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Sometimes a business class lounge is not the most relaxing place to be ahead of your flight. The bustle of hundreds of passengers can make it a crowded, noisy environment. What if there was an alternative – say, something designed along the lines of a cafe, with barista-pulled coffee and light snacks?
That's the thinking behind the Air Canada Cafe at Toronto's Pearson Airport, which opens this week in the domestic terminal, near gate D20. It's intended to complement the airport's existing Maple Leaf business class lounges, and follows the same access rules when it comes to eligible flyers.
What's different is that the Air Canada Cafe adopts more of a drop-by or even grab-and-go model – especially if you want to be close to your flight's boarding gates – with an open design and a casual vibe.
The bar offers everything from Lavazza coffee (including cold brews) and hot chocolate to freshly-squeezed and cold-pressed juices, kombucha and refreshing mocktails.
Before 11am passengers can tuck into a light breakfast spread of yoghurt, fresh fruit, and pastries; after 11am, the selection switches to a assortment of salads and sandwiches. Everything can be enjoyed at the Air Canada Cafe or on a take-away basis.
There's seating for 109 customers, with AC and USB ports peppered throughout the space, free access to Press Reader's digital library of newspapers and magazines, plus washrooms and an Air Canada customer service desk.
In other words, it's an innovative 'lounge lite' proposition which seems well suited to time-poor travellers who value convenience over spending hours sitting around a more conventional lounge.