Thursday, February 23, 2017

New YYC Calgary Transborder Aspire Lounge Review

Transborder Aspire Lounge Entrance - Photo courtesy of Swissport
 To start our latest vacation the Rewards Canada family recently visited the new Transborder Calgary Airport Aspire Lounge. This lounge opened up on October 31, 2016 along with the entire new International terminal at YYC. This is the only transborder lounge in YYC as the old Rocky Mountain Lounge is now closed and is one of four lounges available in Calgary. The other three are the Aspire Lounge International, Chinook Lounge (Domestic) and Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge.

The Lounge
The new lounge has a much more open feel than the old Rocky Mountain lounge with lots of seating in booth areas, bar seats and bench seating. The lounge also has some loungers in semi enclosed areas where you can watch TV. The seats in the booth areas all featured cubbies for small carry on items and more importantly individual plugs for charging all your electronics!

Here are some general photos I took of the lounge:
At the check in desk!

Middle of the lounge seating with bar stools to the back

These are the seats with the cubbies and plug ins to charge your electronics

Food & Drinks
Outside of the peace and quiet of lounges the biggest draw for many to business class lounges are the food and drink options. Previously at the Rocky Mountain lounge (and in the current Chinook lounge) the food options are quite limited, in particular the hot food options which was usually just soup. The good news that the new transborder Aspire lounge has hot food options! When we arrived the options were chicken fingers, grilled tomatoes, fried rice and carrots. The bad news was the food wasn't very good. Later on the tomatoes were replaced with hashbrowns but we didn't try those out. We ended grabbing some food from Burger King (yes, BK - don't judge) to consume in the lounge. Perhaps we were just unlucky with the food that day but if not hopefully it will be something they work on and provide some better hot food options. The drink options were decent with several beers and hard alcohol options available along with wine. For non-alcoholic drinks there were your usual cans of soda, bottles of Juice and water (still & sparkling) on tap. As a reminder then bring an empty water bottle to fill up if you used to be used to taking water bottles out of the old lounge to your plane!
The hot food options

The alcohol options - there is also wine but not in this picture

Access
Entering the lounge was easy as we simply provided our J Class Air Canada boarding passes. Flying AC Business Class you can also choose to go the Maple Leaf lounge first but you'll have to clear security first for that lounge and when coming back for Transborder you'll have to go through U.S. customs and then security again. Kind of a pain hence AC's access to this lounge for their Transborder flights. Had we not been in business class we would have reverted to the other options our family has and those are The Platinum Card from American Express (which provides access for the whole family), Priority Pass (from The Platinum Card) or at the very least our Diners Club Club Rewards MasterCard but the last would only have covered 2 of the 5 of us that were travelling. You can pretty much access the lounge with any lounge program as mentioned but also Dragon Pass or you can buy single entries. To find out more about all the different lounge options read and bookmark our Guide to Business Class lounge access

Thoughts
Overall this new transborder lounge is very nice, much better than the old Rocky Mountain Lounge. We look forward to using it lots and also can't wait to try out the International lounge as well. We just hope the hot food options get a working to something better!

Have you visited this lounge? What do you think of it? What do you like and what do you think could be done better?

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