Air Canada Lounge Newark Leaves Priority Pass

Filed Under: Air Canada

Air Canada operates a network of Maple Leaf Lounges, with locations in Canada, the US, and Europe.

What’s interesting is that historically the Maple Leaf Lounge locations in the US are among the only ones to participate in Priority Pass (the only other location to participate is the lounge in Paris). Priority Pass is the world’s largest independent network of airport lounges. The way it works is that Priority Pass pays member lounges some amount (let’s call it ~$25 per person per visit) every time you go to a lounge.

So for an airline lounge, the decision to join Priority Pass probably works something like this:

  • Surely airlines would like the additional revenue, since it helps them cover their cost of running the lounge
  • At the same time, airlines want to make sure that they’re not cannibalizing the sale of their own lounge memberships by allowing in Priority Pass members; they also want to make sure that crowding from Priority Pass doesn’t diminish the experience to the point that the lounge is no longer relaxing

Historically all three Maple Leaf Lounges in the US have belonged to Priority Pass, though that has slowly changed:

  • When Air Canada moved from Terminal 2 to Terminal 7 at LAX in 2017, their lounge became significantly smaller, and left Priority Pass
  • When Air Canada moved to Terminal B Eastern Concourse at LGA in 2018, they left Priority Pass

Air Canada’s third Maple Leaf Lounge in the US is at Newark Airport. Historically the lounge has been open to Priority Pass members over select hours, typically until 3PM.

Unfortunately this has now changed. As of last week, the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Newark Airport no longer belongs to Priority Pass.

We don’t know exactly what happened. As far as I know they’re not changing up the lounge. My guess is that the lounge was consistently pretty crowded, and Air Canada made the decision that it didn’t make sense to have just a single one of their US lounges participating in Priority Pass, for consistency if nothing else.

Now Maple Leaf Lounge access at Newark Airport is limited to business class passengers, Altitude 35K, Elite 50K, Elite 75K, and Super Elite 100K members, plus those who are members of the lounge.

At this point the two Priority Pass lounges at Newark are the Art & Lounge, as well as the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, though the latter limits Priority Pass members to accessing the lounge between 1PM and 5PM. I think it’s time that Priority Pass add a restaurant at Newark.

Will anyone miss this lounge being part of Priority Pass?

(Tip of the hat to Doctor Of Credit)

Comments
  1. @Lucky, at the pre-FTU dinner in Seattle last night someone claimed that upon their arrival yesterday at SEA that Floret was no longer accepting PP. can you confirm this?

  2. Oh no! Now Newark is not going to be worth flying to!

    Haha just kidding. It’s sucked since before the transit authority bribed United to move operations there. Like IAD, it will suck until the end of time.

  3. Members of the United Club system (either by a fully paid membership or via the Presidential Plus or Club credit cards) should also have access as well.

  4. And as of 4/19, The Club at PHX is no longer accepting PP, leaving PHX with no PP lounge.

    The program seems to be moving away from lounges and toward restaurants and entertainment.

  5. I mean to be fair, this wasn’t the best Air Canada lounge. It was pretty awful in terms of selection and service.

  6. We fly Ewr-Oak on Southwest often to visit family and will miss this lounge greatly. The regular gate area is super crowded and dirty. The lounge was a quiet haven for us. Nothing great in the food area but nice quick internet. One of my favorite features was the free PressReader access where I could download the latest magazines and newspapers to read on my flight. I’ll miss that.

  7. PP is taking a beating this year, at least for us, insofar as lounges that matter to us.

    Frankly, I much prefer the restaurant credits anyway. I hope they continue to add restaurants.

  8. @Steven I’m fine with restaurants if I have an hour to kill, but for longer layovers I’d like to have a lounge. The Grain Bin restaurant at LGW is less chaotic and more relaxing than the awful No. 1 Lounge.

    OTOH, last time I wanted to use Timberline Grille at DEN it was packed and the wait was too long. Priority Pass may have just become too popular to be useful to a lot of fliers.

  9. Guys everyone seems to be missing the big picture:

    1) Priority Pass is still good outaide NS
    2) The buying access to lounges model is dead. The Amex model of Centuruon/Escape/Airspace lounges works better than Priority Pass domestically
    2) No one gets a credit card for domestic lounge access. With CSR’s travel credit you are getting PP for like $55 over CSP which is a deal
    3) Amex Plat is not such a no brainer BUT has superior lounge accesa domeatically.

