Review: Air Canada Arrivals Lounge London

After a six and a half hour flight in Air Canada premium economy from Montreal to London, I arrived having not slept a wink. Despite this, I was looking forward to a visit to the Air Canada Arrivals Lounge, where I could enjoy a piping hot shower and a bite to eat before heading into the city.

In fact, this would become my first time visiting an arrivals lounge in an airport. I certainly appreciate having a nice shower before a flight, and I made an educated guess that it would be just as refreshing after a flight.

It turns out that it was, so let’s have a look at the experience.

Air Canada Arrivals Lounge London – Access

Immediately after collecting your baggage from the carousel in Terminal 2, it’s a very quick turn to find the lounge. Right after passing through the arrivals door, look for the signs on the left hand side.

Air Canada Arrivals Lounge London – Signage
Air Canada Arrivals Lounge London – Entrance

Air Canada and United share the lounge, so technically it could be called the Air Canada and United Airlines Arrivals Lounge. Both airlines’ logos adorn the sign outside.

Air Canada Arrivals Lounge London – Entrance

If you’ve reached the Plaza Premium Arrivals Lounge, which wasn’t operational during my stay, you’ve gone too far. The Air Canada Arrivals Lounge is just to the left of it.

I enjoyed access to the lounge through my Super Elite status with Air Canada. Unlike anyone else with Aeroplan Elite Status, