I'll be transiting Vancouver tomorrow, arriving on an international flight and continuing to the US (meaning I'll clear US customs in YVR). Transit time was originally scheduled to be 1:10, which i already found pretty tight -- but as of now, my flight is 30 min late, meaning I'd only have 40 min to make the connection. Possible?

Both flights are on Air Canada. Not a citizen of the US or Canada, so no Nexus etc. Carry-on luggage only.

Update 1: Staff at check-in claimed the plane is going to make up for the lost time and that MCT is only one hour, so "you'll be fine" and they've issued me boarding passes accordingly. Totally not buying it, but let's see what happens...

Update 2: Plane landed only 10 min behind schedule, leaving me with an hour to connect. Was near the front of the plane and there was only one other flight with connecting passengers, so even though the CBSA was moving at the speed of an arthritic snail (family in front of me in line had three kids, they individually explosive-scanned every single item of commercial baby food/snacks...), I got through with ~15 min to spare and even managed a glass of juice in the lounge! But this required every star to line up: had I been at the back of the plane or if there had been longer queues or any more delays while trying to land, I would likely have missed the connection, and it would have been a really tight squeeze for 40 min.

  • 7
    The Minimum Connect Time for this is 1:10 [although some carriers insist on two hours for this]. 40 minutes? It's narrowly possible if you know your way around, you can power walk, you land early, your departing flight is late, and you are lucky with queues. You might want to seek to get this rearranged now. The problem is if you leave it longer, you may find that there are no seats on later departing services. But then again if the airline already says it's thirty minutes late and it hasn't even landed yet, who knows how late it will really be.
    – Calchas
    Sep 24, 2016 at 13:26
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    If you run like hell and get lucky in US preclearance, maybe you'll make it. They might also hold the connecting flight if a lot of people from your flight are connecting to it. Sep 24, 2016 at 18:04
  • 9
    So... did you make it?
    – Luc
    Sep 24, 2016 at 23:37
  • 1
    Are you sitting at the front? Disembarking easily takes 20 mins if you're in the furthest half of a plane large enough for an international route.
    – Itai
    Sep 25, 2016 at 4:07
  • 3
    @Luc OP is a new user here, probably one of those guys who just posts his question and then abandons it, leaving the site for good.
    – Fiksdal
    Sep 25, 2016 at 11:40

4 Answers 4



Follow Transfer to the USA signage. You will be directed to the USA In-Transit Facility.

Customers are not required to pickup their baggage in Vancouver.

Proceed through Passenger Pre-board Screening.

Proceed through the U.S. Immigration Primary Inspection line.

So you need to first get to and then go through security and preclearance. The chances of doing this within 40 minutes without a queue buster card (aka NEXUS, it also gives you priority security access) is next to nil.

For the archives: even with a NEXUS in hand, knowing the airport well, it'd need some pretty speedy run to do it -- is it 40 minutes to gate close or is it 40 minutes to departure? If 40 minutes to departure then it's impossible if it's to gate close then it's impressive if anyone makes it.


Is it possible? Yes, but very, very unlikely. That's the bad news.

But, if your itinerary is indeed a connection on Air Canada, they are responsible for reaccommodating you if the inbound flight is late.

So, head for the departure gate without delay if you arrive anytime before the connecting flight leaves because you might just make. There is also the unlikely chance that flight is delayed as well.


I don't think it is possible. I have personally traveled a lot between the US and Europe, and find that even as a citizen, it takes a lot of time for us to pass through all their security checkpoints. Since you are not a citizen, I would definitely not take the risk. Since your flights are all AirCanada, they should be the ones who redirect you to another flight, but I am not sure how easily that will happen. Just be prepared to be a little stressed. If you can, I would call AirCanada, and explain to them your doubts about making your connection in time. They will say 40 minutes is adequate time, but you should insist on them switching your connecting flight to a later time.


Possibly but not likely, it will depend on the time of day and your airline. I've had AirCanada move me off an international flight if they deemed there was not enough connection time.

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