On Friday, Air Canada announced that it would be gradually re-opening its Maple Leaf Lounges. However, it won’t be ‘business as usual’ when travelers set foot in these re-opened facilities. Instead, these lounges will now have new biosafety protocols for the well-being of its customers and employees.
The Maple Leaf Lounge at Toronto Pearson, D gates was the first to re-open—welcoming eligible customers yesterday, July 24th. The airline says that its Maple Leaf Lounges located in the domestic departure areas at airports in Montreal and Vancouver are set to re-open in the coming weeks. “Early fall” is what the airline has stated.
“The Maple Leaf Lounge experience has been completely re-thought with a range of industry-leading biosafety measures in place for the safety of customers and employees alike.” –Andrew Yiu, Vice President, Product, Air Canada
The term biosafety sounds like something out of a science fiction novel or movie. Indeed, some of the technology Air Canada (and many other airlines) are implementing can be considered high-tech—but are very much real.
Maple Leaf lounges will introduce electrostatic spraying as part of its significantly enhanced cleaning procedures “for additional peace of mind.” The airline is also launching new touchless processes, such as the ability to order pre-packaged food directly to your seat from your smartphone.
Here are additional “multi-layered biosafety measures” highlighted by the airline:
- Mandatory face coverings for customers and employees
- Plexiglass partitions at welcome desks
- Food and refreshments pre-packaged to-go
- A modified assisted beverage service
- The continuous cleaning of lounge seating and restrooms, which include using electrostatic units and medical-grade disinfectants
Bye bye buffet
In addition to the atmosphere and comfort, one of the highlights of any lounge experience is the food offering. How will this change at Air Canada’s lounges?
According to a press release seen by Simple Flying, Mats Winter, the airline’s Director of Product Design said,
“…buffets are a thing of the past and the food and beverage offering has been changed – the way we are serving it to customers and the way it’s being presented. All food items are individually packaged and individually wrapped.”
This new approach is outlined in the video above but was also demonstrated for Simple Flying at a media event on July 16th. We were invited into Vancouver’s Domestic Maple Leaf Lounge and shown what lounge guests can expect in terms of a packaged breakfast.
As you can see in the photo above, all items are pre-packaged and collected within a branded black paper bag. On offer at the media event was a chia seed pudding, fruit salad, and croissant.
The new normal?
A reasonably similar approach has been taken a few hundred meters away at Vancouver’s SkyTeam lounge over in the International terminal. Items are also pre-packaged and distributed via paper bags.
Unfortunately, this is the new normal and something lounge guests will have to adjust to.
What do you think of these new biosafety measures? Let us know your reaction by leaving a comment.