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Halifax International Airport (YHZ)

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      31.07.2009 17:35
      Very helpful



      A very pleasant little airport

      Halifax, Nova Scotia is a little of the beaten track when it comes to Europeans planning their holidays in Canada, so perhaps not a very common place for people to visit.
      If you do like a bit of peace of quite, and would love to spend some time with a really nice community of people who genuinely will want to help you out and improve your holiday, then perhaps Nova Scotia is a good place for you to visit. In which case you'll need to go through YHZ, Halifax International Airport.

      In the last few years there's been quite a bit of work done on the airport, some may argue it's a little unnecessary (I know a few of the locals who do), but it certainly does make for a more pleasant experience as the tourist coming through.

      As you arrive you'll notice the airport is reasonably small, so there are no massive walks from your plane to customs, it's nearly always a couple of minutes. As you get to customs you're greeted by a rather pretty little water feature, which ok, may be a bit of a waste of money, but it certainly beats arriving to 6 miles of HSBC adverts as you do at London Heathrow.

      Once you get to customs you'll notice there's no segregation between Canadians and foreigners, which I find quite refreshing and gives you and instant sense of the kind of atmosphere you can expect from Nova Scotia. Its everyone together, as opposed to them, and us. Sure the customs agent isn't going to be that friendly with you, but you can excuse them, as they have to maintain a level of professional scepticism in their line of work. The line generally moves pretty quickly and they tend to be fully staffed all through busy times (as opposed to 100 empty booths which many of us are used to!)

      Baggage claim has always been really quick in my 5-6 experiences and I've never seen anyone having any problems. I'm sure if you did the staff would definitely look after you.

      When travelling the other way, starting from the outside, they've got enough parking to cope with an Olympic Games! On top of that the first 20 minutes is free, which is a real novelty if you're used to UK airports! Transport links to the "city" (sorry people from Halifax), are pretty limited, so hiring a car is definitely worth while. I think there is a bus, but not sure of the frequency.

      Getting through customs has always been quick and painless. Of course there's the usual checks, but rarely is there a line and once you're through it's a mere escalator ride to the airport lounge.

      As for the services inside the airport, this is a small airport so don't expect to be doing any major shopping. There's a small duty free shop where you can pick up the basics and then there's the usual amenities of a sports bar, and of course a Tim Horton's (anyone who's been to Canada will know these are more frequent that Gregg's in North England!). There's also a nice little runway viewpoint at the top of the airport, which gets you away from any crowds and gives you a bit of peace and quiet, a novelty for any airport.

      The airport is always really clean, and there's always lots of people on hand to help you if you have any questions. It actually makes flying quite relaxing!


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