You’ve got your ticket to fly and it’s almost time to head to the airport. The following information will help you prepare for your passage through our airport to make it the best possible experience.
Preparing for a trip requires planning and packing before getting to the airport, but in order to board a flight, there are other steps to take. Give yourself plenty of time to move through the airport before your flight. It is recommended for passengers to arrive at the airport at least 2 hours before boarding a domestic or U.S.-bound flight and 3 hours before boarding an international flight.
Know before you go
- The Ottawa International Airport is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- There is one terminal building that has three levels.
- Level 1: arrivals
- Level 2: holdrooms
- Level 3: check-in
- The terminal is equipped with multiple accessible washrooms, elevators, restaurants, charging stations, stores, payphones, water fountains, bank machines and a chapel. There is also free Wi-Fi throughout the terminal.
- You can get to the airport by public transportation (OC Transpo), car, taxi, or ride sharing. There are two parking options available.
- To help you carry your belongings, baggage carts are available free of charge.
- There is no porter service at the Ottawa Airport..
- There is a curb-to-cabin VIP Assistance Service available.
- Should you require assistance when travelling, prior to arriving to the airport, please contact:
- your airline to make arrangements to get from the check in counter to the plane.
- the Ground Transportation desk at the airport (located on Level 1 at the central doors) to make arrangements to get from the vehicle to the inside of the terminal (613-248-2000 ext. 2161).
- Some airlines offer special services for unaccompanied minors.
- Items like winter coats, boots or luggage can be securely stored for a small fee while you are away. Visit the PARS website or call 613-523-8880 for information.
- In accordance with the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, which prohibits smoking in all enclosed workplaces and enclosed public places across Ontario, the Ottawa International Airport Authority closed its smoking rooms located in the domestic and U.S. holdrooms on June 30, 2006. E-cigarettes are also not permitted in the terminal.
- Our FlyCANADA app is free to download.
- There are information kiosks located on Level 1 and Level 3.
Baggage allowances vary from airline to airline. Contact your airline for information regarding the weight and size restrictions of your luggage, the total number of pieces you are permitted, the cost of checking each piece and how best to transport oversized items like car seats, golf clubs, skis and strollers. Valuables should be packed in your carry-on luggage.
Passengers can lock their luggage; however, they need to be aware that their lock might at some point during transit be broken. When travelling domestically, it is unlikely that a lock would be tampered with. However, if travelling to or through the United States and/or abroad, authorities may search luggage, at which point, the lock will be broken to perform the search.
Consult the list of items permitted and non-permitted in your carry-on and checked luggage.
It is imperative that you have proper and valid identification to board a flight. Passport Canada recommends always travelling with a valid passport as it is the only proof of citizenship and identity accepted in all countries.
- Canadian citizens flying internationally, including to the U.S., must present a valid passport to confirm their citizenship and identity.
- For domestic flights within Canada, many forms of identification can be used.
- A NEXUS card is a trusted traveller program designed to expedite the border clearance process for low-risk, pre-approved travellers into Canada and the United States.
- A CANPASS card is a trusted traveller program designed to expedite the border clearance process for low-risk, pre-approved travellers into Canada.
- Some citizens require a Visa to enter the United States. For more information, visit www.travel.state.gov.
- Travellers to the United States can apply for an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) under the Visa Waiver Program.
- Each country sets its own visa requirements. Make sure you know the rules before your trip.
There are separate check-in areas for passengers flying within Canada or internationally, or for passengers taking U.S.-bound flights. You can check in online with some airlines, and skip this step altogether at the airport. When you check in, you get a boarding pass. If you use the kiosks or go to a counter, it will be printed. If you check in online, it will be generated automatically.
If you are travelling within Canada or anywhere other than the U.S., check in on Level 3, at the designated check-in counters managed by the airline with which you are flying. Airline personnel are available to assist you on Level 3. If you only have carry-on baggage and no other baggage to check, you can proceed to the express check-in kiosk on Level 2.
All passengers taking a U.S.-bound flight must check in on Level 3 at the North end, at the designated kiosk or counter managed by the airline with which you are flying. Airline personnel are available to assist you. Passengers must complete a U.S. declaration form prior to proceeding to the screening area.
Security screening and Customs
All passengers, including infants and children, must undergo security screening prior to boarding an aircraft. The security screening process is handled by the Canadian Air Transportation Security Authority. Security screening agents are on duty at least two hours before all flight departures. For more information, visit www.catsa.gc.ca or call 1-888-294-2202.
For domestic and international flights, pre-board security screening checkpoints open daily at 4:00 a.m. from May to November and 3:00 a.m. daily from November to April. There is a dedicated line for NEXUS cardholders, families and passengers requiring assistance. For those travelling with infants, there are exemptions to the liquids and gels regulations. Passengers flying within Canada or to a destination other that the U.S. will not be required to pass through Customs at the Ottawa Airport.
Once checked in, passengers proceed through the security screening, located on Level 3, beyond the check-in counters. After passing through the security screening, most passengers leaving Ottawa on a direct flight to the U.S. clear customs in Ottawa prior to boarding their flight. Both the security screening and customs checkpoints open at 4:30 a.m. daily, year round.
For more information about U.S. Customs and Border Protection, visit http://cbp.gov or call
Waiting to board
Once you have passed through the security screening and/or U.S. Customs, locate your gate. Find a seat and settle in to wait for the airline personnel to make announcements about your flight. Follow their instructions.
Check the status of a flight on any of the monitors that display flight information, which are located throughout the terminal.
If you have time prior to boarding, you may wish to visit one of our food and beverage outlets or do some shopping.
For your convenience, free Wi-Fi is available and there are outlets to charge your devices.
