Review: Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge London Heathrow Airport

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Review: Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge London Heathrow Airport
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My flight arrived at London Heathrow shortly after 7AM, while my connecting flight to Toronto was at 12:05PM. That left me plenty of time between flights, which was perfect, since I had a lot of work to catch up on between two longhaul flights without wifi.

This was my first time using Terminal 2 at London Heathrow, also known as the Queen’s Terminal. It’s primarily the Star Alliance terminal, though it has been eons since I’ve flown Star Alliance out of Heathrow.

While I hate Heathrow in general, I figured the connection wouldn’t be too bad, since I was connecting within the same terminal. Boy, was I wrong. I wish I had one of those things which shows you how many steps you take or how many miles you walk, because connecting at Terminal 2 was as good as any treadmill workout.

Upon landing I followed the signage for Terminal 2 connections, where I had to walk a good 15-20 minutes before I arrived at a point where I could start the process of connecting within the terminal. Surely there has to be a better way.

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London Heathrow Terminal 2 connection

From there I had to go through a checkpoint where my boarding pass was checked. There was a bit of a queue, though fortunately it moved quickly. While there was a Fast Track lane, it wasn’t in use.

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London Heathrow Terminal 2 transit line

From there I had to go through security, where fortunately a Fast Track lane was open. Security was possibly the most pleasant experience I’ve had in the UK, as I was through in five minutes and also didn’t have my bag pulled for a secondary screening.

I was always under the impression that Heathrow’s Terminal 2 has a single, massive Star Alliance Lounge, which is shared among all carriers. However, I found out that isn’t the case, and that there are actually five lounges, operated by Lufthansa, Aer Lingus, United, Singapore Airlines, and Air Canada. I followed the signage towards the Air Canada Lounge, which was in the “B1-B3” area.

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London Heathrow Terminal 2 lounge signage

Terminal 2 itself is quite nice, and reminds me a lot of Terminal 5. That isn’t to say that it’s functionally designed or stunning, but rather that it’s clean, spacious, and modern.

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The Queen’s Terminal London Heathrow Terminal 2

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The Queen’s Terminal London Heathrow Terminal 2

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The Queen’s Terminal London Heathrow Terminal 2

I quickly realized that the “A” area of the terminal was in the building I was in, while the “B” area was in a satellite concourse, given that there are multiple concourses in Terminal 2.

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The Queen’s Terminal London Heathrow Terminal 2

So I followed the signage in that direction, which was quite a haul.

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The Queen’s Terminal London Heathrow Terminal 2

I eventually found the escalators which took me down a level, to the underground walkway. As you can see based on the signage, from there it’s up to a 15 minute walk to the other end.

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Escalator for Terminal 2 connections Heathrow

It was a long escalator ride down.

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Escalator for Terminal 2 connections Heathrow

Then it was a long walk down a moving walkway.

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Underground Terminal 2 connector London Heathrow

Then it was a long ride up the escalator on the other end.

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Terminal 2 connection London Heathrow

This portion of the terminal was also quite nice, though wasn’t quite as “grand” as the other side.

After getting off the escalator I turned left towards the Air Canada and Singapore Airlines lounges.

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Satellite Concourse London Heathrow Terminal 2

After turning left, the lounges were located immediately to the right.

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Air Canada & Singapore Airlines lounges London Heathrow

From there I took the elevator up a level, and then turned left to the Air Canada lounge.

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Air Canada & Singapore Airlines lounges London Heathrow

The lounge had a beautiful exterior, and the reception area had a nice design, which reminded me a lot of the Air Canada lounge in Frankfurt.

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Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge entrance London Heathrow

The friendly agent confirmed my departure gate and welcomed me to the lounge.

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Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge reception London Heathrow

I realize this terminal is still fairly new so it’s easier for an airline to have an impressive lounge, but I was blown away by how nice, spacious, and bright the Air Canada lounge was. Most of the seating was to the right of the entrance, with comfortable leather chairs along the windows, and then an elevated area with more seating.

