Over the weekend, I landed in Vancouver from my home base in Edmonton. The agenda included an action-packed evening of food, drink and merriment.
But before heading to Vancouver I visited several lounges at Edmonton International Airport, the first of which was Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Edmonton.
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Edmonton – Access
This lounge is located directly next to Gates 54 and 56.
These are found on the left immediately after the safety exit, and (not coincidentally) the gates from which the highest traffic routes to Toronto and Vancouver depart.
Passengers traveling in business class with Air Canada or Star Alliance Airlines, Aeroplan 35K members and above, Aeroplan Premium credit card holders and those who have a one-time lounge pass are granted access.
I entered the second floor and was presented with a sign-in desk, no line-up and was allowed to enter within seconds of scanning my boarding pass and presenting my American Express airplane reserve card.
The desk attendant even gasped for a better shot at the entrance when I told him I was taking pictures.
One feature of the design was that as soon as I entered, I came to the bathroom on the left.
This is a somewhat weird setup, especially on busy days when a bathroom lineup could potentially block more traffic to the lounge.
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Edmonton – Seats
Once I finished working in the washroom, I saw the rest of the lounge, which was found immediately to the right of the bathroom hallway.
The first seating had a misplaced fireplace accent; It’s a nice touch if you know how a -40˚C, smoother-in-ever-dark Albertan winter feels.
The plush chairs were comfortable enough for my back, it was burdened by a single carrying luggage piece.
Although the lounge looks small on the outside, and although it is narrow, it is actually much longer.
This gives Air Canada the Maple Leaf Lounge Edmonton a deceptively larger capacity than initially thought, and it’s nice to know that there’s space available for guests to stay during busy trips like the annual Christmas Travel Bonanza.
The upholstery was consistent with the entire Maple Leaf Lounge brand; I’m sure all the furniture comes from the same supplier, and it’s updated because it’s worn from an airport to keep the next experience somewhat identical.
There’s also a good view over Gates 54 and 56, which is convenient if you’re on the Toronto or Vancouver route because you don’t have to guess when your flight is boarding; You can just see if the passengers have started queuing up by zone.
At the very back, past the dining station and bar, there was an alcove with a television.
They were running news, but they have satellite connections, so it will be possible to ask staff to change the channel if CBC or CNN proves to be very frustrating in the future.
Just behind the television area, there is also a phone charging station if you need extra juice from any electronic device.
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Edmonton – Business Center
What surprised me most about this lounge was its business center. In the middle of the lounge, right next to the food station, was found a separate room, much larger than the ones I had seen in Toronto or Vancouver.
It has multiple PC workstations, many of which do not seem to be connected, as well as the printers were offline.
Combined with the bright halogen light, it gives a wonderful feeling, as if it came directly from the Apple Show Separation.
Of course, computers are online, and it is possible to ask employees to flip printers online if you need to.
There is also a paper shredder if you no longer need a secure disposal for those high-class documents.
In the era of on-app boarding passes, it strikes me as unnecessary, but then again I’m not in a job that relies on physical paperwork.
Therefore, travelers who need last-minute printing or similar facilities may find it more useful. For me, the emptiness of the business center was uncomfortable, so I left immediately.
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Edmonton – Dining
I want to talk about the food at the Edmonton Maple Leaf Lounge. Alas, it is not possible.
I did not encounter any hot meals while I was there and no timeline was given as to when I might return. Then again, based on the quality of the Maple Leaf Lounge food that I ate elsewhere, it was probably not the biggest loss.
The cold and preserved food cafeteria had a normal proliferation of fountain pops, bottled water, chips, cookies, fruit and granola bars. I ate a cookie; That was fine, but nothing from Hilton Doubletris.
While the presence of chips in all garments was undoubtedly a great comfort for Canadian patriots, the absence of other food options left much to be desired. If they had gone the potato chip route, they could have got at least some Miss Vickies salt and vinegar.
For non-alcoholic beverages, there was a cooler full of canned pop (which to me usually tastes better than the fountain variety because it is not watered) and a tea station. The espresso machine was inoperable.
When it comes to alcoholic beverages, the selection was standard like other maple leaf lounges.
Edmonton has not yet moved to self-service, so I still had to request a port of wine to pour, which was delightful. Perhaps they are concerned about the thirst of Albertan travelers (admittedly sometimes great).
Also, no cocktails were ordered except mixed hybrids and classic Caesar. Perhaps a drink, garnished with some all-dressed chips, could really prove to be the “most Canadian” maple leaf lounge.
If I had entered this lounge with any high expectations, I would have been disappointed. The food rental was threadbear, the layout was a bit weird and the bar service was nice enough but not so much that anyone could order a sajrak, let alone an old fashioned one.
But I didn’t enter the entertainment claim – it’s an outpost on the Maple Leaf Lounge network at a small regional airport. It provided comfortable seating, a quiet environment and salt-laden food to nourish the stomach and soul.
My final assessment of the Edmonton Maple Leaf Lounge? Not great, probably not even good, but very good and I want to go again.