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

Old Aug 16, 2022, 12:18 pm
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Last edit by: Bohemian1
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
  • Café: café-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:



Notes:
  • YYZ Transborder: there are 2 MLLs, a full MLL right after US CBP and a second, small MLL near the regional gates
  • YYC Transborder: AC provides access to the Aspire lounge for status and J pax (no passes/credit cards)
  • YTZ Café: the Café at YTZ is an Aspire lounge (accessible via Priority Pass and other programs) co-branded by AC
  • EWR: the “MLL” is a co-branding of the United lounge in Terminal A; access rules are not entirely clear


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 they’re 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

NEW Effective June 13, 2023
Access to Maple Leaf Lounges, Air Canada Cafés, and Signature Suites will be limited to three hours prior to scheduled departure time. Please note that this policy does not apply during flight connections or flight delays.


While it is not published at the time of writing this, the internal policy now exempts SEs and most passengers with reported disabilities (eg WCHR) from the three hour rule for Maple Leaf Lounges, but not the Signature Suite.

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
  • Passes(passes may only be valid for certain locations, e.g. domestic/TB - Assume your pass is not valid for any International lounge)
    • 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 MLLs in Canada, and MLLs in the USA, 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 doesn’t matter whether you bought the ticket through AC or if you’re 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, you’re not eligible. The only exception is Emirates First Class - see below.

Eligible fares:
  • Paid business class (originally booked in J, C, D, Z, or P classes)
  • Business Class (Flexible) Aeroplan tickets - note that only Air Canada can ticket Flexible reward tickets; the website may incorrectly display a partner reward as Flexible
  • 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
  • Anyone booked on a reward ticket through a partner airline, 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.

Cafés

Can be accessed by those with a departing domestic boarding pass (no arrivals benefit for the Café) based on:
  • Status
    • Aeroplan 50K and up (spouse/partner, dependent children, and one guest)
    • Star Alliance Gold (one guest)
    • Emirates SkyWards Platinum or Gold (one guest)
  • Class of service:
    • Business class (there is no business class service from YTZ, but a business class boarding pass for the subsequent flight enables access)
    • 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 Café, you will not be admitted. eGates have been updated to enforce the access policy.

While it is not published, the internal policy exempts SEs from that requirement, so you should be admitted.

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 (Including upgrades to J)
  • 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 Apr 21, 2022, 9:14 am
  #31  
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Toronto, ON
Programs: AC 75K
Posts: 6,369
Originally Posted by PAULO77
Aeroplan ticket.
As clearly noted in the wiki at the top of the thread, the only way you're getting into the SS on an Aeroplan ticket is by booking Business Flexible.
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Old Apr 21, 2022, 9:22 am
  #32  
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Originally Posted by ChrisA330
As clearly noted in the wiki at the top of the thread, the only way you're getting into the SS on an Aeroplan ticket is by booking Business Flexible.
Yeah - that is why he asked his question:
Originally Posted by PAULO77
Is it possible to upgrade my confirmed e-upgraded business (from Latitude) ticket to a flexible business ticket to get access to the SS before my international flight?
chrisny2 is offline  
Old Apr 21, 2022, 9:25 am
  #33  
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Programs: AC E35K. RAM GOLD/ OWS
Posts: 39
Originally Posted by ChrisA330
As clearly noted in the wiki at the top of the thread, the only way you're getting into the SS on an Aeroplan ticket is by booking Business Flexible.
That was read and understood before I asked the question. Maybe my question should have been posted in the E-upgrade thread but I thought it required the attention of a SS specialist!

I am hoping to change my booking from an e-upgraded Latitude ticket to a Flexible Business reward ticket, which, based on the replies, is not possible.

My question was valid but maybe in the wrong thread.
PAULO77 is offline  
Old Apr 21, 2022, 9:45 am
  #34  
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Toronto, ON
Programs: AC 75K
Posts: 6,369
Originally Posted by PAULO77
That was read and understood before I asked the question. Maybe my question should have been posted in the E-upgrade thread but I thought it required the attention of a SS specialist!

I am hoping to change my booking from an e-upgraded Latitude ticket to a Flexible Business reward ticket, which, based on the replies, is not possible.

My question was valid but maybe in the wrong thread.
I missed the original question up thread.

Yes, you can change your ticket to Business-Flexible, which will be priced at the current aeroplan rates.
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Old Apr 21, 2022, 10:00 am
  #35  
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Programs: AC E35K. RAM GOLD/ OWS
Posts: 39
Originally Posted by ChrisA330
I missed the original question up thread.

Yes, you can change your ticket to Business-Flexible, which will be priced at the current aeroplan rates.
No worries. I am trying to sneak in by paying the (minimal) points difference between Business and Business Flexible! I'll give them a call to be 100% certain that it wont work.

I am asking for my ticket to be changed from an upgraded latitude to a business flexible and only pay the price difference between business and business flexible, which, at best, is cheeky!

I'll report back if a miracle occurs! I will not get in the way of the fabulous food photos any longer!

Thanks to all for the input!
PAULO77 is offline  
Old Apr 21, 2022, 10:07 am
  #36  
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Toronto, ON
Programs: AC 75K
Posts: 6,369
Originally Posted by PAULO77
No worries. I am trying to sneak in by paying the (minimal) points difference between Business and Business Flexible! I'll give them a call to be 100% certain that it wont work.