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Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge London Heathrow

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Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge London Heathrow

In the center of the elevated area was a big Air Canada 787 model. Unfortunately I don’t think it would have fit in my carry-on, or else I might have, ahem, borrowed it. 😉

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Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge 787 model London Heathrow

At the far end of the lounge were some triangular leather couches, along with a quiet area, featuring some lounge chairs with ottomans overlooking the tarmac.

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Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge London Heathrow

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Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge London Heathrow

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Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge quiet area London Heathrow

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Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge tarmac view London Heathrow

Then there were several semi-private lounging areas with personal televisions, which I loved. These were identical to the ones offered in the Frankfurt lounge.

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Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge rest area London Heathrow

Back towards the entrance and to the left of reception was a business center with a communal table, heavy duty printer, and several PCs.

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Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge business center London Heathrow

There was also an entertainment zone with several screens along a counter, as well as a rack with all kinds of magazines and newspapers.

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Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge entertainment area London Heathrow

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Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge magazines London Heathrow

There was even more seating in this section.

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Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge seating London Heathrow

Then past that was the dining area, which was also beautifully designed, with red walls, cool light fixtures, etc.

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Air Canada Lounge dining area London Heathrow

In the far left corner was the bar.

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Air Canada Lounge bar area London Heathrow

Next to that was a self serve espresso machine, which was hands down the coolest self serve lounge espresso machine I’ve ever seen.

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Air Canada Lounge espresso machine London Heathrow

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Air Canada Lounge espresso machine options London Heathrow

While the espresso machine was awesome, I’d note that there’s another espresso machine located behind the bar, where the lounge staff can whip you up a custom made espresso beverage, which I of course took advantage of.

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Air Canada Lounge cappuccino London Heathrow

The breakfast buffet was on the right side of the room.

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Air Canada Lounge buffet London Heathrow

There were several types of juice, soft drinks, tea, etc.

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Air Canada Lounge buffet London Heathrow

Then there was a waffle and pancake station with a chef, which isn’t something you often see in a lounge.

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Air Canada Lounge breakfast buffet London Heathrow

There were several hot dishes, most of which made up a traditional English breakfast.

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Air Canada Lounge breakfast buffet London Heathrow

There were smoothies, cold cuts, fresh fruit, salad, cereal, pastries, croissants, fresh bread, etc.

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Air Canada Lounge breakfast buffet London Heathrow

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Air Canada Lounge breakfast buffet London Heathrow

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Air Canada Lounge breakfast buffet London Heathrow

There was also porridge.

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Air Canada Lounge breakfast buffet London Heathrow

As the day progressed, the breakfast spread was changed up, and they added all kinds of sweets.

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Air Canada Lounge snacks London Heathrow

Eventually they transitioned from breakfast to lunch, with several appetizing looking cold options, finger sandwiches, etc.

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Air Canada Lounge lunch buffet London Heathrow

There was also soup, and about five hot dishes.

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Air Canada Lounge lunch buffet London Heathrow

I’d note that the service in the dining area was fantastic, especially from the two Albanian ladies working there (I believe that’s where they were from, based on what I overheard).

There was an older lady who had mobility issues and didn’t seem to be in the best mental state. She was traveling with her son, though he went to the business center and left her on her own. The lady working in the lounge proactively came up to her and asked if she could make her a plate of food and get her something to drink.

The lady wasn’t especially nice back to her (though I don’t blame her for it, since like I said above, I don’t think she was totally with it mentally). She said she wanted food, and asked what they had. The lady working in the lounge responded back with each item individually, and she responded with an abrasive “no” to just about everything she offered. Eventually they agreed on something, though I was so impressed by the lounge attendant’s friendliness and patience.

Before the flight I decided to shower, given that it had been a long travel day. So I requested a shower room for around 10:30AM.

The shower room was beautiful, with a sink, toilet, and a huge shower with awesome water pressure and temperature control.