Arriving from within Canada
If Ottawa is your final destination, you simply proceed to the Domestic arrivals hall in the public area of the terminal to claim your luggage at carousels 3, 4 or 5. Your flight number will be indicated above the carousel where your luggage will be available.
Passengers arriving from outside of Canada must claim their luggage within the Canada Customs Hall, proceed through customs and immigration before exiting into the public area of the terminal.
Travelling to a Canadian/International destination
If your luggage has been checked through to your next destination, and you have your boarding pass, you may stay in the holdroom and simply proceed to your gate. If your luggage hasn't been checked through, you must exit the holdroom, claim your luggage on Level 1, check your luggage with your airline on Level 3, and proceed through pre-board security screening located on Level 2.
Travelling to the United States
Exit the holdroom and proceed to Level 3 where you will check in with your airline. If you are travelling with two different airlines, you may have to claim your luggage on Level 1 prior to proceeding to Level 3 to check in with your airline if your luggage hasn't been checked through to your final destination.
Travelling to a Canadian/International destination
When you arrive in Ottawa, you will clear Canadian customs and immigration and claim your luggage. If you are travelling with Air Canada or WestJet, you may drop your luggage at the quick-drop located within the Canada Customs Hall and then proceed to pre-board security screening located on Level 2. If you are travelling with any other airline, you must check your luggage with your airline on Level 3 prior to proceeding through pre-board security screening located on Level 2.
Travelling to the U.S.
When you arrive in Ottawa, you will clear Canadian customs and immigration and claim your luggage. Proceed to Level 3 where you will check in with your airline, complete a U.S. customs declaration card, deposit your luggage, and proceed through security screening and U.S. customs and immigration.
Going through customs
The Canada Border Services Agency is responsible for enhancing Canadian security and protecting Canadian borders by managing the access of goods and people into Canada. All passengers arriving on a direct flight from a foreign destination must clear Canadian Customs and Immigration in Ottawa.
Primary Inspection Kiosks are available at the Ottawa Airport. The kiosks allow international travellers to verify their travel documents, complete an on-screen declaration, and confirm their identity using facial authentication (involving only a one-to-one photo comparison at the kiosk with the traveller’s passport). Those looking to save more time can complete their declaration in advance using the CanBorder - eDeclaration mobile app, which will give them a QR code to scan at a kiosk upon arrival.
Leaving the airport
Many transportation options are available to leave the airport. These include public transportation (OC Transpo), car, taxi, or ride sharing.
Some car rental companies are located on-site and some are located off-site.
The average cost to take a taxi downtown is $37.
If you’re getting picked up, ask the driver to wait in the Cell Phone Lot and alert them of your arrival once you get to the curb. It's a free, dedicated area where a driver can wait hassle-free in the comfort of their vehicle.
For security reasons, the space along both the arrivals and departures curbs is reserved for active loading and unloading of passengers, and no cars are permitted to be left unattended on the curb. Unattended cars are subject to parking fines and or towing.
Delayed or lost luggage
Your airline is responsible for your luggage. Please contact your airline directly for information about your luggage. They will be able to trace back your luggage and make arrangements to return it to you.
The Airport Authority, Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and Ottawa Police Service have canine units with working dogs in the terminal. In the interest of maintaining safety and security for everyone, it’s important that any passengers and visitors who are accompanied by pets (travelling) or service animals adhere to airport rules. Please note that other pets are not permitted in the terminal.
- Service animals
- Service animals are welcome at the airport at any time.
- Service animals must be leashed and controlled by the owner at all times.
- Service animals must be properly identified and/or owner must have proper credentials.
- Travelling with a pet
- From the time you arrive at the airport, and check-in and/or board your flight, your pet must remain in a carrier at all times.
- Please refer to your airline for particular rules and regulations for travelling with a pet.
- Pet relief area
- A designated pet relief area is located across the street from the passenger terminal (level 1) near the south end of the Parkade. The area is clearly marked and plastic bags and garbage containers are available for disposal.
- Please note that there is no pet relief area past security.
Lost and Found
- For articles lost in the terminal, on airport property, or at the pre-board security screening checkpoint, contact the Lost and Found office at 613-248-2054 or visit their counter on Level 1 of the terminal.
- For lost luggage or articles left on an airplane, contact your airline.
- For articles left in a taxi on the way to the airport, contact the taxi cab company you used to get to the airport.
- For articles left in a Coventry Connections Airport Taxi, contact the taxi dispatch on the inner curb of the arrivals roadway or call 613-523-1234.
What you can do at the airport
Check out the Restaurants page for information about our grab and go offerings, coffee shops and full-service licenced eateries.
Check out our Services page for details about what is available in the terminal, including currency exchange kiosks, cash machines, shoe shine, VIP assistance, passenger lounges, baggage storage and the chapel.
Check out our Shops page for information about our convenience and souvenir stores and our boutiques that sell specialty items such as jewellery, books, licensed sports items and electronics.
- The observation area, located on Level 3, is the best location from inside the terminal to watch planes take off and land.
- High chairs and booster seats are available in the food court on Level 3.There are two play areas in the domestic/international holdroom. Tell your children about our Kid's Zone webpage, where they can learn more about airplanes and try one of our activities.
- There are family washrooms, baby change stations and breastfeeding rooms available throughout the terminal. To locate them, visit our Services page.
- Pick up an activity book at the Information desk to help keep the kids busy while waiting for a flight.
- There are a lot of food and beverage options suitable for children.
- Some airlines offer children’s meals.
These websites can help you plan your trip
- Public Health Agency of Canada
- Passenger Protect Program
- Public Safety Canada
- Canada Border Security Agency
- Government of Canada’s Travel and Tourism
- Immigration and citizenship Canada
- Canadian Food Inspection Agency
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Enjoy your trip!