Earlier this spring, while we were all distracted with Royal Wedding fever and playoff hockey, a very special honour was quietly bestowed on our own hometown airport. At the prestigious (and little known) World Airport Awards in Copenhagen, Vancouver International Airport (YVR, to us regulars) took home the prize for North America’s best airport.
Award organizers collected 11 million questionnaires from travelers around the world. More than 240 airports were ranked on 39 different criteria, including accessibility, public transportation options, cleanliness, comfort, friendliness of staff, clarity of signage and other amenities.
And when the smoke cleared, YVR was North America’s best.
Now, if you’ve done any amount of flying, you probably know that the award is well deserved. YVR might not be the biggest or glitziest airport out there. But it does stand out for a lot of reasons.
First and foremost, it’s always spotlessly clean and pleasant-smelling. This might not seem like such a big deal at first. But if you’ve flown out of Newark International or even LAX, you start to appreciate these things.
Then, there’s the artwork, in particular the First Nations collection. In fact, budget travelers might consider skipping UBC’s Museum of Anthropology altogether and just spending a few hours wandering the airport. There are towering, elaborately carved totem polls outside and inside – not to mention the piece de resistance, Bill Reid’s massive Jade Canoe sculpture in the departures area.
And let’s not forget transit access. Since the CanadaLine opened in 2009, getting to and from YVR has been a breeze . . . almost a delight. The trains are brand new, always run on time, are cheap and get you downtown almost as fast as a taxi would.
Now, if we’re going to split hairs, one area where YVR could turn things up a notch is restaurant options. I’ve got nothing against Tim Horton’s or Orange Julius, but I do think some travelers are looking for a bigger range of sit-down choices. A YVR Cactus Club? Some decent sushi? Just a thought . . . .
Any other fans of YVR out there? Please share your thoughts below.