Airline reviews Air Canada Business lounges Maple Leaf

Air Canada Business Class lounges

Toronto Air Canada Maple Leaf International lounge June 2007 Toronto Maple Leaf lounge

Air Canada has lounges for premium passengers. There are open to passengers holding Executive First, or Executive class tickets. Super Elite and Elite members of Aeroplan also get free access (and for a charge, Prestige passengers can also use the lounges). Star alliance Gold passengers are permitted full access.

The other way of gaining access is to buy access to the Maple Leaf Club. This costs CA$459.00, and is decidedly expensive unless you plan to be flying a lot, in which case you'll soon earn Elite membership of Aeroplan and get free access to the lounges anyway.

There are dedicated Maple Leaf lounges at Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Québec, Regina, St. John's, Vancouver, and Winnipeg. There are also lounges at outstations including Los Angeles, and Paris (CDG). The old Air Canada departure lounge at London Heathrow is about to close as Air Canada move to Terminal 1, however there is still an arrivals lounge.

Toronto Pearson Maple Leaf International Lounge

Terminal 1, level 3 Open 0600-2200
Access for Business Class (Executive First), Maple Leaf Club Members, Aeroplan Elite & SuperElite, Gold Star Alliance

You have to walk a long way to get here, and if you are transferring from a domestic flight (remember to get an exit passport stamp at the odd roped off passport control on the gantry) it can feel like a hike half way around the airport.

Toronto Air Canada Maple Leaf International lounge June 2007 Toronto Air Canada Maple Leaf International lounge

This is a lovely vast lounge for the main hub. Mind you, it is split into small chunks by high wooden barriers, so it seems a lot cosier than it is.

The bar area is where you walk in (with another one up the stairs), the showers are at the far end (get a key from reception) and at the far end is a quiet area and computer rooms.

Toronto Air Canada Maple Leaf International lounge June 2007 Toronto Maple Leaf lounge bar
There would be a view over the runway - however the windows have blinds, and are some way away from the lounge.

The bar is fantastic - one of the best at any airport lounge - if only because of the vast array of spirits. There are 17 on optics, and another 5 sitting on the bench. There are 4 beers on draft (Sleeman Cream & Pale Ale, Guinness, and Canadian). However the wine is very poor, with just one lonely white sitting in a bucket, one red on the counter, and no Sparkling Wine.

The food is however very poor, with just a bowl of salad, carrots, celery and tomatoes, plus 3 types of dip. There is also a bowl of apples, oranges and bananas. There are also some biscuits on the counter.

Toronto Air Canada Maple Leaf International lounge June 2007 Toronto Maple Leaf lounge

There is a Xerox business centres at the far end of the lounge. There are a large number of computers at the far end of the lounge. There are fast, and work well. There is a fax, two colour printers, a photocopier, and Wifi around the lounge. Above the bars are two TVs, however they show a very low-definition version of CNBC, while at the far end of the lounge there is a Sony Grand Wega television with Surround Sound.

Ottawa Maple Leaf Lounge

After security, extreem left, old terminal Open 0600-2200
Access for Business Class (Executive First), Maple Leaf Club Members, Aeroplan Elite & SuperElite, Gold Star Alliance
Ottawa Air Canada Maple Leaf lounge June 2007 Ottawa Maple Leaf lounge bar

There is a lovely new terminal at Ottawa. It is full of lovely features like a twinkling waterfall, granite flagstones, and cool bars. Alas, the Maple Leaf lounge isn't in this section - it's a long cold hike away in the old bit. With cold sterile Wal-Mart style decor. The lounge is half way in the middle of the section now only used for Jazz flights.

Ottawa Air Canada Maple Leaf lounge June 2007 Ottawa Maple Leaf lounge

The lounge itself is OK, although it gets full to bursting when Ottawa's one daily international flights, to LHR, leaves in late-afternoon. It is a small box, admittedly with great views of the runway from the main section, with a bar on the left, and a business section right at the far end at the left via the strange screened off corridor. There are two TVs in a corner on the left.

The bar has a good wine and beer selection. The beer isn't immediately obvious: open the silver fronted fridge to the right of the bar, and you'll be presented with about racks of the stuff. There's everything from Boddingtons, Guinness, Blue, Canadian. There is a rack of spirits on optics. Being the Capitol, this place is used to hardened drinkers. The wine is equally good, with two whites in a bucket, and two reds on the counter. Beware though, that you aren't allowed to take any booze into the business centre.

