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Review: Plaza Premium lounges offer pay-per-use access, selection in multiple Canadian cities

As a frequent traveller, I often talk about airport lounges and how they can make or break your journey. From relaxing on a shorter business trip or celebrating the start of a personal vacation, I’m always on the hunt for a good lounge. 

What a lot of people don’t know, however, is that you don’t need to be a frequent flyer or live in a major city to access an airport lounge. While lounges may seem like an elusive club that require a special membership for access, the truth is, you can easily join the fun, too. 

Myth: Lounges are only in big cities

Having done a handful of business trips this year that required me to hop from city to city across Canada, I quickly learned that airport lounges aren’t only situated in big cities. Yes, you have the airline lounges, but often they’re restricted to those who fly on business-class fares, have status, or access through their credit cards. 

I’ve been inside the Plaza Premium lounges at Toronto’s Pearson and Vancouver International Airport, which in my opinion often offer superior food selection to other lounges from airlines, hot breakfasts, and spacious areas to quietly rest or work away at emails, but I was also pleasantly surprised to discover Plaza Premium lounges in Winnipeg’s Richardson International Airport and Edmonton International Airport. 

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You can find plenty of lounge areas to quietly sip a pre-flight cocktail, grab a bite from the bar, help yourself to a variety of juices, sodas, beer, wine, and spirits, and a variety of newspapers are available, too. 

Myth: You need a special membership to access lounges

Many people think you need airline status or purchase an expensive fare to access a lounge. I recently was flying through both Winnipeg and Edmonton and had time to pass before my flight—one was a few hours out, and another was delayed due to a mechanical issue. Even though you can access the lounge if you are member of Priority Pass through a premium credit card, you can also access the Plaza Premium lounges on a pay-per-use basis. 

A two-hour pass is available for $40 USD, with options to add more time, but I love that there’s no status needed, no special credit cards, and no memberships required! Many people don’t know about this and is a worthwhile investment if you are looking to pass a couple hours and just relax before a long flight. 

No time for the lounge? Grab a healthy on-the-go meal!

Finally, in Winnipeg’s Richardson International Airport, Root98 joins Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia in a unique, healthy dining concept designed for people on the go. As their name suggests, the food is rooted in healthy eating, but is a play on “route” referring to your journey. 

Fresh, grab-and-go options offer local eats and cold-pressed juices to nourish you quickly before or during your flight. Gone are the days of stale egg sandwiches and sugary, overpriced sodas! 

Winston is currently a freelance technology and travel broadcast journalist, consultant, and is the creator and founder of Master Travellr—Canada’s destination for travel news, guides, and budget recommendations.

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