I am asking for my ticket to be changed from an upgraded latitude to a business flexible and only pay the price difference between business and business flexible, which, at best, is cheeky!

I'll report back if a miracle occurs! I will not get in the way of the fabulous food photos any longer!

Thanks to all for the input!
That's not cheeky, that's a waste of an Aeroplan agent's time. You have an economy ticket, not a business ticket. Regardless, you'll be paying the difference between what you paid originally and the new award cost now.

If you want into the lounge, you pay accordingly for it.
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Old Apr 21, 2022, 10:17 am
  #37  
 
Join Date: Nov 2020
Location: YVR/YYZ
Programs: AC50K, *A Gold, Marriott Titanium (LGE), Hilton Diamond
Posts: 382
Originally Posted by PAULO77
No worries. I am trying to sneak in by paying the (minimal) points difference between Business and Business Flexible! I'll give them a call to be 100% certain that it wont work.

I am asking for my ticket to be changed from an upgraded latitude to a business flexible and only pay the price difference between business and business flexible, which, at best, is cheeky!

I'll report back if a miracle occurs! I will not get in the way of the fabulous food photos any longer!

Thanks to all for the input!
That's not how it works - you will pay the difference between latitude and current price of Business flex - again, you're not on a business fare. You're in economy, just in a nicer seat
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Old Apr 21, 2022, 10:17 am
  #38  
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Originally Posted by ChrisA330
Originally Posted by PAULO77
I am trying to sneak in by paying the (minimal) points difference between Business and Business Flexible! I'll give them a call to be 100% certain that it wont work.
That's not cheeky, that's a waste of an Aeroplan agent's time.
Also a complete waste of your own time. When the Aeroplan agent pulls up the booking, it will very clearly show it's a Latitude reward with an eUp, not a Business Lowest reward. There's zero chance of this working.
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Old Apr 21, 2022, 10:23 am
  #39  
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Programs: AC E35K. RAM GOLD/ OWS
Posts: 39
Originally Posted by Adam Smith
Also a complete waste of your own time. When the Aeroplan agent pulls up the booking, it will very clearly show it's a Latitude reward with an eUp, not a Business Lowest reward. There's zero chance of this working.
Originally Posted by loganre17
That's not how it works - you will pay the difference between latitude and current price of Business flex - again, you're not on a business fare. You're in economy, just in a nicer seat
Understood!

I have to call about baby bassinet and child seating anyway. I promise that I wont ask......
Belmont_ likes this.
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Old May 4, 2022, 8:05 am
  #40  
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Canada
Programs: AC SE; Bonvoy Titanium
Posts: 46
sorry if this question is repetitive:
Does the entire itinerary need to be booked as flex award for access or only the YYZ-xxx portion? I booked YYZ-FRA with outbound as business flex award and the return as business lowest.
Thanks
CanTraveller is offline  
Old May 4, 2022, 9:32 am
  #41  
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Originally Posted by CanTraveller
sorry if this question is repetitive:
Does the entire itinerary need to be booked as flex award for access or only the YYZ-xxx portion? I booked YYZ-FRA with outbound as business flex award and the return as business lowest.
Thanks
AFAIK it is only the segment that is relevant - it is akin to buying a business class ticket on the outbound and economy on the return, which would also gain you entry.
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Old May 10, 2022, 4:30 pm
  #42  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Toronto
Programs: MileagePlus 1K, Marriott Platinum, MPC Green
Posts: 43
I just purchased a revenue ticket for YYZ-DOH on AC (then on QR onwards to Asia) through QR. The code for YYZ-DOH segment (and onwards) is R. Would I have any issue using the signature suite? I have used the suite in the past when AC ticket was bought through LH, but the ticket code corresponded to AC codes.
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Old May 10, 2022, 4:33 pm
  #43  
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Originally Posted by escherfan
I just purchased a revenue ticket for YYZ-DOH on AC (then on QR onwards to Asia) through QR. The code for YYZ-DOH segment (and onwards) is R. Would I have any issue using the signature suite? I have used the suite in the past when AC ticket was bought through LH, but the ticket code corresponded to AC codes.
Should you have any issue? No.

Will you? I could easily see them saying "Sir, you're booked in R class. Upgrades aren't allowed".
canadiancow is offline  
Old May 10, 2022, 4:36 pm
  #44  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Toronto
Programs: MileagePlus 1K, Marriott Platinum, MPC Green
Posts: 43
Originally Posted by canadiancow
Should you have any issue? No.

Will you? I could easily see them saying "Sir, you're booked in R class. Upgrades aren't allowed".
Thanks, that's exactly what I'm worried about. We'll see!
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Old May 10, 2022, 5:23 pm
  #45  
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Toronto, ON
Programs: AC 75K
Posts: 6,369
Originally Posted by escherfan
I just purchased a revenue ticket for YYZ-DOH on AC (then on QR onwards to Asia) through QR. The code for YYZ-DOH segment (and onwards) is R. Would I have any issue using the signature suite? I have used the suite in the past when AC ticket was bought through LH, but the ticket code corresponded to AC codes.
Is R class what you see from QR, or is that what you see if you’re pulling up your booking on AC?
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