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Old March 5th, 2012, 04:35 PM
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Question Flying home: Vancouver or Seattle?

I am a member of Southwest's frequent flyer program because no other U.S. airline lets bags fly free or customers change their flights without a penalty and SWA does a great job keeping ticket prices and delayed flights percentages low. The only problem is they don't operate outside the country, so I can't fly home from Vancouver on SWA.

A friend who has sailed 38 times suggested driving down to Seattle so I can take SWA home. Of course that would require renting a car in Canada and returning it in the U.S., so I am not sure if that idea would really be cheaper than flying out of Vancouver. What would be less expensive? Yes, I will be checking my luggage for a 7-night cruise.
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Old March 5th, 2012, 06:16 PM
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I think you will find it a lot harder to cross the border by car than to fly from Vancouver.

I hear the lines are very long and they will even do a background check on you - I hope you don't have any DUI's etc.

I just tend to think it will be a hassle to rent a car, cross the border and drop it off, but please let us know eiher way!
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Old March 5th, 2012, 06:45 PM
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Don't worry Paul, Mom has no DUI arrests on her record.

What she does have is a strong belief in never paying more than she needs to for plane tickets or anything else. She was even mad at me for ordering a t-shirt once because it came with a $5 shipping fee. I guarantee you that woman will do anything to save more money.

Why is flying easier than driving across the border?
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Old March 5th, 2012, 08:06 PM
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Because with flying all you need to do is show the airline ticket agent that you have a valid passport, then when you arrive in your hometown airport you just get in a short line for customs (or thy may not even check you at all).

But if you drive there can often be a backup of vehicles that can take hours to clear. You are arriving at the same singular border station as everyone else who wants to cross at the same time.

This is just based on what I have heard.
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Old March 5th, 2012, 08:12 PM
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You don't have to drive. You could take Amtrack or Quick Shuttle. Your cruise line might also be selling SeaTac transfers.
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Old March 5th, 2012, 08:49 PM
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Actually driving may be even more expensive than just flying home from Vancouver, plus all the extra time involved and waiting in line to get over the border..At least for me, when the cruise/vacation is over, I would rather just get home ASAP...
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Old March 6th, 2012, 02:00 AM
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Question Another idea

OK what about booking a flight to another city that does have Southwest and switching airlines during the layover?
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Old March 6th, 2012, 11:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Future Cruiser View Post
OK what about booking a flight to another city that does have Southwest and switching airlines during the layover?
Sounds plausible - but will you save money?

I just did a search for a flight to Miami. I like SW air, too (I live in PHX, we do a LOT of SW). But it wasn't any cheaper (to FLL) than what I got with United to Miami.

SW is good, but it is a hassle that they don't go certain places. In the end I think you might consider that you are going to all this trouble just to save on some baggage fees.
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Old March 6th, 2012, 11:26 AM
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I looked into this yesterday(thinking of changing boats from seattle to vancouver). Amtrak is only $38pp, 3.5 hour trip.
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Old March 6th, 2012, 01:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Motter View Post
Sounds plausible - but will you save money?

I just did a search for a flight to Miami. I like SW air, too (I live in PHX, we do a LOT of SW). But it wasn't any cheaper (to FLL) than what I got with United to Miami.

SW is good, but it is a hassle that they don't go certain places. In the end I think you might consider that you are going to all this trouble just to save on some baggage fees.
Paul, it is not just bag fees. The airfare itself is cheaper on Southwest every time. Also, I am not talking about just driving to Seattle. It would include driving to Tacoma first just to see the Museum of Glass (we are big Dale Chihuly fans) and then going to Sea-Tac, which actually is south of Seattle.

How would it be cheaper? Well, I was wondering if renting a car plus buying a ticket for a Southwest flight out of Seattle would cost less than flying out of Vancouver, where air fare is a lot more expensve before the bag fees. If it is I want to stop at the MOG before flying out of Seattle.
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Old March 6th, 2012, 05:23 PM
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Last time I checked on the one way rental, it was around $120 with the drop fee. It's about a 3 hour drive down to SeaTac and that's without any wait at the border. If you're doing this on a weekend, god help you. You can add another few hours waiting in line.
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Old March 6th, 2012, 05:53 PM
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Wow Tracky, I never imagined driving three hours could cost that much.

I miss the good old days when nobody charged us for checking our luggage.
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Old March 6th, 2012, 06:01 PM
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My husband and I had trouble finding flights out of Vancouver after our cruise (we were using miles). We found it cheaper to take a shuttle, and booked it through our cruiseline (Carnival). Once the bus actually left the terminal it was fine. However, it took us longer to get on the bus than it took us to make the drive! It seems there weren't enough busses to seat all the passengers who booked the transfer. At one point they were talking about us waiting several hours for another bus, or perhaps even having to wait until the next morning, which would have made us miss our flight! Talk about a nightmare!!! We ended up being shoved on a Holland America bus...and were thankful for that.
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Old March 6th, 2012, 06:06 PM
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Don't forget the cost of gas for driving those hours. Here in the Midwest, we are over $4.00 a gallon...That will add up quickly...
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Old March 6th, 2012, 06:21 PM
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Wow Tracky, I never imagined driving three hours could cost that much.

