Review: Air Canada International Maple Leaf Lounge Toronto Airport

Filed Under: Air Canada

As I mentioned in a previous installment, I was being rerouted on this trip due to my London to Johannesburg flight being canceled. The concierge in Vancouver was extremely helpful, though when I left Vancouver I still didn’t have my new boarding passes for the Toronto to Frankfurt to Johannesburg to Cape Town flights.

That’s because they were reissuing my ticket while I was flying from Vancouver to Toronto, as they weren’t able to do it in time. The concierge assured me that someone would be waiting for me upon arrival in Toronto with my new boarding passes. I was skeptical…

Well, as it turns out, I had no reason to be, because upon arrival there was a concierge waiting for me on the jet bridge. “Sorry about the issues with your flight, but Sanja asked me to give you these boarding passes for your new itinerary. I’ll also go ahead and escort you to the lounge and then your connecting flight.”

The more I read about it, it seems that when the concierges do get involved, they go great lengths, and in some cases even pick you up at your arrival gate and bring you to your departing gate.

But it gets even better than that. “We have a special program here in Toronto where we drive select Super Elite and business class passengers to the international terminal, and you’ve been selected for that today.”

From the jet bridge we walked down the hallway, and then took an elevator down a level, where a BMW 7-Series was waiting for me. There was a driver in addition to the concierge. Wow!

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Air Canada BMW 7-series tarmac transfer

While it’s an awesome concept which will impress just about anyone, I should note that it’s not totally seamless. That’s to say that they’re not driving you “door to door,” but rather there’s still quite a bit of walking involved on both ends. That’s of course fine, because it still saves time, and because the “wow” factor of being driven across the tarmac in a luxury car never gets old.

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Air Canada BMW 7-series tarmac transfer

My flight from Vancouver had arrived at 8:05PM, while my flight to Frankfurt was departing at 9:40PM.

By the time I got to the lounge it was around 8:20PM. The concierge said she’d escort me to the departure gate, and asked if I wanted to board first or last. I asked to board first, so she said she’d collect me in about 30 minutes, at 8:50PM.

The Air Canada International Maple Leaf Lounge is fairly large, and was also extremely crowded. That’s hardly surprising given that this is a peak period for their longhaul flights. I can’t think of any hub business class/elite lounge which isn’t crowded during peak periods.

The lounge felt airy thanks to it opening up to the high ceiling of the terminal. The lounge was separated into a few distinct areas, though I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves in that regard.

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Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Toronto Airport

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Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Toronto Airport

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Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Toronto Airport

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Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Toronto Airport

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Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Toronto Airport

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Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Toronto Airport

As was the case in the Vancouver lounge, there was a cell phone charging station.

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Air Canada Lounge charging station Toronto Airport

There was also a business center with some industrial-looking printers.

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Air Canada Lounge printers Toronto Airport

Near the entrance was the dining area, with cafe-style seating.

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Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Toronto Airport

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Air Canada Lounge dining area Toronto Airport

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Air Canada Lounge dining area Toronto Airport

In terms of drinks, the lounge had a variety of self serve liquor, including some pretty decent brands. There were also several types of wine, both red and white.

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Air Canada Lounge wine & liquor selection Toronto Airport

Then there was a soda fountain, coffee machine, and espresso machine.

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Air Canada Lounge coffee & soft drinks Toronto Airport

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Air Canada Lounge espresso machine Toronto Airport

There was also a beer tap.

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Air Canada Lounge beer tap Toronto Airport

The lounge had a pretty good food spread as well. There were tortilla chips and pita chips with salsa and hummus.

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Air Canada Lounge dinner selection Toronto Airport

Then there were several types of salad, including a delicious spicy quinoa salad.

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Air Canada Lounge dinner selection Toronto Airport

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Air Canada Lounge dinner selection Toronto Airport

There were several hot dishes, which looked surprisingly appetizing.

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Air Canada Lounge dinner selection Toronto Airport

And then there was a pho station, which I thought was pretty cool.

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Air Canada Lounge soup selection Toronto Airport

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Air Canada Lounge dinner selection Toronto Airport

There were also delicious freshly baked cookies.

Back towards the center of the lounge was an additional self serve drink station.

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Air Canada Lounge self serve bar Toronto Airport

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Air Canada Lounge self serve bar Toronto Airport

Sure enough at 8:50PM the concierge showed up once again to take me to my departure gate to Frankfurt, which was gate 77.

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Toronto Airport international terminal

The international terminal at Toronto Airport is pretty nifty, including the art display, which I really only remember because of the fact that it echoed like crazy when you talked in there.

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Toronto Airport international terminal

The departure gate was just a five minute walk from the lounge, and we arrived just as boarding was commencing, at around 8:55PM.

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Toronto Airport international terminal

Air Canada Lounge Toronto bottom line

While the lounge was crowded in the evening, I thought the food and drink spread was quite good, especially for a North American lounge. The food was significantly better than anything I’ve seen in a business class lounge from a US airline, and even a cut above what I’ve seen in American Airlines Flagship Lounges. Kudos to Air Canada for operating some of the best airline lounges in North America!

The tarmac transfer was of course a special treat, though that’s the exception rather than the norm.

  1. Exact same experience at the lounge, minus the concierge service and tarmac transfer. I flew with AC to CDG last summer in coach, but got admitted to the lounge since I still had Altitude 50K status. Good food spread, and the lounge felt bright and airy, certainly better than the run-of-the-mill Admirals Club or Sky Club.

  2. There are also good showers and nice, smaller nooks where you can get a bit more privacy. The food has improved in recent years. It does get busy, as the evening wave of transatlantics clears out, but I’ve always found a seat and a plug. There’s only one other lounge option in that international departures area, which is a Plaza Premium lounge. It’s fine, for a contract/Priority Pass/American Express Platinum access lounge, but it’s nothing more than functional. Sidebar: Etihad contracts the Air Canada lounge, while Emirates uses the Plaza Premium lounge.

  3. @Lucky, Hi Lucky, I noticed your carry-on and personal item in the picture. Have you ever been hassled due to the size of your personal item? Sorry if that’s a super random question but i’m just curious, it seems larger than a standard backpack. Thanks, xoxo.

  4. I have a feeling this is due to who you are as a blogger rather than status. I fly with AC more than I’d like to due to schedule and convenience, never get anything close to this service.

  5. I fully recognize that this is nitpicking, but YYZ only has 2 terminals which are split by airline and not destination. You were driven from the Domestic pier of T1 to the international pier of T1. T1 at YYZ has all the *A flights.

  6. While it’s a step up from Delta, United and American lounges food and drink-wise, it still doesn’t compare to European or Asian lounges. I have also experienced this lounge at peak times and it’s a hassle to find a seat. The last time I was in there, some entitled millennials sat next to me and proceeded to fully take advantage of the bar. I would’ve changed seats gladly but there were many people standing next to the food stands.

  7. Totally agree with Ryan
    the fact that you are a blogger changes everything…
    this is not how Air Canada treats you. i have travelled for years tango, flex and business for work and pleasure yet i get treated like everyone else..
    and now with their miles program that does not do much, it is not even worth it.

  8. In the lounges, Air canada has now stopped serving sandwiches, hot eggs, sasuage/ bacon, pastries, some muffins. Air canada is getting or rather giving less and less in the lounges.

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