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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 Jun 28, 2023, 8:00 pm
  #931  
m.y
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: YYZ
Programs: AC 75k, Marriott Titanium
Posts: 1,194
Does anyone know if the following counts as connection? (in terms of the 3 hour access rule)
HND-JFK on NH and on a separate ticket LGA-YYZ on AC on the same day.
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Old Jun 28, 2023, 8:02 pm
  #932  
 
Join Date: Apr 2023
Posts: 183
Originally Posted by m.y
Does anyone know if the following counts as connection? (in terms of the 3 hour access rule)
HND-JFK on NH and on a separate ticket LGA-YYZ on AC on the same day.
It wont, its on separate tickets and separate airports.
yoonland is offline  
Old Jun 28, 2023, 8:42 pm
  #933  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: NYC
Programs: UA-1K MM, AA-Gold, DL-Silver, AS-MVP
Posts: 2,520
Originally Posted by m.y
Does anyone know if the following counts as connection? (in terms of the 3 hour access rule)
HND-JFK on NH and on a separate ticket LGA-YYZ on AC on the same day.
If you're in J or have status, you could always use the United Club at LGA. There's no 3h restriction rule there. Unless you insist on using the MLL at LGA.
Burgertime and yoonland like this.
hirohito888 is offline  
Old Jun 28, 2023, 9:22 pm
  #934  
m.y
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: YYZ
Programs: AC 75k, Marriott Titanium
Posts: 1,194
Originally Posted by hirohito888
If you're in J or have status, you could always use the United Club at LGA. There's no 3h restriction rule there. Unless you insist on using the MLL at LGA.
Yes, United Club would be my 3rd choice after trying my luck at the Centurion Lounge and then MLL.
m.y is offline  
Old Jun 29, 2023, 6:34 am
  #935  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: YVR
Programs: AC SE 2MM; UA MP Premier Silver; Marriott Bonvoy LT Titanium Elite; Radisson; Avis PC
Posts: 35,284
Originally Posted by billdokes
Nope, did it at YVR (DOM) a week ago - wanted to see what the new configuration was like, and sure enough, it has all of the atmosphere of a Greyhound Bus Station...not exactly a quiet, relaxing sanctuary!
Originally Posted by Adam Smith
Last I was at YYZ, the automatic gates were not programmed to accept arriving BPs. Not sure whether they've fixed that. Of course, that has been a problem with regular MLL computer systems over the last couple of years as well.
I didn't get a chance to try YYZ DOM upon arrival (it was closed by the time my super late flight arrived).
But I can confirm that I had no issues upon arrival at YOW DOM.
yyznomad is offline  
Old Jun 29, 2023, 8:06 am
  #936  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: YYZ
Programs: AC SE 100K MM; Marriott Lifetime Titanium, Avis Presidents Club
Posts: 1,249
Originally Posted by yyznomad
I didn't get a chance to try YYZ DOM upon arrival (it was closed by the time my super late flight arrived).
But I can confirm that I had no issues upon arrival at YOW DOM.
No issue accessing MLL on arrival at YVR earlier this week...just scanned my BP and in I went.
billdokes is online now  
Old Jun 29, 2023, 8:38 am
  #937  
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 43
Tried reading through all these pages and I am just getting more confused.

Flying LAX-YYZ-YUL in Business (booked with TK miles).
Am I able to access the lounges in any of the 3 airports?
I also have Priority Pass (through Amex Plat)

Thank you!
sruly is offline  
Old Jun 29, 2023, 8:47 am
  #938  
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: Montreal & Nashville
Programs: Aeroplan SE100K, Accor Platinum, Bonvoy Titanium Elite, BW Diamond, Hertz President's Circle
Posts: 391
Originally Posted by billdokes
No issue accessing MLL on arrival at YVR earlier this week...just scanned my BP and in I went.
Automated gate or agent's hand scanner?
theBeachBoy is offline  
Old Jun 29, 2023, 9:05 am
  #939  
 
Join Date: Jun 2023
Posts: 64
Didn't see a line outside YVR (domestic) MLL (11am) yesterday for the first time in a long time. Walked right in, it was a nice surprise! But definitely quite busy inside.

Last edited by razorblade705; Jun 29, 2023 at 11:04 am Reason: detail added
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Old Jun 29, 2023, 9:38 am
  #940  
Formerly known as tireman77
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 5,915
Originally Posted by sruly
Tried reading through all these pages and I am just getting more confused.

Flying LAX-YYZ-YUL in Business (booked with TK miles).
Am I able to access the lounges in any of the 3 airports?
I also have Priority Pass (through Amex Plat)

Thank you!
I assume on AC metal. If so, you should be able to access the MLL is all 3. LAX, YYZ Domestic (after clearing customs) and even (I beleive) Domestic YUL after landing, should you so choose.
PLeblond is offline  
Old Jun 29, 2023, 9:40 am
  #941  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
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As per the wiki, arrival access is a perk for AC*G, not J.
JJonahJ likes this.
canadiancow is offline  
Old Jun 29, 2023, 10:01 am
  #942  
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 43
Originally Posted by PLeblond
I assume on AC metal. If so, you should be able to access the MLL is all 3. LAX, YYZ Domestic (after clearing customs) and even (I beleive) Domestic YUL after landing, should you so choose.
Thank you!
Both flights are on AC metal.
LAX-YYZ is a Red-eye so would love to take a shower either at YYZ or YUL.
sruly is offline  
Old Jun 29, 2023, 10:06 am
  #943  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: YYZ / LHR
Programs: AC SE100k
Posts: 266
Originally Posted by sruly
Thank you!
Both flights are on AC metal.
LAX-YYZ is a Red-eye so would love to take a shower either at YYZ or YUL.
As per canadiancow above, you'll have to shower at YYZ. You won't be able to use the MLL on arrival at YUL without status.
JJonahJ likes this.
SuperCargo is offline  
Old Jun 29, 2023, 10:47 am
  #944  
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 43
Originally Posted by SuperCargo
As per canadiancow above, you'll have to shower at YYZ. You won't be able to use the MLL on arrival at YUL without status.
Thank you!
sruly is offline  
Old Jun 29, 2023, 11:00 am
  #945  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: YYZ
Programs: AC SE 100K MM; Marriott Lifetime Titanium, Avis Presidents Club
Posts: 1,249
Originally Posted by theBeachBoy
Automated gate or agent's hand scanner?
No automatic gates at YVR
billdokes is online now  

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