Ottawa Air Canada Maple Leaf lounge June 2007 Ottawa Maple Leaf lounge

The magazine rack is to the right of the bar, and is very well stocked indeed. There are also larger numbers of newspapers (all Canadian).

Food is on the opposite side to the bar. There is Soup (the selection changes at 5pm) and a selection of dips with cucumber and carrots. And that's about it.

The business centre has 5 PCs which are all modern and fast with broadband access. There is also (paid-for) wifi access.

Montreal YUL - Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounges

There are three Maple Leaf Lounges at Montreal; Domestic, International, and the strange limbo land of the transborder US area.

If you are stuck in transborder, you can't get to any other lounges, however if you are going to International you can call in at the domestic lounge first, before then going into the international area, but once in International you can't then get back to domestic.

Once you have checked in (or re-checked in, if you are in transit, as you have the hassle of going landside to pick up another boarding card) at Montreal Pierre Elliot Trudeau international airport (named in honour of a former Canadian Prime Minister who tried hard to shut down the airport and transferred all its flights to Mirabel, in case you wanted to know) you'll go through security. Here, you'll be at gate 49 on the fringe of the Green (international) and Orange (Domestic) zone.

To get from security to the domestic lounge turn right, walk all the way down to the end by gate 47, turn right again down a corridor that only seems to have toilets, left and right, past the exit of domestic security, and you'll be in the domestic pier by gate 1. Walk all the way down to gate 7, and there is the domestic lounge. However food is poorer in domestic, and the only real advantage is the cinema room, and the telescope overlooking the active runway, unless that is you are stuck at Montreal between 11am and 3pm when the main international lounge is shut (except on Saturdays).

Montreal (YUL) Air Canada Domestic Maple Leaf Lounge June 2011
Montreal Air Canada Domestic Maple Leaf Lounge

Montreal - International - Air Canada Maple Leaf lounge

Airside, by gate 59, up escalators 05:00-11:15 and 14:30-20:30 (open all day Saturday)
Access for Business Class (Executive First), Maple Leaf Club Members, Aeroplan Elite & SuperElite, Gold Star Alliance

The long thin Air Canada Montreal Maple Leaf Lounge is high above the gates with amazing runway views. It's recently had a revamp and is pretty swish, although it also added strange wooden artistic creations above the main lounge area that look odd and don't add a lot.

Montreal (YUL) Air Canada Domestic Maple Leaf Lounge June 2011
Montreal Air Canada Domestic Maple Leaf Lounge

The lounge entrance is pretty much at the end of the international pier, with a small door on the left: there is an ante room at the bottom of the stairs with a small reception desk, and then you either wait for the very slow lift, or just walk up the stairs.

As you enter you are in the main food and bar area, under the tinkling white chandeliers. If you go left there is a small cinema room and childrens play area. Right takes you all the way along the main lounge, with computers half way along, and entrance to the showers on the right, and then at the far end by far the quietest part of the lounge, with large squishy chairs (which all have power sockets (US style) and phones on the tables between them. Oddly, this area with the pay phones is the designated quiet zone where mobiles must be turned off, and the contradiction is strictly enforced by the staff.

Food is better than domestic, but not by much. Don't expect pre-flight dining in the Air Canada Montreal business class Lounge. Your options basically consist of two tubs of pasta and three of sauce to put on the top (tomato, cheese, or the rather odd "mixed meat"). There are also two tubs of soup, bread rolls and butter, and dips with carrots and cucumber. Fruit is in a wire bowl on the worktop, and there is also a box with bags of crisps next to the beer pumps. The expectation is clear: if you want to dine in style, eat on the plane.

Montreal (YUL) Air Canada Domestic Maple Leaf Lounge June 2011
Montreal Air Canada Domestic Maple Leaf Lounge

The bar is better, with over 25 spirits in free pour bottles on optics or the counter, from Glenlivet to Black Label. Baileys is not chilled. Alas, if you want wine, then the options are woeful. There is generally only one white and one red, and the lounge is clearly scraping the bottom of the barrel here, for the wine normally comes from Italy or Australia. Odd, for a French place in Canada. Beer is better, and there are three draft handles offering Guinness, Coors or Canadian. By the bar is a steel walled fridge: all the cans of soft drink are in here.

