Introduction: Star Alliance To South Africa
Review: Four Points By Sheraton Vancouver Airport
Review: Air Canada Domestic Maple Leaf Lounge Vancouver Airport
Review: Air Canada Business Class 787 Vancouver To Toronto
Review: Air Canada International Maple Leaf Lounge Toronto Airport
Review: Air Canada Business Class 787 Toronto To Frankfurt
Review: South African Airways Business Class A340 Frankfurt To Johannesburg
Review: South African Airways Domestic Lounge Johannesburg Airport
Review: South African Airways Business Class A319 Johannesburg To Cape Town
Review: Westin Cape Town
Review: South African Airways Lounge Cape Town Airport
Review: South African Airways Business Class A340 Cape Town To Johannesburg
Review: South African Airways International Lounge Johannesburg Airport
Review: Mashonzha Lounge Johannesburg Airport
Review: South African Airways Business Class A330 Johannesburg To London
Review: Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge London Heathrow Airport
Review: Air Canada Business Class 777 London Heathrow To Toronto
Review: Air Canada Domestic Maple Leaf Lounge Toronto Airport
Review: Westin Wall Centre Vancouver Airport
My flight from Vancouver to Toronto was scheduled to depart at 11:30AM, so I arrived at the airport at around 9:30AM. That’s a bit early for a domestic flight, but I still had to work to get done and my flight wouldn’t have wifi, so I figured I might as well finish working from the lounge.
I was dropped off by the hotel shuttle at Air Canada’s domestic terminal, which had a bright and airy check-in hall.
I walked all the way towards the left, where Air Canada’s premium check-in was located. My check-in was processed pretty quickly, though the agent could only issue my boarding passes as far as London (and not my connections from London to Johannesburg to Cape Town).
I couldn’t help but notice how friendly all the check-in agents were. Not just mine, but also those to the left and right of me, based on what I overheard. I guess it’s reflective of Canadians in general, but I’ve found them to be such friendly people overall.
I proceeded towards the security checkpoint for the “C” gates. The queue was only very short, but on top of that there was a premium line, so I was through in less than five minutes.
Vancouver Airport is quite cool past security, down to the carpet, which reminds me a bit of Portland Airport.
Once through the checkpoint I took the escalator down a level, and then the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge was located on the right.
At the entrance I presented my boarding pass, and was promptly welcomed and directed towards the elevator to the upper level, where the lounge is located.
The lounge was fairly crowded, though not uncomfortably so. Upon entering the lounge I walked right to the area with comfortable leather lounging chairs.
This was separated into two areas thanks to the use of a partition, which made the lounge feel a bit more private.
Past that was the dining area, which featured a bunch of tables, including a counter overlooking the tarmac with high-top chairs.
Then in the back of the lounge was a business center, along with more leather seats.
The lounge had a pretty cool phone charging system, which Air Canada seems to have at most of their lounges.
I loved the floor-to-ceiling windows throughout the lounge, which meant there were great views of the tarmac, and even the runway in the distance.
I ended up settling down in the far corner of the lounge, and quickly connected to the wifi, which was quite fast.
The food spread was located in the center of the lounge, across from the dining area.
There was an “island” with food, and then along the wall were fridges with drinks, and even more snacks.
There were beer taps, though they’re only available starting at 11AM.
The coolers had soft drinks and wine.
There was also a juice dispenser.
In terms of food, there were several types of cereal, fresh fruit, hardboiled eggs, croissants, pastries, yogurt, oatmeal, scrambled eggs, sausage, hash browns, etc.
Closer to the window was the coffee & tea setup, which was extensive.
There was a pretty standard espresso machine.
Then there were two kinds of coffee machines (the one on the right made really good coffee).
There was a selection of tea.
There was also a Vivreau water dispenser, which had both still and sparkling water.
Lunch was brought out at 11AM, and was quite impressive as well. There were two types of tasty salads, olives, pickles, two types of soup, sandwiches, and a variety of really tasty cookies.
Overall I thought the food spread was exceptional, especially given that this is expressly a domestic lounge (there are separate lounges for international and transborder passengers). US carriers could learn a thing or two from Air Canada.
Unfortunately my stay in the lounge wasn’t uneventful. At around 10AM I was paged in the lounge, which is rarely good news. As it turned out, this was because South African Airways canceled my flight from London to Johannesburg.
Air Canada has “concierges” stationed at all their major airports, who help business class passengers and top tier elites in the event things go wrong, so I got to experience the benefit of this firsthand. It’s actually sort of amazing they caught the cancellation before I did, because I hadn’t realized anything was wrong with that flight.
I won’t recap what happened too much, since I wrote a separate post about how I handled my flight being canceled, so check that out for more information. I ended up rerouting to connect in Frankfurt rather than London, which worked out great — I’d fly the same flight from Vancouver to Toronto, I’d fly an Air Canada 787 from Toronto to Frankfurt rather than an Air Canada 777 from Toronto to London, and I’d fly an SAA A340 from Frankfurt to Johannesburg rather than an SAA A340 from London to Johannesburg.
Suffice to say that I was really impressed by the proactive way in which Air Canada handled the situation.
The other issue was that my Vancouver to Toronto flight was delayed due to a mechanical. So while it was originally scheduled to depart at 11:30AM, it was first announced that it was delayed until 12PM, and then that it was delayed until 12:30PM.
I headed to the departure gate, C49, at around 12PM. This was just as the plane was being towed to the gate from the maintenance hangar, so within a few minutes the crew boarded. Finally at 12:15PM boarding was called, starting with business class via the priority lane.
Air Canada Lounge Vancouver bottom line
While it wasn’t the most modern lounge in the world, overall I was very impressed. The food and drink selection was fantastic for a domestic lounge. But perhaps what I was most impressed by was the Air Canada concierge, Sanja, who was so proactive and saved the day. If she hadn’t caught the cancellation when she did, I would have probably incurred a significant delay in getting to South Africa.