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
  • 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
Print Wikipost

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

Old Jun 12, 2023, 12:49 pm
  #841  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: YYZ / LHR
Programs: AC SE100k
Posts: 266
Originally Posted by capedreamer
Of the remainder, I seriously doubt you'll have more than a rounding error of people buying a fully refundable ticket for an earlier flight just to access the lounge.
Well, we know that AC actively tracks that exact form of misbehaviour, so even if they're more than rounding error, they will end up getting banned permanently anyways and will further reduce the crowding. :-)

To refresh people's memories: https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/26733198-post38.html

Last edited by SuperCargo; Jun 12, 2023 at 1:12 pm
SuperCargo is offline  
Old Jun 12, 2023, 12:51 pm
  #842  
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: YYC
Programs: AC SE
Posts: 328
Originally Posted by canadiancow
One thing I hadn't quite considered...

I have a paid J UA ticket, AC metal, SFO-YVR. 5 hours later, I have a paid J AC ticket, AC metal, YVR-LHR.

I booked 5 hours mostly to protect myself, but partially for the SS.

Is this a "connection" for the new lounge rules? I suspect they'd be fine with it, but my BP won't say ITI OSS, and if they actually look at the PNR...
This is the case I wonder about too. I've had occasion this year to have one trip end at YYC within a few hours of the next one starting, without enough time to go home.

Wondering how long you can stay on arrival on one ticket before you are in the 3 hr window, or if you can arrive TB, re clear security then enter domestic MLL as an "arrival" before starting the new booking..
yeg2where is offline  
Old Jun 12, 2023, 12:55 pm
  #843  
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: 44,798
Originally Posted by yeg2where
This is the case I wonder about too. I've had occasion this year to have one trip end at YYC within a few hours of the next one starting, without enough time to go home.

Wondering how long you can stay on arrival on one ticket before you are in the 3 hr window, or if you can arrive TB, re clear security then enter domestic MLL as an "arrival" before starting the new booking..
I don't think they'd let me into the domestic area, but I also don't want to clear immigration (at that point I might be within 3 hours), nor do I want to visit the MLL when I am flying intercontinental paid Signature.
canadiancow is online now  
Old Jun 12, 2023, 2:16 pm
  #844  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: USA
Programs: AC SE100K, F9 100k, NK Gold, UA *S, Hyatt Glob, Bonvoy Titanium
Posts: 5,230
The Amex Centurion lounge waives the 3hr before depaerture rule if you have a boarding pass from an arriving flight, even if you are self connecting on different carriers / tickets.

I suspect their allowance will be similar, though for competitive reasons AC would want to apply this only to *A or AC separate carrier/PNR connections.
expert7700 is offline  
Old Jun 12, 2023, 8:00 pm
  #845  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Canada
Programs: UA*1K MM SK EBG LATAM BL
Posts: 23,440
Originally Posted by warrens
If you had to scan your boarding pass at the eGate when leaving the lounge, that would solve both this problem, as well as the cheater method (proposed above) of booking a flight you never intend on taking.

Would also give AC more precise data about dwell times, and could potentially open up an opportunity to make extra money by automatically billing a full MLL access fee to people who stay more than three hours.
When all winter 50% of ACs flights are delayed, how do you tell apart a voluntary dweller from a forced dweller?
mamau and hirohito888 like this.
rankourabu is offline  
Old Jun 12, 2023, 9:21 pm
  #846  
 
Join Date: May 2023
Location: YUL find me in Montreal
Programs: Air Canada SE, Bonvoy Gold, Hotels.com Gold
Posts: 671
Originally Posted by rankourabu
When all winter 50% of ACs flights are delayed, how do you tell apart a voluntary dweller from a forced dweller?
What, like, in person? You don't do that. No need to cause a scene, it's supposed to be a chill lounge.

As a courtesy, you instead send the customer a text message / email / Air Canada app notification at 2h45. If they haven't left after 3h10 or whatever, ding the customer for overage via an on-file payment method. Or complete the transaction on the plane.

If the departure is delayed, send the MLL customer a message along the same lines saying their stay has been extended.
warrens is offline  
Old Jun 12, 2023, 9:45 pm
  #847  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: NYC
Programs: UA-1K MM, AA-Gold, DL-Silver, AS-MVP
Posts: 2,520
Originally Posted by warrens
What, like, in person? You don't do that. No need to cause a scene, it's supposed to be a chill lounge.

As a courtesy, you instead send the customer a text message / email / Air Canada app notification at 2h45. If they haven't left after 3h10 or whatever, ding the customer for overage via an on-file payment method. Or complete the transaction on the plane.

If the departure is delayed, send the MLL customer a message along the same lines saying their stay has been extended.
I rather AC spend that money on retrofitting their 73M with wifi or enhancing food or acquiring more space in the lounge than on some system to monitor and charge people for lingering in the lounge too long. Even DL, the crowded of all busy lounges, has not solved the crowding problem, and they have one of those most convoluted and restrictive entry rules of any carrier.
hirohito888 is offline  
Old Jun 12, 2023, 10:00 pm
  #848  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Programs: DL, OZ, AC, AS, AA, BA, Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, IHG
Posts: 20,178
Originally Posted by TheViperOne
Just got this email
I have the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege and got it too.
lsquare is offline  
Old Jun 12, 2023, 10:43 pm
  #849  
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: MEX
Programs: AC E75K
Posts: 4,232
Originally Posted by rankourabu
When all winter 50% of ACs flights are delayed, how do you tell apart a voluntary dweller from a forced dweller?
Originally Posted by warrens
What, like, in person? You don't do that. No need to cause a scene, it's supposed to be a chill lounge.

