With the biggest party the city has ever seen now officially over, Vancouver's airport is in the midst of the biggest mass exodus from its facility in history.

As many as 39,000 passengers were expected to depart from YVR on Monday – breaking the previous record of 26,000 passengers set in August 2008.

There will be 900 takeoffs and landings at the facility Monday – around 150 more than an average March day, a spokesperson said. Each flight is expected to be filled to capacity.

More significant may be what the passengers onboard are taking with them. The average athlete is carrying five to seven pieces of luggage, some of it oversized.

The facility had not recorded any significant or unexpected delays by Monday afternoon.

Men's skeleton gold medallist Jon Montgomery was among athletes from 82 countries waiting for a flight out of Vancouver Monday.

The Russell, Man., native, a fan favourite at the Games, told CTV News he was looking forward to getting a haircut and "trying to get things squared away" when he gets home.

"I've got some laundry to do," he joked.


The airport authority has been preparing for this day for quite some time. It spent $5 million on a temporary terminal to move the masses through easily -- even hiring hundreds of extras to perform as passengers to test out the new terminal.

"To actually try out the terminal we had airlines doing check-in," said Paul Boyd, YVR's vice-president.

"[For] the baggage system we gave them pieces of luggage -- ran the buses through and tested the facility because [we] only had one shot at doing it."

There will also be a record number of baggage pieces coming through the facility. Up to 77,000 pieces, including sports equipment like skis, skates and snowboards, will be processed.

The airport has built a temporary baggage check-in at the False Creek and Whistler athlete's villages to protect valuable athletic gear. Passengers can also get their boarding pass at those locations.

Officials advise passengers to check the status of their flight online before leaving home – and to arrive five hours before departure for domestic and international flights.

Public transportation

For one time only, Metro Vancouver's transit authority kept the Canada Line SkyTrain running overnight to accommodate the mass exodus. Train will run from downtown Vancouver to the Richmond airport every six minutes.

"At the end of the day it's exactly what the Canada Line was intended to do was to move people and move them quickly," spokesperson Drew Snider told ctvbc.ca.