Air Canada Cafe Toronto: New Lounge Concept

Filed Under: Air Canada

Air Canada has announced that the new Air Canada Cafe at Toronto Pearson International Airport will be opening tomorrow, Friday, September 6, 2019. This is yet another new lounge concept the airline is introducing, following the introduction of the incredible Air Canada Signature Suite last year.

What Is Air Canada Cafe?

Air Canada Cafe will offer customers a wide selection of specialty beverages, either to be enjoyed in the lounge, or to be taken to go. They describe the space as a relaxed, bistro-style setting.

The cafe will have seating for 109 people and will offer power and USB ports, free wifi, access to digital newspapers and magazines, and more. It’s essentially an airline lounge with an emphasis on good drinks, and where you’re encouraged to take stuff to-go (within reason, presumably).

Andrew Yiu, Air Canada’s VP of Product, had the following to say:

“We are thrilled to unveil this innovative product, one we are sure will create buzz not only for our customers, but the entire industry. Air Canada’s premium clientele will have access to this new Café, revolutionizing the coffee shop experience at Toronto Pearson. It will offer a wide selection of beverages and food that can be taken to go.”

Here’s a video tour of the cafe:

What Food & Drinks Are Available At Air Canada Cafe?

Passengers will be able to visit the barista station for freshly squeezed orange juice, a selection of Lavazza Coffee, Lavazza Cold Brew, cold brew mocktails, and specialty hot drinks.

There will also be a self serve station including things like:

  • Greenhouse Juice products, such as kombucha
  • Avariety of organic, cold-press juices in individual-size bottles
  • Coffee, tea, flavored water, soft drinks, and other non-alcoholic beverages
  • Items like Lindt truffle chocolates, OKA fin cheese, and Gouter premium pastries

In addition to the above:

  • Before 11AM the cafe will offer breakfast foods, such as yogurt, fresh fruit, and pastries
  • After 11AM, the cafe will offer an assortment of salads, sandwiches, cheeses, and more

Where Is Air Canada Cafe Located?

Air Canada Cafe is located in the domestic terminal at Toronto Pearson Airport, near gate D20. It complements the existing domestic Maple Leaf Lounge in the terminal, and my understanding is that it has the same access requirements.

My Take On Air Canada Cafe

I love the concept Air Canada is going for here. Historically airlines have encouraged passengers to arrive early to use lounges, and have even prohibited passengers from removing any food or drinks from the lounge.

I love to see an airline introduce a concept promoting exactly the opposite. Just because you don’t have a lot of time to kill doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t appreciate a good coffee or juice to go.

In many ways this sounds like an evolved version of the Lufthansa Delights To Go concept that we’ve seen in Munich, where eligible premium passengers can get a meal to go.

So I’m a fan of this concept from Air Canada. Not only do I love an airline focusing on providing proper, barista-made coffee, but I also like to see them encouraging taking a drink to go.

What do you  make of the Air Canada Cafe concept?

Comments
  1. Used the Delights to Go in Munich before as it was right next to my departing gate. Was even still able to use it after using the Senators lounge. Nice to have a fresh sandwich and snack on board the flight instead of those nasty sandwiches they give out.

  2. Agreed with Scott – I also used the Delights to Go in Munich and it was excellent. Highly recommend the wrap. Excited to check out this new AC space.

  3. Great idea and hopefully it’s something other airlines copy. It’s no fun to gulp down a coffee when you only have a few minutes to spare in the lounge on short connections.

  4. Be innovative on the road. Bring your own CLEAN reusable coffee cup with lid and fill before you leave the lounge, and a stage 4 water bottle.

    I’m not a coffee drinker (take one natural caffeine pill per day) but I’ve seen others do this.

  5. Honestly it looks really uncomfortable. Almost like it has been designed intensionally to keep people from sitting and relaxing for any amount of time.

  6. I personally think it’s a brilliant idea and it looks stunning. Lol I’m just imagining the vegan hipster millennials in there tho wearing themselves with excitement…

  7. I’ve heard some say that the big advantage is that they won’t have to wait forever for the Domestic MLL elevators, or risk being stuck there if the elevators break down.

  8. Agree with Jordan !
    Bring your own bottle/cup. Otherwise this is just another garbage producer place with the drinks ‘to-go’.

    AC should even credit some extra miles for passengers using their own cups, haha.

  9. Sorry, Ben, but I think Air Canada’s Cafe is a copycat of Lufthansa’s Senator Cafe in MUC. It’s been there for a decade.

  10. Is there a charge for food and beverage in this cafe? I’m not that clear on what the differences are with a Maple Leaf Lounge

  11. @DRG

    There is no charge for food and beverages.

    The main obvious differences with the MLL appear to be:
    -no alcoholic beverages;
    -no hot food;
    -no lounge seating (comfy chairs);
    -no dead tree newspapers or magazines (Press Reader only);
    -not obvious whether there are washrooms, but certainly no showers;
    -and unlike MMLs, you’re encouraged to take food and beverages to go.

    As @Scott notes, it seems that access is more restrictive than MLLs. It’s J pax and *Gold only. No mention of guests, people with lounge passes, paid entry or Maple Leaf Club members, all of whom can get into traditional lounges, though there may be an omission or two.

    This appears to be designed for a quick visit rather than relaxing on a long layover. And it’s placed conveniently at gate level, just past security, right across from the gate usually used for YYZ-YUL flights, which is one of the busiest routes out there, connecting Canada’s two largest cities and two Air Canada hubs.

    Barista service is still a bit of a novelty in MLLs. The only other ones I am aware of are all connected to bar service, which I have only seen at YYC domestic, YVR international, YUL international, LHR and the YYZ Signature Suite. There are a couple of lounges I haven’t visited or haven’t been to recently, so there may be others out there.

    Overall, I think this will be a convenient option for a good number of people who just want a quick stop for a snack or coffee before a short flight, and who aren’t inclined to arrive very early at the airport. It may take some of the pressure off the MLL and reduce the queues, which can get rather long, though it will also attract people who wouldn’t bother going up to the MLL for 10 minutes, but who would pop in for a grab and go snack.

    I’ll be there at the end of the month, connecting from a YUL-YYZ flight, so I’ll check it out.

    There are some details on Air Canada’s website here:
    https://www.aircanada.com/ca/en/aco/home/fly/premium-services/accafe.html

    Now, it’s way past time for a major revamp of the domestic MLL at YYZ.

    I’d be interested in Kate’s take.

  12. I’m not a coffee drinker, so I’m loving the idea of the fresh squeezed juice selection! This looks like a nice evolution of lounge concepts. And very impressed that this innovation is coming from Air Canada of all airlines.

  13. This is the kind of amenity that I think would get more premium customers to use Air Canada–especially for premium domestic connections.

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