Review: Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge: Ottawa, Canada

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The Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge in Ottawa, Canada marked the sole lounge at the Ottawa International Airport for many years. The lounge was a popular place for all of Ottawa’s politicians and frequent travellers alike, and marked a reasonably nice space located in one of Air Canada’s focus cities which doesn’t serve as a connection hub. Read on to see what Air Canada’s Maple Leaf Lounge offering features at Ottawa International Airport.


This post is one chapter on our trip to Atlantic Canada on Air Canada. This trip was booked and credited to Aeroplan. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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Review: Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge, Ottawa – Domestic, Canada

I woke up at about 5:50 AM and checked out and left my work hotel for the week. I happened to have been driving a beautiful blue Volvo V90 for the week which was a generous upgrade from an Intermediate I had booked at Hertz courtesy of Five Star status. As I arrived to the rental return in Ottawa, I was sad to see this one go.

Returning a Great Hertz Rental Car

The Ottawa International Airport is a fantastic but compact space for the most part. It has beautiful open spaces with open air spaces that are fitting of an international airport for a capital city of a first world country. Despite the open spaces, there are quite a few bottlenecks at the security check point and immediately after security.

Entering the Ottawa International Airport
Entering the Ottawa International Airport
Entering the Ottawa International Airport
Passing the Check In Ranks at Ottawa International Airport

There are also odd ball airlines at YOW that service the capital, including Canadian North.

Passing Canadian North Check In Stands

Security screening is situated one level down from the check in concourse. It has a view of the arrivals’ hall and baggage screening. I don’t know of many airports where you can look at the baggage claim at 7:45 AM on a weekday and not see a single person except for two stone statues sitting around.

Arriving to the Airport Security Screening Platform
Ottawa International Airport Baggage Claim
Ottawa International Airport Baggage Claim

Locating the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge:

After a slow security screening, I headed over to the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge. For many years, this was the only available lounge in Ottawa. Porter Airlines used to operate a lounge here but that has been closed for several years. Recently, there has been a Priority Pass option under the Aspire Lounge brand that has recently opened.

The Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Ottawa is located in the domestic departures zone to the left of the security screening checkpoint. The lounge is located one level up from the concourse level by stairs or the elevator. The lounge is not able to be accessed by those departing to destinations located in the United States.

The lounge is located to the left after security. Since the construction that is occurring in the area, the lounge entrance is a bit hidden. I’ve taken a reverse angle shot here.

Locating the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Ottawa
Lounge Entry – Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Ottawa
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Accessing the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge:

I took the elevator up to the reception level where there were a group of people blocking reception and access into the lounge. Everyone seemed to be trying to get re-booked to Toronto to make meetings. Thanks to the first of the season heavy snowfall, this was proving to be a challenge for most.

The Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge was accessed today courtesy of a business class ticket for an Air Canada Business Class Ottawa – Halifax flight. Unlike in the United States, Air Canada allows for lounge access when flying in domestic or trans-border first class. No guests are permitted under these circumstances.

You could also get access into the lounge through a business class ticket on Air Canada under the Star Alliance Lounge policy, by purchasing an annual lounge membership, or through select Canadian based credit card memberships affiliated with American Express.

Access to the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge is also permitted for Star Alliance Gold Customers travelling in any class of travel. Access is permitted for a Star Alliance member airline operated flight which departs at the same day as the visit or latest by 05:00 AM the next morning. If your boarding pass does not carry the Star Alliance Gold indicator, you will need to also show your valid Star Alliance Gold card. Under these circumstances, one guest is permitted.

Inside the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge:

The lounge itself is pretty standard Maple Leaf Lounge fare. This version happens to have great windows on both sides of the lounge that let in a lot of natural light.

Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge – Ottawa Domestic

The seating area of the lounge features mostly relaxed lounge recliners. As a result, it’s a comfortable place to sit. Although at times, I find it can be challenging to locating a place to sit at peak periods as the seating configuration isn’t very dense.

Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge – Ottawa Domestic
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge – Ottawa Domestic

Food and Beverage:

I stuck to coffee as the lounge only offered the usual cereal silos and some cut fruit for breakfast. I had a Lavazzia Latte for breakfast, which was dispensed from the sole machine.

There are typically reasonable food offerings out at the set meal periods that offer both a hot and cold buffet option. Since I was flying outside of a regular meal period time, the food offering was limited to some small snacks.

Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge – Ottawa Domestic – Food and Beverage

There were good airside views, although there isn’t much moving around on the apron here at most times.

Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge – Ottawa Domestic – Airside Views

I enjoyed the views before heading off on my regional Air Canada Business Class Ottawa – Halifax flight.

My Thoughts: The Ottawa Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge

For many years, the Ottawa Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge was the only option in Ottawa. It probably caters to most of the government destined travellers through here. The views and the space are probably among the best part of this particular lounge, although I have seen it when it has been completely full here. It beats the concourse for sure.


If you travel through Ottawa, do you visit the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge – Ottawa Domestic?

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