As a courtesy, you instead send the customer a text message / email / Air Canada app notification at 2h45. If they haven't left after 3h10 or whatever, ding the customer for overage via an on-file payment method. Or complete the transaction on the plane.

If the departure is delayed, send the MLL customer a message along the same lines saying their stay has been extended.
Huh? I assume the 3-hour limit is calculated from the scheduled departure time, so it's easily enforced at entry. If a flight is delayed, obviously AC is not going to kick impacted passengers out of the lounge.
capedreamer is offline  
Old Jun 12, 2023, 10:49 pm
  #850  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Halifax
Programs: AC SE100K, Marriott Lifetime Platinum Elite. NEXUS
Posts: 4,613
Originally Posted by rankourabu
When all winter 50% of ACs flights are delayed, how do you tell apart a voluntary dweller from a forced dweller?
They consider your arrival time and the scheduled departure time and not consider anything else in their statistical model.
WesternCDN likes this.
RangerNS is offline  
Old Jun 12, 2023, 11:00 pm
  #851  
 
Join Date: Jun 2023
Location: Ottawa
Posts: 36
Does the 3 hours rule apply to the AC cafe as well or just the MLL? If you're connecting but your inbound flight is on another carrier and PNR does the connection exemption still apply?
Colonelsmoke is offline  
Old Jun 12, 2023, 11:10 pm
  #852  
 
Join Date: May 2023
Location: YUL find me in Montreal
Programs: Air Canada SE, Bonvoy Gold, Hotels.com Gold
Posts: 671
Originally Posted by hirohito888
I rather AC spend that money on retrofitting their 73M with wifi or enhancing food or acquiring more space in the lounge than on some system to monitor and charge people for lingering in the lounge too long. Even DL, the crowded of all busy lounges, has not solved the crowding problem, and they have one of those most convoluted and restrictive entry rules of any carrier.
Don't get me wrong, I am not proposing they actually do any of this. If they are going to implement a time limit as a way of dissuading lingerers, I'm just thinking in terms of how that could best be accomplished.

IMO they are going about it with the wrong attitude -- they have a "not enough space" problem, not a "too many people" problem. Air Canada (and really, Canadian airports in general) should be significantly more accommodating of business travelers' various needs, including co-working space, work tables without outside glare, and maybe even individual-size semi-soundproof rooms you can use for taking Zoom calls, like the Capsule Offices you see at Tokyo train stations.

Where you'd put all this is the real problem, of course.... hard to see where they'd find space in Pearson 1 without major construction, e.g., building a new floor on top of Pier D past the Mill St restaurant.

Originally Posted by Colonelsmoke
Does the 3 hours rule apply to the AC cafe as well or just the MLL? If you're connecting but your inbound flight is on another carrier and PNR does the connection exemption still apply?
You could do what I also failed to do, which was carefully read every word in the email. I interpreted it as "three hour time limit" whereas the policy is "three hours before departure". Thanks for pointing that out, capedreamer.

In the same sentence, they also say that this new restriction applies to the MLL, Air Canada Cafe and Signature Suite.
capedreamer likes this.

Last edited by Adam Smith; Jun 12, 2023 at 11:24 pm Reason: Merge consecutive posts by same user
warrens is offline  
Old Jun 13, 2023, 2:50 am
  #853  
 
Join Date: Apr 2022
Posts: 9
What are the rules surrounding the MLL One-Time Guest Passes from the 25K Select Benefit? The wiki says that for all cases, you also need a "same day departing boarding pass (for a flight operated by AC or another *A member", but the AC website for Guest Passes says it needs to be AC-operated ("same-day, confirmed ticket on a flight operated by Air Canada, Air Canada Rouge or under the Air Canada Express brand").

Will holding a same-day departing BP operated by a *A member (e.g,, United) suffice for MLL One-Time Guest Passes?
Voltai is offline  
Old Jun 13, 2023, 4:21 am
  #854  
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: MEX
Programs: AC E75K
Posts: 4,232
Originally Posted by Voltai
What are the rules surrounding the MLL One-Time Guest Passes from the 25K Select Benefit? The wiki says that for all cases, you also need a "same day departing boarding pass (for a flight operated by AC or another *A member", but the AC website for Guest Passes says it needs to be AC-operated ("same-day, confirmed ticket on a flight operated by Air Canada, Air Canada Rouge or under the Air Canada Express brand").

Will holding a same-day departing BP operated by a *A member (e.g,, United) suffice for MLL One-Time Guest Passes?
It needs to be AC-operated. Here is a screenshot from the actual pass:



I guess the wiki needs to be updated.
Voltai likes this.
capedreamer is offline  
Old Jun 13, 2023, 6:33 am
  #855  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Canada
Programs: UA*1K MM SK EBG LATAM BL
Posts: 23,440
Originally Posted by RangerNS
They consider your arrival time and the scheduled departure time and not consider anything else in their statistical model.
What statistical model?
The poster suggested auto billing dwellers.
With ACs stellar OTP, people are often forced to linger in the MLL longer, why should tney be responsible for exceeding the 3 hour limit?
rankourabu 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.