I flew out of Québec City in November 2015. As usual, I checked Priority Pass to see which, if any, lounges were available. Well, there is only one lounge in Quebec City’s Jean Lesage International Airport (YQB) – the Salon VIP (classy name) – and luckily, entrance was covered by priority pass. In accord with its name, the Salon VIP was quite VIP for an unaffiliated lounge and it had some complimentary VIP beverages. In contrast to its name, the food was scarce and not too delicious. All in all, it is a nice lounge but I would not kill yourself to get there or pay for entrance.
Salon VIP is located JUST passed security to the left; it is adjacent to Gate 29. We found it very easily. Upon entry, we were immediately checked in (boarding pass, ID and entrance pass (such as Priority Pass) required) and given a brief tour of the lounge. We were two of three total guests in the lounge on a random Monday, so the tour may not happen on every visit.
The Salon VIP lounge is set up very nicely, with a food and dining area to the left and ample general lounge space to the right. We started with the food section. No surprise there. Unfortunately, the food spread was not great, but then again, it was not a proper meal time. Perhaps the offerings are better at those hours. During our stay, Salon VIP offered a bowl of fresh fruit, personal bags of chips, cookies, rice krispie treats (!), a simple salad with processed bacon bits and croutons, hot soup and a cold bar, which contained things like hard boiled eggs, olives, cheese, pasta salad and the like. All items were replenished as necessary. I found the food pretty basic and it was certainly not enough to constitute a proper meal. It did, however, provide some nice snacks before our flight home.
The drinks were much better than the food. Salon VIP offered a self-serve bar, which included a number of liquors, wine and beer. The liquors were of particular good quality for a non-affiliated lounge and included the likes of Grey Goose and Disaronno. Regular beer as well as two Québec craft beers were available – St. Amboise and Cheval Blanc (both from Montréal)! While these were nice, my favorite was the ice cidre! Ice cidre is cider made with frozen apples and its delicious! I was very excited to find it in with the wine the lounge!
In addition to alcohol, there was an espresso machine, bottled water, soda and a variety of juices.
Just behind the buffet area, there were dining tables set up for eating. Staff cleaned frequently.
Moving on from the food and drink area, the remainder of the lounge is filled with large, comfy chairs, many with a view of the runway. That was pretty cool. Wifi was free and readily available, and there were outlet plugs scattered around the lounge. Per usual, a large TV was streaming CNN and international news publications were available for reading.
My very favorite part of the lounge, which I saved for last, was a very modern (and very VIP) fireplace in the middle of the lounge! I set up shop here and worked while sipping my ice cidre!
The Salon VIP does not have showers, but normal bathrooms were available near the checkin area.
If you are flying out of Québec City, be advised that despite being international, the airport is quite small and activities to keep you occupied are very limited. Before security, the airport boats a small food court with a Tim Horton’s (of course) and a bar, which actually looked pretty decent. After going through security, options are even more limited. There is the VIP Salon, a shop selling Canadian tourist products and general in-flight necessities, such as magazines, water and snacks, a small duty-free shop and possibly another restaurant. If you are planning to fly through this airport, make sure you eat and drink before crossing security if you do not have access to the lounge.
While I enjoyed my time in the Salon VIP, especially the fireplace, I do not think that it is worth the CAN $37.50 entry fee unless you plan to drink a lot or have a long layover. If you do have a long layover, consider going into Québec City. Québec City proper is only about 20 minutes from the airport and the Old Town (read about it here) is very navigable and easy to “see” on a short timeframe.
STEAL OUR TRIP
Salon VIP – Quebec City Jean Leasage International Airport, 2nd Level Airside, adjacent to Gate 29. Hours: 4:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. Limited food, decent selection of booze, good wifi, fireplace, no showers. Cost: Without free entrance, daily passes can be purchased for CAN $37.50 per person. Air Canada Business Class passengers and certain card holders receive free entrance. Check the website, but at the time of writing free entry included Air Canada Altitude Elite 50k, Altitude 75K, Altitude Super Elite 100k, Star Alliance Gold and Star Alliance Mapleleaf Wordwide cardholders, AmEx Plaitnum, Business Plaitnum, Corporate Plaitnum and Centurion cardholders, and certain pass holders, including Priority Pass and Air Transat Luxury Collection. It seems as through West Jet passengers and Lounge Club, Dragon Pass, Lounge Key and Diners Club members also receive free entrance to the Salon VIP, but check your specific card. In addition, certain card holders are entitled to discount day passes of a limited number of guests (going rate seemed to be CAN $10.00 off). I would confirm this information prior to checking-in to the lounge to ensure you get charged property.