Know before you go: Tips for essential travel this winter

December 17, 2020
News release

Kelowna International Airport (YLW) is preparing for an essential holiday travel season to help those who need to travel this winter, get where they need to go. 

Typically, during the holiday season, YLW would see over 100,000 passengers through the terminal over a three-week period. While traffic through the airport will be reduced, passengers are advised to plan ahead and understand travel restrictions and requirements to ensure a safe and healthy trip.  

“Our priority is ensuring a healthy and safe airport experience for everyone who is travelling for essential purposes this season,” said Sam Samaddar, Airport Director. “We recognize that travelling can be stressful at times, especially with new safety measures for COVID-19. That’s why we’ve put together helpful tips to make the journey through the airport as easy and safe as possible.”  

YLW anticipates the busiest travel days of the season will be December 18, 20-23, 27-30 and January 2-3, with peak times during these days between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. To help make the travel experience as easy as possible, follow the travel tips below: 

Departing from YLW 

Be travel ready 
New travel measures are in place at YLW and other Canadian airports to keep travellers healthy: 

  • Masks are required to be worn at all times at YLW, unless eating or drinking. Disposable masks are available for purchase at the terminal; however, supplies may be limited. Check to ensure your mask meets Transport Canada guidelines before arriving at the airport. 
  • Children under two and people with certain medical conditions are exempt from wearing a mask. Transport Canada requires all passengers who are unable to wear a mask due to medical reasons, to provide a medical certificate. If you are unable to wear a mask during your flight, you may not be able to travel. Check your airline's mask policies before travelling.
  • As you enter the security queue your temperature will be checked. If you have a body temperature below 38 degrees Celsius you will continue in line. If you have an elevated temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or higher, you will need to wait for 10 minutes and be tested again. If you have an elevated temperature, and do not have a medical certificate explaining a medical or physical condition for your elevated temperature, you will not be able to continue your journey. For more information about temperature screening, visit the Government of Canada website

Bring ID 
Check with your airline to ensure you have the required identification and valid travel documentation for everyone travelling, including children. Some airlines have restrictions on travelling with pets during holiday periods. Talk to your airline in advance if you’re planning on travelling with your pet.  

Explore parking options 
Due to the reduced number of people travelling, all parking areas have lots of capacity.  

  • The long- and short-term parking lots are open and the Cell Phone Waiting Area is free while you wait to pick up your arriving passenger.  
  • Valet parking at YLW has been temporarily suspended due to COVID-19. For more information about parking options, visit  

Arrive early 
The number of passengers travelling through the airport will be fewer than in previous years; however, new health and safety processes may result in longer than typical wait times. Please be patient as airline, airport and security staff work to get you and other passengers on their way safely.  

  • All passengers should arrive at least 90 minutes prior to boarding to give you enough time to park, drop off any luggage, and go through security. 
  • Remember that check-in and baggage cut off times vary, depending on the airline. Most close 45 minutes prior to departure. 
  • All post-security shops and restaurants are open with COVID-19 safety measures in place. For current hours, visit 

Access for all 
YLW is equipped with many features to allow you to travel easily and independently throughout the terminal. 

  • Accessible parking is available in the rows closest to the terminal, in the short- and long-term lots. 
  • Designated curbside areas are available in front of the terminal for dropping off passengers with disabilities. Designated areas are located at meeting areas #1 and #6 outside of the terminal.  
  • Curbside assistance is available for people who require wheelchair, baggage or assistance from the curb into the terminal check-in area. For more information, visit

What can I bring? 
Avoid surrendering items and guarantee that your valuables make it through security screening. Search CATSA’s permitted and non-permitted lists to see which items to pack in your carry-on and checked baggage.  

  • If you're bringing gifts, leave them unwrapped as they may need to be inspected. Check with your airline to learn about their baggage restrictions and fees.  
  • Travellers can now bring an extra bottle of hand sanitizer (up to 355ml) in addition to the 100 ml liquids you place in a 1L resealable bag.  

Landing at YLW 

If you’re landing at YLW, the airport may look different than before. Some of YLW’s infrastructure has been reconfigured to keep space between travellers.  

  • Please ensure your mask remains on when entering the terminal. 
  • Practice physical distancing wherever possible in the Arrivals corridor and follow signage to the luggage carousels. 
  • Pick up your bag and exit the luggage carousel area. 
  • You may remove your mask after exiting the terminal. 
  • Greet your party at the front curb or arrange for ground transportation from the airport. 

Stay home if you’re sick 

Your health and well-being is our top priority. Please monitor your health for symptoms of COVID-19 and if you feel unwell, postpone your trip. Don’t come to the airport—rebook your trip from home by contacting your airline.  

For more information about how to have a safe and healthy journey through YLW this winter, visit