Thursday, October 22, 2009

Calgary Airport Improvement?

By Roy Heale
If you have ever had the unpleasant experience of departing from the International Terminal at Calgary's alleged “International” Airport then you are certainly aware of the dismal services at this location. With food selections limited to Harvey burgers and Tim Hortons donuts or sandwiches, you are guaranteed to depart from Calgary feeling hungry. And chances are you will be served nothing but peanuts or pretzels on your flight! The services also include Starbucks for coffee plus pastries, and a few newstands or souvenir shops, but don't expect everything to be open if you have a 6AM departure of your flight.
This is probably the most unpleasant experience of any airport International departures area that I have ever encountered anywhere in the world! That includes small airports on tropical islands and so-called third world countries. Calgary is probably number one on any list of “worst international airport facilities” that might exist. It is so bad that none of the major airlines which depart from this terminal even offer their best clients a traditional executive lounge for their use.
But now there is a glimmer of hope for passengers heading to the USA since Servisair Lounges opened their new Rocky Mountain Lounge located just after the security screening area. This new executive lounge facility allows you to relax before you fly. It offers comfortable seating, complimentary beers, wines, spirits, beverages, and snacks, with restrooms, televisions, flight information, reading materials, business facilities including telephone and internet. There is no better way to spend your time before the flight but space is very limited to just under 100 guests at any time. However, they do accept advance reservations and they open at 4:30AM to accommodate those early flights to the United States.
If you are an American Express Platinum or Priority Pass cardholder the admission is free. For those just looking for a one-time pass it is $20 before 9AM and $25 from 9AM to closing at 7PM. The extensive snack buffet---with healthy choices---is worth the price of admission by itself. This has to be the best bargain available for travelers passing through this ugly experience in the U.S. Concourse C departures terminal. Thank goodness for a private initiative and perhaps it will inspire the Calgary Airport Authority to take another look at the lack of services which they provide to International travelers.
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