Vancouver International Airport

Vancouver International Airport’s lovely loo


Every year the folks at Cintas – a major restroom supply company – hold a contest to choose the best public washrooms in the United States and Canada.

The list of nominees includes not just spots where cleanliness in crappers is king, but where creativity abounds.

For example, last year’s U.S. winner, the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis, MN, has a restroom decorated “with ornate, gilded mirrors, sassy text plates, and bricks laid as if by a drunken mason on bender,” and “invites guests into an Alice In Wonderland-like grotto – to relieve themselves and re-live childhood fairy tales.”


The list of potties to pick from is out for this year’s contest, and while no airport made the top ten list in the U.S., Tampa International Airport is still overflowing with pride from making the list last year.


This year, the finalists in Canada include a loo at Vancouver International Airport.


Here’s how the nomination reads:

“Located in the C-Pier, Domestic Terminal of YVR, travelers find a clean, modern place to freshen up during their journeys. The washroom walls are covered in shades of blue, red, and yellow mosaic tiles and wave-shaped blue flooring winds down the curved corridor leading guests to their choice of bathroom stalls. White tile surrounds the hands-free sinks and towel dispensers, creating a cohesive and modern atmosphere that is sure to leave a lasting impression.”


Take a look at the list of nominees for “Best Restroom” in both the United States and Canada and be sure to pick your favorite. Because when you gotta go, you gotta – well, you know – and it may as well be a posh pottie.

Test drive Vancouver Airport’s new baggage carts

Airport baggage carts can cost a bundle to rent for that short trip from your car to the terminal or from bag claim out to the curb.

Some airports offer them for free in their international terminal areas while a few, including Vancouver International Airport, make them available for free terminal-wide.

Here’s a fun video, done in the style of an automobile advertisement, touting YVR’s 3000 new and improved luggage carts.

Makes me want to go for a test drive…

Greetings from Vancouver International Airport


Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is one of the world’s top notch airports, with amenities that range from the in-airport Vancouver Fairmont Hotel (which has a fish butler), to spas, a dentist, a medical clinic, a liquor store and a 7-Eleven.

There are also, of course, plenty of shops offering everything from maple syrup to high-end handbags.


But, with a four-hour layover in the international terminal I discovered one basic travel amenity that was missing.

Not one shop in the International Terminal sells pantyhose.

I tried leaving the international transit area to go the pre-security side so I could pick up a pair at the 7-Eleven, but no dice.

“Once you’re in the transit area, you cannot leave,” the staff person at the Information Desk told me. “But there are several stores that sell woolen socks.”

I tweeted my frustration while walking in and out of every single shop. And I received no outpouring of empathy and support.

Just this Tweet:

ScreenHunter_56 Mar. 24 06.56

Travel tidbits: fired flight attendant & fresh, future airport amenities

Today – a few tidbits from the inbox at

First up: there are some very interesting comments to my story from earlier this week about the Virgin America flight attendant who says she was fired for asking a breastfeeding passenger to cover up.

KLM is asking travelers to send in photos for consideration for the KLM 2013 wall calendar.  Upload a image from a place KLM travels to and get your friends to vote – all before June 29th.  Winning images will show up on the KLM Fan Calendar, which  you can then purchase (of course…) in the KLM webshop.  One fun item for sale in the shop: Stewardess Yourself mugs made out of the image you create with the Stewardess Yourself program.

And a couple of things to look forward to at a couple of airports:

Indianapolis International Airport (IND) announced that Airport Plazas will build a 2.5 acre, multi-function service plaza near the airport that will include pumps for gasoline and natural gas fuels, a convenience store, car wash, auto service bay (a tune-up while you’re waiting for your loved one to arrive? Great idea!), fast food restaurants and a new airport cell phone parking lot. Opening date: mid-2013.

Sound like a useful idea? Airport Plazas is currently operating, building or in negotiations to build service similar facilities at Newark (already built and operating), JFK, Ft. Myers, Cleveland, Cincinnati, St. Louis, and Dallas/Ft. Worth.

And the Vancouver Airport Authority has announced that it is planning to develop a luxury designer outlet center near Vancouver International Airport.

The new center will open in phases, beginning in the fall of 2014, and feature European and North American luxury, designer and mainstream brands.

80-days at Vancouver Int’l Airport

Jaeger Mah has just 10 more days to spend inside Vancouver International Airport. He’s spent 70 days there so far and he’s looking forward to being able to do his laundry when he wants to and being able to buy fresh fruit at non-inflated prices.

This past summer, Mah won a contest to be an in-residence citizen reporter at YVR. And, armed with a video camera and a few dozen bold Hawaiian shirts, he moved into the airport in mid-August.

His assignment: to spend 80 days – and nights – on-site, chronicling life at the airport via regular video reports, blog entries and on Facebook and Twitter.
Mah got a room at the on-site Fairmont Vancouver Airport Hotel and $50 a day in “YVR bucks” for snacks and meals. He’ll also be paid about $15,000 when he moves out.

I spoke with Mah before he started his adventure and checked back with him yesterday to see how it’s all turned out.

He told me about spending a day with a veteran pilot as he prepared for a flight to Tokyo. About attending liquor tasting at the duty free store and getting to ride along with the airport emergency crew. During his time at the airport he’s visited the on-site dentist (“Turns out I have five cavities,”), learned how to de-ice airplanes and spent an evening with his dad at the airport’s Flying Beaver Pub, where they play a “Name that tune” game every Saturday night.

As his live-in assignment winds down, Mah says he’s going to miss all the friends he’s made at the airport. But he knows he’ll be back soon: Mah and his girlfriend have tickets to fly to Maui at the end of November. “I can’t wait to fly,” said Mah, “Because now I know everything that goes into flying. I know what the flight crews are doing, how the airplanes are prepped, how they push planes back from the gate and what the pilots have done to get ready to fly.”

Day 68 – De-icing Crew from Live@YVR on Vimeo.