Since I was travelling alone for this trip and with an early departure, I took the SkyTrain and this would be the first time for me getting to the airport using the Canada Line from downtown Vancouver. The ride was surprisingly pleasant and quick since there was not much passengers in the morning. I had no trouble at all bringing my snowboard bag and hand carry onto the train since it was pretty empty.
On arrival at the airport, I head towards the domestic terminal which is on the left of the Graham Clarke Atrium where passengers alighting from the SkyTrain will enter the airport from. Air Canada’s premium check-in counters were located on the right side of the domestic terminal and also closest to the Graham Clarke Atrium. There was no one in line and I was served immediately. The check-in agent seems to look fresher than I was in that time of the morning and even reminded me to keep myself warm as it was really cold in Quebec that day.
There was a long queue to go through security as I had to deposit my snowboard bag in the other side of the terminal. Thus I took some time to take photos of the sunrise from outside the terminal.
When I returned to the terminal, the queue for the security was still evident though I was able to get to the premium or express lane which had no one waiting outside. The line was obviously shorter and I was able to pass through security into the domestic departure concourse in no time.
This would be my first time travelling through the domestic terminal as a premium passenger and thus my first time exploring the Maple Leaf lounge on the domestic side. Usually, I would be taking Air Canada to the States and thus the Transborder side Maple Leaf lounge was more familiar to me. Unlike the transborder side lounge, the reception is on the ground floor and credentials were checked first before guests could proceed via the stairs or the elevator up to the second floor. It was quite busy that morning and I had to wait behind one other person before I was checked in.
There is a work station area on the left at the top of the stairs and a newspaper and magazine rack below the divider that shields the main seating lounge from the staircase. The workstation area was very dark as the lights does not seem to be fully switched on. That is probably why no one was there to begin with though some passengers did leave their luggage in this secluded area.
Compared to the Transborder lounge, this one was quite large but it had more dark wood panelling which made the lounge seems smaller and intimate on the whole. Even though it was quite busy, there was still seats to be found by the window as there are 3 separate seating area with the main one being just outside the elevators.
To the left of the main lounge is the dining area with a huge coffee station, a buffet counter in the middle around by the wall. There is another seating area beyond the dining space with more lounging space set with flat screen TVs. This was where I settled down before heading out to get some breakfast since I only had a cup of coffee before I left the house.
With the lounge serving breakfast, the spread was quite good with hot dishes like sausages, omelettes and scrambled eggs. There was also assorted pastries, muffins, croissants, toast and bagels. The sweet options includes pancakes, yogurts, fresh fruits and a variety of juices.
As I got some food, I also picked up some newspapers and magazines along the way and I find the magazine and newspaper selection to be very impressive as well with all the major Canadian newspapers represented, including titles from Quebec. There was also some French Canadian magazines on the rack.
My seat by the window also gave me some nice views and I got to see an Air Canada 777-300ER docking by the gate. As a whole, the lounge was very good in the North American context and considering that Air Canada had to have 3 separate lounges in one airport to cater to their passengers, it was interesting to note the domestic lounge amenities was far better compared to the transborder side lounge.