Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > Air Canada | Aeroplan
Reload this Page >

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

Old Aug 16, 2022, 12:18 pm
FlyerTalk Forums Expert How-Tos and Guides
Last edit by: Adam Smith
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:



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 Caf: the Caf 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 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

NEW Effective June 13, 2023
Access to Maple Leaf Lounges, Air Canada Cafs, 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 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. 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.

Cafs

Can be accessed by those with a departing domestic boarding pass (no arrivals benefit for the Caf) 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 Caf, 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
Print Wikipost

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

Old Apr 21, 2023, 12:26 pm
  #691  
m.y
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: YYZ
Programs: AC 75k, Marriott Titanium
Posts: 1,191
Originally Posted by voz102
Our LM redemption EWR-YVR-BNE in J shows up as "I" class, Business Class (flexible) in the AC e-mail. However I assume reading the thread here, it's not likely they would let us in.
Flexible redemption is only a thing for Aeroplan award only. You won't be let into the Signature Suite, access to MLL only.

Only Aeroplan flight rewards booked as a Business Class Flexible Reward or a First Class Flexible Reward in J, C, D, Z, P, I booking classes are eligible for access. All bookings in R class (including, but not limited to, eUpgrades, Last-Minute Upgrades, and AC Bid Upgrades), Aeroplan flight rewards booked as a Business Class Lowest Reward or a First Class Lowest Reward, Star Alliance Upgrade Awards, Business Class flight rewards booked and ticketed by partner airlines, and I (including Star Alliance Upgrade Awards), as well as bookings made during irregular operations where the customer was not originally booked and confirmed in one of the eligible booking classes, will be excluded.
m.y is offline  
Old Apr 22, 2023, 2:58 am
  #692  
 
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 7
Thanks. I don't normally fly AC so I was curious why it showed as I class "Business Class (flexible)" when I log into the AC website. That might be normal? I'm guessing they can see in their system what type of "I" class ticket it is. Thanks
voz102 is offline  
Old Apr 22, 2023, 6:21 am
  #693  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: YYZ / LHR
Programs: AC SE100k
Posts: 266
It says Business Class (Flexible) because AC IT sucks. Youll know for sure which lounge you can use when you get your boarding pass. Itll either say lounge invitation (which means MLL) or Signature Suite invitation.
SuperCargo is offline  
Old Apr 23, 2023, 2:37 am
  #694  
 
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 7
Great, thanks for all the replies! Will report back anyway.
voz102 is offline  
Old Apr 26, 2023, 12:14 pm
  #695  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: YYC
Posts: 23,933
Originally Posted by SuperCargo
It says Business Class (Flexible) because AC IT sucks. Youll know for sure which lounge you can use when you get your boarding pass. Itll either say lounge invitation (which means MLL) or Signature Suite invitation.
How does it show?

I am on a paid P fare, my wife, on a reward, Business class flexible. My understanding is that we are both eligible for the SS. Both on line boarding passes only show the chair symbol. Just as for our first leg out of YYC. Which I imagine means MLL eligible...

So what am I missing?
Stranger is offline  
Old Apr 26, 2023, 12:21 pm
  #696  
 
Join Date: Jan 2021
Location: YYZ
Programs: Aeroplan SE, MB Gold, ALL Gold, Hilton Gold
Posts: 54
Originally Posted by canadiancow
How do you know?
Gah! I answered the wrong question (reading too fast...) I'll go back to lurking. Sorry
kuba_kuba is offline  
Old Apr 26, 2023, 12:44 pm
  #697  
 
Join Date: Oct 2021
Location: YVR
Programs: AC 50K
Posts: 139
Originally Posted by Stranger
How does it show?

I am on a paid P fare, my wife, on a reward, Business class flexible. My understanding is that we are both eligible for the SS. Both on line boarding passes only show the chair symbol. Just as for our first leg out of YYC. Which I imagine means MLL eligible...

