Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums >
Reload this Page >

Miles&Points

Airlines and Mileage Programs

Air Canada | Aeroplan

MLLs - information & experiences (July 2022 onwards)

MLLs - information & experiences (July 2022 onwards)

    Hide Wikipost
Old Nov 26, 22, 1:01 am   -   Wikipost
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
 
Last edit by: khkchan
Wiki Link
Access

Please see this thread for questions on access to the MLLs. Moderator note: questions about access posted in this thread will be deleted.

Showers

YYZ
  • Dom - closed (Oct 20)
  • Intl - closed (Oct19)
  • TB - closed (Sep 24) Claimed are doing renovations

YVR
  • Dom - closed (Inquired on Oct 13)
  • Intl - open
  • TB - open

YUL
  • Intl - open
Print Wikipost

Old Sep 12, 22, 4:31 pm
  #166  
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: LHR / YYZ
Programs: AC SE
Posts: 3,700
Originally Posted by TheViperOne View Post
lineup for MLL at YUL intl over 150 people long as of 1630 local. Lounge dragon estimating a 60-90 min wait. Went to national bank instead. Also a line up but only around a dozen. Was in around 10 min.

On a full fare J flex booking to Europe and cant access the lounge. Gotta love credit card access.
Jeez. That's unacceptable and I hope AC is getting an earful from upset actual BIS customers.

I'm not familiar with YUL's schedule patterns. How many international flights depart in the late afternoon / early evening and what's the lounge's capacity?
capedreamer is offline  
Old Sep 12, 22, 5:02 pm
  #167  
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Programs: Who needs status when you have credit card?
Posts: 189
Originally Posted by TheViperOne View Post
lineup for MLL at YUL intl over 150 people long as of 1630 local. Lounge dragon estimating a 60-90 min wait. Went to national bank instead. Also a line up but only around a dozen. Was in around 10 min.

On a full fare J flex booking to Europe and cant access the lounge. Gotta love credit card access.
I heard that the YYZ MLLs are checking boarding passes and are allowing 35K+ priority access during peak traffic. Not sure if YUL will implement this anytime soon.
vancouver25k likes this.
c224488 is offline  
Old Sep 13, 22, 12:46 am
  #168  
 
Join Date: Dec 2020
Programs: QF, CoUniHound Refugee
Posts: 216
Originally Posted by TheViperOne View Post
Gotta love credit card access.
Perhaps I'm missing something here but are there that many Canadian credit cards that are handing out Maple Leaf Lounge access? My understanding is there are like one or two premium credit cards where one must fork out $500/year that have such a perk. Certainly as an AmEx Platinum card holder, I'm not getting any access to these lounges. Having visited a couple of these lounges back in July and pre-pandemic, I would make the argument that the issue is very simple: Air Canada simply needs to increase the size of their lounges. For instance, here in Australia Qantas has two lounges at most major airports: a Qantas club which is open to those holding QF Gold (OneWorld Sapphire) status and a QF Business lounge which is open to QF Platinum (OneWorld Emerald) and those travelling in J. The size of each of those lounges is roughly the same as a AC domestic lounge and from my experience do they rarely run chock-a-block.

-RooFlyer88
kangarooflyer88 is offline  
Old Sep 13, 22, 1:33 am
  #169  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: SFO
Programs: AC SE MM, Bonvoy Tit LT Sil, Hyatt Glob, HH Diamond, Accor Gold, UA Silver
Posts: 40,311
Originally Posted by kangarooflyer88 View Post
Air Canada simply needs to increase the size of their lounges.
I don't think you appreciate how hard it is to get contiguous space in an airport.

YYZ has six (6) AC lounges.

The reason the SS access restrictions are so tight is almost entirely due to their lack of space to build it. I'm not saying with double the size they'd let in all *A J, but I have it on very good authority that the access restrictions are primarily due to their lack of space.

They want more space.

And they grab it when they can. That's why they have the TB Express lounge, which was just a remote "extension" of the MLL. And the Cafe, which they decided to do something different with because it was a decent size, and basically right beside the MLL.

