Air Canada has only a few Maple Leaf Lounges around the world, and New York LaGuardia is one of them. Update: This lounge no longer participates in the Priority Pass program. This is a very decent lounge for an airport like New York LaGuardia, and these are the reasons why:
Operating Hours Are Great
Air Canada runs hourly shuttles to Toronto and Montreal, with the latest departure around 9:30 PM EST on a Sunday, for example, which means you can use the lounge at virtually any time of day between 5:00 AM and 8:45 PM. For an airport like New York LaGuardia that is slot-constricted and does not have many late evening departures, those times are pretty generous.
The staff at the desk is super friendly, and I recall at least four different attendants smiling at me and saying hello during the 20 minutes I visited it on a recent jaunt to NYC.
The only downside of this lounge, much like the United Club or the American Express Centurion Lounge in New York LaGuardia airport, is that it is located outside of security. So, in order to go, you have to budget plenty of time beforehand. However, it is useful in the event that your flight is delayed or that you want to grab a quick, healthy snack before you leave. You can also stop by it on your way out. Let’s say you arrive into LaGuardia in the morning and want to grab a quick coffee or other refreshments like a muffin or a bagel: if that is the case, the Maple Leaf lounge is your answer. It is also located in the Central Terminal Building, which is where flights on Air Canada, Alaska, Spirit, Frontier, United, American, and Southwest.
However, it is important to note that there will be some terminal changes coming up in the future, mostly impacting customers flying on JetBlue, Alaska, Spirit, and Frontier as these guys will be moving out of B next month.
Maple Leaf lounges are also relatively rare in the world: there are not that many of them. There are domestic ones in Calgary, Montreal, Edmonton, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, Winnipeg, St. John’s, Halifax, and Regina airports. Outside of Canada, there are Maple Leaf lounges only in Los Angeles, Newark, New York LaGuardia, Frankfurt, London Heathrow, and Paris. So, I think it’s kind of cool that LGA has one of the only ML-branded lounges. I have visited the one in Vancouver before and think that Maple Leaf Lounges are very good.
This is also a Star Alliance Gold lounge, which means you are entitled to use it if you are a Star Gold elite and are traveling on a Star Alliance carrier. For example, if you are flying United from LGA to Chicago, you can use the MLL.
The Spread is Simple
The lounge isn’t a knock-out as far as food and beverage are concerned, but it has all of the basics. I would say that Maple Leaf lounges are slightly above par with United Club lounges, although United is revamping their lounges bit by bit. The LGA lounge has a full bar and a pretty basic spread of soups, salads, and snacks, but these are sufficient to tide you over. There is a LAVAZZA machine that will spit out coffee and the like for espresso lovers to cappuccino aficionados.
It was interesting that the dishwasher was broken in this lounge, so they were using paper and plastic utensils, but whatever.
You’ll Find Charging Stations
The lounge is low on charging outlets for devices, so you can separate yourself from your phone, iPad, selfie stick, etc. and use this super cool contraption to get juices for your electronics prior to flying. I thought that this was pretty funny.
There is More Space Than May Seem
There is a small subsection that is a designated, “quiet zone” and it is also adjacent to some workstations that are pretty solid. This lounge can accommodate up to 72 people, so it is a nice little perk to have some separate space.
The magazine rack has a TON of reading material. I love reading, and so there was plenty to occupy me here.
There’s also a Dreamliner here. ‘Nuff said. Although, I really am going to miss Air Canada’s old Winter Blue livery.
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge: Bottom Line
This is a score for Priority Pass members traveling to LGA. I am shocked that I did not know about it until now. Update: It’s no longer a part of Priority Pass as of September 2018. I was really glad that I discovered it, as I often just visit the AMEX lounge when I come to New York. Now, I have an alternate place to visit. Plus, I love EnRoute magazine and have been collecting issues since 1998, and now I have a means to get the magazine when I visit 🙂