What you need to know about flying from Calgary International Airport over the holidays

Dec 9 2021, 7:58 pm

It may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s also a very confusing time to fly.

Either you haven’t flown since March 2020 or you have and all the rules have changed again. Regardless, travelling by air isn’t as easy as it once was.

If you’re flying out of the Calgary International Airport (YYC) this holiday season, or considering it, here’s a handy list of what you should know before you fly.

For starters, all passengers 12 years old and up need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to board a plane departing from Canada to any Canadian or international destination.

Besides that, and needing to wear a mask indoors and on the plane for the entire time (except while eating and drinking), here is a quick guide to flying from YYC this holiday season.

Flying from YYC to the United States

According to the CDC, all air passengers two years of age or older boarding a flight from Calgary to the US need proof of a negative COVID-19 test or documentation of recovery from the virus.

  • You will need to get a COVID-19 viral test (regardless of vaccination status or citizenship) no more than one day before you travel by air into the United States
  • You must show your negative result to the airline before you board your flight
  • If you recently recovered from COVID-19, you may instead travel with documentation of recovery from COVID-19 (i.e., your positive COVID-19 viral test result on a sample taken no more than 90 days before the flight’s departure from a foreign country and a letter from a licensed healthcare provider or a public health official stating that you were cleared to travel)
  • For flights to the US, YYC recommends arriving at the airport two and a half hours before your flight’s estimated departure

Flying from YYC internationally

Each international destination has its own set of entry requirements. Passengers are required to understand and prepare for the entry requirements of their destination before leaving the Calgary Airport.

COVID-19 airport tests

Switch Health in the Domestic Terminal and Numi Health in the International Check-in hall, on Departures Level across from Door 15 near Security D, offer passengers departing from YYC different types of COVID-19 tests on site.

COVID-19 PCR test ($158.20 through Switch Health or $147 at Numi)

  • Results are available within 24 to 48 hours. Numi Health also offers Rapid PCR tests ($204.75), with results available around 8 pm for samples collected between 10AM and noon. If the sample was collected between noon and 5 pm, results are available around 9 am the following day.
  • Molecular test that identifies individuals potentially infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus at the time of testing. This polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19 looks for viral RNA in a nasal secretions sample)
  • Results are appropriate for international travel

COVID-19 Antigen test ($67.80 through Switch Health or $61.95 at Numi)

  • Could be performed on the day of departure, results are available in 30 minutes
  • This fast-acting test detects (in nasal secretions) the presence of proteins (or antigens) associated with the virus that causes COVID-19
  • Utilized for travel to certain countries

The Switch Health clinic is open every day between 5 am and 8 pm. Numi Health is open 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday, and 8 am to 4 pm on Saturday and Sunday.

Elle McLeanElle McLean

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