It's not simple. Increasing the size is probably the most challenging thing they could do to fix these problems.
YYC3722, YLWflyer and Adam Smith like this.
canadiancow is offline  
Old Sep 13, 22, 1:43 am
  #170  
Moderator, Air Canada; FlyerTalk Evangelist
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: YYC
Programs: AC SE MM, WS Plat, DL PM, BA Bronze, Marriott Titanium, Accor/Hilton/Radisson Gold
Posts: 14,629
Originally Posted by kangarooflyer88 View Post
Perhaps I'm missing something here but are there that many Canadian credit cards that are handing out Maple Leaf Lounge access? My understanding is there are like one or two premium credit cards where one must fork out $500/year that have such a perk. Certainly as an AmEx Platinum card holder, I'm not getting any access to these lounges. Having visited a couple of these lounges back in July and pre-pandemic, I would make the argument that the issue is very simple: Air Canada simply needs to increase the size of their lounges. For instance, here in Australia Qantas has two lounges at most major airports: a Qantas club which is open to those holding QF Gold (OneWorld Sapphire) status and a QF Business lounge which is open to QF Platinum (OneWorld Emerald) and those travelling in J. The size of each of those lounges is roughly the same as a AC domestic lounge and from my experience do they rarely run chock-a-block.
Either answer could be correct: reduce the number of people with access, and the current size of the lounges is fine. Increase the size of the lounges, and the current number of people with access is fine.

The former is considerably easier to do than the latter, which is why I think it tends to be what gets focused on more.

None of us knows exactly how these hordes are gaining access to the MLLs, because we don't have access to the data. Credit cards are likely to play a meaningful part, since AC and the issuers had a huge marketing push on the premium cards when they launched the new program. Some of the mid-tier credit cards also come with passes that offer a limited number of lounge visits, so it's not necessary to pay a $600 fee to get into the lounge a couple times a year. But I'd say the bloated ranks of status passengers are likely also playing a big role. I don't know that either one, alone, is the cause of the problem. The lounges were filling up pre-COVID as AC gave out more and more access to CC holders. But even with the marketing blitz on cards post-Aeroplan 2.0, would there be 150 people lined up at the YUL INTL MLL without a bunch of 50Ks and up who either had status carried forward due to COVID, or who got to up their status due to CC spending last year, or [email protected], or whatever? I highly doubt it.

I think AC just miscalculated. They created a lot of new access entitlements through both cards and status, while at the same time (as they've acknowledged) vastly underestimating summer travel demand. Perhaps they thought we would get through the peak summer travel season with fewer people flying, meaning all the new entitlements wouldn't have created this tsunami of demand. Or perhaps they vastly underestimated just how many people would be taking advantage of all these new programs. Maybe some of both. Throw on some of their terrible OTP, causing many people to be hanging around the airports much longer (arriving earlier to not miss flights, waiting for delayed flights, longer connections caused by misconnects, etc), and you have the absolute poopstorm that has become the MLL network.
capedreamer and canadiancow like this.
Adam Smith is offline  
Old Sep 13, 22, 9:22 am
  #171  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 3,133
Originally Posted by Adam Smith View Post
Throw on some of their terrible OTP, causing many people to be hanging around the airports much longer (arriving earlier to not miss flights, waiting for delayed flights, longer connections caused by misconnects, etc), and you have the absolute poopstorm that has become the MLL network.
Plus people just scheduling longer connections out of caution...

I feel like the unpredictability is part of the issue. If you never know whether you'll get into the lounge or not it's a huge hassle when you get there and there's a long line-up or a sign saying it's full.

Personally as someone who would be the first against the wall if access is restricted I would prefer to just be told "we're suspending all access from one-time passes for three months and we'll extend the validity of your one-time passes by three months" rather than show up hoping for a lounge and finding it unusable (and possibly have my passes expire unused as a result). It could even be a win-win if that lets occasional flyers use their limited accesses over the holidays when business travel is lower.
zkzkz is online now  
Old Sep 13, 22, 12:37 pm
  #172  
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 1,914
Originally Posted by zkzkz View Post
Personally as someone who would be the first against the wall if access is restricted I would prefer to just be told "we're suspending all access from one-time passes for three months and we'll extend the validity of your one-time passes by three months" rather than show up hoping for a lounge and finding it unusable (and possibly have my passes expire unused as a result). It could even be a win-win if that lets occasional flyers use their limited accesses over the holidays when business travel is lower.
Here's the catch for this one. What about those who are on one of those long and in-between trips who just wanted to treat themselves (with a gifted pass)? You could extend it by six months but if I'm one of the FOTSG (a year) it's of no use to me.

Now, if they could convert it to something like an endorsed voucher for me to go to one of the restaurants to use for $x or $y (and make it a fair value), then it might not sting as much (free flow alcohol not withstanding). Or maybe allow it to be used at the Plaza Premium lounge, that'd be a different story...
StuckInYYZ is offline  
Old Sep 13, 22, 12:53 pm
  #173  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: SFO
Programs: AC SE MM, Bonvoy Tit LT Sil, Hyatt Glob, HH Diamond, Accor Gold, UA Silver
Posts: 40,311
Originally Posted by StuckInYYZ View Post
Here's the catch for this one. What about those who are on one of those long and in-between trips who just wanted to treat themselves (with a gifted pass)? You could extend it by six months but if I'm one of the FOTSG (a year) it's of no use to me.
In the before-times, the only time I ever saw them limiting access was to pass users. Those would be the first thing to go.

