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AC Lounge Access - physical locations and rules (2022 onwards)

Old Aug 16, 22, 1:18 pm
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Last edit by: D582
This wiki will attempt to cover the ability to access various lounges operated by AC. Since many travellers are not familiar with the layout of Canadian airports, we will detail both physical access as well as rules.


Overview of lounges

AC has three types of lounges:
  • Maple Leaf Lounges (MLLs): essentially, regular lounges
  • Caf: caf-style lounge with limited access and grab-and-go
  • Signature Suites: essentially, only for long-haul international business class passengers
Additionally, AC shares an arrivals lounge with UA at LHR for eligible customers.

Locations & Physical Access

Lounges are in the following locations:



Note that most of the Canadian airports used by AC have separate areas for domestic, transborder ("TB", i.e. to the US), and international flights. MLLs are often referred to based on which area of the terminal theyre in, e.g. YYZ Dom is the domestic lounge in YYZ, YUL Intl is the international lounge at YUL. Except when connecting from a domestic flight to a TB/international one, you can only use a lounge in the area from which your flight departs. For instance, a passenger flying from YYZ to LGA cannot use the YYZ Dom MLL as CATSA will not allow them to access the domestic wing; a passenger flying YXE-YYZ-LGA could use the YYZ Dom MLL as they will already be in the domestic area on arrival.

YYZ, YVR, and YUL have segregated international departures areas. The international MLLs cannot be accessed before domestic flights. In other locations, a "domestic" MLL can also be accessed before international flights.

Please note that while the US is a separate country, it is NOT an "international" destination in the way most Canadian airports and AC are set up. You can NEVER access the international lounges when departing on a flight to the US. (Passengers connecting in YVR between a domestic and US flight and following the connections path will enter the international departures area prior to the US area and although can physically access the international MLL, you will not be admitted and will be directed to the US area).

Lounges in transborder areas are after US customs pre-clearance, and can only be accessed by customers travelling to the US.


Access Rules

MLLs

Can be accessed for customers holding a SAME DAY DEPARTING boarding pass (for a flight operated by AC or another *A member) based on:
  • Status
    • Aeroplan 35K (domestic and transborder only; no guests; until June 1 2023 - no access on or after)
    • Aeroplan 50K and up (spouse/partner, dependent children, and one guest)
    • Star Alliance Gold (one guest)
    • VA Velocity Platinum or Gold (one guest)
    • Emirates SkyWards Platinum or Gold (one guest)
  • Class of service:
    • Business class (on AC or another *A carrier)
    • Premium rouge (on flights within Canada, to the U.S and Sun destinations, indicated by cabin code J on your boarding pass)
  • Passes (passes may only be valid for certain locations, e.g. domestic/TB)
    • Given out to those with AC status
    • Given out to certain credit card holders
    • Purchased directly from AC as an add-on to the flight, either in advance or at the lounge
  • Credit cards (no passes required, only for MLLs located within Canada and the US. No access to LHR, CDG, or FRA lounges):
    • TD VIP (one guest through 31 December 2023)
    • CIBC VIP (one guest through 31 December 2023)
    • Amex Aeroplan Reserve cards

Domestic Lounges can also be accessed by those ARRIVING on an Air Canada Mainline, Rouge or Express flight, for those holding 50K status and higher.


Signature Suites

Signature Suites require both (a) an eligible fare and (b) an eligible destination. Your flight must be a flight operated by Air Canada that is departing internationally from Toronto or Vancouver. It doesnt matter whether you bought the ticket through AC or if youre on an AC codeshare, or if your itinerary has other international connections. Unless your flight is operated by Air Canada, and is advertised as Signature Class, and is departing internationally from Toronto or Vancouver, youre not eligible.

