Making Toronto Pearson Airport an Awesome Travel Experience

A sponsored post

Photo: Anne Worner

Photo: Anne Worner

As a travel journalist, I spend a chunk of my life at Toronto Pearson International Airport. It’s not a stretch to say the coffee shops know my order and I’ve got a favourite bathroom stall in international departures.

In the past, arriving frazzled at the check-in counter wearing a pit-stained shirt and fumbling through security has been my routine. But lately, I’ve realized that conscious travel is about valuing the journey as much as the destination – and airports are a part of it too. These days, I’m done with foot-tapping and have embraced “airporting” as time to re-boot and relax. When I travel, I’m all about racking up comfort and convenience before my flight.

Airport

There are MANY other ways to get comfy at Toronto Pearson! (Photo: David Mellis)

It’s pretty easy to have a laid-back travel style at Toronto Pearson with Cloud 10 a cool service offering from American Express Canada and the Greater Toronto Airport Authority (aka GTAA). Since it launched a couple of years ago, Cloud 10 has seriously enhanced the travel experience at Toronto Pearson. This partnership gives select Amex Cardmembers a suite of airport benefits, such as parking discounts, complimentary valet parking, and security line by-pass (Huzzah! Fumbling be gone!).

But non-cardholders can enjoy perks too: Cloud 10 gives everyone access to special entertainment experiences, free Wi-Fi, and a re-vesting area – a special Amex-sponsored “getting your stuff together” post-security area.

So it turns out there are some fun, cheap (even free) ways to make Toronto Pearson part of your journey, especially thanks to Cloud 10. Here are my top tips on how to make YYZ an awesome travel experience:

Photo: Charles Dyer

Photo: Charles Dyer

Get on the Free Wi-Fi

Find a comfy spot, and tap into the Wi-Fi before or after going through security. It’s free for everyone, thanks to Amex Cloud 10. Whenever I’m in transit, I catch up on emails, post our editorial, file articles or Skype with my cat so that I can totally unplug and re-charge abroad.

Stock up on E-Books & Music for the Road

e-reader

Photo: Cristian Eslava

To pass the time, I used to browse and buy in the shops. But now, American Express Canada has launched a new service called Entertainment on Cloud 10 where anyone airporting at Pearson can download eBooks and music. The selection changes regularly and it’s free for everyone, not just Cardmembers, and can be downloaded before or after security.

So next time you transit through Pearson, stock up on books and songs for the road on the Entertainment on Cloud 10 website. Waiting to board, I downloaded one of the classics, The Great Gatsby, and a soundtrack for the road, which includes Hozier and George Ezra.

Lounge on Cloud 10

On flying days, I arrive at Pearson early, so I can kick back, relax, and prepare for my next adventure. It’s called living in the moment and being mindful of your journey. Once you give yourself that space to unwind, even the airport can be a zen place.

YYZ Maple Leaf lounge by s. yume

Chilling in the Maple Leaf Lounge (Photo: S. Yume)

If you have a big chunk of time, head to the Maple Leaf Lounge (Terminal 1) or the Plaza Premium Lounge (Terminal 2). Select Amex Cardmembers get free entry as part of their Amex Cloud 10 benefits. This was my sanctuary when my flight to Boston was delayed, and then later, cancelled. It’s a chilled out space with complimentary drinks and food, magazines and newspapers, a business centre, and a quiet zone where phones are banned. Plus, if there’s an issue with your travel arrangements, select Cardmembers can just call Amex’s travel concierge from the lounge for assistance.

Take an Art Walk

Richard Serra's Tilted Spheres, part of Toronto Pearson's artwalk (Photo: Alexander Synaptic)

Richard Serra’s Tilted Spheres, part of Toronto Pearson’s artwalk (Photo: Alexander Synaptic)

Hey you! Slow down and marvel at that sculpture in Terminal 1! Toronto Pearson went from sterile to stylish by introducing an art and exhibition program. Since I’ll be sitting for many hours ahead, I like to use my pre-flight time to walk around the terminal and admire pieces by Canadian and international artists. The Royal Ontario Museum helps curate the Changing Exhibitions, a rotating exhibit of art, design, history, science, popular culture and national history. Plan your art walk with this resource.

Time for a mani-pedi, doncha think? Photo: by Valerie

Get Groomed

I often feel a little stressed before I board, ruminating about everything that lies ahead. What did I forget to pack this time?

In Terminal 1, Ten Minute Manicure runs a boutique salon. For me, an express massage and mani-pedi clears the junk out of my head and relaxes my body. Besides, no one really wants to see my jagged yellow toenails on the beach.

Insider’s tip: travel-sized personal care products are often sold here – convenient if your liquids were confiscated at security.

So next time you’re sitting at YYZ, ask yourself: I wonder what kind of snacks are being served in the lounge?

Curious about the Cloud 10 benefits? Don’t blame ya. Amex offers more than just a Card. Select Cardmembers get perks at Toronto Pearson, such as security line by-pass, complimentary valet service, and discounts on parking and car care. Check out all the Cloud 10 benefits at: http://www.amexcloud10.ca/

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This post was sponsored by Amex Bank of Canada. The views and opinions expressed in this blog, however, are purely my own.

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