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Everything Vancouver travellers need to know about reserving spots in security at YVR airport

This new, free tool allows you to avoid waiting in massive lines at the airport.
Travellers can skip the line at security by pre-booking a reservation through the YVR Express portal.

Air passengers travelling from Vancouver International Airport (YVR) to the United States may now reserve a place in line at security screening.

On Wednesday, the airport announced its YVR Express program, which allows travellers to reserve a spot at the security checkpoint ahead of their flight. 

The airport says the new, free program will help reduce wait times at security checkpoints and provide a "more balanced flow of passengers" through the security screening process. As a result, passengers and staff will enjoy a more "predictable experience" at the airport.

“Innovation continues to be one of our greatest tools to deliver an exceptional experience for our passengers at YVR,” said Robyn McVicker, Vice President, Passenger Journey at Vancouver Airport Authority.

YVR partnered with Copenhagen Optimization and CLEAR to customize the program and worked with the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), the federal crown corporation responsible for all passenger security screening, to implement the new program. 

The airport plans to work with its partners in the coming months to expand the use of the program to its domestic and international security checkpoints, adds McVicker. 

How to use the new program for YVR flights

Travellers can skip the line at security by pre-booking a reservation through the YVR Express portal.

The portal will ask you to fill out the following four steps to start: 

  1. Flight information: Date of the trip, flight destination, airline, and flight number. 
  2. Party size: Number of people in your party and appointment time. (Note: YVR will hold your slot for 15 minutes before or after your appointment time.  However, you will need sufficient time to clear US Customs after Security Screening.)
  3. Email 
  4. Check the information you provided is correct.

Once you select your booking time, a QR code will be sent to your email that you will present to airport staff at the security checkpoint within 15 minutes of your scheduled time.

YVR Express is currently available for travel to the U.S. with flights scheduled between 6:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. at the airport’s E gates. Travellers can schedule their appointment to enter security screening up to 72 hours ahead of their flight’s scheduled departure time or when they arrive at the airport, until 90 minutes before the flight’s scheduled departure time. 

Travellers using the new feature should check their bags before heading to the security checkpoint and then look for the YVR Express logo at E Security (US Departures).  

Visit the YVR Express portal online to book a spot for security screening for travel to the U.S.

Flight delays at Vancouver International Airport 

YVR has faced various operational challenges over the past year due to increased travel demand and post-pandemic labour shortages. From January compared to August, daily passenger volumes increased by roughly 170 per cent at the airport.

Many travellers expressed frustration and outrage over the spring and summer after lengthy waits at the Vancouver airport resulted in delayed or missed flights. While conditions improved in recent weeks, several travellers say they continue to experience significant baggage and flight delays

Travellers looking to speed up their experience travelling from YVR to the United States can also use a new app. The US Customs and Border Protection (US CBP) has introduced Mobile Passport Control, which allows travellers to submit information digitally prior to moving through the border process. The MPC app can be downloaded for free from the Apple App store and Google Play.

Air passengers who are not travelling to the U.S. can use CATSA's online tool to see approximately how long the wait times are at the airport before they leave.  

While travellers to Canada are no longer required to enter their information into the ArriveCAN app, they can save time at the border by using it. The app allows them to submit their customs declaration in advance.