What to expect for air travel this December

December 13, 2021

News Release

Kelowna International Airport (YLW) looks forward to welcoming travellers back this holiday season. YLW knows this may be the first time passengers have flown in a while, so have prepared some tips on what travellers can anticipate on their journey.  

“We want to help passengers know what to expect when they come to YLW with COVID-19 safety measures and regulations now in place,” said Sam Samaddar, Airport Director. “We recognize travel can be stressful, especially since COVID-19, and want to ensure those travelling with us know that our priority is a healthy and safe airport experience for everyone.” 

Here are some helpful tips to make the travel experience as easy as possible. Passengers can also visit ylw.kelowna.ca/HealthyTravel

  • Wear a mask  
  • Have your Canadian COVID-19 Proof of Vaccination easily accessible 
  • Arrive early and give yourself extra time to check-in and go through security 
  • If you are leaving Canada, understand the COVID-19 requirements for your destination and requirements for entry to Canada upon your return. 
    • PCR testing within 72 hours of departure 
    • Use ArriveCAN to provide mandatory travel documents 
    • Additional COVID-19 testing upon arrival into Canada
  • Check directly with the airline you are travelling with about travel requirements. 

 COVID-19 Travel Requirements 

  • Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required for all passengers on domestic or international flights 
    • YLW recommends travellers use the Canadian Proof of Vaccination. 
      • BC residents can access the Canadian Proof of Vaccination through Health Gateway
    • Passengers may be asked for proof of vaccination at various points throughout their travel experience, ensure your proof of vaccination is always accessible – even without access to Internet or Wi-Fi.  
    • Passengers must have received their second dose at least 14 full days prior to travel and have no signs or symptoms of COVID-19. 
  • Passengers are encouraged to check with their airline to confirm what testing is required for entry into their final destination. 
    • If passengers require a COVID-19 antigen or PCR test prior to departing, testing is available onsite at YLW seven days a week through Whitecap RSC Medical.  Appointments are required. 
  • Masks are required at all times in the terminal and throughout the duration of the flight. 
    • Masks with exhalation valves or vents, bandanas, neck gaiters, full face masks, face shields or militaristic-style masks are not permitted.  
  • ArriveCAN 
    • When arriving in Canada, passengers must use ArriveCAN to provide mandatory travel information.
    • Passengers will need to submit their information within 72 hours before arrival to Canada.  
    • More information is available at: canada.ca/ArriveCAN 
  • COVID-19 testing requirements for passengers travelling to Canada 
    • Passengers arriving in Canada must have a negative PCR test within 72 hours of a direct flight to Canada. 
    • Passengers, who have been outside of Canada or the United States in the 14 days prior, may be selected to complete a COVID-19 test upon arrival in Canada and will then be required to quarantine until they receive negative test results.  
      • Fully vaccinated passengers will be able to complete their journey, within Canada, to their final destination to quarantine.*Some exceptions may apply depending on where passengers have visited while outside of Canada. 
      • The Government of Canada is increasing the number of travellers being selected for testing to reach 100% of vaccinated travellers in the coming weeks. 
      • Passengers who test positive will be required to quarantine for 14 days.  
      • Transport Canada News Release: Government of Canada introduces additional measures to address COVID-19 Omicron variant of concern - Canada.ca   

Leaving YLW 

  • Check-in online  
    • Passengers can check-in, pay fees and retrieve their boarding pass online from home to help limit points of contact at the airport. 
  • Arrive early  
    • Passengers are encouraged to arrive at the YLW terminal at least 90 minutes in advance of domestic flights and 2 hours in advance of international flights. 
  • COVID-19 Testing 
    • COVID-19 antigen or PCR testing is available onsite at YLW seven days a week through Whitecap RSC Medical.  Appointments are required. 
    • To book an appointment, visit whitecapcovidtesting.com/kelowna or call 604-966-3777. 
    • Whitecap will be open, with reduced hours, on Christmas and New Year’s Day. 
  • Parking 
    • Touchless parking is available in the short- and long-term parking using the TIBA Mobile Access app. 
    • Valet parking has returned – customers wishing to access this service can learn more about booking at ylw.kelowna.ca/parking
  • Bring a mask  
    • Masks are required throughout the terminal.  
  • Baggage drop  
    • Self serve kiosks are available for passengers to print and apply their own baggage tags. 
  • Security screening  
    • Passengers are able to scan their own boarding passes to limit points of contact. 
    • If passengers are bringing carry-on items, they are encouraged to visit catsa.gc.ca to ensure the items are approved for carry-on or if they need to be in checked baggage. 
    • If you're bringing gifts, leave them unwrapped as they may need to be inspected.  

 Landing at YLW 

  • Wear a mask  
    • Masks are required throughout the terminal. 
  • Transportation 
    • Travellers are encouraged to pre-book transportation services in advance. Transportation services available at YLW are: 
      • Taxi 
      • Ride-share 
      • Car rentals 
      • Shuttle 
    • For more information, visit ylw.kelowna.ca/transportation    

International Flights 

  • Starting Dec. 16, international flights will resume at YLW with non-stop flights to Seattle with Alaska Airlines. 
  • In early 2022, WestJet will resume non-stop flights to Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, and Cabo San Lucas. 
  • As air travel continues to recover, we expect additional destinations and frequency of international flights.  
  • Canadian passengers returning to Canada must use ArriveCAN and are required to have a negative PCR test within 72 hours of their returning direct flight.