Review: The Westjet Elevation Lounge, Calgary Domestic, Alberta, Canada.
The Westjet Elevation Lounge is Westjet Airlines first entry into the business lounge space. As an outlier airline not in any one international airline alliance such as Star Alliance, One World or Skyteam, Westjet has often forged its own path. The Westjet Elevation Lounge continues on that path with a better than expected lounge space, paired with excellent food and beverage offerings.
Review: The Westjet Elevation Lounge, Calgary Domestic “B” Concourse, Calgary International Airport, Alberta, Canada
“Westjet’s Elevation Lounge entrance into the business lounge environment is a solid achievement, with a stylish space complimented by excellent food and beverage offering with a full service bar”
This review is about the Westjet Elevation Lounge at Calgary International Airport, located in the “B” Concourse of the Domestic Terminal. For another lounge in the Calgary International Airport Domestic Terminal, and the direct competition to the Westjet Elevation Lounge, please see our review of the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Calgary Domestic, located a short distance away.
The City of Calgary is home to Canada’s other national airline Westjet. For years, Westjet had resisted having a business class cabin, operating on a single class of service cabin. Over time, their strategy had evolved from solely domestic routes to operating international routes with business class suites on new Boeing 787-8 aircraft. Along with this strategy growth comes with the need to have a lounge experience, leading us to the brand new Westjet Elevation Lounge.
The Westjet Elevation Lounge is the sole Westjet branded lounge throughout the entire global Westjet system.
Locating the Westjet Elevation Lounge Calgary Domestic:
The Westjet Elevation Lounge is located in the “B” Concourse of the Calgary International Airport. The primary base of operations for Westjet in Calgary are the “A” Concourse Gates, which are a short walk away. The Calgary International Airport “B” Concourse was previously the Calgary US Pre-Clearance area, and it’s sort of a no man’s land of space. I am assuming that the retail space didn’t exist in the “A” Concourse, or perhaps it wanted space between the domestic and the international terminal, prompting Westjet to set up space in the “B” Concourse.
I had arrived into the Calgary International Airport on a connecting flight in the “C” Concourse. I walked over along the secure side pathway between the “C” Gates and “B” Gates. There are moving escalators here, making it easy and quick to connect between terminals.
The Westjet Elevation Lounge is a little hard to find. I completely missed it even though I was looking right for it. The reason that I missed it is that the lounge is not posted on airport signage. The Calgary International Airport authority doesn’t really provide an exact map, the Westjet website indicates somewhat generically that it is located on Concourse “B”, without specifying an exact location or nearby gate.
Wandering down the “B” Concourse looking for the lounge, I ended up having to ask a Westjet staff member to point me towards the lounge. After those friendly directions, I was able to find it without any issue. I can’t help but think that Westjet could to a little bit of a better job marketing the location.
The lounge is situated immediately after “B” Gates Security before you approach the YYC Link pathway. If you are approaching from a connecting gate, the lounge is located on the building side of the YYC Link pathway. It is located off to a corner tucked behind a support post.
Accessing the Westjet Elevation Lounge:
After entering into the reception area, which was as tiny as an elevator, I proceeded to check into the lounge.
As Westjet is not part of the Star Alliance, One World or Skyteam international airline alliances, access rules are a little more specific and unusual.
There are several ways to access the Westjet Elevation Lounge:
- Top Tier Elite level members of the Westjet Frequent Flier Rewards program WestJet Rewards Platinum, Gold and Silver members are eligible for complimentary lounge access based on their tier benefits.
- Guests travelling in the Business cabin of the Westjet Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners (including connections when a Business fare has been purchased) also receive complimentary access to the lounge.
- Delta Sky Miles® members with Diamond, Platinum or Gold Medallion® status travelling on an itinerary that includes a segment between Canada and the US operated by Delta and/or WestJet also receive complimentary access. Those holding a Delta One ticket also have access when Calgary (YYC) is part of the same-day international itinerary.
- Priority Pass, LoungeKey, LOUNGE CLUB and Diners Club members may access the lounge using their membership benefits.
- All other guests, including those travelling on other airlines, are welcome to access the lounge for a fee, (currently $59 CAD / $49 USD), payable on lounge entry.
Today’s access was provided courtesy of Priority Pass, as a benefit of holding the American Express Platinum Card.
A friendly lounge reception host scanned my digital membership card. Since I was travelling during the pandemic, I also had to complete an electronic contact tracing form, providing my name, address, email and telephone number.
