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?