The buffet is out while masks are in. Air Canada begins the reopening its Maple Leaf Lounges this week with a new set of rules and services for passengers.
Mats Winter, Director of Product Design, highlights some of the changes, noting that “buffets are definitely a thing of the past” with all food items individually packaged for service to passengers. Lounge guests can order food to their seat by scanning a QR code in the lounge and selecting items from the menu.
Self-service beverage services are no more, with bartenders now staffing the locations. And all reading material is gone, with the company shifting to digital delivery via the PressReader app.
We are taking a very step-by-step approach to ensure that we have our Maple Leaf Lounge product available to our eligible customers.– Mats Winter, Director of Product Design
The company makes use of electrostatic spraying in the lounges as well as an aggressive cleaning regiment with all seats and tables expected to be cleaned between every passenger use. There are even attendants in the bathrooms to make sure those areas stay clean.
And, of course, mandatory mask usage at all times unless eating/drinking.
First to open is the D Gates facility in the carrier’s Toronto hub on 24 July. It will be available for domestic and international travelers. The company anticipates reopening the Vancouver and Montreal lounges next, providing increased service levels at its core hub locations. Winter notes that Calgary and Ottawa are under consideration for reopening, as are some international locations, “dependent on traffic, on the booking situation.”
The shift in service levels matches what many other airlines around the globe are pursuing in the face of the new biosafety concerns. Qantas announced similar plans at the end of June, though the future of those service changes appears slightly less fixed than what Air Canada has on offer today. Qantas did not rule out the return of the buffet eventually, for example, though it also provided no timeline around when that sort of decision might be made.
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