Review: Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge International, Vancouver International Airport, Canada

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Our Air Canada Business Class International Departure had us departing through Air Canada’s top lounge offering on the West Coast. Air Canada doesn’t offer an international lounge at this level west of Toronto, making this location among the most exclusive that the Vancouver International Airport has to offer.


This post is one chapter on our third Round the World trip via South Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, the Maldives and India. This trip was redeemed through Air Canada’s Aeroplan and through Starwood Preferred Guest (Marriott Bonvoy) and Hyatt Gold Passport (World of Hyatt) loyalty programs. 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 YVR International, Vancouver International Airport, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

This review is of the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge in the International wing of the Vancouver International Airport. For other lounges in the Vancouver International “D” Wing of the airport that are accessible with an international departure boarding pass, please see our reviews of the Plaza Premium International Lounge, the SkyTeam International Lounge, or in the competing One World Alliance, the British Airways Galleries Lounge and the Cathay Pacific Lounge.


Checking into Air Canada Business Class:

We left the house on a grey Vancouver day and took the always-convenient Aerocar to the airport. Today’s ride was a Lincoln Town Car. 

The Air Canada priority check in desks for Vancouver International has now moved all together to the domestic terminal (with the sole exception of Transborder flights that require US Customs Pre-Clearance). We were checked in for our Air Canada Business Class Vancouver – Seoul Incheon flight fairly quickly with boarding passes issued on AC card stock all the way to Saigon. 

Air Canada Executive Class Priority Check In Vancouver International Departures
Air Canada Priority Check In – Vancouver International Airport
Air Canada / Star Alliance Gold Check In

We were issued YVR Fast Track stickers on our boarding cards. We had a leisurely walk today past the regular international departures check in desks, filled today with Asian flights. Although we qualified for the Fast Track line, the Nexus line was actually quicker and was absent of any airport staff actually checking to see if we were cardholders. 

Vancouver International Airport Departures Hall

Locating the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Vancouver International:

We headed to the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge International, which was Immediately after the security screening checkpoint. It is hard to miss and is immediately after security.

The Lounge is Located in the International “D” Finger
Map Courtesy of http://www.yvr.ca

In practical terms, after you clear security, the lounge will be right in front of you. It’s so close, you can see the security screening ribbon in the bottom right hand side of the photograph.

The access to the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge is immediately after security
International Signage for an International Market
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Hours 9 AM – 11:30 PM

Accessing the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge:

The Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Vancouver International is accessed through a variety of means.

The easiest way to gain access is to purchase an international ticket on any Star Alliance Carrier in Business Class. As we were travelling in Air Canada Business Class on our Air Canada Vancouver – Seoul Incheon, we were permitted access courtesy of the class of our ticket.

Access is also available for Star Alliance Gold members departing in any class of service on Star Alliance Carriers. Aeroplan Top Tier members at Elite 50K and higher members are also able to access this lounge courtesy of Star Alliance Gold Status. The lounge does not belong to Priority Pass, although you may get an opportunity to purchase a day pass at your point of purchase if purchasing through Air Canada’s ticketing channels for $50 CAD.

It’s also worth noting that this particular lounge is not accessible if departing on a domestic or Transborder ticket to the United States, as those flights depart from a different portion of the airport.

Inside the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge:

I’ve been through there several times over the years. Initially, I was expecting great things but I fear that over time, this place has been outclassed and out done by its competition. There were small seating areas that have been modernized with slightly newer chairs.

The Lounge Seating Area: Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge International
Stand Up Computer Tables Compliment Lounge Chairs
A Reasonable Amount of Places to Sit
Lounging

A light flight board of Star Alliance flights departing from this lounge. Only the Star Alliance flights were listed today on the in lounge flight display.

Star Alliance Flight Departures
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Food and Beverage:

The Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge was offering a small selection of small man sandwiches available at the food island, along with the usual Maple Leaf Lounge contemporary salads. I generally find with Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounges that there is usually enough for a serious snack at meal times, but not enough for a meal replacement within the lounge itself.

A Reasonable Buffet of Snacks
Sandwiches and Salads
Contemporary Salads

I’ll give Air Canada some credit here for offering a Pho soup station within the lounge. It’s been marketed as innovative food concepts within their lounges. This was more like a grade school attempt since the products weren’t super fresh. I offer the “Thumbs Up” anyway for offering something different. However, thumbs down for the small cup-o-soup style containers that the Pho is supposed to go into. I could barely fit two pieces of chicken and a small thimbleful of noodles in mine before it started overflowing. 

Pho Station

In terms of wine and liquor, they have shrunk the wine glasses here in that they are so small, I thought they had put out liqueur glasses instead of the actually wine glasses. It was a bit of another example of cost control going overboard…

Air Canada Self Service Liquor and Wine Selection

The boarding cards now have classy markings that indicate that you are on a “Business Reward” and an AC Credit Card Holder.

Boarding Cards now Sport Class Categorization “Business Reward” Markings

A View from the Lounge:

The nicest feature here were the natural daylight windows and a great view of the apron. With the lounge being close to security, and not further out on the pier, the views were reasonable, but consisted of more far away views of aircraft. We had views of Air Canada’s newest Boeing 787-8’s aircraft immediately outside the windows.

An Air Canada B787 between the leftover luggage carts
An Air Canada B787 with cool “fan” engine cowling covers
Air Canada Vertical Stabilizers

We enjoyed the lounge before heading out to our Air Canada Business Class Vancouver – Seoul Incheon international flight.

My Thoughts on the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Vancouver International:

All in all, this place was slightly past its prime on this particular visit. There even exist much nicer Maple Leaf Lounges within the system and the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge at Toronto International comes to mind. I even preferred the Plaza Premium International Lounge for nicer furnishings up the way but Mrs WT73 preferred this location. Indeed, it’s a bit of a toss between the two. The Plaza Premium Lounge has the advantage of being brand new with higher quality and clean furnishings, where as the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge has much better food and beverage. Maple Leaf Lounge regulars will note that the product in these lounges aren’t outstanding or world class my any means – easily trounced by any American Express Centurion Lounge found at other airports such as American Express Centurion Las Vegas or American Express Centurion San Francisco or even more locally at the Cathay Pacific Lounge further down the concourse.


If you’ve visited the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Vancouver International, what did you think of the lounge?

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