Review: Admirals Club Toronto Airport

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American is investing quite a bit of money in new lounges, which includes renovating Admirals Clubs, opening new Flagship Lounges, and introducing Flagship First Dining. While American has had an Admirals Club in Toronto for years, they recently completed a renovation on the space, and the lounge reopened in July.

I had a chance to check it out this morning, so here’s a quick review of this very nice but small lounge.

American’s Admirals Club is located in Terminal 3 at Toronto Pearson Airport. Pearson Airport offers a US Pre-Clearance facility, meaning that you clear immigration for US-bound flights prior to departure. As a result, you first clear security and then immigration, and then for all practical purposes you’re already in the US.

Past the immigration facility is a duty free shop you’re forced to walk through.


Toronto Pearson Airport Terminal 1

The terminal is under construction, though just past that is an elevator leading up to the Admirals Club and Plaza Premium lounge.


Elevator to Admirals Club Toronto Airport

The Admirals Club Toronto is open daily from 5AM until 8PM (7:30PM on Saturdays), and I arrived right as it opened. I could access the lounge thanks to my Admirals Club membership that I have through the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®. This is the best way to access Admirals Clubs — the card has a $450 annual fee, though the primary cardmember gets an Admirals Club membership, and you can add up to 10 authorized users at no additional cost, and each of them gets Admirals Club access as well.


Entrance to Admirals Club Toronto Airport

The Admirals Club Toronto is probably the smallest Admirals Club I’ve ever been to, though I was impressed by the design. Inside the entrance was a small seating area with four chairs and a picture of the CN Tower. I appreciate how American has been adding local art to more of their lounges.


Admirals Club Toronto Airport seating

The lounge itself consists of one main room. Inside the entrance is a plush couch that wraps around the center of the lounge.


Admirals Club Toronto Airport seating


Admirals Club YYZ seating

Then to the right is an area with 18 leather seats facing one another, with three seats per row.


Admirals Club YYZ seating


Admirals Club YYZ seating

Past that is a communal table facing a wall-mounted TV, and then also a counter by the window with a couple of PCs and a printer. This is more of a general lounge pet peeve, but am I the only one who wishes airline lounges didn’t constantly have TV on at high volume? It’s one thing if you have a dedicated media room, but I wish airline lounges would more consistently just have good ambient music, rather than thinking that everyone wants to watch the news.


Admirals Club YYZ seating


Admirals Club YYZ seating


Admirals Club YYZ seating

Back on the opposite side of the wraparound couch was a small dining area with a few tables and some benches.


Admirals Club YYZ seating

Past that was the bar.


Admirals Club YYZ bar

The buffet was along the interior wall of the lounge.


Admirals Club Toronto buffet

The breakfast selection was pretty standard for an Admirals Club, and consisted of fresh fruit, hardboiled eggs, yogurt, oatmeal, cereal, muffins, bagels, and other pastries.


Admirals Club Toronto breakfast selection


Admirals Club Toronto breakfast selection


Admirals Club Toronto breakfast selection


Admirals Club Toronto breakfast selection

In terms of drinks there was coffee, water, a Coca-Cola soda fountain, and an espresso machine.


Admirals Club Toronto water & coffee


Admirals Club Toronto espresso & soda machine

One other thing I appreciated about the lounge design was the abundance of charging stations (both USB and 110v), and they even had wireless charging (at least I believe that’s what this is?).


Admirals Club Toronto wireless charger

The bathrooms were in the far back of the lounge on the left, and the mens bathroom had one stall and one urinal. The lounge has no showers.


Admirals Club Toronto bathroom


Admirals Club Toronto bathroom

While the lounge offers complimentary house wine, beer, and liquor, you can also purchase premium drinks and food. Here’s the menu for that:

Admirals Club Toronto bottom line

This is a small but very nice Admirals Club. While the food selection isn’t amazing (and certainly can’t compete with Delta SkyClubs, or Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounges, since we’re talking about a lounge in Canada), I think American is doing a great job with the design of their new lounges.

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Comments

  1. If THOSE are the “premium” by the glass selections for wine, I shudder to know what the house wines are. In some cases they are charging at or more for a glass than would be the price of the whole bottle!!

