The Incidental Tourist

Review: A tale of two lounges (ANA Lounge NRT and Plaza Premium Lounge YYZ)

I started this afternoon off seemingly in the lap of luxury.
At Narita, I waited for my flight in the ANA Lounge, partaking of the delicious food on the custom noodle bar followed by sushi from the cold bar.  To drink, I had a couple glasses of Hakushu, a green whisky made by Japanese maker Suntory and a coke.
Had I wished, I could have taken a hot shower, or relaxed in one of several private relaxation rooms, but just sitting in the plush lounge chairs writing about my latest adventures was enough.
The ANA Lounge was roomy, well lit, comfortable and just plain nice, similar to other non-North American lounges I’ve used in my travels.
Contrast that with where I am now, sitting in the “Plaza Premium” lounge at Toronto’s Pearson International (YYZ).  This lounge is little more than a glorified seating area.  There are some foods, none of which looks appetizing, all of which looks like it came from a can or box.
There are the usual assortments of sodas, crappy beer and juices.  The seats are just so-so, and the whole lounge has a slight undertone of gymnasium or feet, I’m not sure which.  This place is a lot like so many “Lounges” I’ve encountered in US airports.  Cramped, poorly designed and lacking a lot of the basic comforts that any non-American lounge provides by default.
There is ONE shower, but it also doubles as the handicapped restroom.  TVs that aren’t loud enough to hear, no were to stretch out and kick your feet up and no power unless you’re willing to look for it.  Each of the tables between the chairs have places where you would expect to find outlets for the use of the guests.  However, these are all conveniently covered by solid plates rather than outlets.  To find power, you have to move furniture around.
There is one saving grace in this place that can only barely be defined as a Lounge… it has some whisky and other full liquors on the service area.  Most, if not all, US lounges only serve crappy beer and cheap wine.  Unfortunately, a glass of Chivas does not make up for the fact that this lounge is like every other lounge I’ve tried in North America: Poorly executed and found severely wanting.

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