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While researching flights for our recent Vancouver to San Juan Puerto Rico trip, we discovered that Air Canada had the best routing and layover time, even though this meant an overnight flight across the country first. Here’s our lounge-to-landing experience.

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Maple Leaf Lounge, Toronto Pearson International Airport

It’s the crack of dawn as we arrive in Toronto following our overnight flight from Vancouver. Just past security inside Terminal 1, we’re ready to relax for a couple of hours before our final destination — warm and sunny San Juan!

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We enter Air Canada’s Toronto Pearson Maple Leaf Lounge just as an amazing sunset is breaking on the horizon. Once we’ve checked in at reception, a wrap-around, split-level lounge with views to downtown is starting to fill with passengers getting breakfast goodies from the main counter off to the side of the room.

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There’s a mix of seating from short leather club chairs to quads of boxy tan leather chairs by the row of windows on the bottom level, affording views of aircraft as they taxi into and out of Pearson. We’ve also discovered the ‘cellphone-free zone’ with four deluxe lounge chairs way in the back of the lounge — heaven.

Air Canada to San Juan

Breakfast options include oatmeal, toppings (nuts, brown sugar, maple syrup), breads, mini scones, Lavazza speciality coffee machines, tea, juice, cereals, fruit, yogurts and cold beverages in refrigerated cases below the counter.

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After refuelling here, I took a refreshing shower to help wake up, then grabbed a seat near the business center to get some work done ahead of our flight. Both shower rooms are pretty basic, each with a compact coat rack by the door and two provided towels (one bath, one hand) on a small wooden bench near the shower. I’d love to see a larger version in the future that you can actually sit on; there’s definitely space to accommodate it here.

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Cabin Layout

Inside our Boeing Airbus 321-200, the 16 Business Class seats are configured 2×2, with a seat pitch of 37” (94 cm) and width of 21” (53.3 cm) for mid-haul comfort.

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In-seat screens show new(ish) releases, shorts, TV shows, kid’s programming, music, audio books, podcasts, and wifi (for purchase). Beside each screen is a USB outlet.

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There’s a small pillow provided at each seat with a pull-out coat hook on the side. Once settled in, we’re offered a hot towel, bottle of mineral water and choice of two newspapers.

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Menus are given out shortly after takeoff. From the bar offerings: a variety of spirits and cocktails, beer, a wine list curated by in-house sommelier Véronique Rivest along with juices, sodas, Lavazza coffee and a selection of teas.

A small heritage blend salad with grape tomatoes, Kalamata olive, feta and balsamic vinegar/olive oil dressing begins our lunch service.

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[Cheese and spinach ravioli in mushroom sauce]

There are two mains: General Tso chicken with steamed rice, bamboo shoots, carrots and edamame, or cheese and spinach ravioli in a creamy mushroom spinach sauce accompanied by sun-dried tomatoes.

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[General Tso chicken with steamed rice, bamboo shoots, carrots and edamame]

And for dessert, a blondie “deluxe”, enjoyed with a cup of freshly-brewed coffee to round out the meal.

I’d recommend the chicken entrée if presented on your flight, especially when paired with an Italian Cabernet such as Tenuta Sant’Anna Cabernet Sauvignon.

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Staff went above and beyond to accommodate me, especially when the General Tso Chicken entrée was not available on my Toronto to San Juan flight (luckily it was on our San Juan to Montreal leg). I was brought a menu from economy class, with a chance to order a couple of dishes from Canadian chain Freshii, a California roll, or salad from the pay-to-order options.

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[Dinner on board on the first of our return flights, San Juan to Montreal]

Meals were collected in a timely manner as to give passengers in this section a chance to put away the extendable tray and catch the rest of a film, continue with their reading, or simply close their eyes and grab some shut-eye.


When booking into Air Canada’s Business Class, you can check in two bags for free, get priority check-in and baggage handling as well as early boarding.

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