Saturday, January 3, 2015

The Iggy Itinerary: Lounge Report - Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge, Vancouver

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Vancouver International Airport is the only airport I've been to that has different customs requirements depending on your arrival airline.

Some airlines' passengers have to clear two rounds of customs when transiting through Vancouver to the United States. First, they clear Canadian customs; next, they clear American customs (so their onward flight arrives as a domestic flight).

Passengers on other airlines (including Lufthansa) can skip Canadian customs and proceed directly to the American customs line. Much, much faster (even though Global Entry is only available to the double-clearance group) - which got me to Air Canada's Maple Leaf Lounge even faster.


Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge, Vancouver
Entrance

Air Canada has no international first-class product, so the Maple Leaf Lounge doesn't have a first-class section. It does, however, have a shower - a great feeling after a long flight.



There are several Maple Leaf Lounges in Vancouver International Airport - this one only houses passengers headed for the United States. It's quite large - it was never more than 20% full when I was there.


Seating

The food and beverage selection are very good for what amounts to a domestic business-class lounge.

Mid-shelf self-serve bar

Rabbit food

Sandwiches for people


Salsa, hummus, guacamole

Cookies and fruit

There were several different types of seating in the lounge.

Counter, dining table, club chairs

TV nook

Conference room watched over by owl

Unfortunately, the wi-fi was terrible, constantly disconnecting. I asked the lounge agent if she might be able to reset the router; she told me she'd give me all the smoked salmon and maple syrup in the airport gift shops if I could get the lounge internet to work properly. (That's basically all they sell. You want a Vancouver calendar? Moose postcard? Something Olympics-y? Not going to happen. Smoked salmon and maple syrup. That's it.)

So I used the free airport wi-fi, which was only slightly better. But that's OK - I was only in the lounge for a short time before my flight to San Francisco began boarding.


Conclusion
The lounge is good but nothing special - certainly no reason to arrive at the airport early. But if you've got a connection, it's a better place to wait than among the cacophony of duty-free shopkeepers plaintively asking, "Smoked salmon, eh? Maple syrup, eh?" Eh.


The Iggy Itinerary
1. Introduction
2. Booking

Outbound (LAX-NRT-SIN-PVG)
3. Lounge Report - Star Alliance First Class / Business Class Lounge, LAX
4. Singapore Airlines Suites Class, Los Angeles > Tokyo-Narita (A380-800)
5. Lounge Report - ANA Suite Lounge, Tokyo-Narita
6. Singapore Airlines Suites Class, Tokyo-Narita > Singapore (A380-800)
7. Lounge Report - The Private Room, Singapore
8. Singapore Airlines Suites Class, Singapore > Shanghai-Pudong (A380-800)

Inbound (PVG-ICN-FRA-YVR-SFO)
9. Lounge Report - Air China Business Class Lounge, Shanghai-Pudong
10. Asiana Business Class, Shanghai-Pudong > Seoul-Incheon (767-300)
11. Lounge Report - Asiana First Class Lounge, Seoul-Incheon
12. Lufthansa First Class, Seoul-Incheon > Frankfurt (747-8i)
13. Review: Hyatt Regency Mainz
14. Lounge Report - Lufthansa First Class Terminal, Frankfurt
15. Lufthansa First Class, Frankfurt > Vancouver (747-400)
16. Lounge Report - Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge, Vancouver
17. Air Canada rouge - Premium rouge Class, Vancouver > San Francisco (A319)

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