Review: Plaza Premium Lounge International, Vancouver International Airport, Vancouver, Canada.


Our travel to Sydney, Australia tonight had us departing exceptionally late in the evening with a departure time of 11:40 PM. There is a certain gap in time when such a flight doesn’t qualify as an evening flight or an over night flight. With this gap, there isn’t much you can do to fill the time other than spend time in a lounge. We aimed to visit the Plaza Premium Lounge which had just been completed (at the time) at the Vancouver International Departure D Concourse.

This post is one chapter in our trip to Australia on Air Canada & Qantas Business Class and United Airlines. This trip was booked using British Airways Executive Club Avios and Starwood Preferred Guest (Marriott Bonvoy) points. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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Review: Plaza Premium Lounge International, Vancouver International Airport, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

This lounge is about the Plaza Premium Lounge at Vancouver International Airport “International Departure D Gates”. For other lounges located on the same International Departures concourse, please see our experiences at the Skyteam International Lounge, the British Airways Galleries Lounge and the Cathay Pacific Lounge.

Getting to the Airport:

Keeping with tradition of my past trip reports, tonight’s journey started with dinner at The Globe at YVR located within the Fairmont Vancouver International Airport. It’s my favourite restaurant at the Vancouver International Airport and is attached to the Fairmont hotel property. It is accessed via the Fairmont lobby and overhead walkway just above the public US Departures concourse. Always pleasant, I enjoyed a Whistler Lager beer along with a clubhouse sandwich. MrsWT73 enjoyed a vegetarian pizza. I’ve visited here several times over the years, both before and after flights and it’s always been a great visit.

Checking into Air Canada:

We checked in using the kiosk and had our boarding passes printed. Air Canada, despite their clunky IT system on their public website actually had the ability for their contingent travelers to check the loads on the flight to determine how likely it would be that they would get on. I received my boarding pass, without a seat assignment & with SBY (Standby) printed in the seat area. Still, with only 3 hours before the flight, it was not confirmed that we had assigned seats.

Locating the Plaza Premium Lounge International:

We had a long wait at security (15 minutes) thanks to several wide bodies leaving tonight for Taipei (China Airlines), Hong Kong (Cathay Pacific) and Manila (Philippines Air) and only 2 security checkpoints working. The Nexus expedited screening lane was closed for the evening so we ended up waiting with the Asian Kettles. 

From the checkpoint, we headed over to the Plaza Premium Lounge. The lounge is exceptionally easy to find since almost all international traffic passes right by it. The Plaza Premium Lounge is located immediately after the first duty free store at YVR International “D” Gates Wing on the left.

Location of the Plaza Premium International Lounge
Map Courtesy of Vancouver International Airport Authority
The Plaza Premium Lounge Entrance with concourse patio

One of the unique features about this particular lounge is that it offers a concourse terrace patio. The patio offers seating immediately adjacent to the concourse, allowing for some terrific people watching opportunities. This feature is especially prevalent from the concourse walkway.

It’s located on the path to all international departures (secure side)
Patio Seating! Except it’s indoors…

Accessing the Plaza Premium Lounge International:

Access is granted on a complimentary basis for Amex Platinum charge card members as part of their lounge program. The lounge was also part of the Priority Pass program, which may offer free or lower cost visits dependent on your membership level within that program.

It is also the voucher lounge used by almost all other carriers, with a display on the door outside inviting members of Edwiless – Swiss Air, China Airlines, JAL, Eva Air. Only Air Canada, Cathay Pacific and British Airways run their own lounges on the International Pier in Vancouver and most of these lounges are quite small in size given the limited amount of departures.

All Contracted Airlines that partner with Plaza Premium International

We were on a paid lounge access tonight on our travels through here since we were flying standby and didn’t qualify thanks to any class of service on our ticket. As security took a little longer, and we only had an hour in the lounge, the host was kind enough to pro-actively charge us only one entry fee ($40 CAD) for the two of us. It was a surprisingly service oriented experience that we don’t typically experience in an airport. 

