Travel

When to get to airport before flight

  • Last Updated:
  • Nov 17th, 2017 12:33 am
[OP]
Member
Mar 29, 2006
392 posts
12 upvotes
Toronto

When to get to airport before flight

We will be flying from Toronto to Kauai, Hawaii with a 3 hours and 45 minutes stopover in Vancouver. The flight leaves Toronto at noon, we would like to know how far ahead we should get to the Toronto airport. Do we go through the USA customs at the Toronto airport? Thanks so much.
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Departure: YYZ TORONTO ON, CANADA
12:00PM
TERMINAL 3

Arrival: YVR VANCOUVER BC, CANADA
2:15PM
MAIN TERMINAL
.

Departure: YVR VANCOUVER BC, CANADA
6:00PM
MAIN TERMINAL

Arrival: LIH LIHUE KAUAI, HI
10:29PM
27 replies
Deal Addict
Jul 21, 2005
1030 posts
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No you go through USA customs in Vancouver. It's always the last and the first place in Canada for customs of any country.

Toronto to Vancouver is a standard domestic flight, so 2 hours or whatever they recommend.
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Mar 9, 2007
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Toronto
At least 2.5 hours....at least......always expect the unexpected.

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Newbie
Mar 1, 2016
30 posts
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Thats busy time. I would give myself 3 hours at least. It can be quiet but you never want to under estimate the times. You just never know. Always give yourself that extra time.
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Jul 29, 2005
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Mississauga
3 hours.
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Deal Addict
Mar 27, 2004
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Toronto
You are flying Westjet?

Get there at least 1.5 hours before departure flight to YVR.

Boarding is usually at least 35 minutes before departure. if narrow body.
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[OP]
Member
Mar 29, 2006
392 posts
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Toronto
eblend wrote:
Nov 14th, 2017 2:15 pm
No you go through USA customs in Vancouver. It's always the last and the first place in Canada for customs of any country.

Toronto to Vancouver is a standard domestic flight, so 2 hours or whatever they recommend.
If we are going through USA customs and immigration at our stopover in Vancouver, do our checked luggage get send through to our final destination Kauai, Hawaii?

Seem to recall we had to carry our checked luggage through USA customs when flying out of Toronto to USA last time. Not sure if anything has changed. Thanks so much
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Dec 7, 2012
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totravel wrote:
Nov 14th, 2017 8:49 pm
If we are going through USA customs and immigration at our stopover in Vancouver, do our checked luggage get send through to our final destination Kauai, Hawaii?

Seem to recall we had to carry our checked luggage through USA customs when flying out of Toronto to USA last time. Not sure if anything has changed. Thanks so much
The YVR Passenger Guides says to confirm this with your airline when you check in for your first flight.

"Most passengers will have their luggage checked-through to their final destination, so you will not claim your checked-bags at YVR."
[OP]
Member
Mar 29, 2006
392 posts
12 upvotes
Toronto
oasis100 wrote:
Nov 14th, 2017 7:55 pm
You are flying Westjet?

Get there at least 1.5 hours before departure flight to YVR.

Boarding is usually at least 35 minutes before departure. if narrow body.
Yes, we are flying WestJet Boeing 737-700. Thanks
Deal Guru
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Apr 26, 2004
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icevietboi wrote:
Nov 14th, 2017 5:06 pm
Thats busy time. I would give myself 3 hours at least. It can be quiet but you never want to under estimate the times. You just never know. Always give yourself that extra time.
Raggie wrote:
Nov 14th, 2017 7:05 pm
3 hours.
3 hours is a bit much for a domestic flight. Late morning/early afternoon is one of the slower times of the day for YYZ as well. Early morning and early evening are peak hours.
Member
Jan 31, 2007
224 posts
54 upvotes
I’ve done AC and Westjet to Hawaii through Vancouver. Just walk out of your plane in YVR and head towards the US departures area. Unless you are at the front of the airplane, your luggage will have been scanned and a picture taken by the time you arrive at the border area. They will scan your boarding pass whereby you will verify your luggage based on the image. If all is well you move on to board your flight. If your luggage is delayed, the agent directs you to wait at this little area for your name to pop up on the screen. Then you are free to clear.

Less handling for the luggage guys, lower costs for the airline and less stress for you. Everybody wins.
Member
Jan 31, 2007
224 posts
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Talamasca wrote:
Nov 14th, 2017 9:26 pm
3 hours is a bit much for a domestic flight. Late morning/early afternoon is one of the slower times of the day for YYZ as well. Early morning and early evening are peak hours.
+1 on this. 3 hrs is insanity for a domestic flight. Keep in mind you are already on track for a VERY long day. 3 hrs, plus 4.5 hrs to YVR plus 3.5 hr layover plus 7 hrs more? Geezus, you could’ve flown to Hong Kong. Lol
Sr. Member
Feb 11, 2009
878 posts
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So the consensus is, at least 2. No more than 3.

I say three but I am also the guy who was freaking out that I had a 9am departure to Toronto at Halifax airport but the car rental agency at the airport didn't open until 6am.

Eventually relaxed a bit and was comfortable getting to the airport around 7am for a 9am slight since that's the soonest I could get there with the subway opening around 6am.
Sr. Member
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May 22, 2016
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Ontario
3 hrs for sure. Don't forget to check traffic reports if you are driving in for the flight. Seems like there is a massive accident every day now on one of the 400s.
Sr. Member
Feb 25, 2007
903 posts
360 upvotes
Ottawa
Lots of people here who suggest quite a lot of time ahead. Not trying to dissuade you if you tend to get nervous and stress out about stuff, but it really is wholly unnecessary to be at an airport 3 hours before a domestic departure, which is what your initial Toronto to Vancouver trip is.

You can check in online.
The deadline for luggage drop-off for a domestic flight is 45 mins. You may wait a bit in line, and probably want a bit of safety margin, but I wouldn't be aiming to be walking up to the check-in desks any earlier than 90 mins before departure. If you're *really* nervous and want to build in extra buffer time for finding the right place, etc, 2 hours.

I wouldn't recommend it, but as a bookend for what is also in the realm of the possible: tomorrow morning I am flying 6am Ottawa to Toronto. No checked luggage, already checked in. I will aim to arrive at the airport at 5:30, and will therefore order an uber at 5:05-5:10 (15 min drive to airport), and so am setting my alarm for 4:45. As I said, I'm by no means recommending this to you - I am a very frequent flyer (Air Canada top frequent flyer tier for past 12 years), have Nexus to speed through security, know where I'm going (gate is the one closest to security), etc. But I just don't want you feeling you're some sort of insane risk taker if you show up 2 hrs or so before departure. You're being pretty safe and conservative in that case. Even 90 mins should be more than enough. The somewhat reckless end of the spectrum is people like me.

Enjoy Hawaii!

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