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Air Canada Lounge shower room London Heathrow

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Air Canada Lounge shower room London Heathrow

I headed to my departure gate, B43, at around 11:15AM, which was 50 minutes before departure. Within five minutes boarding commenced.

Air Canada Lounge London bottom line

While Terminal 2 is just as poorly designed as every other terminal at Heathrow, it is physically a nice terminal, similar to Terminal 5.

While I only used the Air Canada lounge during my layover (though presumably could have used any of the lounges as a Star Alliance passenger), I was very impressed. The decor was beautiful, the food spread was great, the showers were perfect, and the wifi was fast. I have nothing but good things to say about the lounge, though can’t wait to try other Star Alliance lounges at Heathrow next time.

Do you have a favorite lounge at Heathrow’s Terminal 2?

Enjoy this review? Check out hundreds of other reports on airlines, hotels, and airport lounges worldwide!

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

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Comments

  1. Looks a better lounge and spread than the Singapore lounge. (Which is still very nice) but the Air Canada Lounge looks amazing.

  2. I used this lounge 2 years ago, shortly after it opened. Yes it is very nice. I was there in the late afternoon (for a 6pm flight to Toronto) and I also used the shower (yes the walk from check in is quite a workout), followed by a perfectly poured draft beer courtesy of the proper English barman. A good food spread as well and great views out the windows. Has anyone been to the Maple Leaf Lounge at CDG in Paris? I’m going to try it out this summer and I’d like to hear some opinions so I can decide if I will arrive early or not.

  3. @Lucky

    The United lounge (can’t believe I am saying that) is really nice, with a really big tended bar, good deciding and good food options.

    The Lufthansa lounge is a dump and packed with all the short haul business traffic.

    Have not been to the Singapore lounge but I believe it is a much smaller lounge than the others.

  4. The bulit-in iphone Health app tells you how many steps you take. Health Data->Fitness-Steps-Show All Data even breaks the steps down minute by minute.

  5. Man you’re not kidding about that walk! I did it last year when i didn’t even have to and was frustrated when I had to turn back and walk it all over again. The United Club is excellent though, and easily my favorite UC I’ve been to

  6. “Upon landing I followed the signage for Terminal 2 connections, where I had to walk a good 15-20 minutes before I arrived at a point where I could start the process of connecting within the terminal. Surely there has to be a better way.”
    =======
    There are some airline transit desks on the B concourse, but they’ve never been used (you may have seen them taking the escalator up to B). That points towards a connections facility having been built to handle T2B to T2B connections, but not opened.

  7. It’s nice to see that you had a good experience… This is easily my favourite AC lounge. Your comments around the terminal are a little confusing. “That isn’t to say that it’s functionally designed”…”but rather that it’s functional”. An unfortunate missed opportunity, I suppose… To spend all that money and time for a mediocre design!

  8. @ MarkP — Typo on my part as I was going back to make edits, and then missed that. Fixed now… sorry about that.

  9. @michalis beat me to the comment I was going to make – the United Club is pretty darn nice, I’d venture to say it’s the nicest in the UA system.

    With a 5 hour layover, I would (and did!) take the opportunity to lounge-hop. All of the lounges at T2 in LHR were pretty nice, IMHO. The two best (and they should be) were the UA Global First lounge and the SQ First side of their lounge, but even on a business ticket LHR has turned into a great connecting option for *A flyers.

  10. @ Lucky You need to try the LHR United Club next time that you are in London. It is the best US carrier operated lounge domestically or internationally

  11. I always find it to be bizarre that you have to go through security when connecting. Surely the whole point is that once you are air-side, you are “pre-searched” and further searches are redundant. But this has happened to me at Zurich and Dublin as well.

    Re LHR T2, when I checked in for ANZ, t was afvised that the Singapore lounge has the best food and the United lounge has the best drinks.

