8 Best Spots to Sleep in Vancouver Airport

Vancouver International Airport (YVR) has consistently won the Skytrax Best North American Airport award for 12 consecutive years, underscoring its reputation among layover passengers, especially regarding sleep amenities. Although YVR currently lacks operational sleep pods for flexible in-terminal sleep, we have identified 8 locations within the airport that are suitable for both overnight stays and brief naps.

Our Vancouver Airport Sleeping Guide offers comprehensive details on the sleep facilities at this airport, complete with traveler reviews, information on overnight layovers, what to expect, locations of sleep spots within YVR’s terminals, current(temporary) absence of sleeping pods, and in-airport hotel within the terminal to consider.

Whether you’re a first-time flyer at this airport or a seasoned traveler with thousands of flying miles under your belt, you’ll find the information provided here extremely useful.

As usual, we start with innovative sleep solutions – sleep pods!

Sleep Pods in Vancouver Airport

Vancouver Airport currently doesn’t have operational sleep pod facilities despite previously offering them through Plaza Premium Lounge.

The lounge, originally located in the International Terminal, Airside, Departures Level 3, provided nap rooms or sleep pods with rates of CA$70 for 3 hours and CA$110 for 6 hours, which included a shower and other amenities.

However, as of 2024, these pods are no longer available due to the lounge moving to a temporary location with limited services in preparation for a new space expected later this year(2024). Unfortunately, this means the Plaza Premium Private Nap Rooms are currently unavailable, but updates will be provided when the lounge relocates and nap room services resume.

Below is a snapshot from Plaza Premium Lounge’s website which offered the sleep rooms indicating their temporary unavailability.

Snapshot showing amenities at Vancouver Airport Sleep Pods offered by Plaza Premium Lounge

Read more on Premium Plaza website here.

Nearby Alternative: Panda Pod Hotel:

For travelers seeking an affordable and unique accommodation option near Vancouver Airport, Panda Pod Hotel in Richmond provides an economical capsule sleeping experience.

Located just a 9-minute walk from the Richmond-Brighouse station, guests can also utilize buses 402, 406, and 414 for easy transportation. The hotel offers seasonal pricing, with rates from CAD $65 to $85 during the winter months and CAD $90 to $110 in the summer.

Panda Pod Hotel Pricing

Pod Specifications:

  • Dimensions: Each pod is 200 cm long, 110 cm wide, and 100 cm high.
  • Weight Capacity: The pods can support up to 220 lb (100 kg).

Pod Usage Guidelines:

  • Occupancy: Each pod is designed for single occupancy. Sharing a pod, even briefly, is not allowed.
  • Weight Restrictions: To maintain safety and the structural integrity of the pods, occupants must not exceed the weight limit of 220 lb (100 kg).
  • Age Restriction: Guests must be 18 years or older to stay at Panda Pod Hotel.
  • Check out pictures of the pods on the Panda Pod Hotel Website here.

8 Best Sleep Locations in Vancouver Airport

1. Landside International Departures – Armless Chairs Area

One of the best sleep locations at YVR is found at the far right of the concourse in the landside International Departures area, beyond the 24-hour Starbucks. This area is praised for its abundance of armless chairs, making it ideal for a more comfortable rest. It’s relatively quieter and offers a lesser pedestrian traffic compared to other areas.

Within the International Departures terminal, there are several areas equipped with sleep-friendly seating options. These include lounge-style seats and cushioned block-style seating, providing a bit more comfort compared to standard airport benches.

These spots are particularly suitable for travelers looking for a somewhat more relaxed and comfortable environment to rest while waiting for their international flights.

Since the Domestic Terminals close for the night, you’ll need to move to the International Departures if you have a layover. An 8-minute walk from the Domestic to the International Terminal, particularly in the area designated for US departures, provides a very large space with chairs. This area remains quiet until around 4:30 AM when Immigration opens and flights begin departing, making it a viable option for early night sleepers.

Reviewers noted this area for being dead quiet at night with the lights often dimmed, providing a more restful ambiance. The benches here do not have armrests, facilitating a more comfortable lying position. Its convenience is enhanced by being right next to facilities such as restrooms, Starbucks, and Wendy’s, which remains open 24 hours.

2. Mezzanine Above International Departures

For those preferring a quieter and warmer spot, the mezzanine level above the landside International Departures is a top choice. This carpeted area offers a peaceful environment away from the main concourse activities, allowing for an undisturbed rest on the floor.

3. Domestic Terminal – Near the USA Gates

Located near the USA gates, this area is described as quiet and suitable for sleep, especially after midnight when it becomes less frequented. The proximity to amenities like Starbucks and Tim Horton’s makes it convenient for early morning refreshments.

4. Landside Before Security Near American Airlines Counters

This location is another favorable spot for airport sleepers, especially noted for its lack of security disturbances. The absence of armrests on the benches here allows travelers to stretch out more comfortably.

