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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
  • 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 Jun 2, 2023, 2:37 am
  #736  
 
Join Date: Oct 2022
Posts: 11
I'm travelling on UA1652 from YVR to EWR in a few days. Scheduled time of departure is 2225. I understand the YVR TB MLL closes at 2045. I'm OZ *G and was wondering if there were any other lounge options prior to my flight. From the wiki, I gathered I won't be able to access the YVR INTL MLL, which stays open until 2300. TIA.
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Old Jun 2, 2023, 10:36 am
  #737  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
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Programs: UA-1K MM, AA-Gold, DL-Silver, AS-MVP
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Originally Posted by AspiringTraveller
I'm travelling on UA1652 from YVR to EWR in a few days. Scheduled time of departure is 2225. I understand the YVR TB MLL closes at 2045. I'm OZ *G and was wondering if there were any other lounge options prior to my flight. From the wiki, I gathered I won't be able to access the YVR INTL MLL, which stays open until 2300. TIA.
Nope, no lounge access in the TB side at that time. YVR TB MLL starts kicking people out at 2030, despite their 2045 closing time.
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Old Jun 3, 2023, 2:16 pm
  #738  
 
Join Date: Jun 2023
Posts: 1
Hi, We booked a Eco Comfort ticket with AC to PUJ, we will be in international gate at YUL.
We are 25K, we just used a eupgrade to upgrade.
I don't think we will have access to the loudge in international, but since we are 25K we have guess pass for the dosmestic loundge (MML), ca we use the domestic loundge with a BP in a international?
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Old Jun 3, 2023, 6:25 pm
  #739  
 
Join Date: Oct 2022
Programs: Aeroplan SE; Marriott Bonvoy Ambassador
Posts: 1,562
Originally Posted by JFDionne
Hi, We booked a Eco Comfort ticket with AC to PUJ, we will be in international gate at YUL.
We are 25K, we just used a eupgrade to upgrade.
I don't think we will have access to the loudge in international, but since we are 25K we have guess pass for the dosmestic loundge (MML), ca we use the domestic loundge with a BP in a international?
If you are upgraded, you can get access to the international lounge.
If not, I believe you can use the domestic BP for the YUL dom MLL. YUL does not have separate Dom and Int areas. You need to pass through Dom area to get to the Int area.
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Old Jun 3, 2023, 6:28 pm
  #740  
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Originally Posted by AspiringTraveller
I'm travelling on UA1652 from YVR to EWR in a few days. Scheduled time of departure is 2225. I understand the YVR TB MLL closes at 2045. I'm OZ *G and was wondering if there were any other lounge options prior to my flight. From the wiki, I gathered I won't be able to access the YVR INTL MLL, which stays open until 2300. TIA.
I thought late-night US departures from YVR were from the international terminal? Wouldn't you have access to the ST lounge if you have PP?
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Old Jun 3, 2023, 7:14 pm
  #741  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
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Originally Posted by lsquare
I thought late-night US departures from YVR were from the international terminal? Wouldn't you have access to the ST lounge if you have PP?
No, YVR pre-clearance now closes at 12AM, which would essentially cover all late-night US departures. Last US departure is UA YVR-IAH at 23.30.
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hirohito888 is offline  
Old Jun 3, 2023, 7:18 pm
  #742  
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Originally Posted by hirohito888
No, YVR pre-clearance now closes at 12AM, which would essentially cover all late-night US departures. Last US departure is UA YVR-IAH at 23.30.
Whoa? When did that change?
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Old Jun 3, 2023, 9:07 pm
  #743  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
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Originally Posted by lsquare
Whoa? When did that change?
Probably last month or so. I checked in April/May and it listed pre-clearance hours until 9PM. Now website shows until 12AM.
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Old Jun 3, 2023, 10:28 pm
  #744  
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Originally Posted by hirohito888
Probably last month or so. I checked in April/May and it listed pre-clearance hours until 9PM. Now website shows until 12AM.
That's what I had always assumed. I guess this is now permanent? Kind of sucks because I prefer the lounges at the international terminal and I don't mind clearing immigration in the US.
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Old Jun 3, 2023, 11:10 pm
  #745  
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: YEG
Programs: AC 25K
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I am flying LHR-YYC-YEG in a few weeks. Ticket is paid Business (Lowest), but the YYC-YEG leg is on a Dash-8, so all economy.

Air Canada tried to sell me access to YYC MLL when buying the ticket. I was under the impression that arriving in YYC on a paid Business fare would get me access to the YYC MLL. Am I wrong?
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Old Jun 3, 2023, 11:14 pm
  #746  
wjw
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
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Originally Posted by bart889
I am flying LHR-YYC-YEG in a few weeks. Ticket is paid Business (Lowest), but the YYC-YEG leg is on a Dash-8, so all economy.

Air Canada tried to sell me access to YYC MLL when buying the ticket. I was under the impression that arriving in YYC on a paid Business fare would get me access to the YYC MLL. Am I wrong?
I believe the arrival benefit is exclusive to SE, 75k and 50k Aeroplan members. It is not extended to Business or *G
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Old Jun 3, 2023, 11:25 pm
  #747  
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: YEG
Programs: AC 25K
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Originally Posted by wjw
I believe the arrival benefit is exclusive to SE, 75k and 50k Aeroplan members. It is not extended to Business or *G
Thanks. I am not *G, I just updated my FT profile as I am no longer UA1K. Switched my allegiance from UA to AC, so I am a lowly 25K for the time being. I guess I can use one of my guest passes in YYC.
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Old Jun 3, 2023, 11:33 pm
  #748  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
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Originally Posted by bart889
I am flying LHR-YYC-YEG in a few weeks. Ticket is paid Business (Lowest), but the YYC-YEG leg is on a Dash-8, so all economy.

Air Canada tried to sell me access to YYC MLL when buying the ticket. I was under the impression that arriving in YYC on a paid Business fare would get me access to the YYC MLL. Am I wrong?
If you are on a J ticket you should get access even if you have a Y seat assignment, or one segment doesn't have J...have both boarding passes at the ready when you scan in and if you get any pushback tell them they can check and see that you are on a J ticket, but my experience is you shouldn't have any problems.
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Old Jun 4, 2023, 1:00 am
  #749  
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There's no guarantee.

I know someone who post-COVID (and therefore post-1A) was absolutely denied, and only was granted MLL access because her son was with her, and he was/is *G.

They had flown FRA-YYZ in paid J on AC. She was connecting to CMH on a single-cabin aircraft.

My impression is that AC wants to give you lounge access in situations like that... but if the system says no, and the agent follows the system...

But anyone who says "J ticket" has no idea how this works. You have at least one PNR. You have at least one ticket. You have at least one fare. The only one of those three that can be "J" is a fare.

And per all published policies, if you have no status and are departing in Y, you do not have MLL access.
m.y, YYCCL3, Adam Smith and 1 others like this.
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Old Jun 8, 2023, 10:38 am
  #750  
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 76
Signature Suite access connecting FROM Europe

Hi all, I have a paid Z class business class ticket, roundtrip Dublin to Mexico City via Vancouver.

I would like to know whether I have access to the Signature Suite in YVR after my first flight from Dublin (whilst I am waiting for my connecting flight to MEX).

Everything I have read talks about access when flying TO Europe. Apologies if this has been asked elsewhere - I did try to search for the answer but could not find it.

Thanks in advance
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