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Customs Question: Connecting flight from Hong Kong -Vancouver - Toronto

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  • Mar 12th, 2010 10:58 pm
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[OP]
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Oct 28, 2005
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Customs Question: Connecting flight from Hong Kong -Vancouver - Toronto

On an AC flight stopping in Vancouver, do passengers have to go through customs in Vancouver? Are the luggage automatically get transferred to flight to Toronto? I just want to get an idea if it's worth the saving in taking a connecting flight.
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Jul 2, 2006
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You have to get off the plane and go through customs and immigration in Vancouver. You need to collect all you baggage in Vancouver as well. After customs, you have to drop off the baggage again for your Toronto flight.
Sr. Member
Oct 8, 2008
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I've done this exact flight so what bst has said is correct. When I was there you had to go through security again in Vancouver so no liquids if you have purchased something at duty-free. However you will have the opportunity to put these items into your checked luggage before security so its not much of a problem. It should only take at most 45 minutes to complete the entire process, which should still give you enough time to walk around, use the washroom etc.

As to whether it is worth the savings of taking a connecting flight, it depends what is important to you. If the savings are only like $100-ish, then it might not be as worth it if they were say $500-ish (which sometimes they can be). Connecting in Vancouver also gives you a chance to stretch your legs which can be important as its a long flight. The downside could be that your sleep might get interrupted because you have to get off the plane, and you lose international cabin service on the YVR-YYZ leg (so no more free booze). If you care about Aeroplan miles, flying through Vancouver should actually gain you an additional 600-700 miles in each direction (so 1200-1400 extra for a return trip)
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D582 wrote:
Mar 11th, 2010 2:07 pm
The downside could be that your sleep might get interrupted because you have to get off the plane, and you lose international cabin service on the YVR-YYZ leg (so no more free booze).
FREE BOOZE! That's something I didn't know. I am flying economy. Are you talking about first class?
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RFDkit wrote:
Mar 11th, 2010 4:57 pm
FREE BOOZE! That's something I didn't know. I am flying economy. Are you talking about first class?
I believe that cattle class passengers are entitled to one free drink for each meal.
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RFDkit wrote:
Mar 11th, 2010 4:57 pm
FREE BOOZE! That's something I didn't know. I am flying economy. Are you talking about first class?
mudd_stuffin wrote:
Mar 11th, 2010 5:35 pm
I believe that cattle class passengers are entitled to one free drink for each meal.
Air Canada provides free bar service in economy on international flights. Its not limited to one per meal. I can't speak for other airlines.
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D582 wrote:
Mar 11th, 2010 6:02 pm
Air Canada provides free bar service in economy on international flights. Its not limited to one per meal. I can't speak for other airlines.
Interesting... it was one per meal last time I flew AC.
[OP]
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Oct 28, 2005
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D582 wrote:
Mar 11th, 2010 6:02 pm
Air Canada provides free bar service in economy on international flights. Its not limited to one per meal. I can't speak for other airlines.

Great! I would have an easier time getting to sleep :lol:
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Apr 26, 2004
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bst wrote:
Mar 11th, 2010 12:58 pm
You have to get off the plane and go through customs and immigration in Vancouver. You need to collect all you baggage in Vancouver as well. After customs, you have to drop off the baggage again for your Toronto flight.
Why is this done? I had a similar case where I flew from Rome to Toronto with a stopover in Montreal and we had to do this. Why couldn't the Toronto-bound passengers have just stayed on the plane with their luggage while the Montreal-bound passengers got off? The poor old man sitting in front of me lost his boarding pass somewhere along the way and he wasn't allowed back on the plane for the Montreal-Toronto leg and it took forever to find and remove his luggage off the plane. Is it a Customs/Immigration regulation? It was a PITA having to get my luggage from the carousel twice.
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Talamasca wrote:
Mar 12th, 2010 11:54 am
Why is this done? I had a similar case where I flew from Rome to Toronto with a stopover in Montreal and we had to do this. Why couldn't the Toronto-bound passengers have just stayed on the plane with their luggage while the Montreal-bound passengers got off? The poor old man sitting in front of me lost his boarding pass somewhere along the way and he wasn't allowed back on the plane for the Montreal-Toronto leg and it took forever to find and remove his luggage off the plane. Is it a Customs/Immigration regulation? It was a PITA having to get my luggage from the carousel twice.
Yes, it is because of the government regulations. For International > Domestic flight, you have to clear customs and immigration at your first port of entry into Canada. In fact, same procedure applies if you are connecting through US into Canada. In that case, you have to clear US customs, collect baggage, drop off, and do the same thing again after you arrive in Canada.

It kind of make sense because your connecting flight is considered as a domestic flight in which everyone can get on. If you didn't clear customs at your first port of entry, the airline would probably have to seal off half the plane to separate the international passengers from domestic passengers. That can become a logistic nightmare.
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Oh okay, that makes sense. It would have been nice if the flight attendants could have explained that better. I still wonder why they couldn't have looked up that old man in their computer system though to confirm that he was a passenger instead of stranding him in Montreal while the rest of his family travelled onwards.
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Talamasca wrote:
Mar 12th, 2010 11:54 am
Why is this done? I had a similar case where I flew from Rome to Toronto with a stopover in Montreal and we had to do this. Why couldn't the Toronto-bound passengers have just stayed on the plane with their luggage while the Montreal-bound passengers got off? The poor old man sitting in front of me lost his boarding pass somewhere along the way and he wasn't allowed back on the plane for the Montreal-Toronto leg and it took forever to find and remove his luggage off the plane. Is it a Customs/Immigration regulation? It was a PITA having to get my luggage from the carousel twice.
bst wrote:
Mar 12th, 2010 1:08 pm
Yes, it is because of the government regulations. For International > Domestic flight, you have to clear customs and immigration at your first port of entry into Canada. In fact, same procedure applies if you are connecting through US into Canada. In that case, you have to clear US customs, collect baggage, drop off, and do the same thing again after you arrive in Canada.

It kind of make sense because your connecting flight is considered as a domestic flight in which everyone can get on. If you didn't clear customs at your first port of entry, the airline would probably have to seal off half the plane to separate the international passengers from domestic passengers. That can become a logistic nightmare.
Because of the government regulations, the plane needs to go to either a domestic terminal (where the passengers are let off without passing through customs) or an international/US terminal (where passengers need to go through customer).

In the example of Rome--> Montreal --> Toronto, the plane probably picked up passengers from Montreal to Toronto. Everyone is on the same plane. The airline is not going to make those who got on at Montreal go through customs and CBSA will not allow the international passengers walk into Canada without customs clearance.
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Dec 31, 2005
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mudd_stuffin wrote:
Mar 11th, 2010 11:34 pm
Interesting... it was one per meal last time I flew AC.
Never ever had it restricted to only one drink....probably have done 20 international flights with AC (probably half in economy). Now, wine is better in business class.
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