Yes, I know it has taken me a while to get around to posting this and completing my posts from Vancouver, but life has kept me busy, and I wanted to clear this out before I post some hotel reviews from my most recent trip.
Air Canada provides the best lounges of any North American Airline. Before starting this blog, I spent a lot of time at the Toronto trans-border lounge, and have also had the pleasure of enjoying the domestic lounge in Montreal. Along with this one, there are some very common trends. All provide good facilities, good food, and great service. The only downside is that in some lounges they charge for internet for those flying and elite with other airlines.
While Kevin has a good review of the Internationational Maple Leaf Lounge, there are some differences between the lounges. One of the biggest differences is the presence of a shower facility. While it is not a fancy shower, it is relatively clean, and attended to.
I will admit I prefer the showers in Toronto, but that is more of a reflection of them being newer as the terminal is only now 10 years old.
The viewing area was of course crowded, but decent for what it is, since YVR is a small hub, and compared to United Operations, the hub is about the size of CLE.
And of course one can never forget about the dining and drink spread that Air Canada generously offers to all patrons of the lounge.
I will admit that whenever I fly through and can stop in a Maple Leaf Lounge, I find it hard to get enough Oatmeal Raisen Cookies, as they are nice and chewey. Most lounges tend to have hard cookies and I prefer them nice and soft. Its how I know they are fresh and have not been sitting around for too long.
One of the selling points of this particular lounge compared to other airports is the location of the lounge. It is right above the main concourse for the terminal, and instead of completely walling it off like a traditional lounge, it is open air, and you can directly overlook anybody walking along.
The only real issue with the location is if you are flying Jazz and you have quite a hike to the gate, as it is located in a seperate pier of the terminal, designed specifically for regional jets and turbo-props.
For Air Canada, this is nothing special, but if you have been conditioned to the standard offerings of American lounges, then I encourage you to try and make a point to visit a Maple Leaf Lounge to see what can be done for a North American Domestic lounge.