I get it, but the person you're describing is not a customer AC cares about.
1. They're not in J
2. They don't fly enough to get any (or any meaningful) status (these are gifted passes, not even their own from hitting 25K)
3. They don't have a premium credit card

Debate all you want about whether a FOTSG who spends $10M/year on a premium AC card is more valuable than a just-barely-qualified status-holder, but I don't think there's any doubt that the person you describe is bottom of the list.

Now, if you want to talk about "I bought a pass from AC just for this trip", that's a different matter. But I suspect that wouldn't be toooooo difficult to request a refund.
capedreamer likes this.
canadiancow is offline  
Old Sep 13, 22, 2:41 pm
  #174  
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 1,914
Originally Posted by canadiancow View Post
In the before-times, the only time I ever saw them limiting access was to pass users. Those would be the first thing to go.
Oh, I'm not saying it doesn't happen. I'm just saying it's probably a very troublesome issue.

Originally Posted by canadiancow View Post
Now, if you want to talk about "I bought a pass from AC just for this trip", that's a different matter. But I suspect that wouldn't be toooooo difficult to request a refund.
Unfortunately that's where the catch is. "Just a refund", especially in the now times is worse. Many people are expecting instant gratification these days and more than just a pittance for their troubles. Certain recent events have predicted this... These are the people who will make the most noise. "I saved up x for this once in a lifetime trip, and now Air Canada has totally ruined it". Not having access to a lounge once in a while for most frequent flyers (not counting DYKWIA folk) will likely brush it off. Those who have been in enough lounges (or know what is in them) and aren't dependent on free-flow alcohol will likely brush it off. But you'll get the special trip to some "exotic" location/event... and (at least for now) it is likely the start of a bad trip for them (delay in taking off on a badly time flight, etc.) and boom, you get more bad press and higher than expected renumeration, etc. And it won't be just one in a 1000 type thing.

My point is, just kicking the can down the road doesn't necessarily help the situation. It might make more sense to get creative about it and deal with the problem before it becomes worse for everyone. You can't easily generate more space (actually, depending on the airport, you might), but if you can head these off without too much damage, why not?

Personally, if my pass gets converted to a voucher for some nice food in a less crowded venue, I'd be happy with that. Just need one of those "restaurants" that isn't hideously overpriced.
StuckInYYZ is offline  
Old Sep 13, 22, 3:23 pm
  #175  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: SFO
Programs: AC SE MM, Bonvoy Tit LT Sil, Hyatt Glob, HH Diamond, Accor Gold, UA Silver
Posts: 40,311
Originally Posted by StuckInYYZ View Post
Not having access to a lounge once in a while for most frequent flyers (not counting DYKWIA folk) will likely brush it off. Those who have been in enough lounges (or know what is in them) and aren't dependent on free-flow alcohol will likely brush it off.
I'm not going to create a scene, but I'm certainly not happy about not having MLL access given that I'm usually an SE MM in J with a premium credit card. How many different ways can I pay for something and still be told "nope, sorry"?

Originally Posted by StuckInYYZ View Post
Personally, if my pass gets converted to a voucher for some nice food in a less crowded venue, I'd be happy with that. Just need one of those "restaurants" that isn't hideously overpriced.
I think that's a reasonable option, but you (and I) don't know whether one-time use passes are causing much issue.

When the SFO Polaris Lounge was under construction, and the old GFL had been rebranded to a "premium cabin lounge" (i.e. everyone flying to another country in J or F had access, but status did not get you in), when there was a line, they were offering meal vouchers in lieu of actually going in. AC could do that. But it's a very different value proposition to offer a J pax a $25 voucher than it is to offer it for a one-time-use pass that cost the passenger $20. Or even to someone with status. Taking a $25 write-down on a J pax because you have capacity issues sucks, but taking it for some 35K flying Basic Economy is just not something I think they'd consider.
YYC3722 likes this.
canadiancow is offline  
Old Sep 13, 22, 6:04 pm
  #176  
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 1,914
Originally Posted by canadiancow View Post
I'm not going to create a scene, but I'm certainly not happy about not having MLL access given that I'm usually an SE MM in J with a premium credit card. How many different ways can I pay for something and still be told "nope, sorry"?
But you wouldn't be in that scenario since the proposal was for one-time-use vouchers to be "shifted" by three months. As a J or SEMM you would still have access.

Originally Posted by canadiancow View Post
I think that's a reasonable option, but you (and I) don't know whether one-time use passes are causing much issue.

