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12 hour layover in Vancouver

Chicago, Illinois
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12 hour layover in Vancouver
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Hello! We will be travelling from the U.S. to Australia in March 2017. We arrive around 11 a.m. and depart for Australia around 11 p.m.

Do we get put into a transfer area of the airport to await our International trip or do we go through Customs in Vancouver? If the latter then is there a place to stash our luggage? If our luggage goes through to our next flight, we will have plenty of time to pop into the city for a look around but what then would be the procedure for returning to the airport and awaiting our evening flight? Do we have to go through immigration etc again?

Thanks for any assistance with our questions.

Calgary, Canada
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7,205 posts
56 reviews
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1. Re: 12 hour layover in Vancouver
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There is plenty of time.

What airline are you arriving and departing on?

Vancouver, Canada
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2. Re: 12 hour layover in Vancouver
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You will need to clear Canada Border Services Agency in Vancouver and your luggage will be claimed and then re-checked for your onward flight. There is no outgoing immigration control at YVR for flights (except to the US) so no lineup for that, just for security. I assume you are on AC or UA from Chicago and AC to Sydney?

Assuming you have the same routing on the return, you will clear US CBP in Vancouver but will then not need to go through CBP again in Chicago.

Chicago, Illinois
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3. Re: 12 hour layover in Vancouver
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Air Canada

Chicago, Illinois
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29 posts
4. Re: 12 hour layover in Vancouver
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So it sounds as if we land, claim our baggage and go through Canadian Customs. Then we have to check in with our next flight to dump our baggage before heading into the city for a few hours. Is that correct?

Or will our baggage get checked in Chicago and go straight through to our flight to Australia so we don't have to worry about it in Vancouver?

Vancouver, Canada
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5. Re: 12 hour layover in Vancouver
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Because you are entering Canada, I believe (but am willing to be corrected) that you will need to claim and re-check your bags. On the reverse trip, I am certain, you will need to claim your bags from the Sydney flight then proceed to US CBP where you will re-check them before going through security clearance and CBP. The good news is that when you arrive home in Chicago, you will not need to clear CBP so you can go home to sleep!

There are lots of prior threads on how to spend a reasonable layover in Vancouver so I won't reiterate these. You have lots of time to take the Canada Line train downtown and spend some time before returning. You need to leave enough time for security when you get back to the airport however as there are a number of late night/early morning flights to Asia which depart between 2300 and 0300 so it is not as quiet as you might think in the international departures area at that time of night.

Calgary, Canada
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6. Re: 12 hour layover in Vancouver
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Vancouver airport has a guide for connecting passengers, and for some reason it has two different procedures for US -> International passengers depending on the time of day. It is not really a good guide IMO.

http://www.yvr.ca/en/passengers/navigate-yvr/passenger-guides

The procedure used to be that you would do immigration, collect your bags, hand your declaration card to a customs agent, drop your bags off again (not actually checking in again) and proceed to connections. In that event you could drop your bags and head to the city. But i *think* there is a new system now where you don't have to collect your bags. However I am not sure.

You definitely have to go through Canadian immigration because you are entering the country. You will have to ask the check-in agent at Chicago and ask someone at YVR too, what to do with your bags. If they are being checked straight through - you are golden. If you need to collect them - you will have to drop or re-check with AC.

Clear as mud right?

Then you can get the Canada Line train to downtown.

Vancouver, Canada
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for Vancouver
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7. Re: 12 hour layover in Vancouver
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In the pax guide linked above, choose "From the US to another country" in the selections.

With an 11 am connection, the guide says you will have your luggage checked through to final destination and not claim it at YVR. Check the luggage tags they wrap on to your luggage handles when you check in to your first flight. Then you are supposed to follow "Canada Connections" to your new gate in the International terminal. Only a 5 min walk all indoors along the connecting corridor.

There is no reason you can't leave the airport. As a American citizen, you are eligible to enter Canada with only a passport. No eTA required. You would only need to go through Canada Customs without your luggage and tell them your plans for the day. That could take an hour, depending on what other planes are arriving at the same time. At that time, the agent will determine if you are admissible or not. You might want to have your onward ticket and your boarding pass for your onward flight. You might need to allow 3 hours before your flight to Australia to go through International security and make your way to the gate. Third week in March is Spring Break, so busy at the airport.

Happy to be corrected.

Calgary, Canada
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7,205 posts
56 reviews
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8. Re: 12 hour layover in Vancouver
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The big thing that puzzles me about that guide is that "connecting US to another country" only gives an option for Rouge, and I'm pretty sure the flight to Sydney is "real" AC.

Maybe Lobster could come back and tell us what his experience was like, because this question gets asked a fair bit.

9. Re: 12 hour layover in Vancouver

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