  12. Great reports!!! Next time you go to South Africa, you should go on a Safari to Madikwe Game Reserve. I had an opportunity to stay there exactly to the day one year after Michelle Obama stayed there. The Reserve and hotel is amazing and makes for a great trip report.

  13. Hi Lucky,

    As you know by now, I am not a fan of Air Canada; however, I was impressed by the personalized service you noticed. I hope you pass on your favourable review tot he powers that be @ AC.

  14. Lucky, this is a great lounge – however, it gets appallingly busy later in the day when the great bulk of AC’s transatlantic departures fire up. I have been there many times when there’s no place to sit and it’s really loud. AC has probably dozens of widebody departures in the afternoon and the place gets pretty nasty, unfortunately.

  15. There’s actually 2 more lounges that you missed off: the excellent Plaza Premium lounge in the A area and also a small Plaza Premium arrivals lounge landside (with good showers, sleeping rooms, and a 3 course menu). Both are the best use of Priority Pass I have found so far.

    I also agree with comments that the United lounge is excellent. They’ll usually make you any cocktail you want and occasionally have sponsored champagne tasting events. Can’t wait to be there on Saturday 😀

  16. P.s. at the United lounge ask for a “Rudolph” cocktail. One of the bartenders created it for the first Xmas after they opened….sweet, creamy, and strong. If your bartender doesn’t know it, the recipe is in the “black book” they keep behind the bar 😉

  17. So does every *A gold gets access to this lounge as expected, or only with Air Canada premium levels? Seems really really nice as a ‘general’ Star Alliance Lounge!

  18. It seems AC just hasn’t sorted the experience out outside of their lounge.

    FYI re: the SQ Lounge next to the AC lounge. If you are an SQ First passenger, they will shuttle you through the airport on a buggy. So no waiting 🙂

    Also, if your trip begins at T2, Star Gold Track and security form land to airside is AMAZING, and the LH Senator lounge (nice but nothing special, often busy) is right after security with a 30sec walk to your gate for LH-Group flights. I’d take over T5 and BA any day of the week!

  19. “I wish I had one of those things which shows you how many steps you take or how many miles you walk”

    They have plenty of apps for that these days…

  20. To answer your question: no, but perhaps I will now after seeing the review. The Maple Leaf reviewed here blows away the two that I have visited in YYZ itself. Regardless, I avoid transiting through the major European airports, since they are a total mess.

  21. Lucky,

    I believe there used to be a consolidated Star Alliance Lounge in LHR. You used it during your trip on Air New Zealand a couple of years back. (http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2011/08/03/four-continents-and-37000-miles-in-two-weeks-star-alliance-lounge-london-air-new-zealand-business-premier-london-to-los-angeles/) I don’t know if that lounge was in Terminal 2 (Although it seems likely, since as you’ve said Terminal 2 is the Star Alliance Terminal.) but it’s probably what you were thinking of. Anyways, it seems it has closed. (https://loungereview.com/lounges/star-alliance-business-class-lounge-lhr/)

  22. @Weymar, Lucky

    There was indeed a central *A lounge, if I recall it was in T1, which is thankfully in the process of being demolished.

  23. With four *A lounges, each with its own distinct design and food options, it’s like a being in one huge a lounge paradise (with all but the LH lounge in a short walking distance from one another).

    Even the UA lounge is amazing! nothing like any US domestic lounge, featuring a huge bar which (at-least within *A) can only compete with bar as the Swiss Zurich (A gates) lounge (but unlike the Swiss bar, the UA one is non-smoking).

  24. Just used the UA lounge last week transiting to Vienna and to pile on, it is the nicest UA lounge I’ve seen. So much so I’d make a point to visit it next time going through LHR.

  25. @Lucky So it looks like the AC/UA lounges are pretty much tied for the best lounge at LHR. I swore I heard the Senator Lounge at LHR had the best food but apparently am mistaken and yes it does make sense the LH lounges are busy non-stop. What time of day are the AC/UA lounges the busiest?

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