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Holiday Travel Tips

Dec 3, 2018

The winter holiday season is a very busy time of year at the Victoria International Airport. If travel is in your plans, here are a few tips to help ensure your plans run smoothly.

Before you leave home, please remember:

  • Effective November 27, 2017, Transport Canada has prohibited certain powders and granular material with a volume of 350 ml (the size of a soda can) or more in all carry-on baggage in Canada.  These items will be still be allowed in checked baggage.  Prohibited material includes items such as bath salts, sea salt, baby powder, cooking powder and sand.  Items such as baby formula, protein powder, tea and coffee will still be permitted in any quantity.  Consistent with international practice, Transport Canada will also amend the list so that  very small knife blades (6 cm or less - about the size of a large paper clip) will not be prohibited on domestic or international flights. To respect Transport Canada's screening agreement with the United States, knife blades of any length will remain prohibited on flights to the United States through preclearance facilities.  Razor blades and box cutters of any size will remain prohibited at all screening checkpoints.
  • Make sure you have all of your documentation required to travel. Requirements can vary depending on whether you are travelling domestically or internationally so you might want to check with your airline. Be sure to have valid (not expired) government issued photo identification for all flights. Please note that the ID you use must exactly match the name on your ticket.  If it does not, you will need to contact your airline to have your ticket re-issued in your legal name.  Note that all passengers, including Canadian and U.S. citizens that do not have NEXUS, are required to present a valid passport when travelling by air between Canada and the United States.  If you are a passenger travelling to the U.S. via (Vancouver-YVR),(Calgary-YYC) and (Edmonton-YEG), NEXUS only is acceptable.  If you are a passenger travelling non-stop to the U.S. from (Victoria-YYJ) then you are required to have your passport. 

  • Anyone travelling with a NEXUS card may present it at Security Checkpoint for expedited screening.

  • Specific documentation may be required for children under 18, especially if they are not being accompanied by a parent or guardian.  Confirm details with your airline or visit the Government of Canada Travel Website for more information about travelling with children.If you are not a Canadian or American and you are travelling to the United States, please apply for ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization). ESTA is an on-line application system developed by the United States government to pre-screen travellers before they are allowed to travel into the United States. There is a computer available at the airport however, best to apply in advance of travel is possible.
  • Airlines may be strictly enforcing baggage limitations.  Please check with your airline to confirm your flight and verify that your luggage is within the size and weight restrictions for both carry-on and checked baggage. Baggage fees may be applicable and collected upon check-in.
  • If you are travelling with pets, confirm your airline's seasonal pet policy because some airlines don't accept pets for travel in checked baggage during the holiday season.
  • Most major airlines offer customers the option of saving time by checking-in for their flights on-line up to 24 hours before departure.
  • Travelling with Cannabis?  Get the facts.

Arrive Early

  • It is recommended that you arrive no less than 90 minutes prior to your scheduled departure time.

Airport Parking

  • Give yourself some extra time to park, check your baggage, and clear security screening.  If you are bringing your own vehicle please be reminded that the Victoria International Airport does not accept parking reservations. If the regular parking lots are full when you arrive, please follow the directions of parking attendants who will guide you to one of our overflow parking lots.  You will be requested to pre-pay for your stay so have your return date easily available.

Security Screening

Travellers are reminded to keep in mind security measures when preparing to travel. For the most current regulations regarding carry-on and checked baggage, please visit the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA). The following are some suggestions to help you move through pre-board security screening:

  • Pack you own bags and try to travel light.  If you are travelling with gifts, it is recommended that they be unwrapped.
  • If you are taking a wrapped item, it is best to place it in your checked baggage.
  • Keep valuables, medicine and other important items in your carry-on baggage.
  • Make sure you travel with government issued photo identification. (Note: Air Travel to U.S. requires a valid passport or NEXUS card.) Note - Victoria International Airport now has a NEXUS line available to expedite your pre-board screening time.
  • Remember to put identification tags inside baggage as well as outside in case your tag comes off.
  • Laptops, cell phones, and other electronics should have identification on them.
  • Have your boarding pass ready to present when you get to the Security Checkpoint.
  • Liquids, gels, and aerosols are permitted through pre-board security screening at Canadian airports provided that the items are packaged in containers with a capacity of 100 ml/100 grams (3.4 oz) or less, and that the containers fit comfortably in one clear, closed and re-sealable plastic bag with a capacity of no more than 1 litre (1 quart). One bag per passenger is permitted. Anything larger than that should be packed in your checked baggage as there are no size or bag restrictions for liquids and gels packed in checked baggage.
  • Knives longer than 6cm or knife-like sharp objects will not be permitted through pre-board screening. Ensure no sharp objects, such as scissors, are in your carry-on bag. Take time when packing, and avoid bringing anything that could be interpreted as a weapon or a dangerous item.
  • Passengers are not permitted to transport printer toner cartridges in checked bags on any flights departing from Canadian airports if those cartridges weigh 454 (16 ounces) or more. These large, office-size toner cartridges are between 20 centimetres and 30 centimetres in length (8 to 12 inches respectively, or approximately the size of a loaf of bread). Smaller toner cartridges, such as those typically used in home printers, are still permitted.
  • Passengers on outbound flights from Canada to the United States are not permitted to travel with toner cartridges in carry-on bags.
  • Travellers bringing electronic equipment as carry-on baggage should be prepared to declare them and demonstrate that they are in working order.
  • Sports equipment such as skis, snowboards, ski poles, hockey sticks and golf clubs are not permitted as carry-on items and must be transported as checked baggage. 
  • Bicycle storage boxes that contain other packed items or oversized checked luggage (kennels, large boxes) will require opening by the scanning x-ray operator at the self-serve baggage drop.  This will add up to 15-minutes to the process of dropping off your checked-baggage before you can proceed to the Security Checkpoint.   
  • Avoid bringing non-permitted or dangerous goods by checking CATSA's permitted and non-permitted items list . Get to boarding gate a little early if you have a wheelchair or stroller or require a little extra time to board.
  • Once beyond the Security Checkpoint you can purchase food and beverage for the aircraft or fill your water bottle at one of the water bottle fill stations located in the Passenger Departure Lounge.
  • Download CATSA's "Breeze Through Security" mobile app.  You can Check wait times at security screening checkpoints in major Canadian airports. Search if an item belongs in carry-on baggage or in checked baggage. Find information for families and passengers with special needs to help them get through airport security screening quickly and easily. Create a travel checklist to help pack a carry-on bag or a checked bag. Find out about security restrictions on various items and provide feedback about your experience at security screening.
  • Ask CATSA via Twitter @catsa_gc.

Christmas Day Food and Beverage Operator Hours

  • White Spot 8:00 - 5:00 pm
  • Starbucks 1:30 pm - 11:00 pm
  • Tim Hortons 5:00 am - 2:00 pm

On behalf of the Victoria Airport Authority, we wish you safe travels and the very best of the holiday season!