5. Chapel Area

For those seeking a quiet and secluded spot, the airport chapel has been mentioned as a good option. It typically offers a peaceful environment, although one might have to deal with the lights being kept on for safety and operational reasons.

These locations are based on traveler reviews and experiences, and the availability and comfort of these spots can vary based on the time and day of your visit. Always have a backup plan and be prepared with essentials like a travel blanket, pillow, earplugs, and an eye mask to enhance your sleeping experience at the airport.

6. Pre-Security Baggage Claim Area

A convenient spot for a quick nap can be found in the Pre-Security Baggage Claim area, where several benches without armrests are available. This location is ideal for travelers who prefer a spot that’s typically quieter and less frequented by foot traffic during off-peak hours.

7. Pre-Security Near American Airlines and WestJet Check-In Areas

Another accessible location before security is near the American Airlines and WestJet check-in areas. The benches here are without armrests, allowing travelers to stretch out comfortably while waiting for their flights or during long layovers.

8. Observation Floor in the Domestic Terminal

Located near security, an escalator leads up to the observation floor in the Domestic Terminal. This area offers typical airport seating which might not be the most comfortable, but it is quiet, making it suitable for overnight stays during less busy hours.

What to Expect Sleeping In this Airport:

At Vancouver International Airport, noises and lighting can affect the comfort of those needing to stay overnight or rest:

  1. Noise Levels:
    • Cleaning crews operate through the night, sometimes generating significant noise from equipment like electric trolleys, especially noted between midnight and 3 AM. Their presence can be disruptive to those trying to sleep.
    • Security personnel may also contribute to disturbances, as they occasionally wake up passengers to check credentials or enforce rules regarding sleeping in certain areas.
  2. Lighting:
    • The airport does not dim its lights at night, which can create an environment that’s too bright for comfortable sleeping. This can be mitigated by using eyeshades.
    • Some areas, particularly near US departures, are noted to be quieter and dimmer, offering a more conducive setting for sleep.
  3. Temperature:
    • Temperature variations can be a concern, with some areas becoming cooler, particularly around the US departures. It’s advisable to have a travel blanket or wear layers to adjust to these conditions.

To improve sleep quality at the airport, it is recommended to bring personal comfort items like pillows, blankets, eyeshades, and earplugs.

Review of YVR Airport’s Sleep Quality:

Sleeping at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) offers both pros and cons based on various passenger reviews:

Pros:

  1. Quiet Zones: There are several areas, particularly near the US departures, which are quieter and allow for better sleep. The mezzanine level above International Departures is noted for its quietness and minimal foot traffic.
  2. Comfort: There are numerous spots with armless benches and carpeted floors, enhancing comfort for sleepers.
  3. Amenities: Availability of pillows, blankets, and sometimes sleeping mats from certain airline counters or information desks enhances the sleeping experience.
  4. Accessibility to Food and Beverage: 24-hour food outlets like Starbucks and Tim Hortons are available, offering some options for late-night snacks or early morning coffee.
  5. Safety: The presence of security and regular patrols can make sleepers feel more secure.
  6. Free WiFi and Charging Stations: Provides connectivity and the ability to charge devices, important for both comfort and entertainment.

Cons:

  1. Bright Lighting: Many areas of the airport remain brightly lit throughout the night, which can hinder sleep unless you have an eye mask.
  2. Noise: Cleaning crews operate at night, and their activities can be noisy. There are also reports of occasional disturbances from other passengers and announcements.
  3. Temperature Variability: Some areas can become cool, requiring additional clothing or blankets to stay comfortable.
  4. Security Interactions: There are instances where security personnel may wake sleepers to check tickets or boarding passes, which can be unsettling and disruptive.
  5. Limited Privacy: Most sleeping areas are in public spaces, which can limit privacy and quiet.
  6. Inconsistent Experience: While some find great spots to rest, others encounter challenges like hard benches, limited space, or less accommodating spots depending on the terminal or time of night.

Overall, while Vancouver International Airport offers several conducive spots for resting or sleeping, the experience can vary greatly depending on the specific location within the airport, time of night, and individual preparedness (e.g., having earplugs and eye masks).

Tips for Layover Sleep:

For those planning to rest or sleep at Vancouver International Airport (YVR), here are detailed tips based on specific flier recommendations, aimed at optimizing comfort and minimizing disturbances:

Preferred Sleeping Zones

  1. Landside International Departures:
    • Seek out the far right of the concourse beyond the 24-hour Starbucks where there are plenty of armless chairs.
    • The mezzanine level is noted for its quietness and warmth, ideal for those needing minimal disturbance.
  2. Near US Departures:
    • This area is generally quieter, especially past the entrance to the Fairmont Hotel. It tends to be cooler, so bring a travel blanket or extra layers.
  3. US Domestic Terminal Area:
    • Near the Starbucks kiosk, which is open 24 hours, you can find several places to lie down. The vicinity to restrooms and food outlets like Wendy’s makes it convenient.