Eligible fares:
  • Paid business class (originally booked in J, C, D, Z, or P classes)
  • Business Class (Flexible) Aeroplan tickets
  • First Class (Flexible) Aeroplan tickets when travelling on an Air Canada segment in Business Class
  • Emirates First Class (one guest)

Eligible destinations
  • South America (Colombia and south)
  • Europe
  • Asia
  • Australia and New Zealand

NOT accessible to:
  • Passengers in business class on any type of upgrades (eUpgrades, Last-Minute Upgrades, bid upgrades, Star Alliance Upgrade Awards)
  • Anyone booked in Business Class (Lowest) reward tickets - this includes any rewards ticketed by an Aeroplan partner, e.g. United MileagePlus, Miles & More, etc)
  • Passengers flying internationally with Air Canada, but who are not departing on an International Air Canada flight from Toronto or Vancouver. Example, if you are arriving on an International flight, but connecting to a US or domestic flight - you will NOT have access to the suite.

Cafe

Can be accessed by those with a departing domestic boarding pass (no arrivals benefit for the Cafe) based on:
  • Status
    • Aeroplan 50K and up (one guest)
    • Star Alliance Gold (one guest)
    • Emirates SkyWards Platinum or Gold (one guest)
  • Class of service:
    • Business class
    • Premium rouge
  • Credit cards:
    • TD VIP (one guest through 31 December 2023)
    • CIBC VIP (one guest through 31 December 2023)
    • Amex Aeroplan Reserve cards
Passengers arriving on a domestic flight with a connection to a US or international destination, although you can physically access the cafe, you will not be admitted. eGates have been updated to enforce the access policy.

LHR Arrivals Lounge

AC shares an arrivals lounge with UA at LHR, accessible to the following customers upon exiting the baggage hall in Terminal 2:
  • Business Class
  • Aeroplan Super Elite (one guest) when arriving on an Air Canada flight.
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AC Lounge Access - physical locations and rules (2022 onwards)

Old Aug 28, 22, 1:35 pm
  #166  
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
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Originally Posted by canadiancow View Post
We were just denied entry to the Cafe with YYZ-SFO BPs.
And the other test we ran (which is re-confirmed): I tried to enter the cafe on an arriving BP. No-go, only departing domestic BPs are sufficient to enter the cafe.
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Old Aug 28, 22, 1:42 pm
  #167  
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The language AC provided regarding access is not at all clear:
"The new caf is reserved exclusively for those departing on a domestic confirmed Air Canada flight flying in Business Class or Premium Rouge, Aeroplan Super Elite, 75K, 50K, and Star Alliance Gold members, and select Aeroplan Credit Cardholders."

Thanks to the vagaries of the English language and the non-specific way it is written, that can be read to mean that if you've got status on AC or are a *G or even have the right credit card you can gain access n matter what flight you are on.
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Old Aug 28, 22, 1:59 pm
  #168  
 
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Originally Posted by Xyzzy View Post
The language AC provided regarding access is not at all clear:
"The new caf is reserved exclusively for those departing on a domestic confirmed Air Canada flight flying in Business Class or Premium Rouge, Aeroplan Super Elite, 75K, 50K, and Star Alliance Gold members, and select Aeroplan Credit Cardholders."

Thanks to the vagaries of the English language and the non-specific way it is written, that can be read to mean that if you've got status on AC or are a *G or even have the right credit card you can gain access n matter what flight you are on.
"Domestic" isn't ambiguous, and the requirement Cow missed.
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Old Aug 28, 22, 2:02 pm
  #169  
 
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Originally Posted by RangerNS View Post
"Domestic" isn't ambiguous, and the requirement Cow missed.
Parenthesis would help to clarify a lot of the "and" and "or" conditions
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Old Aug 28, 22, 2:04 pm
  #170  
 
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Originally Posted by RangerNS View Post
"Domestic" isn't ambiguous, and the requirement Cow missed.
I tend to agree with Xyzzy here:

"The new caf is reserved exclusively for (those departing on a domestic confirmed Air Canada flight flying in Business Class or Premium Rouge), (Aeroplan Super Elite, 75K, 50K, and Star Alliance Gold members), and (select Aeroplan Credit Cardholders.)"

