Review: Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Montreal (Domestic)

Location
YUL, Domestic
Date
April 2022
Rating

During my mileage run in early April, I had a layover for a few hours in Montreal. I decided to stop by the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge in the domestic terminal to relax and work.

I’ve been at this lounge a number of times before, and knew exactly what to expect. Here’s an overview of my experience.

In This Post

Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Montreal (Domestic) – Access

After arriving from Halifax on an early morning flight, I had a short walk from my arrival gate to the Maple Leaf Lounge.

If you’re flight originates in Montreal, turn right after going through security and you’ll find the lounge shortly after the lineup for Tim Hortons.

The lounge is located between gates 1 and 3 in the domestic terminal, on a floor above the main departures floor.

 

Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Montreal (Domestic) – View from tarmac

This lounge is open from 4:15am to 9pm daily. Depending on the time of day during your visit, you’ll either find the lounge jam packed or completely devoid of human life.

Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Montreal (Domestic) – Location
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Montreal (Domestic) – Entrance

After passing through the sliding doors, there is a staircase on the left or an elevator on the right to bring you up to the lounge. The outside of the elevator was decked out in advertising for the American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card.

Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Montreal (Domestic) – Staircase & elevator
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Montreal (Domestic) – Elevator

The entrance to the lounge has a few plants and a model aircraft at the top of the staircase. The check-in desk has clocks displaying time from major Canadian cities, as is typical for Maple Leaf Lounges, as well as a flight information screen.

Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Montreal (Domestic) – Entrance foyer
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Montreal (Domestic) – Check-in desk
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Montreal (Domestic) – Flight information screen

I had access to this lounge through a variety of means:

The friendly agent at the check-in desk greeted me and asked me to scan my boarding pass. I had encountered her at this lounge on a number of occasions, and have always found her to be welcoming, polite, and very helpful with any questions I have had.

The light turned green and the machine beeped, granting me access to the lounge. I headed into the lounge to grab a coffee and find a quiet place to sit for a while.

Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Montreal (Domestic) – Seating

This lounge is substantially larger than the Maple Leaf Lounge in Halifax which I had visited before my previous flight. A sign on the wall indicates a maximum of 225 people.

There are two main seating sections in this lounge, as well as smaller seating areas and a separate work area.

Immediately upon entry, a stained glass wall separates the main hallway from a seating area.

Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Montreal (Domestic) – Main hallway stained glass wall
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Montreal (Domestic) – Main hallway

Behind the glass wall is a cluster of seats arranged in pairs, with options for pairs or parties of four. Along the wall, you’ll find lounge chairs that are ideal for pairs or singles, although if it’s busy, you’ll be directly facing the person across from you.

Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Montreal (Domestic) – Seating area
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Montreal (Domestic) – Seating along the wall

In the middle of this seating section is a high-top table with power outlets and USB ports. This is where I spent most of my time, getting some work done and sipping on coffee.

Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Montreal (Domestic) – High-top table
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Montreal (Domestic) – High-top table

The most popular seats are set in groups of two at the windows. These seats have tarmac views, which is always a treat.

Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Montreal (Domestic) – Window seats
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Montreal (Domestic) – Tarmac view

At the far end of this seating area is another set of lounge chairs with a circular table in the middle. Immediately beside these seats is a counter with an automatic Lavazza coffee machine and a television.

Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Montreal (Domestic) – Seating area & coffee machine

Moving out of this seating area, you’ll come to an area with many beverages, which then leads through to the main food area and another seating area. Connected to the beverage area is a separate alcove, which is where the business centre is housed.

Inside the business centre, there are a number of partitioned work desks, a high-top table, and printing station.

Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Montreal (Domestic) – Work area
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Montreal (Domestic) – Work area
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Montreal (Domestic) – Printing station

In between the beverage area and the food area are some small, circular tables with bright red chairs. Again, the seats closest to the windows are more desirable, as the others have a large amount of foot traffic passing by.

Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Montreal (Domestic) – Beverage area window seating
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Montreal (Domestic) – Beverage area aisle seating

Moving through, there are some small two-top dining tables that line the windows in the main food area. Again, there’s a lot of foot traffic around here, so you may be better off finding quieter seats if you are able.

Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Montreal (Domestic) – Food area seating

Immediately behind the food area is another sizeable seating area. Here, you’ll find clusters of lounge chairs in sets of two with tables in between, a set of four chairs with a telescope by the window for planespotting, and a row of cushy recliners in front of a large television.

Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Montreal (Domestic) – Secondary seating area
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Montreal (Domestic) – Telescope alcove
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Montreal (Domestic) – Recliners

Overall, the lounge has sufficient seating for dining, working, relaxing, or socializing.

While the lounge can indeed become quite busy, I personally haven’t felt like I was fighting for space. If it’s available, and if the sun isn’t directly glaring on the windows next to it, I prefer to sit at the telescope nook. 

The restrooms are located in a hallway next to the check-in desk. Inside, you’ll find the standard Molton Brown products, as seen in all Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounges. Given the size of the lounge, the restrooms are quite small in comparison.

Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Montreal (Domestic) – Restroom

There are no showers in this lounge.

Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Montreal (Domestic) – Dining

The main buffet is located adjacent to the windows near the secondary seating area. The area behind the buffet is cordoned off for staff only. 

Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Montreal (Domestic) – Main buffet

Here, you’ll find a number of cold grab-and-go items, such as fruit, pastries, and prepared food, as well as some fruit juices. 

Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Montreal (Domestic) – Cold buffet selection
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Montreal (Domestic) – Cold buffet selection
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Montreal (Domestic) – Cold buffet menu

Behind the main buffet area is a fridge with a number of soft drinks and canned beer, which is likely the reason the area is cordoned off. During my visit, a particularly thirsty lounge guest ducked under the stanchion to fill his pockets with Coors Light, which I thought was a pretty bold move.

Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Montreal (Domestic) – Soft drink & beer fridge

To the left of the main buffet is a large, empty table. Behind it are two coffee machines, a selection of teas, and beer glasses for when alcohol is served after 11am.

Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Montreal (Domestic) – Self-serve coffee & tea
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Montreal (Domestic) – Coffee machine
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Montreal (Domestic) – Lavazza coffee machine

Hot food was available during my stay, but solely through the @ la table service. On each table in the lounge is a QR code, which brings up a menu from which you can order hot food items. The breakfast menu during my stay was as follows:

On the flight to Montreal, I had the ubiquitous parsley omelette, and since I’d be offered breakfast on my flight to Vancouver, I opted out of ordering any food in the lounge. The donut did look tempting, though.

I thoroughly look forward to the return of hot food buffets at Maple Leaf Lounges, whenever that may be.

Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Montreal (Domestic) – Bar

In the beverage area is where you’ll find most of the alcohol options. Alcohol service begins at 11am sharp, when plugs are removed from the beer taps and liquor bottles are placed in the dispensers.

In the before times, alcohol was self-serve, but as we have observed in other Maple Leaf Lounges, it appears that lounge staff are still taking orders for wine and hard liquor. As I recall, the wines and hard alcohol are standard options, with the hard alcohol likely best used in mixed drinks and not enjoyed on its own.

To the left of the hard alcohol is a soft drink machine and a juice dispenser. To the right is a refrigerator with a number of soft drinks and bottled water.

Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Montreal (Domestic) –

The draft beer dispenser is directly opposite this area. A very modest selection of Guinness, Molson Canadian, and Coors Light is offered.

Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Montreal (Domestic) – Draft beer

I didn’t get to enjoy a drink on this stay, as the sun was still rising during my visit. I’d love to see some finer beer options available, perhaps showcasing some of the excellent craft beer available in Montreal, and Quebec, for that matter.

Conclusion

The Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge in Montreal is a standard, entirely unremarkable lounge. The lounge boasts a number of seating options for its large number of guests, and has basic food and drink options.

There is certainly room to grow in terms of the food and drink options available, and the lounge is likely due for a refresh at some point in the near future. I’d much rather stay here, though, than wait at the gate or pay a tidy sum for mediocre airport food and drink options.

7 Comments
  1. WT

    Very accurate review….key word being “unremarkable”.

  2. steve

    The consensus is MLL lounges are terrible, no matter what airport. Did both YYZ and YHZ last month and they were both so unappealing in every area. Maybe the two Air Canada bigwigs at your summit could be asked to explain why they suck and if they plan to do anything about it?

  3. JP

    Thank you, T.J., for this accurate review. In early June, I had an afternoon Friday return flight to YVR. Upon entering the lounge, I was abruptly asked to stop and wait: the 225 person limit had been reached. After only 5 minutes, there were business travelers behind me that were getting very upset from the wait. I remember someone saying:”hey AC, stop cancelling and combining flights!”

    When this lounge is above capacity, the staff is polite but noticeably stessed and overworked.

    When I finally entered, I just found a comfortable seat by the window.
    After enjoying some cold rotini salad and a few wine glasses of bubbly, my lounge experience and my flight were much more pleasant!

  4. Pauline Cronin

    I find this review to be incredibly accurate. As a regular visitor to the YUL Domestic Lounge, I know it well, right down to the too small washroom. The photos of the ‘business’ centre/work area looked updated to me (for the better). Otherwise, everything remains the same. Unspectacular but reliable.

  5. Jack

    This lounge is garbage, the last two times I not only encountered horrible customers, disgusting tables that weren’t properly cleaned and the food options are worse than some Eastern European or Latin American lounges. Makes the crappy United Clubs look awesome. Should be 2 stars!!

  6. Donald Dayton

    This is most the is dishonest review I have ever seen. We spent 2 hours here on our way to Portugal. The servers were over worked and stressed and unresponsive to our needs. This is the worst lounge I have spent time in a long time. Went to the National Bank lounge which was far superior. Don’t post such dishonest reviews, as it begins think that you whitewash everything.

    1. John

      This is a review for the domestic lounge. If you were going to Portugal, surely you were in the international lounge?

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