Here's what a visit to Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge at Vancouver International Airport looks like during COVID-19.
Review: Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Vancouver (Domestic) During COVID-19
During a visit to Vancouver International Airport – during COVID-19 – I had the opportunity to test the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge (domestic departures) located at Gates C.
Air Canada has begun to reopen a few lounges across Canada. After Toronto, it was Vancouver’s turn. Montreal is also expected to reopen soon. Of course, it comes with new sanitary measures, which transforms the experience in airport lounges.
Access to Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge
At Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge welcome desks in Vancouver, employees are protected by Plexiglas partitions. All you need to do is scan your boarding pass to get access to the lounge.
In the elevator, Air Canada recalls the launch date of the new Aeroplan program:November 8, 2020.
As soon as you leave the elevator, a marking on the ground indicates a route to be followed to stroll through the Maple Leaf Lounge.
Usually located near the entrance, magazines and newspapers are absent. Air Canada invites you to browse the selection available through the Pressreader app (while connected to the Lounge’s Wi-Fi network).
The Lounge is not crowded, so it is easy to find a space to sit, while respecting social distancing.
The food service
What is generally the attraction of a lounge, besides its comfortable spaces to relax before a flight, is the food and beverage aspect.
But, during COVID-19, self-service buffets are inaccessible. To replace them, Air Canada has dedicated staff, both for food, and for the service of beverages (alcoholic, hot coffee, etc.).
At any time, it is possible to get different dishes. Air Canada staff will serve it to you in a paper bag you can take back to your table.
On the day of my visit, here is the selection that was available:
- Tuna Salad Wrap
- Turkey & Provolone Sandwich
- Quinoa & Cranberry salad
- Classic potato salad
- Crudité & Dip (Tomato, Cucumbers & Tzatziki)
- Chips, Muesli Bar, Candy Bar
At specific hours, you can order directly from your table by scanning the available QR code.
To the right of the entrance, part of the lounge remains inaccessible: it is being cleaned.
And this is how this will happen in each Maple Leaf Lounge: a division in sections to facilitate the cleaning process during the day, including electrostatic spraying.
Here is the device used:
The toilets are also regularly cleaned, with reminders of hygiene measures to adopt.
I have noted at least 4 Air Canada staff dedicated exclusively to cleaning the lounge: everything is thoroughly cleaned and in every nook and cran at all. There is nothing wrong with that.
After the airport experience, the airport lounge experience is also profoundly transformed. For example, it is mandatory to contact a staff member to get food or beverages, and at times a queue could form. Ordering through mobile is a good idea: but outside of service hours, it is useless (which was the case for me).
Also, there is a reassuring side to seeing the staff continuously cleaning the lounge with antibacterial spray or electrostatic spray. But this reassuring side constantly reminds us of the world we live in now, which makes the airport lounge experience less enjoyable than before. We usually come to an airport lounge to avoid being in the hustle and bustle of the boarding gates: but at the moment, it is rather the opposite that it risks to happen!
However, let’s welcome Air Canada’s efforts to adapt to the situation when most lounge operators have decided to keep the doors closed.