been a $10 per ticket 'airport improvement fee' to cover these renovations. Guess what? They have decided to continue collecting this fee in order to 'improve' the domestic section, too.
A taxi will cost you about $30-35 to downtown but there is a shuttle bus that charges $10 and has several stopping points along Granville St. And now, as of last week you can take the new subway/metro to downtown for much cheaper than that!
Vancouver Internation Airport (YVR) is a state-of-the-art facility (it should be, we pay enough taxes and fees for it), and it handles thousands of flights per day. A flight should be easy to find. Like most places, options are limited only by your budget, time, and patience. Because of the size of Canada, a bus from anywhere will take forever. Trains and cars are other options, as are cruise liners. Again, you are only limited by that stated above.
Skytrain is good to see the suburbs and such. Seabus will take you across Burrard Inlet to North Vancouver, but its on strike right now....cars are an option, but parking can be hard to find and expensive in the downtown core. Only a good idea if you plan an excursion to the limits of the Greater Vancouver area, or beyond...taxis are good, just don't let them take you for a ride. But they most likely won't do that. We are Canadians, after all....bike are great to get around, especially good if the weather co-operates. Really good for the legs, too. There are loads of places to rent bikes, especially on Denman Street downtown. For more info on transport, visit http://www.translink.bc.ca/
One of the best ways to see Vancouver is to take a trip on our 'Skytrain'-'Seabus' light rapid transit system. It will take you from one end of the city to the other in an elevated 'Skytrain'. At the end of the line you take a 'Seabus' across the inlet to shop at Lonsdale Quay. It's great!!
The Vancouver International airport is not very far away. There is a bus that takes you to the city (and probably beyond, I am not sure anymore). There are also shuttles to downtown Vancouver. Of course, cabs and car rental companies are always there at your service.
Operated by Air Canada, partnered with United Airlines. This plane is a small city-hopper jet and when I emphasize small, I mean small. Too small to dock with the terminal, so as the Air Canada flight arrived, I walked down the catwalk stairs, out onto the runway around the baggage carts and up the stairs to the Air Canada Jet, very small, my carry-on didn't fit in the overhead, but was able to half-scrunch under the seat. It was tight, friendly, and like an airline out of the past. I haven't been on one of these city-hoppers for ages. Even though it was only a 1/2 hour flight, they still served beverages. Crazy. Very pleasant staff anyhow. They were on top-of-it with the customs forms and gave them as you boarded the flight. Luggage arrived quickly and efficiently, fastest luggage delivery I've experienced in my travels, that was impressive. Even though it was cramped, I enjoyed the flight. Rating 3.75 stars out of 5 (for city-hopper jet experience) .. flown 3/21/08.
YVR is Canada's second busiest airport, with some 16.9 million passengers (including same plane transit), approximately 222,900 tonnes of cargo and 270,000 take-offs and landings in 2006. It's also currently being billed as Canada's portal to the 2010 Olympics. One of the most state-of-the-art airports I've been to, its one of my favorites. I don't care much for the location and handlings of the rental car agencies, and the fact that wifi isn't free, but its comfortable, speedy, high-tech, and great service. International Customs is a breezeway - especially from Canada into the US. Very professional and making the whole process a smooth transition. Rating 5 stars out of 5. Visited 3/21/08; 3/31/08.