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

Old May 17, 2023, 7:04 am
  #721  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: CA
Programs: UA 2MM + 1k, Hilton Lifetime Diamond, Marriott Lifetime Titanium
Posts: 138
YUL-ORD on United Lounge access for *G

Hi,

I've tried to search the thread, so apologies if this has been asked and answered. For an upcoming YUL-ORD flight on United metal and a United booking, is there a transborder lounge that I can access?
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Old May 17, 2023, 7:13 am
  #722  
 
Join Date: Apr 2023
Location: YUL
Programs: AC E75K
Posts: 151
Originally Posted by SFO_71
Hi,

I've tried to search the thread, so apologies if this has been asked and answered. For an upcoming YUL-ORD flight on United metal and a United booking, is there a transborder lounge that I can access?
If youre *G you should be able to use the AC lounge in YUL.
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Old May 17, 2023, 11:53 am
  #723  
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: SFO
Programs: AC SE MM, BA Gold, SQ Silver, Bonvoy Tit LTG, Hyatt Glob, HH Diamond
Posts: 44,785
Originally Posted by SFO_71
Hi,

I've tried to search the thread, so apologies if this has been asked and answered. For an upcoming YUL-ORD flight on United metal and a United booking, is there a transborder lounge that I can access?
There's a giant chart in the wiki with all the locations, and the access rules are below that.
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Old May 18, 2023, 6:57 am
  #724  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: CA
Programs: UA 2MM + 1k, Hilton Lifetime Diamond, Marriott Lifetime Titanium
Posts: 138
Thanks!
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Old May 18, 2023, 7:38 am
  #725  
 
Join Date: Mar 2023
Location: Foothills County, Alta
Programs: Westjet, Air Canada 3MM, Best Western, Marriott
Posts: 243
Originally Posted by songsc
Pretty sure an exception was made for YUL, if your departure gate was 50 and above or something.
I was not allowed to in March this year.
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Old May 18, 2023, 8:07 am
  #726  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Halifax
Programs: AC SE100K, Marriott Lifetime Platinum Elite. NEXUS
Posts: 4,613
Originally Posted by foothills county flier
I was not allowed to in March this year.
March of this year is well after they put in the gates to isolate the INTL area.
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Old May 21, 2023, 10:22 pm
  #727  
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 2,668
"First Class Flexible Reward" has access to SS.

AC doesn't fly international first class on its metal, so what is it referring to?

I'm flying P on AC connecting to I on SK. I assume I do not get access because of the SK flight?
saaveraward is online now  
Old May 22, 2023, 2:47 am
  #728  
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: 16,920
Originally Posted by saaveraward
"First Class Flexible Reward" has access to SS.

AC doesn't fly international first class on its metal, so what is it referring to?


YYZ-FRA in AC J then FRA-xxx in LH F could be booked as "First Class Flexible Reward".

I'm flying P on AC connecting to I on SK. I assume I do not get access because of the SK flight?
SS access is limited based on destination and fare type. You haven't provided any information whatsoever that would allow us to answer this question.
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Old May 22, 2023, 7:06 am
  #729  
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
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I said SK (which only flies to Europe from YYZ) and I listed the fare bucket. It's an aeroplan biz flex reward.
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Old May 22, 2023, 9:16 am
  #730  
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 1,307
Originally Posted by saaveraward
I said SK (which only flies to Europe from YYZ) and I listed the fare bucket. It's an aeroplan biz flex reward.
If your flight from YYZ is on AC metal (not entirely clear from your posts), and you booked business flex (as you stated), then you will be eligible. If SK, then no.
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Last edited by vancouver25k; May 22, 2023 at 9:31 am
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Old May 22, 2023, 9:21 am
  #731  
 
Join Date: Nov 2022
Posts: 9
St Johns MLL

Does anybody know if the St Johns Maple Leaf Lounge reopened after the fire at the airport?

Ill be travelling through there in a couple of weeks.
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Old May 22, 2023, 10:06 am
  #732  
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
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Originally Posted by vancouver25k
If your flight from YYZ is on AC metal (not entirely clear from your posts), and you booked business flex (as you stated), then you will be eligible. If SK, then no.
So not eligible. *A lists plaza premium as one of their lounges. Can I enter on a business ticket to check it out or am I limited to MLL?
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Old May 22, 2023, 12:10 pm
  #733  
Moderator, Air Canada; FlyerTalk Evangelist
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Originally Posted by saaveraward
I said SK (which only flies to Europe from YYZ) and I listed the fare bucket. It's an aeroplan biz flex reward.
You didn't say whether you were flying AC to somewhere else and then connecting to SK, e.g. YYZ-ORD/EWR-CPH in which case no SS access, or something like YYZ-FRA-CPH, in which case it would depend on revenue (access = yes) vs Aeroplan ticket, and whether the Aeroplan ticket was flexible .

As [MENTION=787888]vancouver25k[/MENTION] said, your SK YYZ-ARN isn't eligible, but there was no way of knowing that based on your initial post - the route wasn't specified, and "P" could be a cash ticket, or Aeroplan Lowest or Flexible.
Originally Posted by saaveraward
So not eligible. *A lists plaza premium as one of their lounges. Can I enter on a business ticket to check it out or am I limited to MLL?
AC has no affiliation with the PPL. You should consult the SK forum for information on whether an SK flight would get you in there.
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Adam Smith is offline  
Old May 22, 2023, 11:53 pm
  #734  
 
Join Date: May 2023
Programs: Aeroplan
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This is a good summary, thank you. There is confusion on this subject regarding aeroplan rewards about access of lounges
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Old May 26, 2023, 9:15 am
  #735  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Vancouver, BC
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Has anyone who does not have *G status and is not flying J successfully entered the MLL in Canada or US while flying on another *A airline and holding an Aeroplan Reserve card? I assume eligibility would not be assessed through the boarding pass, like AC does. Do they only require flashing of the card upon entrance?

Terms on the Amex website below, bolding is mine:

​​​​​​​A Basic Cardmember and eligible Supplementary Cardmember(s) are each entitled to complimentary access to Air Canada Caf and any Maple Leaf Lounge located only in Canada and the United States, including International Maple Leaf Lounges in Canada and the United States when travelling on an international itinerary. Access excludes Maple Leaf Lounges outside of Canada and the United States, Air Canada Signature Suites, and lounges operated by third parties, such as Star Alliance member airlines. Basic and eligible Supplementary Cardmember(s) are each entitled to offer one (1) guest complimentary access to the same eligible Maple Leaf Lounge and Air Canada Caf. Any guest entering a Maple Leaf Lounge and Air Canada Caf must be accompanied by a Basic or eligible Supplementary Cardmember. Additional guest(s) may enter the Maple Leaf Lounge upon paying an applicable fee. For greater certainty, a Basic Cardmember or eligible Supplementary Cardmember who holds Aeroplan Elite Status, may additionally take advantage of the lounge access benefits available to them as part of the Aeroplan Elite Status program. For more information on Aeroplan Elite TM Status, please visit aircanada.com/elitebenefits. Access to Maple Leaf Lounges and Air Canada Caf is available in conjunction with a same-day ticket when departing on a flight marketed or operated by Air Canada, Air Canada Rouge, under the Air Canada Express brand, or any Star Alliance member airline. Anyone under the age of majority entering a Maple Leaf Lounge must be accompanied by an adult with access to the lounge. Age of majority is determined by the jurisdiction in which the Maple Leaf Lounge is located. Benefit may only be used as described, and otherwise cannot be transferred. Access is subject to space availability. See www.aircanada.com/lounges-termsandconditions for applicable Maple Leaf Lounges Terms and Conditions.
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