Montreal (YUL) Air Canada Domestic Maple Leaf Lounge June 2011
Montreal Air Canada Domestic Maple Leaf Lounge

Computer facilities are pretty good, but curiously sited right in the noisiest part of the lounge, in a small alcove half way along the main corridor. Here there are all of four computers, and four more workstations, on a long wooden bench. Printer, fax and photocopier are on the worktop.

Newspapers are hard to come by in the lounge, with just one small newspaper rack past the wooden section of the lounge. There are no UK papers. However there are piles of good magazines on the rack here, which you can take onto a flight.

There are showers in the lounge (get the key and a towel from reception) in the trendy bathrooms, but you'll struggle in the queue for the shower. The lounge is normally packed to the gills at 7.30pm, just before most of the flights leave, however it quietens down at other times. Late afternoon or late evening, and you can be the only one in here.

Montreal (YUL) Air Canada Domestic Maple Leaf Lounge June 2011
Montreal Air Canada Domestic Maple Leaf Lounge

Montreal - Domestic - Air Canada Maple Leaf lounge

Airside, by gate 4, up stairs 04:30-22:45
Access for Business Class (Executive First), Maple Leaf Club Members, Aeroplan Elite & SuperElite, Gold Star Alliance

There is if course a large domestic Air Canada maple leaf lounge at Montreal, and you can walk airside from here to international, which is very useful when International shuts during the day. It is halfway down the domestic pier, right after Moe's restaurant and opposite the cashpoint(ATM), through the heavy glass door, and then up the stairs. There is a small desk at the top of the stairs, although at busy times the queue for the desk can sometimes go all the way down the stairs and even out into the corridor.

Unlike the international lounge, the domestic lounge is divided up into small rooms, which makes the place seem smaller than it is. When you walk in there is a small lounge on the left by the desk, with a corridor that ends in the self-serve bar. On the right is a computer room, while if you widggle left then right is the food area with a long food bar in the middle, and finally at the back is a cinema room.

Montreal (YUL) Air Canada Domestic Maple Leaf Lounge June 2011
Montreal Air Canada Domestic Maple Leaf Lounge

The cinema room is great, with a large widescreen TV on the wall, and surround sound. Alas, with only one TV to watch, it is generally stuck on the channel that the first visitor to the lounge tuned into at the start of the day. In the corner is a large bay window, and here there is a telescope overlooking the runway: this isn't some way away in the distance: uniquely the lounge is positioned only a few hundred feet from the takeoff point, and aircraft take off over your head. This can be deafening when a fully loaded 747 takes off.

The Food is in the room beside the cinema, on a long surfboard shaped metal counter. Alas describing it as Air Canada does as the dining area is a bit of a misnomer. Food consists for most of the day of just a salad and dips, with a bowl of lettuce, carrots and cucumber, and small pots of dipping sauce, plus bottles of thousand island and Ceaser dressing.

Montreal (YUL) Air Canada Domestic Maple Leaf Lounge June 2011
Montreal Air Canada Domestic Maple Leaf Lounge
There is also hot soup on the counter behind, and sliced baguettes in a metal basket. There are also three large jars of stuffed olives to complete the rather basic catering. At breakfast it is slightly better, with cereal and toast, plus jam and butter. At least there are decent metal knives and forks. Beside the counter there are several tables and chairs, with a superb view of the runway. Indeed, the Air Canada Montreal Lounge is a very good place to sit and see the airport traffic.

Montreal (YUL) Air Canada Domestic Maple Leaf Lounge June 2011
Montreal Air Canada Domestic Maple Leaf Lounge
The bar is small but very well stocked with 10 types spirits including Black Label, Glenlivet and Smirnoff vodka. These are on optics above the bar, except for the Gran Marnier and Baileys which are on the right of the counter. which also has one white in a bucket, and one red (but no Sparkling Wine) bottle of wine. Beer is on draft, with a beer tap for Coors light, Molson Canadian, and Guinness draught. Cans of soft drink are in the fridge with a glass door, and unusually are full sized cans. To the right of the bar is a small counter with packets of crisps and a bowl of fruit.