  10. @Arlington Traveler

    IMMA suggest you like use spellcheck and/or re-read your comments before posting because I don’t like know WTF you are attempting to say.

    RIP the American education system.

  11. That lounge, like that terminal is disgusting and depressing. Air Canada has terrible lounges, but Newark’s was probably the worst.

  12. The portion of Terminal A which AC operates from is being demolished in June or July, as Terminal 1 is built. AC is moving to Terminal B at that time, so would assume that is probably why they are dropping from PP lounge network.

  13. I am really disappointed about this. I fly from EWR on Southwest a bit and really appreciate this lounge while waiting for those flights. Yes, there are other lounges that I have access to at EWR but there is no other lounge airside before the Southwest flights that do not require clearing security again.

  14. Screw this lounge and the a-holes that run it. Tried to access this lounge a week ago with PP at 1 pm and was refused access. Good riddence.

  15. Who cares? Unless you’re from Joizy, nobody shlepps way over to Newark (which by the way, is in Elizabeth Noo Joizy).
    We have LaGuardia and Idlewild/Kennedy airports which actually are in New York City!

  16. @Stuart

    Maybe you don’t want to sit in gridlock traffic for 1-2 hours in a $65 uber, and the NJT/Airtrain for $13 offers a much quicker and reliable option?

  17. @Stuart
    @DB

    Honestly all of your New York / New Jersey airports are shameful and an embarrassment to the whole country. But anyone who’s been in Terminal A of Newark would agree that it’s the worst airport terminal in the developed world – maybe in the entire world (at least in a country that’s not fighting a civil war). There are actual port-a-pottys in the terminal. What the hell is that? How is that even legal?

  18. @Michael Bradley

    I totally agree! That wing in terminal A is a total sh*thole and I dread every visit. The bathroom situation there is atrocious. At least there are ongoing renovations at all three of the region’s airports to bring them closer to respectability.

  19. As someone who uses EWR from time to time, I’m disappointed, but I had given up on gaining PP access to this lounge during peak hours/periods anyways. Overcrowding was an issue, and I saw PP holders turned away on multiple occasions. As a PP holder, I like how they’ve been expanding significantly over the past few years, but they really need to do something about quality control. There’s no point in adding an airline lounge if they’re just going to turn pass holders away. I don’t like how for some lounges/airports it’s gotten such that I can’t rely on getting the advertised lounge access.

  20. @Stuart: you are completely wrong about only NJ residents using EWR. I work in midtown. I have a colleague who lives in Staten Island. EWR is much more convenient for her. I have another colleague who lives in Chelsea who also opts for EWR as much as she can as it’s a simple hop to Penn and then the train to EWR.

  21. @James, i was trying to create a post on my phone. Yes, it had mistakes but really you overreacted IMHO. I’ve edited my post and it is below.

    Guys everyone seems to be missing the big picture:

    1) Priority Pass is still very good outside the USA
    2) The buying access to lounges model is dead. The Amex model of Centurion/Escape/Airspace lounges works better than Priority Pass domestically, so folks prioritizing domestic lounge access should get Amex Plat over a credit card that provides just Priority Pass.
    2) No one gets a credit card for domestic lounge access. With CSR’s travel credit you are getting PP for like $55 over CSP which is a deal, PP isn’t a substitute for lounge access or holding an Amex Plat.
    3) Amex Plat is not such a no brainer BUT has superior lounge access domestically.

  22. Went there once, it was small and crowded, but still better than the disaster that was the general seating area. As others mentioned, there are actual porta-potties.

    I tried to access the lounge once at around midnight. Every flight was delayed due to weather, and the lounge was kept open past regular closing to accommodate the one AC flight that was waiting t leave. Even though the lounge had like 2 people, they refused us. I understand the rule says 3pm, but common sense says they should have been happy to see $50 (me + guest)

  23. About a year ago, on a 2 hour delay at EWR (must’ve been like 8pm on a Monday – Terminal A was fairly empty), tried to access the AC lounge using PP. Was turned away by lounge attendant stating – “We try to accommodate PP when we can, but we are not really a PP lounge.” Since delay was long enough – took Airtrain to Terminal B – and went to lackluster landside lounge. EWR terminals A & B are truly awful in every way. It’s good to know that Terminal A is eventually going to be torn down and replaced.

  24. I fly JetBlue and used this lounge many times. The lounge in EWR has been in a bad state for a while (basic stuff like a urinal not fixed for months). But it was a good place to wait.

    I will miss it …

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