After spending 2 weeks in North America, it was time to come home. I flew Air Canada from Vancouver to Sydney on the B-787 Dreamliner which I will review in a separate post. Prior to jumping on the flight, I spent some time at the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge.
Besides Air Canada’s own elite and business class passengers, the lounge also welcomes Star Alliance Gold members.
Note that Air Canada also offers a separate space called Signature Suite to passengers on paid business class fare and to Aeroplan members who book Flexible Rewards. The Signature Suite offers a much higher level of service including ala carte dining and table service. As I had redeemed Velocity points for my flight, I was only able to access the regular lounge.
The lounge is located immediately after security check, to the left and is almost impossible to miss. As you come in through the door, there is a small reception. After a quick scan of my boarding pass, I was welcomed in.
As I stepped inside the main part of the lounge, I was instantly drawn-in by it’s beautiful, centrally positioned rectangular bar.
This was easily one of the prettiest airport lounge bars I have come across, its beauty accentuated by the bright overhead lights designed in the shape of maple leaves and dozen odd wrap-around bar stools.
Most of the seating space is behind the bar, loosely spread across 3 zones. The middle zone backs on to the bar and is mostly filled with rows of chairs interspersed with small tables, handy to place your drink or rest your electronic devices.
The area to the left of this space features of variety of seating, from chairs to board-room style table and a couple of brown leather sofas. I noticed a couple of desktop computers and a printer on one corner. There was even a wall-mounted flat screen television beaming CNN.
The third zone on the other end of the lounge offers additional seating space. As there is no dedicated dining area in the lounge, a portion of this space is set-up to facilitate dining with cafe-style tables & chairs and open booths.
A narrow corridor adjacent to this space is dotted with swivel chairs overlooking the apron and parked planes.
Dining & Drinks
The food and drinks area is positioned directly across from the bar. This is the part where the lounge really drops the ball as the offering’s are meagre & the quality average.
There was a small buffet table with potato & broccoli salad, some cookies, whole fruits and a couple of different soups. Then you had a soft drinks fountain, a coffee machine and packets of chips and cookies on a counter along the wall.
For non-alcoholic drinks, there was an open cooler out the front with bottled water, a variety of juices and some cold wraps. There was a stand stacked with all kinds of wines next to the cooler.
If you are wondering about the hot food options, it was slim pickings. There was a section on one corner with a pictorial menu displayed behind a glass counter. There was no explanation whatsoever about the dishes, nor any allergen warnings.
You go there and tell the server what you want who then proceeds to hand you the tiniest quantity of food. I also found communicating with the staff a little challenging who had to summon the chef to interpret my order correctly.
Off the 3 items on the menu, the pizza looked the most appetising. However, as I had pizza for lunch earlier in the day, I ordered the salad & rice and chickpea dish.
Without getting into any details, all I would say is don’t come hungry if you have plans to spend time in the lounge.
Other Guest Amenities
The lounge has in-house bathroom & showers located near the entrance. I found them to be clean & well maintained.
There is free and fast wifi available throughout the facility, I did not run a speed test but it seemed to work just fine.
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge at Vancouver is a bit like the Qantas Club’s in Australia. It offers ample seating and nice views of the apron & taxiway. It has the potential to be a really good facility but is badly let-down by the sub-par dining experience.
If you wanted a quiet place to relax or get some work done before your flight, the lounge is just fine. If you wanted something substantial to eat or drink, you might want to check out the Plaza Premium or the SkyTeam Lounge, both located just a few minutes from Air Canada lounge and accessible through the Amex Platinum Card.
Have you visited the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge at Vancouver? Leave a comment below.