There is a small computer room with just two PCs, and a printer, although there is also free wifi in the lounge. A newspaper rack beside the reception desk has most of the Canadian daily papers, a few from the US, but no other international papers. You can grab a paper on your way out as you leave, and also take one of the Air Canada branded boiled sweets in the bowl.

London LHR Heathrow - Air Canada lounges

Moves are afoot at London Heathow. Air Canada is moving to the Joint Star Alliance terminal 1, and out of it's home for many years at Terminal 3. This will certainly make transfers between flights easier. Alas, it will also mean the closure of the old London Lounge. A delight when it opened a decade ago, it was the end of the Maple Leaf Club at London Heathrow, but also resulted in a much larger joint lounge with SAS.

That will close, as will the dedicated Air Canada Arrivals lounge at LHR T3. In the new LHR Terminal 1 Air Canada will use the Joint Star Alliance departures lounge, and the separate arrivals lounge, run by bmi.

London LHR Heathrow - Air Canada Arrivals lounge

Landside, after customs, by shuttle bus pickup 0630-1330
Access for business class (Executive First), Maple Leaf Club Members, Maple Leaf Club Members, Aeroplan Super Elite or Elite, Gold Star Alliance
This lounge will be closing shortly, as part of the move by Air Canada to Terminal 1.
London Heathrow (LHR) Air Canada Arrivals Maple Leaf Lounge June 2011
London Heathrow Air Canada Arrivals Lounge

The small gem of Air Canada Arrivals lounge at London Heathrow is hidden away, and almost a staff secret. Few people - even frequent flyers - know it is there, and it is never advertised. Even on the plane into LHR you'll get blank looks if you ask about the arrivals lounge.

This is a shame as the lounge is brilliant: it is well worth seeking out if you've just finished a transatlantic flight, if only because it gives you a chance for a shower and breakfast before hopping on the tube for a meeting, or before your hotel opens.

It really isn't in a very salubrious location. Once through customs, to find the arrivals lounge at London Heathrow for Air Canada, walk through the crowd of people at the exit, past the information kiosk, the ramp to the tube, and out of the main door to where the shuttle busses pull up. Walk along the pavement a bit under the awning, and the lounge is through the glass door on your left.

London Heathrow (LHR) Air Canada Arrivals Maple Leaf Lounge June 2011
London Heathrow Air Canada Arrivals Lounge

It's small - very small - but then hardly anyone knows it is there. There is a small reception desk, a lounge with half a dozen seats on the right, lounges further around the circle, and then back by reception again the dining area with a few chairs.

The vital bit is the showers. The Air Canada Heathrow arrivals lounge offers hot showers: just ask at reception, and they'll hand you a towel, toothbrush and razor. Alas, no amenities: there is just a basic shower gel in a big pot on the wall. There is a valet service for clothes pressing and shoe shine: hence the reason why the doors into the bathrooms have a strange inset door: it's for you to hang your suit in: put it in the small mini door, and by the time you're out of your shower, it is fully pressed.

London Heathrow (LHR) Air Canada Arrivals Maple Leaf Lounge June 2011
London Heathrow Air Canada Arrivals Lounge

In the main room there are two internet computers: they have recently been updated, but are still pretty slow. There are free local calls to the 020 (London inner and outer) area. However there are plenty of newspapers, with a complete selection of current UK papers, plus yesterday's from Canada. Alas there are normally only one or two copies of each, and the lounge staff normally like them to remain in the lounge itself, unless you're there later in the morning. There are also a few magazines, but I wouldn't hold out for them being very current.

Breakfast is OK, but don't expect the delights of the full English over in the BA or AA arrivals lounges. The Air Canada Arrivals Lounge at Heathrow airport in London offers decent continental breakfast, with a couple of boxes of cereals, croissants, toast, tea and coffee. Juice is in the jugs, while there are mini cans of Pepsi and Tango in the fridge underneath the worktop. Alas, if you want a good hot breakfast, the only options are whether you want cheese on the top of your bacon butty. To get one ask at the kitchen door, but the staff aren't very attentive so you might have to wait a while.

