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
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!
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.
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.
As was the case in the Vancouver lounge, there was a cell phone charging station.
There was also a business center with some industrial-looking printers.
Near the entrance was the dining area, with cafe-style seating.
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.
Then there was a soda fountain, coffee machine, and espresso machine.
There was also a beer tap.
The lounge had a pretty good food spread as well. There were tortilla chips and pita chips with salsa and hummus.
Then there were several types of salad, including a delicious spicy quinoa salad.
There were several hot dishes, which looked surprisingly appetizing.
And then there was a pho station, which I thought was pretty cool.
There were also delicious freshly baked cookies.
Back towards the center of the lounge was an additional self serve drink station.
Sure enough at 8:50PM the concierge showed up once again to take me to my departure gate to Frankfurt, which was gate 77.
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.
The departure gate was just a five minute walk from the lounge, and we arrived just as boarding was commencing, at around 8:55PM.
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.
The tarmac transfer was of course a special treat, though that’s the exception rather than the norm.