Comfort Enhancements

  • Blanket and Pillow: Visit the baggage claim help desk for Air Canada or possibly other airlines to request a “throwaway kit” that includes a light blanket, a blow-up pillow, eye shade, and earplugs.
  • Sleeping Mats: Inquire at the information desk on the main concourse for available sleeping mats.

Managing Disturbances

  • Noise Management: Earplugs are essential due to the occasional noise from cleaning crews and overnight operations.
  • Light: Bring an eye mask to counter bright lights in most sleeping areas.

Security and Accessibility

  • Stay Informed: Be aware that security may check for tickets or boarding passes during the night. Keep your travel documents handy and be prepared to show proof of your travel plans if approached.
  • Early Hours Strategy: Areas near check-in desks or security zones may become noisy as operations start early. Plan your sleeping spot away from these areas if you intend to sleep past 4 AM.

Power and Connectivity

  • Charging Devices: Power outlets are available but may not be right next to benches. Late at night, power plugs in the food court areas are more accessible.
  • WiFi: Free WiFi is available throughout the airport for entertainment and communication.

Food and Amenities

  • 24-Hour Outlets: Identify locations of 24-hour operational food outlets like Starbucks and Tim Hortons for late-night snacks or early morning coffee.
  • Facilities Access: If you require a shower, the Fairmont Hotel offers facilities at a fee. Alternatively, consider a more budget-friendly ‘sink-shower’ in larger restrooms.

Preparing for Comfort

  • Personal Comfort Items: Bring a travel pillow or additional clothing for cushioning against hard surfaces. A travel blanket can be crucial for warmth, particularly in cooler areas or during the night.

These tips, derived from the experiences shared by travelers, aim to make your stay at YVR as restful as possible, whether you’re facing a long layover or an unexpected overnight stay.

Amenities for Sleeping and Locations:

Based on the detailed reviews and recommendations from travelers, here are the best sleep amenities and locations within Vancouver International Airport (YVR):

1. Landside International Departures Area

  • Location: Right end of the concourse, beyond the 24-hour Starbucks.
  • Amenities: Armless chairs and proximity to a 24-hour Starbucks for overnight refreshments. It’s recommended for being quieter and less trafficked compared to other areas.

2. Mezzanine Level above International Departures

  • Location: Accessible via stairs or elevators from the international departures area.
  • Amenities: Carpeted floor, very quiet atmosphere, and warmer due to proximity to the ceiling, making it ideal for sleeping on the floor with a sleeping bag or blankets.

3. US Departures Area

  • Location: Near the entrance to the Fairmont Hotel.
  • Amenities: Quiet with minimal traffic, particularly at night. This area is slightly cooler, so additional blankets or a sleeping bag is recommended. Benches here are described as having good padding.

4. Near the US Domestic Flight Area

  • Location: Near the Starbucks kiosk which is open 24 hours.
  • Amenities: Several places to lie down, seats without armrests, and close to restrooms and 24-hour food options like Wendy’s.

5. Chapel

  • Location: Below the main concourse.
  • Amenities: Known for its quiet environment, ideal for avoiding crowds and noise. Free tea, coffee, and snacks are sometimes available. However, be aware of restrictions such as required lighting during the night.

6. Viewing Area at the Top of the Escalator (Landside, Domestic)

  • Location: Near food outlets like Tim’s, Subway, and A&W.
  • Amenities: Benches are available for napping, though the area can get noisy early in the morning due to staff activity.

7. Seating Near US Departures

  • Location: Secluded spots near the US departures.
  • Amenities: Quiet area with less foot traffic, especially late at night or early morning. Offers some privacy and dimmer lighting.

Additional Tips:

  • Comfort and Preparedness: Bringing a travel pillow, earplugs, and an eye mask can significantly enhance comfort, especially in busier or brighter areas.
  • Security and Policies: Being aware of airport security checks and policies regarding overnight stays is crucial. Some areas might be monitored more closely, and displaying your boarding pass may be required to stay overnight.
  • Power Outlets: While not adjacent to all seating areas, power outlets can generally be found throughout the airport, particularly near food courts and less crowded areas. Late at night, these areas are more accessible for charging electronic devices.

These locations and amenities make Vancouver International Airport a relatively comfortable and convenient place for travelers needing to rest or stay overnight, although it’s always good to be prepared for varying conditions such as temperature, noise levels, and light.

Airport Hours

Vancouver Airport operates 24 hours a day, but the Domestic Terminal closes overnight. In the Domestic Airside Departure Area, Services stop around 11 p.m., and the area is cleared by 1 a.m. If you’re in this area, you’ll have to leave and proceed to International Terminal landside areas, an 8-minute walk where you’ll find several armless chairs.