However, the lounge is worth hunting out, and even worthwhile taking Air Canada for over other carriers that don't have an arrivals lounge. Entry is free if you are in Executive First (make sure you keep your boarding card) or are in the cheap seats as a member of the Maple Leaf Club or with Air Canada Super Elite or Elite status. Entry is subjective with a Star Alliance gold card: sometimes you're allowed in, other times you have to buy a guess pass. These passes are for everyone else who can't get in free, and costs CD$40 (CD$30 if you purchase in advance).

Plus, there is of course the alternative of the Star Alliance arrivals lounge (inside the main terminal above the bar) if you feel like a change.

London LHR Heathrow - Air Canada old lounge - The London Lounge

Terminal 3, airside Open 0600-2200
Access for business class (Executive First), Maple Leaf Club Members, Maple Leaf Club Members, Aeroplan Super Elite or Elite, Gold Star Alliance
Air Canada are shortly to move from Terminal 3 to Terminal 1 at London Heathrow, and at this time will move to the new joint Star Alliance lounge in LHR Terminal 1.
LHR Air Canada London lounge June 2007 London LHR Air Canada lounge

Access for SAS/Canadian/Thai business class passengers, and Gold card holders

Air Canada (Maple Leaf) have a joint lounge with Scandinavian Airlines. Designed by Swedish architects it combines the old SAS (which was only a third of the size) & Air Canada's previous Maple Leaf Lounge. It is also used by Thai flights.

Imagine a minimalist land of stripped pine, white walls, and the wow factor that very few lounges have now.

LHR Air Canada London lounge June 2007 London LHR Air Canada lounge

Called 'The London Lounge' the two-story lounge seats 350 people and is easy to find - its located directly adjacent to the duty free transit area.

It's has two floors with very different atmospheres. The ground floor provides a livelier atmosphere, similar to a hotel lobby, while the upper floor offers a more 'relax-and-unwind' atmosphere with seating areas including massage chairs, a library (with some really good books and a big reading table) and showers. There are several works of art including mini Buddha figures by Fredrik Wretmann and Albin Karlsson's clock. Award winning Canadian textile artist Elyse de la Fontaine has two prominent pieces on display.

Upstairs the lounge features a 12-seat cinema (a box glass room with a really big TV), along with a TV in the open (a 32" with Freeview); a games room with tabletop curling developed by a former member of the Swedish Olympic team (which is great fun to play on - mind the curtains); and a separate Kids Lounge (with lots of Lego). The seats up here are the most comfortable, and in the corner there is a view of some of the nearby gates. There is a bar here hidden by the back corridor, with beer on draft, and spirits (vodka, gin, whisky). On the upper level there are also four shower cubicles: ask for the key (and a towel - these are not normally given) at reception.

LHR Air Canada London lounge June 2007 London lounge food bar

There are a large number of computers at the back of the top floor, which are fast and work well. There is also free wi-fi in the lounge (Network: SASWipoint Name: lhrb Password: sas).

LHR Air Canada London lounge June 2007 London LHR Air Canada lounge

Downstairs there's a business centre with computers and high-speed Internet access including wireless options around a circular bar area. There is Sky TV on the flatscreen TV on the wall under the stairs, and a smoking glass box, next to the newspaper pod, with loads of papers (all of which you can take away) including all the UK papers, and most of the Canadian papers.

Downstairs the bar has 4 types of white and red, but no Sparkling Wine. Mineral water comes on draft, but there are no spirits, and the only beer downstairs is Singa, in small bottles.

Food on both levels comes in a buffet area. It provides fresh fruit, including peppers, carrots, and cauliflower (but no dips), and lots of cheese to choose from, with Boursin & Smoret in tubs, plus two types of cheddar and red Leicester. There are digestives or Cream Crackers to put them on. Two types of nuts in bags. Three types of fruitcake, all sealed in plastic. Early in the morning there are some good pastries.

Note that at Terminal 3 at LHR BAA have abandoned fasttrack for Gold card holders - you can now only use fast track if you are in a premium cabin.

London LHR Heathrow - Air Canada new Business Class lounge

Terminal 1, after security Open 0500-2200
Access for Business Class (Executive First), Maple Leaf Club Members, Aeroplan Elite & SuperElite, Gold Star Alliance
Air Canada are shortly to move from Terminal 3 to Terminal 1 at London Heathrow, and at this time will move to this, the new joint Star Alliance lounge in LHR Terminal 1.
London LHR Star Alliance lounge March 2009
London LHR Star Alliance lounge used by Air Canada

With the move to Terminal 1 at London Heathrow, Air Canada make use of the brand new Joint Star Alliance lounge in Terminal 1. It is after security, and then you walk right through the shops, and right again into the main square: the lounge is hidden in the corner, to the right of WHSmiths.