Inside the Plaza Premium International Lounge:

The website advertised the lounge as follows:

  • The newly opened flagship lounge boasts a whole new airport lounge design by renowned designer Kinney Chan of KCA.
  • The new facility accommodates up to 180 guests in luxurious comfort. Spanning over 6,800 sq. ft., this lounge has multiple seating zones and a separate dining area, with interactive dining booths, serving international cuisine. 
  • Two food service areas provide guests with a wide array of hot and cold dishes, including our signature Hong Kong style Fish Ball noodles. Barista service is available at our beverage counter for our specialty coffees and teas. Need a private area for meetings? The lounge makes available a VIP room for rent. The business centre provides 4 computer workstations and the lounge is Wi-Fi enabled throughout. Magazines, newspapers and TV’s allow you to relax and enjoy your time in the lounge.
  • The lounge has multiple computer workstations that are all Wi-Fi enabled, as well as charging stations to make sure guests can stay connected at the airport. For travellers who require a place for a nap – this lounge has 3 nap rooms available for use. Men’s and ladies washrooms and shower facilities are also available.

The lounge featured a nice, if not unremarkable seating area, with surprisingly the same chairs that we found in the Plaza Premium Lounge Muscat Oman from our travels earlier this year. The lounge was decorated in several contemporary shades of grey. Upon our entry, it was pretty empty.

The lounge was configured in several room areas, allowing for a private environment throughout the lounge space. The main lounge seating is split into several portions, all of which face the apron glass. As it was so deserted, no one minded me taking a few photos.

Immediately after entering, the left portion offered a few rows of chairs. I have previously seen this portion cordoned off and limited to Air France and KLM travellers, as marked by a sign and a velvet rope. This wasn’t on display tonight, as the place was so deserted.

Lounge Seating – Left Portion
Lounge Table Seating – Left Portion

The main portion of the lounge offered several rows of seating with the customary side tables along with soft lighting. While not a super exciting space, it was highly functional.

Lounge Seating (Central Section)
Lounge Seating – Central Portion
Lounge Seating – Central Portion
Lounge Seating – Central Portion

Probably the neatest feature of this lounge was the indoor terrace that overlooked the departure concourse, allowing for ambient light and open spaces. 

Terrace Concourse Patio

Dining Area:

The lounge also offered separate dining areas. While there were tables and chairs, no one was dining on our visit. 

Communal Dining Space – with magazines
Communal Dining Space
Lower Level Dining Areas

Food and Beverage:

The food selection on our visit was pretty meagre. The offerings included a whole bunch of cello wrapped pastries that didn’t look all too appealing. However, this level of offering is pretty consistent for the Vancouver International Lounges, as there isn’t much frequent demand as most serve one or two flights a day. I was glad that we took an earlier dinner at the Globe at YVR, instead of coming straight here and attempting to eat dinner in the lounge.

Salad Bar – Plaza Premium Lounge
Plaza Premium Lounge packaged food snacks

I didn’t see anyone consuming the famous Hong Kong fish Ball noodles that were advertised in the website, nor were they obvious when I walked around the lounge.

There was also a simple wine and spirits menu list, featuring the usual well spirits. The presentation was a little institutional, but at least everything was there.

Bar and Beverage Drink List
Decorative Candle Wine Arbre

My thoughts on the Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver International:

There are now lots of great lounges on the Vancouver International Airport International Departures Concourse. These include the Skyteam International Lounge, the British Airways Galleries Lounge and the Cathay Pacific Lounge.

Despite the snazzy write up, the Plaza Premium Lounge International D Gates was a pretty plain lounge that happened to be exceptionally clean and new. A bonus was that the hostess only charged us one entry fee at $40 for 1 hour in the lounge. The minimum charge was $40 for two hours. I’d probably find some value in it if I stayed the full two hours.

Next time, I think I’d spend a little more time at the Globe at YVR and not be in as much of a rush to get over here since there was much more food and beverage on offer at the Fairmont with a slightly nicer setting. If I was choosing between Priority Pass Lounges, I’d probably opt for the slightly more exciting Skyteam International Lounge, that is located a little further down the concourse.

If you’ve visited Vancouver International Airport, what is your favourite international departures lounge?

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