Oh to be classified as an ‘FF’….Frequent Flyer, that is. To have amassed millions of points that would enable me to upgrade to the elusive business class elite and the extra legroom that it affords. Or to enjoy something more closely resembling food on china dishes. But most of all, to enter the privileged world of Members Lounges at airports. Sadly that is not the case for Henk and I. But thankfully, for those of us who are considered ‘infrequent flyers’, Plaza Premium Lounges provide some of the same perks that are normally reserved only for high-flying business travellers – and those perks can make air travel so much more comfortable. Perks like:
I first discovered Plaza Premium Lounges when Henk and I flew to Myanmar through Hong Kong. While waiting for our connecting flight to Yangon, I noticed signs in the Hong Kong airport for these Lounges, and when I did a little more research, I learned that they were NOT lounges for specific airlines or elite passengers only, but were available to the rest of us – and they offered showers as one of their amenities! Let me tell you, fifteen-plus hours on a plane can make anyone feel like one of the ‘unwashed masses’. No matter how fresh or fashionable I may have felt when I boarded that direct flight to Hong Kong in Toronto, sleeping in my clothes and eating off a lap tray left me feeling more than a little unkempt. Unfortunately, I found out about Plaza Premium Lounges too late to take advantage of them on this leg of our trip, but I stored the info for our return trip instead. Good thing, too.
Three weeks later we were preparing to leave Myanmar for Canada, but not before spending a full day touring 30-degree-hot-and-humid Yangon, and then waiting for our [delayed] red-eye flight to Hong Kong. Deplaning on the first leg of our trip in the wee hours of the morning after what already felt like 36 hours of travelling, I made a bee-line for the Plaza Lounge so I could wash off the fatigue and the sweat of the past day. With another 15-hour flight ahead of us, that shower was a godsend and may have been the best money I could’ve spent in an airport (duty-free booze included!).
Long-Haul Relief for the Sleep-deprived
The only thing better than a shower would be a shower AND a nap – and many of the Plaza Premium Lounges provide rooms for that, too. Single and Double private rest areas with comfortable beds and ensuites are offered in some Lounges that operate as a “transit hotel” within the airport, so you never have to leave the airport to catch some secure shut-eye between flights.
Enjoy your time at the airport, don’t ‘kill’ it.
We all need to get to the airport sooner these days, especially for international flights. And the bigger the airport, the longer the lineups for everything from security checks to restaurant seating. So Henk and I sometimes allow even more time than what is recommended, meaning we sometimes have lots of time left to kill before even starting our journey. On a recent flight to Portugal, we decided to enjoy the Plaza Premium Lounge before our flight instead of for long-haul relief, and it was the perfect way to start our trip. Not only did it provide a relaxing and comfortable space to read, watch TV, and catch up on emails, but the entrance fee included food and drink!
Henk and I enjoyed a nice selection of salty snacks and nibbles, a hot buffet of Chinese food, a selection of desserts (and of course a cocktail or two to officially start the vacation – served to us by a real human being, not a shot dispenser.) For anyone who has paid airport prices for food and drink, having all of this included with our Lounge fee seemed like a genuine bargain, especially since we could enjoy the other perks of the Lounge and not have to wait in line for a seat at one of the crowded departure gate restaurants.
Even though our status as flyers may never rise to the level of frequent business travellers, Henk and I can honestly say that after only a couple of experiences with Plaza Premium Lounges, we’ll be incorporating them into our future travel plans wherever possible. It’s just a more ‘grownup’ way to fly!
TIP: You can book Plaza Premium Lounge facilities like showers and massages online in advance of your visit or at the airport directly using your smart phone or at the concierge desk.The Lounges also provide other services like baggage handling, limousine service to and from the airport, and more. For a complete list of Lounges and facilities at each (including Canada’s 4 locations), visit the Plaza Premium website.
Special thanks to Plaza Premium Lounges who gave Henk and I access to their Toronto Lounge before our flight to Portugal.
Jane Canapini is a member of the Travel Media Association of Canada and the North American Travel Journalists Association. She established GrownupTravels.com in 2014 to share information and tips based on personal experience so her readers could get the most out of their travels.