Review: Aspire Lounge International – Calgary International Airport, Canada
The Aspire Lounge Calgary International Airport was one of the first Aspire Lounge entries into the Canadian airport marketplace. The Aspire Lounge in the International Departures hall of the Calgary International Airport offers the sole lounge space servicing international travels. Read on to see how our visit to the Aspire Lounge International Calgary International Airport and how our experience was…
Review: Aspire Business Lounge International “D” Concourse – Calgary International Airport, Alberta, Canada.
This review is of the Aspire Lounge International at the Calgary International Airport. There is also a different Aspire Lounge in the US Pre-Clearance Transborder Area of Calgary International Airport.
Dependent on your departure area and carrier, you may also have access to the other lounges in the Calgary International Airport such as Westjet Elevation Lounge – Calgary International Airport and the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge – Calgary International Airport.
The Calgary International Airport underwent a much needed expansion in the year 2016 that saw a new US Transborder and International Terminal built adjacent to the legacy old terminal. With the new international terminal came two new lounges: The Aspire Lounge International Calgary International Airport (this review) and the Aspire Lounge Transborder – Calgary International Airport.
The Aspire Lounge International – Calgary International Airport compliments their other Canadian Lounges: the Aspire Lounge Calgary Transborder, the Aspire Salon Lounge – Ottawa International Airport, and the Montreal Bank National Bank Lounge.
Locating the Aspire Lounge Calgary International:
The Aspire Lounge is located on the main concourse floor at Calgary International Airport. The Calgary International Airport almost adjacent to Gate D80.
I arrived on a flight from the Calgary International Airport domestic terminal “C” Gates. I took a rather long walk between the “C” Domestic and “D” International Terminals on a walkway that included a travellator and quite a dead retail zone.
There is an option to take an electric trolley called the YYC Link between terminals. However, this seems to be a bit more trouble than it’s worth and I just elected to walk.
I eventually came to the access point for the Calgary “D” International Terminal. Although it was on the secure side, today the area was not wholly serving international flights with several domestic Westjet flights leaving from the terminal.
I eventually passed through several passageways and eventually arrived into the Calgary International Airport “D” International Concourse.
The Calgary International Airport Concourse features North America’s first “call to gate” boarding area. As a result, there is more space than expected around the retail zone, with minimal seating near the gates. We were last through this departures hall on our Westjet Airlines Calgary – Varadero flight a few years ago.
I eventually wandered down towards Gate D80, passing by “Vin Room” wine bar and restaurant. The lounge access point is located shortly down this hallway on the left before the Chili’s Restaurant. The Aspire International Lounge Calgary International Airport access elevators were located behind the stainless steel pillar.
The elevators to the Aspire Lounge contain a multi media display on either side. The displays professionally show that the lounge is affiliated with Air Canada, American Express, Edelweiss, KLM, Priority Pass and Westjet departures.
Accessing the Lounge:
After riding up the elevators, it was a short walk across an open air walkway towards the lounge reception. The lounge features a view over the US Transborder Terminal Floor below.
Admittedly, it was pleasant to be stepping off a lounge elevator into a bright reception space. It was a stark contrast instead of in the usual tiny dark corridors that most lounge elevators lead into.
The Aspire Lounge Calgary International Airport is accessible through a variety of means.
The Club Aspire Lounge is affiliated with Priority Pass, Lounge Key, Dragon Pass and Executive Lounges.com. If you have a premium credit card, such as the American Express Platinum Card that offers a lounge membership benefit, you’ll likely be gaining access through this route.
The lounge also appears to partner with most of the major international carriers that depart from Calgary International Airport. These include lounge access for:
- Air Canada
- American Express
- British Airways
- Priority Pass
The Club Aspire Lounge also offers lounge access for sale on its website. At the time of our review, access was available to the lounge for approximately $46.20 CAD ($33 USD) for up to 2.5 hours prior to your flight.
Interestingly, the lounge entry did not feature access to the showers. Travellers wanting access to a shower, were required to pay an additional $10 CAD ($8 USD) to access the shower suite.
