I recently had a brief visit to the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge before hopping on a Turkish Airlines flight from Vancouver to Istanbul.
I visited this lounge in December 2019 before a flight to Australia, so I had a data point to compare it to prior to the pandemic.
We stayed for around 45 minutes before heading to our flight. Here’s what our experience was like.
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Vancouver (International) – Access
We arrived at Vancouver International Airport after a lengthy, purposely-booked daytime layover in Vancouver. We had about an hour to spare before boarding our flight to Istanbul, so after breezing through a very quiet security, we popped into the Maple Leaf Lounge for a brief visit.
The lounge is located immediately to the left after passing through security. If you are connecting directly from the domestic terminal, the lounge is located near gate 52.
The lounge is open between 6:30am and 11:30pm on all days except for Friday, when it’s open between 8:00am and 11:30pm.
Also located inside the lounge is the Air Canada Signature Suite, which opened in early 2020 but is currently closed. It is tentatively due to reopen in Spring 2022.
We both had complimentary access to the lounge as we held business class tickets on Turkish Airlines, which is a member of the Star Alliance. I also enjoy complimentary access as an Aeroplan Super Elite member.
As per usual, we were asked to scan our boarding pass. A beep and a green light indicated that we were granted access, and the lounge agent smiled as she welcomed us in.
Immediately upon entry, there is a large Air Canada logo emblazoned on the right-hand wall. The décor is similar to other, newer Maple Leaf Lounges, and doesn’t appear as tired as some of the domestic lounges.
We headed in to grab a seat and relax for a short while.
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Vancouver (International) – Seating
After passing through the entrance hallway, the lounge opens up to the bar, food stations, and seating areas. The bar has seats that encompass half of its length, which were arranged in an inviting manner upon our arrival.
Immediately to the left of the bar is a seating area with leather chairs, a beautiful wooden workstation table with red high-top chairs, and a leather sofa with other seats arranged around a television.
Just behind the high-top chairs are a secure phone charging station and a photocopier.
From here, the lounge opens up into another room on the other side of the bar. As with most seating areas by the windows, there are leather chairs arranged in sets of three with small tables separating each one. Behind the bar, there is a small, white dining table for two with red chairs.
From this central section, the lounge opens up into the main seating area. By the windows are the same leather chairs and tables as in the rest of the lounge, as well as the central dining area in the middle of the room.
Travellers seated by the windows are treated to tarmac views on both Air Canada’s domestic terminal and the international terminal. I spent the majority my time in the lounge gawking at the Turkish Airlines 787 Dreamliner upon which I was about to embark.
Lastly, there is a small nook in the corner of the lounge with lounge chairs, leather seats, and a private room.
The restrooms are located in a hallway immediately on your left as you enter the lounge. The showers are also located in this area, although they remain closed.
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Vancouver (International) – Dining
At the time of my visit, the lounge offered grab-and-go cold food, as well as hot food available through its à la carte service.
The cold food offerings were similar to those in other domestic Maple Leaf Lounges. There were wraps, salads, cookies, potato chips, and granola bars, as well as a number of soft drinks available.
The lounge also has a Lavazza automated coffee machine, along with a selection of teas and fountain drinks available.
During regular operations, there is a hot food station. During my last visit, I enjoyed a delicious noodle soup, but unfortunately, the station is still closed due to the pandemic.
None of the cold food options appeared too appetizing, so I opted to order a snack from the à la carte menu instead. The menu for my stay was as follows:
My wife Ashley opted for the crunchy sesame salad, while I decided on the mushroom soup and mushroom flatbread.
None of the food was memorable, and to be honest, we just needed something to tide us over after a busy day before the Do & Co catering we looked forward to on our flight.
As other airline lounges are returning to their usual offerings, it would be great to see this happen in Maple Leaf Lounges in the near future. In terms of an international lounge, I felt that the food really was not up to par and was the same as what’s available in the domestic Maple Leaf Lounges.
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Vancouver (International) – Bar
The bar is a central fixture in this lounge. It’s forefront location immediately upon entering the lounge is inviting.
The bar offerings are the standard Maple Leaf Lounge offerings, with a handful of standard spirits, domestic beers, and wines. There is also a Lavazza espresso machine behind the bar.
The bartender was friendly and put on a bit of a show as he was mixing cocktails. I didn’t request anything special, but it was nice to see a bit of flair during an otherwise unremarkable lounge visit.
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Vancouver (International) – Showers
The lounge has shower rooms available, but they were still closed due to pandemic-related restrictions. They are located next to the bathrooms, in the hallway to the left of the entrance.
During my last visit in December 2019, I thoroughly appreciated having a shower before a 14-hour flight to Australia. In fact, showers are one of my favourite features of lounges – and again, it would be great to see the lounge return to normal operations in the coming months.
We had a brief stay in the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge at Vancouver’s airport recently. The stay was entirely unremarkable, albeit quiet and spacious.
I’m keen to try the Air Canada Signature Suite in the near future, as it appears to be a significant step up from what is offered in the Maple Leaf Lounge.
Once the lounge returns to normal operations, with a hot food station and functional showers, I imagine the experience will be enhanced. Until then, it’s a quiet place to relax before your international flight, maybe while enjoying a cocktail or two.
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Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge: A Visit During COVID‑19
I flew in at 7AM from Hawaii (Maui) on my way to Zurich.
Lounge did NOT open until 11AM…???? How can that be??
Because Air Canada was not able to print the boarding pass for the leg from Vancouver to Zurich, the agent at the lounge insisted that they need to see my boarding pass, despite that I showed them my United Club Membership card, which grants me access to all StarAliance lounges… I suggested, since it was originally a air Canada problem to not print me my boarding pass when I checked in, that she could let me in and call me once she figured out what SHE needs on paperwork, but I had to wait 20 min, for her to fullfill the duties of her concept, – after waiting 4 hours outside because they don’t open before 11 AM
I don’t know any international airport where the lounge is not open when international flights are landing!
The agent had an attitude towards me and pretended that this isvthe first time that this happened. After me there where 3 people booked on the same flight to Zurich and they didn’t have a boarding pass.
The flight to Zurich is a weekly flight! How can they not experienced that before?
I would not recommend this lounge!
Sorry to hear about your poor experience, and this is something that unfortunately happens with lounges all across the world — we usually call them “lounge dragons”.
Haven’t been post pandemic but up to 2019 they served no champagne and not even a cheap sparkling. Cocktails yes. People were ordering white wine spritzers! Why can’t AC ante up in their flagship YVR lounge?
Compared to the Vancouver Domestic AC Lounge, the International Lounge is palatial. Much brighter and updated.
Wow, blame the pandemic on the closure of the hot food station and showers. It’s simply to save costs!
Very thorough review, T.J. I’m anxiously awaiting your in-depth review of the TK lounge at IST! Wife and I had tickets booked YVR-IST but cancelled due to the pandemic. Haven’t been able to re-book TK so are currently booked on AC.
I can give a quick update. I would say it’s back to 75% of operations (in the J lounge). Showers and sleeping room (if you qualify) are available. Hot food stations are partially back. Pro tip: the main entrance to the J lounge is across from gate E1
There are plenty of reviews online, or check out the FT thread if curious on the latest offerings.
yea but you did such a good job at YVR and that is one lounge I want to hear about. Been there many times pre pandemic but wonder what it is like now that they have a new airport serving Istanbul. thanks.
If I have the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite Preveilege card, can I also bring my wife and two infants with me to the lounge?