The lounge is very large, but rather dull. Food is pretty good, with a hot option available for the Air Canada flights so you can eat in the lounge before getting on board. Food is often curry, with salads and sandwiches also available.

London LHR Star Alliance lounge March 2009
London LHR Star Alliance lounge used by Air Canada

The bar is rather poor, with bottles of Gin, Vodka, VSOP, Bacardi Rum, and Whisky with Jack Daniels, Famous Grouse, and Jamesons. There is just one type of white, two types of red, and a rose wine. Most of these are pretty cheap and nasty versions. There is a beer pump for Grolsh, and - rare for a lounge - Magners cider in bottles in the fridge, along with bottles of Becks and cans of Guinness.

There are showers in the lounge, and free Wifi, but no computers.

Full details of this lounge are contained in the bmi pages, under the Joint Star Alliance LHR Lounge section.

Sydney - Air Canada Koru Club Business Lounge

Terminal C, level 3 above Gate 53 Open 0615-2230
Access for Business Class (Executive First), Maple Leaf Club Members, Elite & SuperElite Aeroplan, Gold Star Alliance

Sydney Air Canada koru club business class lounge Oct 2003
Sydney Air Canada business lounge with the main bar area behind

At Sydney, Air Canada use the Air New Zealand Koru Club. It is a vast roomy concourse with large windows giving great views overlooking the runway and the main gate area on the top floor of Terminal C.
>> More details of the Sydney Air Canada lounge
Including larger pictures.

The main part of the lounge is a big long room, having dark wood, squashy armchairs, and a subdued hush; although if you visit at a busy time the hush tends to be replaced by rather more organised chaos. There is a bar area against the wall on the left and a food counter infront of it. The bar is very good, with a lovely sparking Jacob's Creek Chardonnay Pinot Noir Brut in the fridge. Other wines are from New Zealand, including Robinsons Malborough Savingnon Blanc, Dash Pino, and Broken Bay Chardonnay.

Sydney Air Canada business lounge Feb 2009
Sydney Air Canada lounge

Food is equally good, with a cooked breakfast including sausages and tomatoes for the Air Canada flight. Later in the day there also hotdogs. Newspapers are spread on the top of the shelving units, and normally include a complete selection of all the Aussie papers. There is a small business centre at the far end of the lounge, and in this there are just three computers which have free internet access.

Full details of this lounge are contained in the Air New Zealand pages, under the Sydney lounge section.

Auckland Koru Club - Air Canada Business Class lounge

Airside, after security, up escaltor, right, to level 2 Open 0500-2230
Access for Business Class (Executive First), Maple Leaf Club Members, Elite & SuperElite Aeroplan, Gold Star Alliance

At Auckland, Air Canada again make use to the Air New Zealand lounge. To get to the area of the airport that has the lounges, after security go past the duty free shops, then up the escalator, and right at the sign for VIP Lounges.

Auckland Koru Club business lounge Oct 2009
Auckland Koru Club's beer fridge

The best place is the old first class section (now used for business since Air NZ abandoned this class), up past the main area, which has had a revamp, and this offers great views of the gates, tarmac and runway, plus its own separate beer fridge.

There is no longer a business centre: instead on the far wall of the inner area has four desks, with four (relatively fast) internet computers. Free Wifi is available.

Auckland Koru Club business lounge Oct 2009
Auckland Air New Zealand Koru Club

There is a good selection of all the NZ newspapers on the stand on the far side of the inner area statue.

Food changes 3 times a day, with the best selection at breakfast, when there are scones & clotted cream. By lunchtime there are just a few olives, gherkins, a very bad hummus, and a pretty good pate. Scones and cream make a brief reapperance at teatime, while in the evening there are hot dishes.

The bar is much better, with some decent Kiwi sparklers and two whites. The beer fridge is a real delight, having a vast array of everything from DB Export Gold, to Steinlarger, Monteith's dark, and Becks.

Full details of this lounge are contained in the Air New Zealand pages, under the Auckland lounge section.