Air Canada and the art of travel. But with kids and babies. It’s interesting what a sense of entitlement we feel when we’ve given birth. I walked into the Toronto airport, very grateful that the limo driver had a car seat in his trunk. (For the price of the ride I could have gotten some pretty hot jeans, but all is fair on travel days). Waiting in line, I approached a lovely female Air Canada agent, simply expecting that she would agree that stopovers while venturing across the country with a child were absurd. No matter. A friendly banter, the baby acting extra cute, and $75 for the change, and all was settled. She was a Mother. I waltzed happily to security. (The priority line, of course. I have a child and a stroller, you know).
How to Access the Maple Leaf Lounge
The baby was particularly disturbed that his ducky backpack had to go through the conveyor belt, but was thrilled to see it on the other side. We stepped onto the elevator en route to the Maple Leaf Lounge. You might be thinking – what a privilege.. How luxurious. If you can afford the fee, as a mother I’d certainly consider it. Air Canada has changed its rules, and made the lounge much more accessible to those who don’t fly frequently. If you are traveling often with kids, consider these options:
- The Amex Aeroplan platinum card ($499 per year)
- Pay per use ($30-$45 each time). Note: you have to choose this option when you book your e-ticket, or request it up to 24 hours before you travel.
- Maple Leaf Club Membership: This gives you access to 17 Maple Leaf Club lounges across Canada. Membership is $375 per year, or $550 for a couple. The guest fee is $30.
- Other credit cards (but the lounge is only accessible with an Aeroplan flight reward ticket):
- TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege Card
- TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card
- TD Aeroplan Visa Business Card
- CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite Card
- CIBC Aerogold Visa Card for Business
- CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite Privilege Card
- An executive class, signature class or premium rouge ticket
- 35k, 50k, 75k or 100k airline status
The Amex and the Club Pass also allow you priority check-in (in the business class line). Oh yeah. And the lounges, aaah – especially if you are moving through Toronto, you will want to see the gorgeous Phillipe Starck-designed space, done in shades of red and grey.
Amenities in the Maple Leaf Lounge
The lounge isn’t only to down a glass of red wine in preparation for the possible trip from hell. Oh no. It is there that you fill the sippy cups (liquid through security is too much of a hassle). You stash bananas, yoghurt, cereal and nuts into the diaper bag, and you read a few complimentary magazines and newspapers before the flight. Changing tables and showers are available, wireless internet for entertainment at sesameworkshop.org, and lattes to die for. When your bags are full and your child is freshly changed, head to the gate – and board the plane during the priority call. You’re entitled, after all. Thanks, Air Canada.
For additional new family travel perks on Air Canada, I went behind the schenes at Systems Operations Control and the article is here.
Updated: November, 2019
Jill Amery is the mother of two and misses travel so much that she makes up reasons to go to the airport.