The domestic requirement can be read as applying to AC flights in J or Premium Rouge only.
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Old Aug 28, 22, 2:09 pm
  #171  
 
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Originally Posted by canopus27 View Post
Parenthesis would help to clarify a lot of the "and" and "or" conditions
Originally Posted by ffsim View Post
I tend to agree with Xyzzy here:

"The new caf is reserved exclusively for (those departing on a domestic confirmed Air Canada flight flying in Business Class or Premium Rouge), (Aeroplan Super Elite, 75K, 50K, and Star Alliance Gold members), and (select Aeroplan Credit Cardholders.)"

The domestic requirement can be read as applying to AC flights in J or Premium Rouge only.

English (should) uses semicolons.... but the obviously related lists are obviously related and "domestic" is separated from the lists with "in", it's obviously different from the the separate clauses:

Domestic in [so: and] (one of a cabin) or (one of a status) or (CC).
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Old Aug 28, 22, 2:15 pm
  #172  
 
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Originally Posted by RangerNS View Post
English (should) uses semicolons.... but the obviously related lists are obviously related and "domestic" is separated from the lists with "in", it's obviously different from the the separate clauses:

Domestic in [so: and] (one of a cabin) or (one of a status) or (CC).
I know how English works; the reason its not obvious to some is because its poorly written. Something like this would be much easier to read:

"The new caf is reserved exclusively for those departing on a domestic confirmed Air Canada flight. Access is limited to passengers flying in Business Class or Premium Rouge, Aeroplan Super Elite, 75K, 50K, and Star Alliance Gold members, and select Aeroplan Credit Cardholders."
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Old Aug 28, 22, 2:24 pm
  #173  
 
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I'm just explaining why I'm right.

Anyway. This is hardly the first time AC has failed to put published and pseudo legalese out without passing it through someone with a BA, JD, and/or is a mischievous and creative FTer to pickup on the obvious and easily fixable ambiguity.
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Old Aug 28, 22, 4:16 pm
  #174  
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Yeah, I'd always read it the other way before, but they have apparently disabled the access gates because they were "inappropriately" allowing people in.
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Old Aug 28, 22, 5:03 pm
  #175  
 
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I guess they don't want to cheapen the Caf either - thanks for taking one for the team canadiancow

And RangerNS clearly knows how to use a semicolon properly.
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Old Aug 28, 22, 5:33 pm
  #176  
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Originally Posted by canadiancow View Post
Yeah, I'd always read it the other way before, but they have apparently disabled the access gates because they were "inappropriately" allowing people in.
Disabled in what way? The gates were closed when I came in 5 minutes ago, and opened when I scanned my BP.
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Old Aug 28, 22, 5:47 pm
  #177  
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Originally Posted by Adam Smith View Post
Disabled in what way? The gates were closed when I came in 5 minutes ago, and opened when I scanned my BP.
Okay maybe it was just the one agent who turned them off and felt like making her own rules.

​​​​​​
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Old Aug 28, 22, 7:17 pm
  #178  
 
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Originally Posted by canadiancow View Post
We were just denied entry to the Cafe with YYZ-SFO BPs.

Reading the website:



This is now being enforced.
There is a partial loophole to this: A 50K or higher traveling domestically MAY guest a passenger with a TB or INTL BP. YMMV
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Old Aug 28, 22, 7:23 pm
  #179  
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Originally Posted by canadiancow View Post
Okay maybe it was just the one agent who turned them off and felt like making her own rules.​​​​​​
A different agent replaced the one who was on I first got there. She also had the gates closed, and seemed like people were scanning BPs to get in. So it's possible the agent you had was following a new policy that the others weren't, or maybe she was just doing whatever she felt like.
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Old Aug 28, 22, 7:56 pm
  #180  
 
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Originally Posted by recreationaltimetraveller View Post
There is a partial loophole to this: A 50K or higher traveling domestically MAY guest a passenger with a TB or INTL BP. YMMV
How do you get that from the wording of the Cafe rules? Or do you have experience?
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