In my case, I ended up using a Priority Pass Select membership that came with the American Express Platinum Card to enter along with the possibility of a free guest. After showing my Priority Pass digital membership card, I was admitted without delay and invited inside.
I might also add that the terms and conditions of the Priority Pass program allow access solely as a departing customer. While this isn’t usually an issue with Plaza Premium Lounges, I was turned away from this Aspire Lounge International on my date of arrival. As a result, your mileage may vary if you attempt to access this space as an arriving domestic customer.
Inside the Aspire Lounge Calgary International:
The Aspire Lounge Calgary International offers a long rectangular room in a medium large lounge space.
Immediately after entering the lounge, you’ll find yourself in a long rectangular hall that leads into the lounge area. A combination flex work island space anchored the centre of the lounge, along with a single row of tables.
Moving into the lounge, there were a bank of lounge chairs against the glass walls that overlooked the terminal concourse. Towards the end of the lounge island area, there was a large flat screen television.
The area surrounding the glass featured a combination of lounge seating of leather lounge chairs and plush lounge tables in configurations of four.
There were some reasonable airport concourse views out of the Aspire Lounge. The views were into the “E” Concourse US Transborder terminal which was mostly deserted in the evening when I visited.
The back part of the lounge offered a four pack of restaurant styled booth seating. The booth seating area was incredibly popular, as it contained easy charging for devices. It was fully occupied during the entirety of my visit.
Moving to the very back of the lounge are, there was another television area with additional lounge seating. The back area had Canadian Rockies mountain view photographs, in addition to another flat screen television. In addition to the booth area, this also remained a popular spot to lounge in this particular space.
While I was in the lounge, I used the bathrooms at the rear to change out of my business suit and into jeans and a sweater for a more comfortable after hours ride home. The bathrooms were pretty tiny, which made changing in them a bit of a balancing act. If the lounge could be improved somewhat, it would be with a slightly larger bathroom footprint.
Except for those bathrooms, the Aspire Lounge Calgary was pretty spacious overall and is arguably among the most spacious feeling of the available lounges at Calgary International Airport. The lounge itself wasn’t densely populated with seating. While this made for a spacious feel, it also limited the amount of available seating spaces. With most of the seats configured in a four person configuration, the available space got taken pretty quickly.
Food and Beverage:
Any great international business lounge should offer a decent amount of food, ideally so that it’s travelers can even substitute a meal in the lounge for what they might get on board.
In the middle of the lounge, the Aspire Lounge Calgary International offered a central island that housed it’s food offerings.
Much like the Aspire Lounge Ottawa, the Aspire Lounge Calgary offered a pretty solid food offering for a business lounge.
There were ample cold cuts and salads available. All items were covered with cafeteria styled covers.
There were a number of hot items available. Tonight’s menu included some tasty looking ginger beef and jasmine rice. There was also some white macaroni and cheese along with vegetarian chili.
In addition to the hot items and salad bar, there were fruit cuts available in the cooler. There was a full self service bar consisting of several kinds of white wine, rose wine and red wine. There were also spirits available for self service, along with ice located in the cooler.
I spent about 40 minutes in the lounge prior to heading off to my Air Canada Calgary – Vancouver flight route home; a route that I had previously reviewed on Air Canada Business Class Calgary – Vancouver. It was a short walk back to the “C” Terminal and onto my flight home. Much like my Aspire Lounge Ottawa experience, it was a really nice and pleasant stay.
My Thoughts on the Aspire Lounge Calgary:
The Aspire Lounge Calgary is a complimentary of the Aspire Lounge location in Ottawa. The Aspire Lounge Calgary International is the most spacious lounge at the Calgary International Airport, with much more room than the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Calgary, and the Westjet Elevation Lounge Calgary. The food was reasonable, and the space was welcomed.
Perhaps the only negative part to this lounge, was the long walk out to Calgary Concourse “D”. The long walk makes this lounge a little inconvenient for a quick visit, so you’ll have to allow a little extra time to visit this space, unless you happen to be departing from the Concourse “D” gates at Calgary International Airport anyway.