  2. I love the new design of the Admirals Clubs, but I wish they’d put more effort and funding into better food selections. I like the chic new feel to the seating areas, but ultimately a chair is a chair and these new ones will get worn out pretty quickly. The food, though, can make or break a club. I’d gladly take slightly shabbier furniture and an updated, expanded, and rotating food selection over their current offerings. I mean, I love three-bean salad and hummus as much as the next complainer, but they really need to up their game. I’m even willing to transit landside from the Centurion Lounge at SFO to the AA gates just for the much improved experience. This sort of form over substance caused me to get rid of my AA-branded card with club access. Just wasn’t worth it anymore, even with the overcrowding that happens at the Centurion Lounge.

  3. Lucky, I agree with your comment about public TVs in airline lounges being a detraction. I view the lounge as an oasis amid the turmoil of the terminal. I find the blaring public TVs to be an intrusion. I don’t understand why they couldn’t keep them silent and have audio available by Bluetooth or wired connection– most everyone will be traveling with some sort of headset or earphones.

  4. At first I thought the wine prices were insane, but then I realized this is (a) Canada and (b) prices are CD$. Every time I go to costco I think of those horrible days of having to shop at lcbo.

  5. Based on what has happened to the Amex Centurion Lounges – which have become packed spaces full of ravenous people, I can blame AA, UA, or DL for not offering more food in their primarly lounges. Given the huge number of travelers who have access, they would become even more overcrowded and unruly.

  6. I still think it’s weird to charge for alco drinks. Or rather, for some or not others.

    The lounges of foreign airlines all provide free alco drinks and, in many cases, you help yourself

  7. Looks nice enough – the same decor you see in all of the refreshed Admirals Clubs, so at least AA is being consistent.

    It’s still puzzling to me, however, that stations like YYZ have a club while other large-ish outstations with healthy business traffic (MSP, SJC, SEA, DTW) do not. Granted, Seattle has an agreement with Alaska that allows you into their miserable clubs, but at the other stations you’re out of luck. SJC and DTW had clubs at one point but lost them in the Admirals Club culls of the 2000s. The new clubs in Houston and Orlando were great to see, but there are still a few big holes.

  8. This lounge wad a regular part of my life my life as I was Toronto based for a US company in 1997. Fast forward twenty years and it is still the smallest Admirals Club. This little effort is meager at best. Lucky I never know what’s going to impress you. You whine about tiny details yet an actually tiny lounge you seem to give a pass. Ahem.

  9. I constantly wonder why American does not elect to offer a monthly payment option like Delta. Seems like this subscription style of membership would appeal to tons of people. Anybody have thoughts or comments on this?

  10. Horrid choice of wines … anf to have the nerve to charge for such plonk! Last time I looked MJ Malbec was about $10 or less a bottle in BC. The Apothic is undrinkable and about $12 or less.

    Unfortunately AClub suck!

  11. For what it is, the YYZ Admirals Club seems adequate, if nothing special. But those prices for food and beverages are insane. $14 a GLASS for middle of the road wine? $4 for sparkling water? $9 for pretzels? $13 for a sandwich and chips? In a VIP lounge? SERIOUSLY?

    Who would actually pay those prices for any of that? Given the alternative of what is offered on a complimentary basis, and what other YYZ lounges, like Air Canada’s Maple Leaf lounges, offer valued VIP travelers, the food-for-purchase options do nothing but make AA look very chintzy.

  12. This is a tiny lounge , but dramatically better than the old one downstairs. This pier at Pearson T3, post US customs, only services AA, DL and WestJet transborder flights, plus the odd charter, so that’s not a lot of pax. There aren’t any large aircraft using this pier…the days of AA operating MD11s into Toronto are ancient history…and if I’m right the largest machine AA operates here is an A319 to LAX and MIA. Maybe a 737. So yes, the lounge is small, and it does fill up, but in fairness there’s not a lot of call for more capacity. As far as pricing on liquor and wine goes, I’ve never paid for anything and have always found the house selections just fine.

  13. Good afternoon, We are flying with British Airways YYZ to LHR (Business Class) in June.
    I think this gives us the choice of using the Admirals Lounge (Oneworld) or Premium Plaza Lounge. Any preferences?

    Thanks.

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