Air Canada opens a new wave of lounges, based on a café culture concept

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While the trend for airlines is to open a residential style lounge concept, Air Canada has leapfrogged its competition by creating a new lounge concept which focusses on time-sensitive travellers looking purely for a place to charge up their computers, phones and themselves. The opening of the Air Canada Café at Toronto Pearson International Airport supports the existing lounges in the airport with this new ‘grab and go’ concept offering a different, more health-focussed approach.

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Conveniently located in the domestic gate area, the café will offer customers a wide selection of specialty beverages to take with them to their flight or to be enjoyed with complimentary Wi-fi in a relaxed, bistro-type setting. This clever concept allows for an additional halo effect within Toronto Pearson, with branded paper coffee cups now being carried throughout the airport with the Air Canada logo.

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“We are thrilled to unveil this innovative product, one we are sure will create buzz not only for our customers, but the entire industry. Air Canada’s premium clientele will have access to this new Café, revolutionizing the coffee shop experience at Toronto Pearson. It will offer a wide selection of beverages and food that can be taken to go,” said Andrew Yiu, Vice President, Product at Air Canada.

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This lounge is less about fine wines and a la carte meals – something its Signature Suite and Maple Leaf lounges cater for – instead it’s taking a familiar Starbucks approach to waiting passengers. Those visiting the Barista Station can enjoy freshly squeezed orange juice, a wide selection of Lavazza Coffee, cold brew mocktails, specialty hot drinks or Lavazza Cold Brew. A self-serve station will offer Greenhouse Juice products such as kombuchas and a variety of organic, cold-press juices available in individual-size bottles, coffee, tea, flavoured waters, soft drinks and other non-alcoholic beverages. Other items such as Lindt truffle chocolates, OKA fine cheese and Gouter premium pastries will also be offered.

Before 11am, passengers will be able to enjoy a selection of breakfast foods such as yogurt, fresh fruits and pastries. After 11am, the Café will offer an assortment of freshly prepared salads, sandwiches, cheeses and more. It will offer complimentary Wi-fi and access to digital newspapers and magazines in partnership with PressReader, which makes the content of more than 7,000 newspapers and magazines in 60 languages.

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The design is elegant, refined, and utilises light and differing material finishes to create a dynamic, enjoyable environment. The highlight of the Café will be a large mural by Canadian artist Shawn Evans of the places he has lived and travelled. The painting draws upon his memories to evoke the deep and immense spaces found under the prairie sky, to the mountainous regions of the West, to the streetscapes of Toronto.

The Air Canada Café officially opens today and will complement the existing Maple Leaf Lounges at Toronto Pearson International Airport. It is located at gate D20 and will be open all day seven days a week. It offers comfortable seating for 109 customers, power and USB ports throughout the Café, washrooms and a customer service desk staffed by Premium Agents.

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