Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

The Airport Lounge

with one comment

I tweeted today in response to a Tweet from YVR Airport who are celebrating their 89th birthday.

“Every time I travel through YVR airport I compare it to all the other airports I have used. YVR sets a standard which most fail to equal, and none exceeds. We recently had a complimentary pass for a lounge. In YVR we didn’t need it. Where we had a layover it wasn’t open!”

The tweet limit still means it does not really tell what I think is a story worth expanding. Elsewhere I have written about our trip in January to New Orleans. We did not manage to get a direct flight but had to switch from WestJet to Delta at Los Angeles.

VanCity had recently persuaded me to upgrade my VISA card and one of the sweeteners offered was airport lounge access. It turned out to be complimentary for the first occasion only. Since you have to get to the airport early for the lengthy (and completely unnecessary) “security” check there is usually at least an hour to waste once through the interrogations and interference. At YVR the US departures area is spacious, well laid out and actually quite interesting. I usually enjoy just wandering around and taking pictures. Since we had an early morning departure we would have stopped at Starbucks for coffee and either bran muffins or oatmeal or something equally “healthy”.

But since we had this voucher we went to the lounge. The breakfast on offer looked very much like the standard US hotel complimentary in the lobby type of thing. And in a very similar atmosphere. The wifi is free all over YVR anyway, so the lounge is not any different. You are just a bit further away from the gates and with only a view into the terminal. And a rather intrusive tv with the morning news – again just like the gate area. The fee I would now have to pay for subsequent visits would not be much different to what I would pay at Starbucks – or the restaurant at other times of day.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/stephen_rees/49461276967/

The connection at LAX to the flight to MSY (as NOLA is rendered in airport code) meant changing terminals by bus across the apron. Delta’s terminal is way too small and too darn crowded, but there was a lunch counter right next to our gate and they served craft beer. We had just enough time to eat lunch before our flight was called to start boarding.

On the way back, the story was different. The lounge we might have used was in the wrong terminal i.e. the one we arrived in not the one we left from. And anyway was closed to people with my kind of pass except in the early morning. The terminal used by WestJet was even nastier than that for Delta – and the choice of eating places was fast food or nothing. The noise level was atrocious. I was feeling a little under the weather – it turned out to be the ‘flu (not COVID19) – and I really wanted somewhere peaceful. At Amsterdam they have an art gallery and a library, both with comfy chairs. LAX was more like McDonalds on a midterm break. And were were there for three hours.

Worst of all, there was no working free wifi, and even the departure screens were hidden away behind a staircase. The well placed screens were only for commercials – the same ones for hours on a short rotation.

To be fair the Delta terminal is being enlarged and physically connected so that the need for a bus ride will be eliminated. I do not know what they plan for lounges and right now it seems to be unlikely we will be needing them in any foreseeable future. But at that time I would have been very much happier if my imposed wait could have been in YVR or an airport built to that standard than LAX. It was somewhat better than Kansas City, where Frontier had once required me to spend all day. But that isn’t saying much.

On the whole I have not felt especially constrained by the current travel restrictions and I am in no hurry to go very far again.

Written by Stephen Rees

July 22, 2020 at 4:08 pm

Posted in Air Travel

One Response

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. I have connected through many of the “great” US airports… LAX was designed with the idea that the only place anyone flying there would be going is Los Angeles. Connections are as bad as they come, especially coming to Canada!

    Bryn Hughes

    July 23, 2020 at 12:54 am


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: