Air Canada is renovating and expanding its airport lounges in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and San Francisco to provide premium travelers with more space and amenities amid crowded airports.
First, the Canadian flag carrier will debut a new concept lounge at its Toronto-Pearson (YYZ) hub this summer. A formal announcement is forthcoming, and the airline is being coy about the details until then, but the new space will reportedly offer seating for 133 travelers, a hot and cold buffet, grab-and-go food, a bar, meeting rooms, and Wi-Fi.
That all sounds standard, but Mark Nasr, executive vice president of marketing at digital at Air Canada, promises that the new space “might not be quite what you’re expecting.” However, if the Toronto lounge is successful, it may become a model rolled out across Air Canada’s entire lounge network, he said.
The airline will also open a brand-new Maple Leaf Lounge in late June at San Francisco Airport’s (SFO) Terminal 2. With seating for more than 120 guests, it will be one of the largest lounges in the network and boast a dining facility, bar, and outdoor space. Nasr told Executive Traveler that the furniture, artwork, and layout will pay homage to San Francisco. “It’s really going to be spectacular.”
Meanwhile, in early 2024, Montréal–Trudeau International Airport (YUL) will get its version of Air Canada Cafe, the popular grab-and-go lounge that opened at Toronto’s airport in 2019. The pitstop lounge will be closer to departure gates than Montreal’s main Maple Leaf Lounge and offer barista-prepared coffee, including cold brews, juices, sandwiches, salad bowls, and salad bowls, which can be enjoyed in the cafe or taken aboard flights.
Nasr noted that Air Canada was the first carrier to launch a dedicated, permanent cafe-style lounge and not just a temporary carryout service and that it’s been “extremely popular with customers.”
The Air Canada Cafe will have further evolved by the time it lands at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) in 2025 and will function like a modern coworking space, with banks of desk-style seating and outlets and cocktail-hour service with beer, wine, and hors d’oeuvre.
Additionally, the airline will renovate and expand lounges throughout Canada over the next three years. That includes increasing seating capacity in some of its flagship lounges—including Maple Leaf Lounges Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver and the Signature Suite for paid business class passengers in Toronto—by an average of 30%.
Further, down the line, international Maple Leaf Lounges, such as the one at London Heathrow’s (LHR) Terminal 2, will also be renovated to meet a new design standard.
Nasr said that as airports become more crowded, premium travelers rely on lounges more heavily, and Air Canada is making changes to accommodate them.
“More of our eligible customers – business class passengers, our elite travelers and premium credit card holders – are using lounges than ever before, and they’re spending longer in the lounges than they were previously,” he said.
“That tells us we need to keep the lounges special, and that they need to be bigger, they need to have more facilities.”