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

Old Aug 16, 2022, 1:18 pm
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Last edit by: canadiancow
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 (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 Jul 2, 2022, 1:13 pm
  #106  
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: YXU
Programs: AC SE100K, Marriott Bonvoy Titanium Elite, IHG Platinum Elite
Posts: 326
Originally Posted by RatherBeInYOW
Yes, they will.
Thank you!
talkeryxu is offline  
Old Jul 12, 2022, 3:19 pm
  #107  
 
Join Date: May 2022
Location: YYZ
Programs: AC 25K/Black Card
Posts: 20
Update for those interested: Called aeroplan, they said they'll link it and to wait 10 business days. After exactly 10 business days the card now shows up as linked and the benefits unlocked.
Bobert59 is offline  
Old Jul 13, 2022, 11:35 am
  #108  
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: YEG
Programs: AC: Ac*A, , Nexus: Expired
Posts: 1,489
MLL Guest Clarification

Hi Everyone-

i am hoping I can get clarity on guest access to MLL. I am 50K and have a premium card (TD Privilege). I will be travelling with my Son (10) and Father to LAX in September. Am I able to guest both of them into the lounge without using a guest pass?

Additionally, I will be travelling with my whole family (wife, three kids (3/8/10)) and my wifes parents in October. How do I get them all into the lounge?

Thanks
Dana
danapop is offline  
Old Jul 13, 2022, 11:44 am
  #109  
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 1,115
Originally Posted by danapop
Hi Everyone-

i am hoping I can get clarity on guest access to MLL. I am 50K and have a premium card (TD Privilege). I will be travelling with my Son (10) and Father to LAX in September. Am I able to guest both of them into the lounge without using a guest pass?

Additionally, I will be travelling with my whole family (wife, three kids (3/8/10)) and my wifes parents in October. How do I get them all into the lounge?

Thanks
Dana
I believe as 50k, you can guest your family and one guest to MLL. One guest and no family to Cafe.
vancouver25k is offline  
Old Jul 13, 2022, 11:51 am
  #110  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Halifax
Programs: AC SE100K, Marriott Elite/Ambassador. NEXUS, National
Posts: 4,490
Originally Posted by danapop
Hi Everyone-

i am hoping I can get clarity on guest access to MLL. I am 50K and have a premium card (TD Privilege). I will be travelling with my Son (10) and Father to LAX in September. Am I able to guest both of them into the lounge without using a guest pass?
Spouse and dependent children +1 guest. As long as they are the same flight, no problem.

Originally Posted by danapop
Additionally, I will be travelling with my whole family (wife, three kids (3/8/10)) and my wifes parents in October. How do I get them all into the lounge?
Wife and kids are fine, as would be one parent. The guest privilege (from your card, say) don't stack. So use a pass.
RangerNS is offline  
Old Jul 26, 2022, 5:51 am
  #111  
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Out and about..
Posts: 1,102
Connecting from AMS to YYZ to DFW

Hello all, has anyone had experience accessing Signature Suite lounge in YYZ on paid P fare when while connecting from AMS to YYZ to DFW?

I have 5 hour layover and am hoping we have a comfortable situation for shower and recharge after the AMS to YYZ flight.
jjgollum is offline  
Old Jul 26, 2022, 7:08 am
  #112  
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: YYC
Posts: 2,068
Originally Posted by jjgollum
Hello all, has anyone had experience accessing Signature Suite lounge in YYZ on paid P fare when while connecting from AMS to YYZ to DFW?

I have 5 hour layover and am hoping we have a comfortable situation for shower and recharge after the AMS to YYZ flight.
It's not possible to access the Signature Suite on this itinerary - you will not have access to this area of the terminal. You will be able to use the Transborder Maple Leaf Lounge at YYZ,

Doesn't sound like the showers are open in that lounge yet, head over to this thread for updates on the MLL network... MLLs in the time of COVID - re-openings, food, distancing, etc [READ WIKI FIRST] - FlyerTalk Forums
YYCCL3 is offline  
Old Jul 28, 2022, 7:28 am
  #113  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: YYZ
Programs: AC Altitude 35K, AA, Marriott Silver Elite, NEXUS
Posts: 357
35k access

flying YUL-CDG in a few weeks...although I know I am not lofty enough to get into Intl lounge, will the lounge dragons allow me to go into domestic since I can physically walk to it? I am assuming no.....
cruzcap is offline  
Old Jul 28, 2022, 8:23 am
  #114  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: YOW
Programs: AC SE, FOTSG Platinum
Posts: 5,670
Originally Posted by cruzcap
flying YUL-CDG in a few weeks...although I know I am not lofty enough to get into Intl lounge, will the lounge dragons allow me to go into domestic since I can physically walk to it? I am assuming no.....
This should be fine, though its worth noting that once you pass through the International checkpoint at YUL, you cant just freely pass back and forth to the domestic gates.
YOWgary is offline  
Old Aug 8, 2022, 8:52 am
  #115  
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Toronto, Canada
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Posts: 991
With 50K and above status, are you allowed to bring a guest to the AC Cafe?
GateGuardian is offline  
Old Aug 8, 2022, 8:55 am
  #116  
 
Join Date: May 2019
Posts: 302
Originally Posted by GateGuardian
With 50K and above status, are you allowed to bring a guest to the AC Cafe?
I haven't seen this published anywhere explicitly, but I have been able to bring a guest.
mathemagic is offline  
Old Aug 8, 2022, 11:15 am
  #117  
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 1,115
Originally Posted by GateGuardian
With 50K and above status, are you allowed to bring a guest to the AC Cafe?
I've asked the gate agent there before. With 50k+, you can bring a guest but no family.
vancouver25k is offline  
Old Aug 10, 2022, 3:55 pm
  #118  
In Memoriam, FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
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Posts: 33,857
Originally Posted by GateGuardian
With 50K and above status, are you allowed to bring a guest to the AC Cafe?
I had no issue bringing my then girlfriend (now wife) into the Cafe as a UA*G in 2019
CMK10 is offline  
Old Aug 10, 2022, 6:28 pm
  #119  
 
Join Date: Aug 2021
Posts: 14
Originally Posted by GateGuardian
With 50K and above status, are you allowed to bring a guest to the AC Cafe?
I was there at the end of July, and had no issue admitting a guest with me. Mind you, my BP was coded for admission since I have AC Elite status, but my friend had to be let in manually by an agent once I scanned myself through the gate to prove to the agent that I had status. So I suppose admission for a guest might depend on an agent being present to manually let a guest in.
keys1235 is offline  
Old Aug 10, 2022, 7:31 pm
  #120  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: YOW
Programs: AC SE, FOTSG Platinum
Posts: 5,670
I just left, and the agent assured me anyone 50K+ is welcome to bring a guest.
YOWgary is offline  

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