I miss the good old days when nobody charged us for checking our luggage.
it's the drop fee of renting in one country and dropping off in another that's the expensive part. it's a pain to be honest and the reason we don't do more of the one day sails from Seattle to Vancouver, just not worth the hassle.
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Old March 7th, 2012, 08:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Future Cruiser View Post
I am a member of Southwest's frequent flyer program because no other U.S. airline lets bags fly free or customers change their flights without a penalty and SWA does a great job keeping ticket prices and delayed flights percentages low. The only problem is they don't operate outside the country, so I can't fly home from Vancouver on SWA.

A friend who has sailed 38 times suggested driving down to Seattle so I can take SWA home. Of course that would require renting a car in Canada and returning it in the U.S., so I am not sure if that idea would really be cheaper than flying out of Vancouver. What would be less expensive? Yes, I will be checking my luggage for a 7-night cruise.
It would be easier to fly to Seattle than drive . Depending on the day the border crossing can take up to 5 hrs. If you drive , spend a day in Vancouver and then leave at 5AM (1 hr drive to border) to get to the border early. Lines usually start at 7AM to cross .
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Old March 7th, 2012, 02:52 PM
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I had no idea border crossings took that long these days. When I went to Niagara Falls twice, both times the lines were short. Yes, it was slow, but not as bad as a traffic jam during rush hour.
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Old March 7th, 2012, 03:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Future Cruiser View Post
I am a member of Southwest's frequent flyer program because no other U.S. airline lets bags fly free or customers change their flights without a penalty and SWA does a great job keeping ticket prices and delayed flights percentages low. The only problem is they don't operate outside the country, so I can't fly home from Vancouver on SWA.

A friend who has sailed 38 times suggested driving down to Seattle so I can take SWA home. Of course that would require renting a car in Canada and returning it in the U.S., so I am not sure if that idea would really be cheaper than flying out of Vancouver. What would be less expensive? Yes, I will be checking my luggage for a 7-night cruise.

The other thing is the cost of a rental car . Unless there is an American car at YVR that needs to returned to Seattle the cost is horrendous.

I priced a rental from Vancouver to Seattle (3 days) for one of our cruises. The cost was double the cost of flying from YVR to Seattle.
Canadian registered cars are hard or nearly impossible to rent the US because of insurance issues.
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Old March 7th, 2012, 05:21 PM
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I had no idea border crossings took that long these days. When I went to Niagara Falls twice, both times the lines were short. Yes, it was slow, but not as bad as a traffic jam during rush hour.
With the Canadian $$ at par, we're a bunch of shoppers I took a Monday off a couple of weeks ago and hit the border at around 9:00 am and there was an hour wait. That really surprised me for a Monday. Weekends can be crazy.
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Old March 7th, 2012, 07:46 PM
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With the Canadian $$ at par, we're a bunch of shoppers I took a Monday off a couple of weeks ago and hit the border at around 9:00 am and there was an hour wait. That really surprised me for a Monday. Weekends can be crazy.
Hopefully flying on a Monday won't be so bad. I want to stay in Vancouver all weekend.
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Old July 6th, 2012, 10:52 AM
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Future Cruiser - Like you I am a HUGE SWA fan (especially now that they bought Airtran and I've earned A-List status!). Our cruise to Vancouver is not until 2014, but being the planner that I am, I already started looking at options. I found this bus line that will pick you up at the pier and drop you off at the airport in Seattle. Need to do more research but it sounded like a decent option. Quick Shuttle: Vancouver Seattle Schedule We'll also look into cruiseline transfers if available. Or maybe I'll get lucky and SWA will expand to Canada by 2014. (They used to partner with an airline to fly to parts of Canada but I don't see that on their site anymore - just Volaris to Mexico.)
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Old August 27th, 2012, 05:28 AM
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Here are some options for you to consider: Yes, the lines at several of the border crossings CAN be long, I would go online to us borders and find out which one has the best times crossings. DO NOT go through the Peace Arch crossing. It is the main one and I-5 runs right into it. Another option would be to either take a cheap $100.00 Horizon Air prop-job plane from Seatac to Bellingham International (in Bellingham about 20 minutes south of the border), and have someone you know pick you up or drop you off. The Amtrack is a good idea but it is very long and they slow down frequently for every town. I have been on that several times and it can be long. Especially if you are tired from your cruise and just want to get home. They also have bus companies you can take that will shuttle you from Seatac to over the border. Not a bad idea that way I think. I don't think you will be able to rent a car in Canada and drop it off one way at Seatac. I am not positive but look into that.
I hope this helps. My brother lives in Bellingham and when we go on a trip, he usually takes the propjob down (about 50 minutes) to Seatac and I just meet him in the terminal.
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