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YVR Express, NEXUS and Other Tips to Get Through Vancouver Airport Security Faster

YVR Express, NEXUS and Other Tips to Get Through Vancouver Airport Security Faster

Standing in a lineup isn’t fun and this is particularly true of an airport lineup. Navigating airport security is a time consuming process, but there are ways to by pass the lineup completely or at the very least get through it quickly. One of the easiest ways to avoid security lineups in Vancouver (YVR) Airport is with a free reservation service called YVR Express. It’s one of several ways to reduce the time you spend in lineups at the airport.

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What is YVR Express?

YVR Express is a reservation service that lets you reserve a time to pass through security through a dedicated queue. Book a time to go through security and then show up at your reservation time. You will be allowed to enter security at your reservation time and for 15 minutes following your reservation time. When I did it, there were about 100 people in the lineup waiting to get through security. I went in front of all of them.

How do I Make a YVR Express Reservation?

Visit the YVR Express Reservation Site and make an online reservation. You’ll need your flight information in order to make a reservation. You can make a reservation up to 48 hours prior to your flight departure time. Give yourself enough time to deposit checked bags (if you have any) and make it to the security queue. Your spot will be held for 15 minutes after the reserved time. Show your reservation to staff and you’ll go straight to security bypassing the lineup.

Related: Check out our Swoop Airlines Review to learn more about this new discount airline.

There’s more than one security entrance at YVR if your traveling domestically. Check lineup times to get the shortest waiting times.

Important Tip for Using YVR Express

When you make a YVR Express Reservation, a QR code will be displayed. Take a screenshot of the confirmed reservation and the QR code. You will be emailed a copy of the reservation. If you don’t receive the email, you will still have a copy of the reservation if you screenshot it. I made a YYC Express reservation on two occasions. The first time, I received an email copy of the reservation, but the second time I didn’t receive the email. Fortunately, I had a screenshot of my confirmed reservation.

When Should I Make a YVR Express Reservation?

You can make the reservation up to 48 hours prior to your flight departure time. We recommend making your reservation well in advance to get the best selection of reservation times. There are a limited number of YVR Express reservations at any given time. If you wait until you’re at the airport to make the reservation, the time you want might not be available.

Worried about losing checked baggage? Check out these inexpensive luggage trackers.

Does YVR Express Really Work?

The Express reservation system works great! I haven’t used YVR Express yet, but I’ve used YYC Express twice. The first time, I waited until I was in the airport to make the reservation and the times I wanted weren’t available. The second time I used YYC Express, I booked 48 hours in advance. I showed up at the airport before my scheduled time and walked through security without a wait. It was fantastic. There were about 100 people in line behind me. It was incredibly satisfying to know that I wasn’t going to the back of that lineup.

Which Airports Have Express Reservations for Security?

In November 2022, Canada’s five busiest airports introduced the new Express program that allows departing passengers to reserve a spot in the security line. You can use this system at the following airports:

Calgary (YYC) – YYC Express
Edmonton (YEG) – YEG Express
Montreal (YUL) – YUL Express
Toronto (YYZ) – YYZ Express
Vancouver (YVR) – YVR Express

Other Ways to Bypass Security Lineups at Vancouver International Airport

If you’re travelling domestically, there’s more than one security entrance. Always check the wait times for Vancouver Airport security and screening before going to a screening point. One time when I was traveling domestically, at Calgary airport, I went to the security entrance closest to my gate and discovered an enormous lineup. I checked the website and discovered that the next closest security screening point had no lineup. If I joined the line at the entrance closest to my departure gate, it was going to take about an hour to clear security. Instead of standing in the long line, I checked the wait times at the other security entrances. One of them had a 5 minute wait. I went to the next security entrance and walked right up to the security screening point without waiting. Once through security, I walked a little further to get to the gate, but overall I saved about 45 minutes and a lot of frustration.

How to Get Through Security Screening Quickly

Be prepared when you go through security. Only bring liquids, aerosols and gels that are packaged in containers with a capacity of 100 ml (3.4 oz) or less. All liquids must fit into one transparent, closed and resealable plastic bag with a capacity of no more than 1L (1 qt). You can get these bags at the airport outside the security gate. If you have a water bottle, empty it before you get into the security screening lineup. Make sure your laptop is removed from it’s case and placed in a separate bin. Take off your coat, empty your pant pockets, remove your belt and shoes (if you are traveling to the USA). Be organized, efficient and respectful to security personnel. This not the time to make jokes. Making lewd comments during a pat down is not amusing.

Related: Read our humorous post about How Not to Get on an Airplane.

An image of the public art in Vancouver airport.
Check out the public art when you are on a layover in Vancouver airport. Photo by Debbie Olsen

Looking for a Hotel Inside Vancouver International Airport with Day Rooms?

The Fairmont Vancouver Airport In-Terminal Hotel is soundproof, comfortable and they over day rooms for a few hours as well as rooms for overnight guests.

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