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)