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 Jun 9, 2023, 4:56 pm
  #781  
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Ottawa, Canada.
Programs: AC*SE 2MM, Marriott*Plutonium Lifetime, other stuff
Posts: 488
Originally Posted by canadiancow
Beginning June 13 you will only be able to access all lounges 3 hours before scheduled departure time unless you're VIP, a AC (not Aeroplan) cardholder, or at a connection point. Arrival access policy is remaining.
As I stated, this is a connection point, so this is irrelevant.
Travellin_man is offline  
Old Jun 9, 2023, 5:14 pm
  #782  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Programs: AC 75k
Posts: 61
Originally Posted by Travellin_man
On a different matter:
Can he use one of my lounge passes to access the domestic MLL in YYZ, even though his boarding pass is for an onward international flight?

TM
I've done this for colleagues in YUL without problem, but it's easier to get to the Intl gates there. I'd certainly give it a try if they have the time to walk from the DOM lounge to the E gates.
chris-price is online now  
Old Jun 9, 2023, 5:20 pm
  #783  
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: YYJ
Posts: 261
Or you could use a status pass, and get international MLL access
monkai is offline  
Old Jun 9, 2023, 5:28 pm
  #784  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Halifax
Programs: AC SE100K, Marriott Lifetime Platinum Elite. NEXUS
Posts: 4,605
Originally Posted by Travellin_man
As I stated, this is a connection point, so this is irrelevant.
Even with my zen like transitive state in airports, if I had 10 hours in TO, I'd take the UP Express, #1 and chill at the Queens Beaver (possibly not remembering that name correctly), and the ipad AYCE sushi place in Dundas.
RangerNS is offline  
Old Jun 9, 2023, 6:24 pm
  #785  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: SFO
Programs: AC SE MM, BA Gold, SQ Silver, Bonvoy Tit LTG, Hyatt Glob, HH Diamond
Posts: 44,704
Originally Posted by Travellin_man
As I stated, this is a connection point, so this is irrelevant.
What? This is a brand new policy that I haven't seen announced anywhere else. I think a lot of people will think it's relevant.
ffsim likes this.
canadiancow is online now  
Old Jun 9, 2023, 6:30 pm
  #786  
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Ideally YOW, but probably not
Programs: AC SE*MM
Posts: 1,854
Originally Posted by canadiancow
Beginning June 13 you will only be able to access all lounges 3 hours before scheduled departure time unless you're VIP, a AC (not Aeroplan) cardholder, or at a connection point. Arrival access policy is remaining.
Interesting that AC had stats that a significant number of people were going to lounges at O/D points more than 3h ahead of time...
RatherBeInYOW is offline  
Old Jun 9, 2023, 6:33 pm
  #787  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Canada
Programs: AC*SE
Posts: 1,955
Originally Posted by canadiancow
Beginning June 13 you will only be able to access all lounges 3 hours before scheduled departure time unless you're VIP, a AC (not Aeroplan) cardholder, or at a connection point. Arrival access policy is remaining.
Interesting policy change. I wonder if that many people end up in a lounge for that long when not on a connection? Must be enough. There are many things I'd rather do for 3 hours (but I guess since I'm not a VIP or AC cardholder I don't have a choice).

Originally Posted by Hotel 83 Tango
What do you mean by that?
I think AC cardholder refers to that fancy Amex that's rolled out to very few people.


This is quite the narrowing down of access requirements for advance visits. Not even paid J or anything.
CdnFlier is offline  
Old Jun 9, 2023, 6:37 pm
  #788  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: SFO
Programs: AC SE MM, BA Gold, SQ Silver, Bonvoy Tit LTG, Hyatt Glob, HH Diamond
Posts: 44,704
I'm trying to think of the last time I went to a lounge 3+ hours before scheduled departure at my origination point ... And I can't. There are definitely scenarios where I might (standby for earlier flight, got a free ride to the airport if I went early, etc), but I doubt this will impact me.
StuMcIlwain and Bohemian1 like this.
canadiancow is online now  
Old Jun 9, 2023, 9:16 pm
  #789  
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: YYZ
Posts: 223
Originally Posted by Travellin_man
On a different matter:

I have a colleague transiting Canada(domestic) - YYZ - Europe with a 10(!) hour layover at YYZ.