So what am I missing?
Assuming you are on AC metal, and flying to either YYZ or YVR, then to International, you should have access the SS in either YYZ or YVR.
Sean Douglas is offline  
Old Apr 26, 2023, 1:01 pm
  #698  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: YYC
Posts: 23,933
Originally Posted by Sean Douglas
Assuming you are on AC metal, and flying to either YYZ or YVR, then to International, you should have access the SS in either YYZ or YVR.
I know we should. My question refers to how it shows on the boarding pass...
Stranger is offline  
Old Apr 26, 2023, 1:16 pm
  #699  
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 1,304
Originally Posted by Stranger
I know we should. My question refers to how it shows on the boarding pass...
Looking at an old BP in my iphone wallet, it just has the chair icon. But if I look at the details, it does say "Signature Suite access". Looking at the same BP in the app, scrolling down I see the same SS access note.
kalderlake likes this.
vancouver25k is offline  
Old Apr 26, 2023, 1:16 pm
  #700  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: YOW
Programs: AC-SE100K, AC-3MM, Marriott- LT Titanium, SPG RIP
Posts: 2,964
Originally Posted by Stranger
I know we should. My question refers to how it shows on the boarding pass...
It should say "INVITATION SIGNATURE" on the bottom left of a printed Boarding Pass.


kalderlake and vancouver25k like this.
Plumber is offline  
Old Apr 26, 2023, 1:48 pm
  #701  
 
Join Date: May 2018
Location: FRA
Programs: LH SEN
Posts: 1,647
Originally Posted by Stranger
I know we should. My question refers to how it shows on the boarding pass...
If you have the boarding pass in the AC app it should look like this:
Plumber likes this.
supine is online now  
Old Apr 26, 2023, 1:51 pm
  #702  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: YYC
Posts: 23,933
Originally Posted by vancouver25k
Looking at an old BP in my iphone wallet, it just has the chair icon. But if I look at the details, it does say "Signature Suite access". Looking at the same BP in the app, scrolling down I see the same SS access note.

Sure enough, it's there...

Thanks.
Plumber and vancouver25k like this.
Stranger is offline  
Old Apr 29, 2023, 4:43 pm
  #703  
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Programs: Aeroplan SE AND 1MM, HHonors Gold, Marriott Bonvoy Platinum , L'Accor Platinum
Posts: 9,604
I went to St Kitts from YYZ on J class a few weeks ago.
Went to AC lounge and also then Plaza Premium Lounge.
The Plaza Premium lounge agent felt I could successfully get access to the AC Signature Lounge next door.
Per the written rules for access, nobody flying to Caribean destination will have access to the AC Signature Lounge?
Is the AC Signature Lounge agent ever flexible enough to allow for such access if one is flying to the Caribbean?
FlyerGoldII is offline  
Old Apr 29, 2023, 5:54 pm
  #704  
Moderator, Air Canada; FlyerTalk Evangelist
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: YYC
Programs: AC SE MM, FB Plat, WS Plat, BA Silver, DL GM, Marriott Plat, Hilton Gold, Accor Silver
Posts: 16,914
Originally Posted by FlyerGoldII
The Plaza Premium lounge agent felt I could successfully get access to the AC Signature Lounge next door.
Why do you think they would know anything about it?

Per the written rules for access, nobody flying to Caribean destination will have access to the AC Signature Lounge?
No.

Is the AC Signature Lounge agent ever flexible enough to allow for such access if one is flying to the Caribbean?
No.
BlondeBomber, m.y, ffsim and 3 others like this.
Adam Smith is offline  
Old Apr 29, 2023, 7:39 pm
  #705  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: YYZ / LHR
Programs: AC SE100k
Posts: 266
Originally Posted by Stranger
How does it show?

I am on a paid P fare, my wife, on a reward, Business class flexible. My understanding is that we are both eligible for the SS. Both on line boarding passes only show the chair symbol. Just as for our first leg out of YYC. Which I imagine means MLL eligible...

So what am I missing?
If its an iPhone wallet boarding pass, touch the I with the circle around it in the top right corner (which shows you more details). Scroll down and it should say signature suite access included or something similar.
SuperCargo is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

This site is owned, operated, and maintained by MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Designated trademarks are the property of their respective owners.