For your convenience, facilities like Starbucks and Tim Horton’s are open 24 hours, providing limited options for food and drink throughout the night. Additionally, US Immigration opens at 4:30 a.m., aligning with the departure times of flights to US destinations.

In-Airport Hotel as Alternative to Sleep Pods:

Fairmont Vancouver Airport Hotel

The Fairmont Vancouver Airport Hotel offers a superior alternative to sleep pods and free in-airport sleeping spots for several compelling reasons.

  • Location Convenience: Directly situated within Vancouver International Airport, providing easy access to gates.
  • Soundproof Rooms: Ensures a quiet, restful environment, free from airport noise.
  • Accommodation Options: Offers both overnight stays and day-use rooms available in 4, 6, or 8-hour blocks, catering to different travel needs.
  • Award-Winning Service: Voted #1 Airport Hotel in North America at the 2023 Skytrax World Airport Awards.
  • Luxurious Amenities: Includes floor-to-ceiling views, 24-hour in-room dining, and in-room wellness offerings.
  • Health Club Access: Available for $20 per person for non-guests, featuring a fully equipped gym and indoor pool.
  • Dining and Entertainment: The hotel features an award-winning restaurant with local coastal cuisine and live music.
  • Additional Services: Airline check-in kiosk located within the hotel for added convenience.

Pier D Expansion Enhanced Layover Experience at YVR:

YVR ranks as the second busiest airport in Canada after Toronoto’s Pearson and served nearly 25 million passengers in 2023 and is a significant airport in Canada and North America’s aviation landscape. YVR stands out as a pivotal trans-pacific hub, offering more direct flights to China than any other airport in North America or Europe.

This increase in international flights translates to a higher number of layover passengers who use YVR as a connecting point to Asian cities like Hong Kong, Beijing, Taipei, and Singapore’s Changi, underscoring its importance in global air travel.

Recognizing the necessity to enhance in-airport amenities for international layover passengers, the Airport Authority recently initiated the most significant terminal expansion in 25 years. The Pier D Expansion project aims to boost the airport’s international capacity, ensuring a more accommodating and comfortable layover experience for international fliers.

The YVR’s Peir D Expansion sought to provide more comfortable and seamless experience for its travelers and there is a variety of seating options on level 2 as a place to relax.

Below are some images showing super comfortable seating but which have armrests making them not suitable for sleep.

Despite these technological enhancements such as digital projection mapping and much more improved plush seats with comfortable padding, YVR did not embrace modern sleep amenities in its terminals, such as the installation of sleep pods.

While passengers can look forward to engaging with the sights, sounds, and stories of British Columbia as they move through Pier D, the airport has not introduced sleep pods to provide travelers with comfortable resting options during layovers or delays.

Below is a quick video of recent YVR’s Peir D outlook after $300 million expansion:

Showers at YVR:

While Vancouver International Airport (YVR) does not have public shower facilities, travelers can access shower facilities through certain lounges and a hotel. The Plaza Premium Lounge in the Domestic Departures area, located in the Domestic Terminal, Airside, Departures Level 3 near Gate B15, offers showers with a 2-hour lounge use package priced at CA$56 + tax. It operates daily from 0500 to 2200.

Similarly, the Plaza Premium Lounge in US Departures, positioned in USA Terminal 1, Airside across from Gate E87, provides showers for a 2-hour lounge use costing CA$50 + tax, available from 0500 to 2000 daily. More details on Plaza Premium’s website here.

Additionally, The Fairmont Vancouver Airport Hotel, situated landside, allows non-guests to use its Health Club, saunas, and showers for a drop-in fee of $20 per person.

Here’s a table representing the shower facilities available at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) through various lounges and a hotel:

LocationOperating HoursDetails of Shower Service OfferedCostDetails
Plaza Premium Lounge (Domestic Departures)0500 – 2200 dailyShowers with 2-hour lounge accessCA$56 + taxDomestic Terminal, Airside, Departures Level 3, near Gate B15
Plaza Premium Lounge (US Departures)0500 – 2000 dailyShowers with 2-hour lounge accessCA$50 + taxUSA Terminal 1, Airside, across from Gate E87
Fairmont Vancouver Airport Hotel (Health Club)Available dailyAccess to Health Club, saunas, showers$20 per personLandside, drop-in access for non-guests
This table provides a quick reference to the available options for taking a shower at YVR, including locations, operating hours, and costs.
Image of Nathan Kip Rotich

Nathan helps travelers find the most comfortable sleep setups during layovers, from cozy airport hotels to futuristic sleep pods. His insights aim to transform layovers into rejuvenating sleepcations, offering travelers an alternative to costly hotels and uncomfortable benches.