Review: Plaza Premium Lounge, Transborder, Vancouver, BC


The US Pre-Clearance area of the Vancouver International Transborder Departures Zone doesn’t have a lot of restaurant or lounge options. After clearing US Customs and Border Protection, you have two lounge options, the Plaza Premium Lounge Transborder Vancouver or the competing Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge. Our visit to the Plaza Premium Lounge Transborder would mark our most frequently visited Plaza Premium Lounge in our travels which makes the best of the space available to it.

This post is one chapter on our trip to Iceland, the United Kingdom and Morocco. This trip was redeemed through Alaska Mileage Plan and enhanced through Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status. 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, Transborder, Vancouver, Canada

This review is of the Plaza Premium Lounge Transborder Vancouver. For the only other lounge in this area, please see our review of the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Transborder Vancouver

Today’s lounge visit took place before an Alaska Airlines Vancouver – Seattle flight that eventually connected onwards to Icelandair Saga Business Class Seattle – Reykjavik.

I got the email the night before travel from Alaska Airlines to attempt an online check in. Alaska is quite sticky with the remote check ins for international travel; something they haven’t quite gotten over. They seem to be wholly focused on being a USA carrier, despite offering co-branded credit cards in Canada. The Alaska App for check in was unsuccessful, as was the online interface.

We had a reasonable get away today. I was up at 5:15 AM to button up the house and MrsWT73 drove us to the airport. She dropped me with the bags and went to go park the car.

Checking In to Alaska Airlines:

We checked in at the lonely Alaska Counter at 7:15 AM; about 2.5 hours before our flight. The friendly Alaska agent weighed the bags (a first) and was able to check them right through to Reykjavik. We also got our boarding cards all the way though to Reykjavik.

Arriving to Vancouver International Airport
Arriving to Alaska Airlines Check In – Vancouver International Airport

We dropped our bags. Since I had starved myself on our last Africa trip, I made MrsWT73 stop at the White Spot restaurant in the domestic terminal for a full breakfast. White Spot is a local BC brand of casual restaurants better known for the quality of it’s breakfasts versus its greasy dinners. The Nat’s Hearty breakfast was to my liking, but MrsWT73 didn’t care much for the broccoli and cheese egg white omelette.

We headed back over to the Us Transborder Departures area and head through a quiet screening and US Customs and Border Protection clearance. I had given up on not having lounge access when we travel so earlier in August, I opted to get one of those swanky American Express Platinum cards. This came with a Priority Pass Select membership which I had already used a dozen times on some work trips. After security, we followed the maze like concourse down to the main departures area.

Wandering Towards the Plaza Premium Lounge

We headed over to the Plaza Premium Lounge Transborder which started out life as an Alaska Airlines Boardroom.

Accessing The Plaza Premium Lounge:

There are several ways to access the Plaza Premium Lounge.

The Plaza Premium Lounge accepts reservations for entry on it’s website. The reservations are split into blocks of time ranging from two, three and six hours and are priced at the time of writing at $39, $46.78 and $63 USD.

The Plaza Premium Lounge network also partners with several credit cards to provide access. This includes many credit cards worldwide, which include DragonPass, LoungeKey, LoungeClub, Priority Pass and the Club. You do not need to make a reservation while using these systems. I have typically accessed this lounge using the Priority Pass membership.

In North America, the lounge is also part of the American Express Global Lounge Collection, which offers a suite of lounges available for access with it’s premium American Express Platinum and Centurion Cards. Access can be granted by presenting one of these cards.

There was no one at reception today as I was travelling during the recent pandemic. As a result, there was a small sign inviting customers to proceed upstairs (by elevator or stairs) to the bar where the check in formalities would take place. The check in is usually handled at the reception desk downstairs.

Locating the Plaza Premium Lounge
Entrance to the Plaza Premium Lounge

Inside The Plaza Premium Lounge:

There was a friendly check of the Priority Pass electronic membership card and we were allowed in.

The lounge itself is quite a small and compact space. It has the usual larger Plaza Premium Lounge chairs that are all around the world. Unfortunately, the large chairs seem a little out of place in this tiny 2000 sq ft lounge.

High Top Counters and Looking Into the Lounge
Always a Busy Place: High Density Lounge Seating

The lounge had interior views of the escalators leading into the international arrivals hall. They were not terrific views, but better than a windowless basement.

A Lounge with a View

There was a small split food display with some scrambled eggs and sausages available along with packets of instant noodles.

“The Plaza Premium Vancouver Transborder Lounge is slightly better than the terminal. It is usually pretty busy but does offer house wine and reliable internet”

We settled in and watched the CNN highlights of Senator John McCains public viewing lying in state at the Washington Capital.

A flight delay of 50 minutes was posted. It was the third flight delay we’ve had flying this segment. The reason was due to Seattle Traffic Control.


This Plaza Premium Lounge fits into the category of “better than nothing” lounges. I wouldn’t make special arrangements to attend early but it is marginally better than absolutely nothing. The real lounge winner in the YVR Transborder area is the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge which has great tarmac views.

If you regularly visit the Plaza Premium Lounges, do you find them worth the time spent?

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