Montreal International Airport received a new Air France Lounge in 2021, with the Paris-based airline deciding to offer a stronger premium ground experience for its passengers at one of its key North American outstations.
I stopped by the lounge prior to my Austrian Airlines flight to check it out, hoping to find out how it compares to the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge next door.
Air France Lounge Montreal – Access
The Air France Lounge Montreal is located between Gates 55 and 57 in Montreal International Airport’s international terminal. Passengers need to be holding a valid international boarding pass to enter the international zone.
The lounge’s operating hours are between 2pm and 10pm, serving the bulk of transatlantic flights that depart from Montreal.
Unlike most airline-branded airport lounges, this lounge isn’t operated by Air France itself, but instead by the Plaza Premium Lounge group. This means that the lounge also counts as a Plaza Premium Lounge, and its access eligibility rules are a hybrid between those of Air France/KLM and Plaza Premium.
First of all, Air France and KLM business class passengers and Air France/KLM Flying Blue Elite Plus members have access to the lounge.
In addition, passengers with Plaza Premium lounge access via the American Express Platinum Card, Business Platinum Card by American Express, or any of Canada’s Visa Infinite Privilege and select Visa Infinite cards with Plaza Premium lounge access via DragonPass will also be able to use the lounge.
The latter method is how I used to gain access to the lounge. As an Austrian Airlines business class passenger on my departing flight, I would’ve normally been invited to use the Maple Leaf Lounge here in Montreal.
However, with my Platinum Card in hand, I was also able to patronize the Air France lounge, and I would’ve been able to bring a guest with me as well.
As you step foot into the lounge, access is granted at a check-in lobby on the ground floor, before you are invited to make your way upstairs to the second-floor lounge area via either an elevator or an aesthetically striking staircase.
Air France Lounge Montreal – Seating
At 490 square metres, the Air France Lounge is a fairly modest size, and it can get a bit crowded during evening peak times when the daily Air France flight is about to depart.
When I visited, the lounge was packed with Paris-bound passengers, but they cleared up when boarding was called prior to my Austrian flight, leaving me with about 20 minutes of relative peace and quiet in the lounge.
The lounge carries an undeniably French aesthetic, from the champagne-coloured lacquered metal partitions to the splashes of tricolore blue and red against an inviting warm palette.
Despite the size limitations, Air France makes full use of the space with a wide range of seating zones.
An S-shaped blue couch runs through the middle of the lounge, carving out a few casual seating clusters in conjunction with some dining tables and chairs.
Then, there’s a communal dining table with a beautiful marble design, serving the mixed purposes of dining and working.
Along the windows, there are a series of comfortable chairs surrounding small coffee tables, ideal for larger groups to sit together. The lounge also offers direct views of the nearby gates, and I imagine it makes for a nice vantage point for planespotting during the daytime.
Towards the back of the lounge, there’s a separate dining area for those who’d prefer to enjoy a meal away from the foot traffic of the buffet and bar. I loved the cool lighting fixtures in here, which were a perfect example of the design-forward visuals of the lounge as a whole.
On the opposite end, turning left upon entering the lounge, you’ll discover a dedicated co-working space and an individual phone booth, allowing travellers to stay productive while waiting for their flight.
Then, there’s a roped-off section of the lounge reserved for the enjoyment of Flying Blue Ultimate members – the cream of the crop in the Air France/KLM Flying Blue loyalty program.
Having said that, I did notice a staff member wandering in here to take a personal call, so perhaps the exclusivity isn’t taken all too seriously when there aren’t any VIPs around.
As expected for a new lounge that opened in mid-2021, power and USB charging outlets are conveniently dotted all over the lounge, ensuring you’ll be able to charge your devices no matter where you sit.
Air France Lounge Montreal – Dining
The Air France Lounge Montreal features a small buffet of French- and internationally-inspired dishes.
On the evening of my visit, the buffet selection consisted of ratatouille, beef stroganoff, garlic fish stew, and roasted chicken, along with mashed potatoes.
- 1 of 5
- 2 of 5
- 3 of 5
- 4 of 5
- 5 of 5
In addition, there’s a cold spread, a soup dish (tomato bisque), and a series of desserts for guests to enjoy.
If you’re travelling in Air France business class, my understanding is that the lounge also offers an à la carte meal service that is similar to what’s being served onboard, allowing Paris-bound passengers to skip the onboard meal service and get some rest as soon as they depart on the overnight transatlantic service.
Since I had accessed the lounge with Plaza Premium and wasn’t flying in Air France, I didn’t get to try out this dining concept myself.
However, I think it’s a creative and useful service by Air France that I wouldn’t mind trying out if I happen to be flying Air France out of Montreal in the future.
Air France Lounge Montreal – Bar
The lounge has a beautiful and well-stocked full-service bar, staffed by a bartender at all times. I had limited time during my stay in the lounge, so I wasn’t able to post up at the bar for a drink even though I would’ve liked to.
However, I did grab a glass of Piper-Heidsieck champagne to enjoy at my seat, which I thought was a respectable choice of bubbly for a business class lounge at an outstation.
Air France Lounge Montreal – Showers
The Air France Lounge has shower rooms that can be reserved on a first-come first-serve basis. There are a total of six individual bathrooms, three of which include showers.
Two of the the shower rooms are very narrow. There’s only a tiny mini-sink and a small shelf for amenities, along with a square-shaped shower unit separated by half of a glass pane. (The final shower room is larger to accommodate guests with reduced mobility.)
The marble tiles and bronze finishes represent a continuation of the sleek design of the lounge overall, but it’d certainly get very cozy in here if you opt for a shower to step onboard fully refreshed.
We don’t get too many airline-operated lounges associated with foreign carriers here in Canada, so the Air France Lounge Montreal is a welcome new option for international travellers flying out of Montreal, particularly given its generous access policies via Plaza Premium.
In many respects, the Air France Lounge is on par with the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge next door, as both lounges offer a full-service bar, ample seating space, and views of the tarmac.
However, I’d rate the Air France Lounge much higher when it comes to the interior design, and I found the quality of food and drink to be a higher standard than what Maple Leaf Lounges have been serving up since the pandemic (though admittedly I’ve yet to visit the Montreal international lounge since pre-pandemic).
For the all-round quality, satisfying interior space, and simply the novelty of a good Canadian airport lounge with foreign flavours, I’d very much choose to visit the Air France Lounge again on future departures from Montreal – especially since I can always use my Platinum Card for access even if I’m not flying transatlantic with Air France or KLM.