Whoa. The Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge in Montreal is nice (and crowded).

Whoa. The Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge in Montreal is nice (and crowded).

There’s a lot to like about the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge in Montreal (I’m specifically referring to the one in the International Terminal). It’s fairly large, there’s a lot of really great food, and it looks fantastic.

Of course, there are some things not to like about it as well. The main issue is that it can get extremely crowded at times. If you’re not comfortable sitting shoulder to shoulder with a complete stranger as nibble on a plate of chicken curry and cheese cubes before your flight to Paris, you’re gonna hate this place.

And yes, the irony of being so oddly specific about that scenario will become clear in a few moments…

Where is the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge located at YUL?

The Air Canada lounge for international business class passengers is located at the east end of the International Terminal near gate 52. Although the main entrance is wide out in the open, it’s still a bit hard to find thanks to the stealthy Air Canada brand colors (black and red). It blends in quite well with all the retail shops around it.

Air Canada Montreal maple leaf lounge entrance
Welcome to the Montreal Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge! How awesome is it that there isn’t a line of people oozing out of the door and into the terminal today?
Air Canada Montreal maple leaf lounge line of people
Dang it! In the time that it took me to step back 10’ to get this pic, a line had started to form. That’s what I get for trying to do a thorough airport lounge review I guess.
Air Canada Montreal maple leaf lounge stairs
Assuming the nice people at the front desk let you in, these stairs are what you will see next. For hose of you with a heavy carryon (and/or a refusal to do any actual exercise), you’ll be happy to know that there is an elevator as well.

The layout of this YUL Air Canada International Business Class Lounge

As I already mentioned, this is a fairly large lounge. It’s essentially one large room partitioned off into sections, and I immediately liked how open and spacious it felt. Of course, that was negated by the fact that it was so crowded and there was no place to sit when I arrived at approximately 6pm. But it’s a nice layout nonetheless.

Air Canada Montreal maple leaf lounge
This is what you’ll see as soon as you reach the top of the stairs. Should I be concerned that the serious-looking guy coming around the corner towards the exit is doing so at a healthy clip? I hope that doesn’t mean they’ve run out of food…

What is the seating like?

I hesitate to speak for her directly, but I have a strong suspicion that Goldilocks would be quite comfortable in the Montreal Maple Leaf Lounge. There are a wide variety of seating types (from plush couches to standing desks ideal for working), and it won’t be hard to find a seat for the kind of lounging that you’re looking to do.

Air Canada Montreal maple leaf lounge seating
Good news: There are a lot of comfortable looking chairs in this lounge. Bad news: They’re probably going to be occupied.
Air Canada Montreal maple leaf lounge seating options
There are so many people in here that I’m basically going to have to take any open seat I can find. And I’m going to have to like it.
Air Canada Montreal maple leaf lounge seating types
I was looking for friendly laps to sit on at this point. This isn’t looking good…
Air Canada Montreal maple leaf lounge layout
The hell? This is pretty much the opposite of what I experienced at the Edmonton Air Canada Lounge earlier this year. I just wanna sit!
Air Canada Montreal maple leaf lounge work station
If all else fails, I can sit with these guys I guess. They look like they are just dying to hear my life story (and how good I am at finding the best deals on car insurance).

Essentially, the seating options in this lounge are fantastic – and the only problem you’ll have is being able to find a seat at all if it’s busy. This place fills up fast.

Food and drinks

Easily one of the best things about this particular Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge is the food and drinks. There is an impressive buffet of food available at all hours, featuring bite-size finger snacks, pasta, bread, and soups.

The only problem is that all the food is relegated to one small area. It gets really crowded – especially around traditional meal time, so you’re going to have to get aggressive if you want to eat. Breaking the food up into multiple sections (just like how they did it in the CDG Terminal 2F Air France Lounge) would make eating a lot less stressful in here!

Air Canada Montreal maple leaf lounge food bar
If I can’t sit, I can surely eat. The food looks good!
Air Canada Montreal maple leaf lounge food options
There ain’t nothin’ that’ll fix being disappointed from a lack of seating options better than a good plate of pasta salad can.
Air Canada Montreal maple leaf lounge pasta and salad
I don’t care if I have to stand in a corner to eat. Everything here looks delicious.
Air Canada Montreal business class lounge soup and salad bar
The human equivalent of a pack of hungry lions feasting on a fresh kill. You’re going to have to get aggressive (and be prepared to throw some elbows) if you want to eat!