When the SFO Polaris Lounge was under construction, and the old GFL had been rebranded to a "premium cabin lounge" (i.e. everyone flying to another country in J or F had access, but status did not get you in), when there was a line, they were offering meal vouchers in lieu of actually going in. AC could do that. But it's a very different value proposition to offer a J pax a $25 voucher than it is to offer it for a one-time-use pass that cost the passenger $20. Or even to someone with status. Taking a $25 write-down on a J pax because you have capacity issues sucks, but taking it for some 35K flying Basic Economy is just not something I think they'd consider.
I suspect that credit cards and other passes are just part of the entry problem at the moment. That said, I suspect they could probably better utilize the space at the terminal (At least YYZ). I can't speak to it right now (not having stepped into any airport since the pandemic started) but I'm pretty sure you could do something better with the two "wings" in terminal one (as an example). Bunch of seats and a Tims on one side and I don't even remember who was on the other (vending machine?). Those spaces were always under utilized. And don't get me started on that "sculpture". Seriously though, RFP to have another contract lounge on either side (unless Plaza has an exclusivity contract). Or maybe figure out how to link the MLL to the other "wing" (at least for international).

I find part of the problem (especially in Canada) is that the relevant authorities are always slow to act and do not forward think a lot of things. Post-Covid-Blues issues aside, They should already have considered another (larger) terminal and possibly more uses for the space they're occupying. How many other places had plans that were in the works years ago now? Beijing? Singapore? I know there were a few airports in the US that started refurbishing years ago to increase capacity (which would likely also use bigger lounges).

As for the value of the voucher, I have no problem with giving a J passenger a bit more. A one time pass converted into a restaurant voucher of equivalent value (or maybe a bit more for the inconvenience) would be good for the PR. If it's like $30 for the OTV and maybe $50 for a J/status... Pretty sure AC can make arrangements with the various establishments within airside to get a bit of a discount. And if you only make them available during overcrowded periods, I think it would not cost too much more and as population control, not too bad.
StuckInYYZ is offline  
Old Sep 13, 22, 6:28 pm
  #177  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 3,133
Originally Posted by StuckInYYZ View Post
Here's the catch for this one. What about those who are on one of those long and in-between trips who just wanted to treat themselves (with a gifted pass)? You could extend it by six months but if I'm one of the FOTSG (a year) it's of no use to me.
I'm not sure but I think what you're saying is consistent with what I said. If they told the holder of the pass that they were suspended for a few months then they wouldn't have bothered offering them to the FOTSG friend and the friend wouldn't have gotten their hopes up and planned around having lounge access. The owner of the pass can offer it to someone else later in the year or early next year instead. That's what I'm suggesting is a better situation than arriving at the lounge and being disappointed.
zkzkz is online now  
Old Sep 13, 22, 6:31 pm
  #178  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: SFO
Programs: AC SE MM, Bonvoy Tit LT Sil, Hyatt Glob, HH Diamond, Accor Gold, UA Silver
Posts: 40,311
Originally Posted by zkzkz View Post
I'm not sure but I think what you're saying is consistent with what I said. If they told the holder of the pass that they were suspended for a few months then they wouldn't have bothered offering them to the FOTSG friend and the friend wouldn't have gotten their hopes up and planned around having lounge access. The owner of the pass can offer it to someone else later in the year or early next year instead. That's what I'm suggesting is a better situation than arriving at the lounge and being disappointed.
But even the busiest lounges aren't ALWAYS at capacity. Why suspend them entirely when you can probably accept them 60% of the time?

Also, they don't work in the international MLLs, which have had some of the huge lines to get in. I believe YUL INT had a 90 minute line the other day?
canadiancow is offline  
Old Sep 13, 22, 7:56 pm
  #179  
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 38
I personally only value the lounge for its free food and beer. Yes there is some mildly comfortable seating but i would be nearly as happy with grab and go situation that is accessible without barriers like lines or check ins. Therefore i believe the best direction is an approach like the Cafe where eligible members get free food + drink but nowhere to sit forcing people to disperse throughout the terminal. The downside to this is it takes business from terminal vendors but that's not a major concern for AC
So i see the future being prepackaged sammiches and canned bevvies accessible by scanning your BP or pass and the lounges reserved for the current SS tier customers of paid J and aeroplan biz flex
ThePopes is offline  
Old Sep 14, 22, 9:51 am
  #180  
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: YCD
Programs: AC 75K, HIlton Honors Gold, Marriott Gold Elite, Radisson Rewards Gold
Posts: 367
0750 at YVR, 15 person wait to get into Domestic MLL.

Our flight arrives 37 min late, we will be lucky to get in and have a snack, thankfully flying J so we get breakfast



Edit to add: We left. More important to get Tim's for the kids before the flight. 6 people beyond me when I posted initial message.
newbl likes this.

Last edited by Adam Smith; Sep 14, 22 at 10:03 am Reason: Merge consecutive posts by same user
theranj is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread