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Question on flying Toronto to Seattle via Vancouver

Toronto
Level Contributor
2 posts
5 reviews
Question on flying Toronto to Seattle via Vancouver

I am flying from Toronto (YYZ) to Seattle (SEA) next month. The timing of the non-stop flights and the distance from SEA to my final destination mean that I'll be arriving at my Seattle-area hotel at around 11:30 PM (PT; 2:30 AM ET) and I'll be due in the office about 9 hours later. On the way back, I'll need to be at SEA-TAC by about 5:30 AM to get the flight to Toronto (I assume 3 hours is the suggested guideline), which will mean leaving the hotel at 4:45 AM (yikes).

As a result, I'm considering connecting flights that will give me a two-hour layover in Vancouver (YVR) in each direction. The cost difference isn't significant, and I don't mind the wait if it means more reasonable arrival and departure times at either end.

However, this raises two questions that I need help with:

1. Assuming the first flight in each direction departs and arrives on time, is two hours adequate for the transfers in each direction? I'm assuming that the Toronto-Vancouver leg is considered a domestic flight in both directions. This would mean that on the way out, I'll have to clear US customs either in Vancouver or Seattle, and not in Toronto, and that on the way home I'll be clearing Canadian customs in Vancouver rather than in Toronto.

2. How does duty-free shopping work on the way back? Will there be an issue if I buy a bottle in Seattle and want to carry it through the transfer in Vancouver?

3 replies to this topic
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
5,131 posts
434 reviews
1. Re: Question on flying Toronto to Seattle via Vancouver

#1 YYZ YVR domestic flight you are correct. You will leave the domestic terminal and walk to the USA departures area of the Main terminal. They are at the opposite ends of the terminals from each other. If your luggage is checked through to Seattle it will be transferred for you. If it is not checked through then you will have to go to the arrivals area of the domestic terminal, claim your luggage and then check it in with the airline that you will be departing to the USA on. Once it is checked in you will drop it just prior to going through security

If your luggage has been checked through for you and If you have your boarding pass for your onward flight to Seattle, then you can proceed to security. After security you will go through US Customs and Immigration.

#2 Clear Canada Customs and Immigration in Vancouver, proceed to domestic terminal

Toronto
Level Contributor
2 posts
5 reviews
2. Re: Question on flying Toronto to Seattle via Vancouver

Thank you. The flights are all with the same airline, so I would hope the bags are checked through for me. I'll remember to confirm when I check in.

Assuming on-time flights, is 2 hours reasonable for the transfers at YVR? If it helps, on the way out, I arrive in YVR around 3 PM Monday (leave for Seattle around 5 PM); on the return trip, I arrive in YVR around 10:30 AM and leave around 12:30 PM for YYZ.

I haven't booked anything yet, so I might have the flexibility to give myself a longer layover if I need to, although I certainly don't want to spend my afternoon sitting around an airport - the whole idea is to get to SEA a lot earlier than the direct flight would get me there.

Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
5,131 posts
434 reviews
3. Re: Question on flying Toronto to Seattle via Vancouver

Yes, as long as you have both boarding passes. From the domestic YVR terminal to the US departures area, walk swiftly. If you have Nexus or GE it will be much faster for you. The security line at YVR for US departures tends to be a bit slow. Two hours should be ok. The link below will be of assistance to you

yvr.ca/en/…passenger-guides

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