New Air Canada lounges for Montreal, Vancouver

Air Canada is extending and evolving its innovative cafe-lounge concept.

By David Flynn, February 20 2024
New Air Canada lounges for Montreal, Vancouver
Executive Traveller exclusive

Air Canada plans to open new cafe-style lounges at Montreal and Vancouver to complement the Maple Leaf Lounges at both airports.

The Star Alliance member launched its Air Canada Cafe concept at Toronto Pearson airport in 2019, and it remains popular with ‘short-stay’ passengers who tend to arrive relatively close to their flight’s departure time, by providing a pit-stop alternative to visiting the domestic Maple Leaf Lounge.

“I think airport infrastructure is not scaling to passenger demand, and so what’s happened is airports, particularly in the western world, have become more crowded,” Mark Nasr, Air Canada’s Executive Vice President Marketing and Digital, remarked last year to Executive Traveller.

“So lounges are growing in terms of their importance to create a respite from the hustle and bustle of what’s going on in the terminal.”

The Air Canada Cafe lounge concept, seen here at Toronto.
The Air Canada Cafe lounge concept, seen here at Toronto.

The Air Canada Cafe is an important part of the local loungescape in helping alleviate crowding at the main Maple Leaf Lounges.

Typically located closer to departure gates than the main Maple Leaf Lounge, Air Canada Cafes are convenient drop-by or grab-and-go facility especially suited to busy travellers who are short on time.

The Air Canada Cafe lounge concept, seen here at Toronto.
The Air Canada Cafe lounge concept, seen here at Toronto.

Nasr notes that Air Canada Cafe visitors are very different to the conventional lounge brigade.

“They’re not spending a long time the terminals, they’re just arriving and going, there are shorter dwell times, and we plan to open more Cafe lounges across our network in our key domestic hubs.”

“And it’s been extremely popular with customers,” Nasr adds.

The Air Canada Cafe lounge concept, seen here at Toronto.
The Air Canada Cafe lounge concept, seen here at Toronto.

“You see these lounges with big signs saying their food is to be consumed in the lounge.” 

“The Air Canada Cafe concept is the total opposite. Of course you're welcome to consume food and beverages in the lounge, but it’s actually meant for you to be able to take that out of the lounge.”

The Air Canada Cafe lounge concept, seen here at Toronto.
The Air Canada Cafe lounge concept, seen here at Toronto.

Due to open later this year, the Air Canada Cafe Montreal will be an innovative ‘lounge lite’ with barista-pulled coffee (including cold brews), juices, sandwiches, salad bowls and light snacks which can be enjoyed at the cafe or taken on board your flight.

Vancouver is next on the Air Canada Cafe list in 2025, but the Air Canada Cafe Vancouver will represent an “evolution” in the design to become more of a “modern cafe-coworking” space.

“We’ve learned a lot since we launched the first Cafe in Toronto, and we're finding some ways that we’ve already changed the service,” Nasr explains.

The Air Canada Cafe lounge concept, seen here at Toronto.
The Air Canada Cafe lounge concept, seen here at Toronto.

“For example, the Cafe was originally positioned predominantly as a before-noon lounge, with coffee and juice but no wine or beer. It had had very good traffic in the morning, then noon came and the lounge was pretty much empty.”

“But what we noticed post-pandemic is the Cafe lounge is now popular right throughout the day, so we’ve made a evening cocktail hour-type service, with beer and wine and hors d’oeuvres.”

“So as we learn and continue to evolve the product, obviously the design will reflect that.”

As previously reported by Executive Traveller, Air Canada is also working on new business class seats for its forthcoming Airbus A321XLR jets and the twin-aisle Boeing fleet.

Air Canada - Aeroplan

28 Feb 2015

Total posts 110

A new Maple Leaf lounge at YYZ can't come soon enough - the current one is a nightmare. But where is the new one being opened in "northern summer 2023"? There was no building work being done in the current one just six weeks ago, and we're more or less in summer 2023 already.

Surprised they're "refreshing" Heathrow T2 as it's still pretty good now. AC might like to take a look at YHZ (Halifax) sometime, because it's way too small, and stuffed full at certain times of the day. But then AC doesn't seem much interested in the Atlantic provinces.

19 Feb 2024

Total posts 1

What happened to the VA-AC reciprocal status tie up? It was reported a year or two ago, from this same source. Is it dead?

All the other partners (united, sq, ey etc) can figure out proper status benefits, seats, bags, etc. The AC deal for lounge but nothing else is weird and almost worthless.


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