If the soup and salad buffet isn’t going to be enough for you, there is a staffed hot food bar located right next to the buffet offering more substantial plates of food.

Air Canada Montreal business class lounge hot food bar
Just tell the kind lady behind the counter what you would like to eat, and she will whip it up. Actually, she’ll just scoop it out of a pot and onto a plate for you, but you know what I mean.
Air Canada Montreal maple leaf lounge hot food
This hot plate of chicken and rice made it worth dealing with the crowds in this place. SANspotter approved!
SANspotter selfie Air Canada Montreal maple leaf lounge
That moment when you realize that you shouldn’t have opted for spicy Thai food before a long international flight. Oh well…if this backfires on me, it’ll make the review of that flight really interesting I guess.

Drinks (including alcohol) are plentiful. There’s even beer on tap in this lounge, which kind of made me wish that I was a beer drinker. Everyone looked like they were having fun pouring their own glasses of suds.

Air Canada Montreal maple leaf lounge beer tap
I know nothing about this kind of stuff, but considering how much of a miracle it was that I was able to take a pic of this tap without anyone using it, I’d say the beer was pretty good.
Air Canada Montreal maple leaf lounge bar
Yes, there’s also a fully staffed bar for anyone who doesn’t like to pour their own drinks. It’s also really great for those of you who are going to need something a lot stronger than beer to calm your fear of flying.
Air Canada Montreal business class lounge kitchen and bar area
Finally, for the sake of being thorough, here’s a wide angle shot of both the bar and the kitchen/buffet. Hope this helps in your plan of attack. 

How to get into the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge located in the International Terminal at YUL

Getting into the Maple Leaf Lounge for International travelers at the Montreal airport isn’t any different than any other Maple Leaf Lounge in Canada. Here’s a brief summary of the best ways to do it:

  • International business class ticket holders on Air Canada (or any Star Alliance airline) will get you complementary access (this is how I got in – I was flying Air Canada 777-300 business class to Paris).
  • Altitude Super Elite, and Aeroplan 75k, 50k, and 35K members are welcome.
  • Star Alliance Gold members have full access.
  • You can purchase an Air Canada Maple Leaf Club membership (or a single-use day pass).
  • Certain credit cards (such as an Aeroplan Black or Business card) allow complimentary access.

Note that these requirements change all the time, so be sure to check the Air Canada website for the latest lounge acceptance criteria.

Air Canada Montreal business class lounge hockey on tv
Could it even be considered a legitimate Canadian airline lounge without hockey on the big screen?
Air Canada Montreal business class lounge
Is he checking flight times or hockey scores? You never really know in Canada.
Crowded Air Canada Montreal business class lounge
Despite the crowds, this lounge was a decent place to get a quick bite to eat. But now that I’m sufficiently nourished, it’s back out to the main terminal I go (to find some much needed peace and quiet)…

Pros and cons of the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge at the Montreal Airport

Even though I was really turned off by how crowded it was, I still found it to be an excellent place to pop in to get a quick bite to eat. I had a lot of mixed emotions as I was sitting there eating however, and this pros and cons list summarizes what I was thinking:

Pros

  • The spread of complementary food is impressive for an Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge. It’s all very fresh, there’s plenty of it, and I appreciated the wide variety of options.
  • The wide variety of seating options makes it a very comfortable place to relax before a flight. Need a cushy couch to sink into? They got that. Need a plush chair with a side table to get some work done? They got that too.
  • It’s large, very bright, and it feels high end.

Cons

  • The crowds! Of course it’s not going to be crowded all the time, but in the evenings (right before a large bank of flights to Europe), it’s going to be miserable.
  • The seating layout is extremely dense. If it’s crowded, there will be no avoiding rubbing elbows with complete strangers.
  • It’s location at the east end of the International Terminal might be inconvenient for anyone with a flight departing from the west end. My advice? Wear comfortable walking shoes (and learn to curse in French). 

Comments (2)

  1. Peter

    December 13, 2022
    • Scott (SANspotter)

      December 13, 2022

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