Review: Plaza Premium Lounge (International), Vancouver Airport (YVR)

On my way to fly British Airways’ 777 Club Suites from Vancouver to London, I had access to Vancouver Airport’s Plaza Premium Lounge, located by the D gates at Vancouver Airport. I’ve been to this lounge once before, though wanted to review it again, since it’s been six (!) years since my last visit.

It’s worth noting that typically as a British Airways business class passenger I’d have access to Cathay Pacific’s lounge at Vancouver Airport, though in this case it was closed (unsurprisingly, given Cathay Pacific’s current situation).

Plaza Premium Lounge (International) Vancouver Airport Access and Opening Hours

My British Airways business class boarding pass gave me access to the Plaza Premium Lounge – other airlines such as Japan Airlines are also using the Plaza Premium lounge as their contract lounge. All passengers with lounge access flying SkyTeam airlines will be able to use the SkyTeam lounge, and all passengers with lounge access flying Star Alliance airlines will be able to use one of Air Canada’s lounges at Vancouver Airport.

The Plaza Premium Lounge at Vancouver Airport is an open access lounge, and anybody can pay to access the lounge. The entry rates are as follows:

  • 47.27 CAD (HK$290/£28) for 2 hours
  • 56.70 CAD (HK$348/£34) for 3 hours
  • 75.60 CAD (HK$464/£45) for 6 hours

This is not a Priority Pass lounge – Priority Pass members at Vancouver can use the adjacent SkyTeam lounge located near gate D53.

The opening hours are as follows:

  • Monday: 12:30 – 20:30
  • Tuesday: 09:30 – 13:30, 16:00 – 20:30
  • Wednesday: 09:30 –  00:30
  • Thursday: 09:30 – 13:00, 16:00 – 20:30
  • Friday: 09:30 – 20:30
  • Saturday: 09:30 – 13:30, 16:00 – 20:30
  • Sunday: 16:00 – 20:30

My Experience Using The Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver

I was dropped off by a friend around 2.5 hours before my flight, and checked in for my flight on British Airways. This was my second time in Vancouver Airport, and I found it quite charming – the exposed truss structures and 90s-style wood/turquoise colours were quite unique and likeable, in my opinion.


Check-in at Vancouver Airport

I decided to briefly follow signage towards the landside “observation area” at Vancouver Airport, in hopes of discovering an outdoor terrace – unfortunately my hopes were shattered when I realised the observation area was an indoor area without much of a tarmac view. In retrospect the area is quite nice if you’re not flying, though you’ll realistically only be able to see a few aircraft, especially after dark – at least there’s a light-up “YVR” sign there, though the lights were switched off at the time of my visit.


Vancouver Airport landside observation deck

All departures were routed through the customs lane towards the C-gates (for domestic flights), so there was a queue at customs. However, the queue moved quite quickly, and after around 20 minutes I was on my way. In order to reach the D gates for international departures I had to manouever back to the other side of the terminal, though I made it eventually (much like in the UK, travellers do not need to be stamped out at Canadian airports).

Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver Location

The Plaza Premium lounge is located right after the international departures’ security area, to the left of the walkway towards the D gates.


Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver Airport Entrance

I was promptly admitted into the lounge.

Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver Seating and Atmosphere

To the left, I found two large seating areas, partitioned by a wall. These armchairs looked comfortable enough, though I didn’t like the scarcity of power ports, or the lack of proper tables (there were only two small round tables surrounded by armchairs).


Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver Airport Seating

Near one of the seating areas was an armchair, though you had to pay to use it.


Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver Airport Massage Chair

The other side of the lounge featured a few more tables you could sit at, though there also wasn’t much easy access to power ports. My favourite part of the lounge by far was a large high table with chairs surrounding it, and I spent the majority of my time in the lounge seated there.


Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver Airport Seating

There was a dining area located on one end of the lounge, though it was completely closed.


Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver Airport Seating

As with most Priority Pass lounges, this lounge featured a bog-standard design without much sense of place. On the plus side, the entirety of the lounge features good views of planes parked at adjacent gates.

Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver Dining Options

While this lounge advertises a full-stocked food spread with Hong Kong style fish ball noodle soup, in the case of my visit (due to COVID-19 cutbacks) there was only a very rudimentary cold spread and two hot soups, as well as some pastries available for selection behind a cold box.


Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver Airport Food Spread

There was a cafe, which served a limited selection of alcohol and soft drinks, or you could pay for a more premium selection. Unfortunately I couldn’t really grab great pictures of the (lackluster) food and beverage spread or the cafe menu, since a lounge staff member asked why I was taking pictures, and expressed her discomfort.

I did return to my seat with a Steamworks draught beer, though, one of the two beers on tap in the lounge.


Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver Airport Beverages – Beer

Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver Facilities

Unfortunately (read below), the showers facilities were closed due to COVID-19, despite the fact that they were advertised as open both on their website and also on their billboards outside the lounge. The bathrooms at this lounge were functional, but quite clean.

The Plaza Premium lounge shares WiFi with Vancouver Airport, which in this case I found to be fast enough for streaming and photo uploading tasks (upon reading my previous review, I struggled to load a webpage last time I was in the lounge).

Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver Service

Service at the lounge was limited to two staff members working at the cafe – one of them spoke Mandarin to me, and even then was quite curt. I asked for a shower room, and she somewhat derisively explained that they had been closed to passengers for a long time due to COVID-19, saying “this is Canada, we have COVID-19 regulations here”. The other staff member was much more apologetic, and when I stated that showers were advertised on their website, she added that even the electronic board outside of the lounge advertised showers.

Conclusion: Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver Airport

The COVID-19 pandemic meant that the Plaza Premium Lounge at Vancouver Airport offered a cut back selection of food and amenities, for example their shower rooms were shut and their food spread was massively reduced. Since the lounge in itself is nothing special and WiFi is shared with the rest of the airport, there’s no reason to stay in this lounge if you can find a comfortable place to work in the terminal.

While getting carried away with work meant that I stayed in the lounge until around 15 minutes before boarding, I think that next time I’ll stay in the much airier terminal in Vancouver Airport instead of in the lounge next time, where I have access to the same WiFi, and can also admire some of the terminal’s distinctly Canadian design quirks, such as this Haida art sculpture below.


Vancouver Airport Terminal

I didn’t think the lounge was particularly crowded or unpleasant, though I’m not dying to return soon.

Have you been to a Plaza Premium Lounge that doesn’t look exactly the same as this one?

2 comments

  1. Thank you for your honest review. I was looking to go to this lounge (but not anymore). There’s not much review about it, so i thank you.

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  2. We used this lounge on June 17 as we had a 10 hour layover at YVR and thought this would be a comfortable way to spend some time after a long flight from Europe and the fact that I had been in hospital on my vacation and was coming home early. We were very disappointed in the lounge. The food was unacceptable. Cold noodles, passable chicken, unappetizing desserts. If you want to drink that may have helped the situation. The price for using the lounge was almost $100.00 for the 2 of us for 2 hours. I would not recommend the Plaza Lounges to any of my clients. A total waste of money

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