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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 Aug 11, 2022, 7:21 am
  #121  
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: YLW
Posts: 119
As a SE can I take my 2 kids in with me? O
YLWflyer is offline  
Old Aug 11, 2022, 10:41 am
  #122  
 
Join Date: May 2019
Posts: 302
Originally Posted by YLWflyer
As a SE can I take my 2 kids in with me? O
I don't expect it has anything to do with SE, but I would guess yes for two kids. I was able to bring my kid and spouse.
mathemagic is offline  
Old Aug 14, 2022, 5:28 am
  #123  
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: YLW
Posts: 119
Originally Posted by mathemagic
I don't expect it has anything to do with SE, but I would guess yes for two kids. I was able to bring my kid and spouse.
Well it depends on the agent I guess. First agent told me I could bring 1 kid as a guest, not both. The other agent just said let them in. But the kids are only 35ks

I guess next time Ill get the 7yr old to goto Starbucks and wait.
YLWflyer is offline  
Old Aug 16, 2022, 2:24 am
  #124  
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: YEG, SFO, VCA, JR JY-13
Programs: hahaha
Posts: 933
My sister was just turned away from the YVR International MLL despite flying BR9 (to TPE) in J. The agent said that BR pax had to use the Plaza Premium lounge nearby, and my sister literally FOTSG for this trip didn't press the matter further. Knowing her, she could have really used the shower at the MLL, ugh

This was around 11:30PM and knowing how empty the lounge was last week, I don't think crowding was an issue today.
asovse1 is offline  
Old Aug 16, 2022, 8:54 am
  #125  
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: YYC
Programs: AC SE
Posts: 2,345
Maple Leaf Lounge access - guest must be on same flight?

Had a new one recently. My spouse (SE) was traveling with a colleague, but on different flights, both domestic flights with AC. He offered to bring his colleague into the YUL domestic MLL as a guest (just one guest, didn't have any other family traveling). The lounge agent denied access to the guest saying that any guests need to be on the same flight (spouse was traveling to YYC, colleague was going to YYZ). Lounge agent was apparently quite rude about the situation, and the messaging was something like "absolutely not, that's entirely against the rules." The guest was denied access and turned away.

I don't see anything about this in the published access rules online. Thoughts? New policy, unpublished internal rule, or rogue agent?
gcashin is offline  
Old Aug 16, 2022, 9:33 am
  #126  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: YYZ
Programs: AC*SE 2MM
Posts: 16,739
I think the lounge person was basing her decision on a rule that was in place at one time but no longer seems to be there. So old policy rather than current po0licy and not a "rogue" agent but one who is not up-to-date on what AC allows. The current published rule is as follows:
"Enjoy the comfort and amenities of the Maple Leaf Lounges. Subject to space availability, you can invite immediate family members* (spouse and dependent children) and a first guest at no charge, when you and your guest(s) are travelling on a same-day Air Canada flight or any Star Alliance member airline. Visitors under the age of majority must be accompanied by an adult."

No mention of it having to be the same flight.
https://www.aircanada.com/ca/en/aco/...enefits.html#/
The Lev is offline  
Old Aug 16, 2022, 10:29 am
  #127  
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: YLW
Programs: AC- SE100 1MM, Hilton Diamond, Marriott Platinum, National Executive, Nexus/GE
Posts: 4,388
I have heard of this as they want the sponsor to be there with the guest and take responsibility for that guest. I have had guests come with me traveling on AC the same day but not on the same flight and have not had an issue.
Again, with so many new hires, patience is needed as well as talking slowly and using your hands for additional communication assistance when communicating!
HerpaYvr is offline  
Old Aug 16, 2022, 10:38 am
  #128  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: YVR
Programs: AC 75K, BA Gold, Marriott Platinum, National EE, Sixt Platinum, Hertz PC, AVIS PC
Posts: 1,938
I would have used a pass for the guest and taken this up later with CS.

Ron.
YULRvR likes this.
newfbc is offline  
Old Aug 16, 2022, 11:21 am
  #129  
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: 44,698
A new *A rule requires "same flight". I haven't encountered it anywhere. And while I could see AC requiring a UA*G be on the same flight as their guest (since they only get reimbursed for entry in accordance with *A rules), I don't think their intention would be for it to apply to an AC*G.

And I certainly don't think they've actually done anything, given it isn't mentioned on AC's site (whereas UA's site does have that blurb).
canadiancow is offline  
Old Aug 16, 2022, 11:39 am
  #130  
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 46
Am I allowed to visit both the MLL and the cafe on the same day?
hitek0007 is offline  
Old Aug 16, 2022, 11:39 am
  #131  
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Programs: Aeroplan
Posts: 50
I've guested others who weren't on my flight and I'm just 50k. I would feel let down & embarrassed if an agent incorrectly denied my guest.
gcashin likes this.
5Miles is offline  
Old Aug 16, 2022, 11:45 am
  #132  
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 1,277
Originally Posted by hitek0007
Am I allowed to visit both the MLL and the cafe on the same day?
Yes
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vancouver25k is offline  
Old Aug 16, 2022, 12:25 pm
  #133  
Moderator, Air Canada; FlyerTalk Evangelist
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: YYC
Programs: AC SE MM, FB Plat, WS Plat, BA Silver, DL GM, Marriott Plat, Hilton Gold, Accor Silver
Posts: 16,878
Moderator note: I'm trying to cut down the number of repetitive lounge access questions with this thread. I've put together a pretty comprehensive wiki, but perhaps some fellow FTers could assist in fleshing it out, e.g. guesting rules.
canopus27 and canadiancow like this.
Adam Smith is offline  
Old Aug 16, 2022, 12:29 pm
  #134  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
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Posts: 44,698
I added some guest rules, and clarified the Premium rouge, since not all PR is marketed as J, and therefore not always eligible.
Adam Smith likes this.
canadiancow is offline  
Old Aug 16, 2022, 12:38 pm
  #135  
Moderator, Air Canada; FlyerTalk Evangelist
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: YYC
Programs: AC SE MM, FB Plat, WS Plat, BA Silver, DL GM, Marriott Plat, Hilton Gold, Accor Silver
Posts: 16,878
Also needs to be added: mixed cabin itineraries and arrivals access. Should we maintain dedicated threads for those, or now that we have a lounge access rules thread more broadly, can those just live here? Throwing this out for consideration.

Originally Posted by canadiancow
I added some guest rules, and clarified the Premium rouge, since not all PR is marketed as J, and therefore not always eligible.
I don't think that's true anymore. Since AC got rid of the rouge 767s, I'm pretty sure everywhere rouge flies, Premium rouge J, isn't it? That used to apply to places like BOG and ZAG, but I'm pretty sure BGI, CUN, etc, it's J.
Adam Smith is offline  

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