Calgary is home for me and while I’ve stopped chasing airline status a long time ago, the Maple Leaf Lounge was always one of the aspirational things that I wanted access to when I started down the path of travel hacking. There’s just something about being able to go somewhere where the general public isn’t allowed that has a certain appeal to me. It’s a more comfortable experience and something that I always look forward to.
The Calgary International Airport has been undergoing major renovations for the past few years to make way for the new International Terminal which boasts the longest runway in Canada at 14,000 feet long by 200 feet wide. Calgary has purpose built this runway to attract more airlines, specifically Asian airlines, to the airport.
As part of this expansion, the MLL has undergone significant upgrades and is one of the newer MLLs in Canada and is located on the Departures Level, Concourse C, right after security.
We arrived at about 10:00pm for a 12:05am departure and the lounge was very quiet with very few customers. This was certainly a plus as many reviews of this lounge complain about overcrowding even with the expansion.
The lounge itself is quiet beautiful and feels very large with excellent views of the apron, something that I really like. Along with the renovated room, MLLs are beginning to include phone charging stations, something that I find quite useful because sometimes I just can’t be bothered to riffle through my bag for my charger, only to find that all the outlets don’t work.
Unfortunately due to the hour we arrived, there was no food except for bags of pretzel sticks and a few leftover bananas. While I can understand why this was, would it have killed Air Canada to have some food available to their customers seeing as the lounge is open until 1AM?
Also something new is that the bar is staffed by AC personnel so you don’t pour your own drinks. Don’t know if this is a good or bad thing but I would have rather AC spend the money on food than a staff member to stand behind a bar. To each their own I guess.
They did have Guinness on tap which is something you don’t see very often … at least in my experience of lounges.
One thing that the MLL in YYC lacks is showers. It’s a personal opinion but I believe that all lounges, whether they be airline operated or contract lounges, should have a shower available to its clients. There’s nothing better than taking a shower, changing into a fresh set of clothes and then getting on a plane.