Vancouver International Airport (“YVR”) was once again named Best Airport in North America at the Skytrax World Airport Awards in Geneva, Switzerland today. Rated 8th overall worldwide, it is the only North American airport included in the top ten. This is the fourth year in a row that YVR has been awarded this distinction.
I’ve traveled a lot over the years: spending time on 3 continents, in 7 countries, 4 provinces, 12 states and passing through over 25 airports. There’s always no place like home but when it comes specifically to airports. Here are just a few reasons why YVR is tops in my books:
It’s not gigantic
Run, Run, Rudolph pumps through my brain as I sprint through O’Hare International Airport (“ORD”) in Chicago as though I’m a member of the McCallister family. It takes me 10 minutes to get from two gates that are only twenty digits apart but that’s nothing like Denver International (“DEN”). DEN is where separate terminals appear endlessly connected by moving walkways that seem to act as treadmills, you gain no ground although your feet are moving. There are no monorails at YVR, no underground passageways, and although there’s an occasional sprint to a gate, there are no marathons. As a side note, the seats also do not have arm rests, making them very friendly to stranded passengers that would like to lay out across them (instead of on the floor).
It’s beautiful and the art is appropriate
There are dozens of pieces of artwork in the airport both in the public areas and near the gates. Prominent First Nations pieces, wood carvings, and over 75 sculptures along in the Lorne Balshine Collection that records the Inuit oral culture in the themes of wildlife, survival, traditional beliefs, family life and acculturation. Learn more about the YVR Art Foundation and their work with the airport authority.
Free WIFI and charging stations
Although vacations are for disconnecting and relaxing there is still a need for business travellers (and the internet-addicted) to hook up their devices now and then. Charging stations between seats and free WIFI definitely help. The airport also stays connected with you using social media management systems and customer service on Twitter.
It’s not in the middle of nowhere
Hop on a Canada Line train and in under 30 minutes you’re in downtown Vancouver. Drive in from Surrey and again you’ll be at the ticket kiosks in under an hour. There are options to get to YVR and also to explore the region if you’re just stopping in (or stuck with a canceled flight). Civilization is close-by and hundreds of Richmond’s restaurants are within 10 minutes if you’re peckish.
I could even add on that people who aren’t even going anywhere or picking anyone up like to hang out at the airport. Take Off Fridays in the summer provide free entertainment, there’s a free public observation deck, it’s a great place to pick up souvenirs, and the Fairmont YVR hosts afternoon tea. Chester Johnson Park, as I found out last summer, is also a nice little oasis amongst all the traffic. In my opinion YVR does more than get you from A to B. It sends you off in style and welcomes you home (literally) with open arms.