Inside the Westjet Elevation Lounge:
After entering the lounge, a corridor brings you into the lounge area of the space. The lounge has done a good job of making the corridor feature see through panelling, making this a brighter space given the design.
The corridor immediately deposits you into the mixed dining long table and lounging space. The first impressions of the lounge were that it was designed in a contemporary manner, with modern colours and a variety of space. A long table anchored the front portion of the lounge.
Westjet offered some pretty cool looking relax chairs in their lounge spae. There were a bank of six relax loungers immediately adjacent to the entry corridor. The chairs looked really inviting for those looking for some down time on a longer stay.
Moving counter clockwise around the lounge, the lounge space offered bench seating paired with occasional cocktail tables looking towards the windows. There were also a few paired loungers looking out towards the walkway. The view from the lounge overlooked the concourse pathway between concourse “B” and concourse “C”. The view was through mirrored glass. The view overlooked the pathway, the moving escalators and another series of glass windows towards the apron outside. While the lounge made a great use of maximizing daylight, the reality of looking through several series of glass meant that airside views weren’t as spectacular as they could be.
Working through the lounge, the place offered modern looking loungers towards the rear of the lounge. These seats were adjacent to the bar.
Moving further into the back of the lounge, there were further private lounge chairs with privacy dividers similar to the seats found in American Express Centurion Lounges or a Delta Sky Club. These seats, being at the back of the lounge, were quite dark, given the absence of windows in the back area of the lounge. This portion was completely deserted on my visit.
Working my way through the lounge, the lounge chairs near the bar featured a brighter space, along with a counter top available for casual seating.
The focal point of the Westjet Elevation Lounge was a semi circular bar set in an oval curve. Two flat screens anchored the bar, which were showing sports channels on my visit. The bar was manned and featured a full range of spirits, cocktails and wines served by the glass. The lounge also featured a fireplace, consistent with the colder temperatures that are sometimes experienced during the winters of Calgary.
The lounge extended into the back of the building. There were a few additional features of the lounge. The first one that I came to was a small media room. The media room offered a television and seating for approximately 4-7 people on benches surrounding the television.
There was a separate family space room. The family space room offered a space for children that featured a television and few toys. There were separate loungers outside the family space room for tired parents.
The lounge was much more deserted than the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Calgary Domestic that I visited earlier in the day. Either air travel is substantially down with Westjet, or perhaps there isn’t enough people that have yet found this place. The quietness led to an intimate lounge experience with only four other people in the lounge during my visit.
Food and Beverage:
The lounge offered a substantial food and beverage space in an area centred around a long table. The space was contemporary and sleek.
During my visit in the pandemic, ordering of food was through scanning a QR code on the table.
I have to say I was really blown away by the food and beverage menu. The menu offered was really impressive thanks to its variety and depth. There were dozens of things to order, which was much more than I was expecting. The expansive menu would probably be more obvious when menus were actually available on the table; which had been removed likely as a result of the health pandemic. The menu items consisted of snack like items, instead of full meal items but all looked interesting and worthy of attention.
There was also a full gluten free menu option for many of these items.
The food and beverage menu also contained a substantial beer and wine section. While it’s customary that you might find one or two wines in the bar. I was really impressed with the bar selection. There were at least five different kinds of beer available, ranging from light to porter.
Wine by the Glass:
There were twelve kinds of wine available to enjoy. While it’s typical to experience two reds and two whites, the Westjet Elevation lounge really set the standard by offering twelve different wines by glass, including sparkling and rosé.
Unfortunately, there was no champagne on offer, which is only possible opportunity for improvement. Given that Westjet now offers international business class flights, this may be something for them to consider in the future.
Mixed Lounge Cocktails:
As if twelve wines weren’t enough, the lounge also offered mixed cocktails similar to the American Express Centurion Lounges. Unlike some lounges that might only offer a half dozen mixed cocktails, the Westjet Elevation Lounge had twelve cocktails on the menu.
Based on the menu, you could certainly do some serious pre flight damage. The staff and service in the lounge was really pleasant and engaging. I spent a little time here prior to heading off on an Air Canada Business Class Calgary – Vancouver flight.
My Thoughts on the Westjet Elevation Lounge:
I have to say that I was more impressed than I thought I would have been with the Westjet Elevation Lounge. Although the lounge location and views are a little less than desired, the Westjet Elevation Lounge makes up for it with a better than expected food menu and an outstanding beer, wine and cocktail menu. It’s pretty unprecedented in Canada to have a wine bar available at a business lounge so I have to give Westjet credit where it is due.