I would like to make his stay slightly more comfortable/productive.

I believe the lounge passes I get as Super Elite are only good for domestic and US lounges, not international, so my question is:

Can he use one of my lounge passes to access the domestic MLL in YYZ, even though his boarding pass is for an onward international flight?

TM
A couple of times last year I gave a lounge pass to friends traveling international from yyz and they were able to use it to access the domestic MLL. Have heard some anecdotal reports of others being turned away though, so YMMV. Worth trying if they have no where else to go, but as others have said with that much time better off just going into the city.
​​
laner is offline  
Old Jun 9, 2023, 9:40 pm
  #790  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 3,626
Originally Posted by canadiancow
I'm trying to think of the last time I went to a lounge 3+ hours before scheduled departure at my origination point ... And I can't. There are definitely scenarios where I might (standby for earlier flight, got a free ride to the airport if I went early, etc), but I doubt this will impact me.
I'm not sure I can either. But I have a vague recollection of this sometimes happening on the *return* part of a trip. If I have a flight in the early afternoon and the airport is an unfamiliar one that requires significant travel to get to. I hate hanging around in the morning watching the clock just waiting until it's "time to go" when I don't really have anything to do and second guessing myself on how long it might take to get to the airport... I think I may have spent several hours at lounges in SFO or AMS for example. I know I've shown up at LHR hours early when coming from not-London. But all that said... not sure I can actually count more than 3 hours *in the lounge* in any of those cases.

Someone else asked what you meant by "AC (not aeroplan) card". Someone else said maybe you meant the invite-only Amex?
JackCooper likes this.
zkzkz is offline  
Old Jun 9, 2023, 9:54 pm
  #791  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: SFO
Programs: AC SE MM, BA Gold, SQ Silver, Bonvoy Tit LTG, Hyatt Glob, HH Diamond
Posts: 44,704
Yes, the Air Canada American Express card.

Not any of the Aeroplan Amex cards.
canadiancow is online now  
Old Jun 9, 2023, 10:02 pm
  #792  
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: YYZ
Programs: TK *G
Posts: 3,126
The only time I have spent more than 3 hours in an origin airport was when my flight was leaving around 5am. I got to the airport before midnight and stayed in the lounge overnight. There are also a few instances where I am connecting on separate tickets, so from airlines perspective, I am at origin airport. As long as time permits, I try to visit the city instead of staying in the lounge. There was one time I spent over 7 hours at YVR on a connection, because there was a snowstorm outside so I couldnt go anywhere.
songsc is offline  
Old Jun 9, 2023, 10:14 pm
  #793  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Halifax
Programs: AC SE100K, Marriott Lifetime Platinum Elite. NEXUS
Posts: 4,605
Originally Posted by songsc
There was one time I spent over 7 hours at YVR on a connection, because there was a snowstorm outside so I couldnt go anywhere.
Snow, in YVR?

For any Canadian from outside of 50km of YVR, that would seem a once in a lifetime experience; an opportunity not to pass up. Would be like watching Wayne Gretzky and Pierre Beron beating up Anne Murray.
Bohemian1, PLeblond and warrens like this.
RangerNS is offline  
Old Jun 9, 2023, 10:17 pm
  #794  
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: YVR - MILLS Waypoint (It's the third house on the left)
Programs: AC*SE100K, wood level status in various other programs
Posts: 6,310
Originally Posted by RangerNS
Snow, in YVR?
Sadly, we occasionally get snow at sea level. I keep asking those in charge to put a halt to this, but to no avail.
Bohemian1 is online now  
Old Jun 10, 2023, 12:41 am
  #795  
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 1,278
Originally Posted by canadiancow
I'm trying to think of the last time I went to a lounge 3+ hours before scheduled departure at my origination point ... And I can't. There are definitely scenarios where I might (standby for earlier flight, got a free ride to the airport if I went early, etc), but I doubt this will impact me.
I think maybe once or twice I might have done this when people started travelling again and airports were melting down with reports of 4+ hour security lineups. Hopefully we won't see that again in our future.

But the situation where I do end up doing this is that I often get my days filled up with meetings, and there may not be a reasonable gap where I can drive to the airport and clear security, so I end up going before the start of my work day for a later flight.
canadiancow likes this.
vancouver25k is online now  

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.