I expected a lot more.
This Opinion article is part of a Narcity Media series. The views expressed are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.
You don't have to be an elite traveller to access a fancy lounge next time you're at the airport, you just have to be willing to drop a bit of cash. Vancouver Airport has its own Plaza Premium Lounge where you can do just that, but be warned, it might not be all that you're expecting.
The lounge is open to the public for a pretty reasonable price, but when I tried it on a recent trip from YVR to Halifax, it didn't wow me as much as I thought it would.
In preparation for my red-eye flight, I was giddy to relax in luxury for a couple of hours. I went in ready to score it out of five in four different categories: service, food and drink, facilities, and value.
In some regards, it exceeded my expectations, but overall, I wouldn't go back. Here's a breakdown of each, so you can decide for yourself if it's worth the $61 for two hours.
How to get to the Plaza Premium Lounge
Despite a year filled with chaotic airport visits, this one was smooth sailing. I pulled up at Vancouver International Airport with three hours to spare before takeoff, dropped my bag off, and breezed through security.
If you go through the security checkpoint for gates A, B and C, you're basically right there. You just walk to the left, and you can't miss the exclusive-looking lounge.
Plaza Premium Lounge at YVR.Morgan Leet | Narcity
I gotta say, the lobby alone was impressive. It looks super fancy, and although $60 is a good chunk of change, it's not too bad for an airport lounge.
The lobby of the lounge had me ready to walk into the lap of luxury. Instead, I walked into one room full of people and struggled to find a seat.
Inside the Plaza Premium Lounge.Morgan Leet | Narcity
I ended up in a comfortable chair with an outlet, which was nice, but it wasn't a La-Z-Boy by any means. I'd heard that these lounges had shower rooms and wellness areas, but there was no access to them.
I went to check out the bathroom, and it was also disappointing. It was pretty average and kinda tiny.
Bathroom at the Plaza Premium Lounge.Morgan Leet | Narcity
Overall, the only benefit was a slightly more cushioned chair than your standard seat by the gate.
Food & Drink: 3/5
Airport food in general is expensive, but with the lack of amenities, I needed something to make up for the $60 I spent. Unfortunately, it did not.
The quality of the food was actually great, but there were limited options. For the vegetarians out there, we got one pasta option and some salad. For any vegans, you'll have to stick to the salad bar.
Salad bar at the Plaza Premium Lounge. Morgan Leet | Narcity
The meal was very good quality and tasty, but some more options would have been appreciated.
Vegetarian meal from the Plaza Premium Lounge.Morgan Leet | Narcity
I'd probably end up spending at least $30 on food outside the lounge, but at least there I get choices.
That said, if you eat everything and aren't too picky, it would be much more worth it.
As for drinks, I did get a free house wine, which was great! They also have a premium drink menu that you could pay for.
Beverage menu at Vancouver Airport's Plaza Premium Lounge.Morgan Leet | Narcity
The service was hands-down the best part. There was a ton of staff working who were all very eager to help. Plates were cleared right away, and overall, I saw everyone being taken care of.
Inside of Vancouver Airport's Plaza Premium Lounge.Morgan Leet | Narcity
Friendly service is a big win in my books!
For me, the value was just not there. I spent $60 and all I really got was a plate of pasta, a glass of wine and a decent chair.
Outside of the lounge, I could have bought dinner and a drink of my choosing for less money. Yes, I would sacrifice the seat, but honestly, some restaurants have decent seating options.
Seating at Vancouver Airport's Plaza Premium Lounge.Morgan Leet | Narcity
I actually love going to Pacific Farms Market, which has tables with a view of the planes (the lounge is lacking on the view) and lots of food options. I've gotten a good meal there for about $30 and got to choose from a whole menu.
That's just one example, but it shows that your money might be better spent elsewhere.
The two points I did give to value were because of the great staff and the good quality of food.
All in all, I wouldn't go back to this lounge. For what it costs, I would simply rather get a good meal of my choosing and suffer through an uncomfortable chair.
If there was an open shower room or wellness area to relax in — or even more space in general — it would be different. As of right now, though, I say skip the lounge and save your money for your travels.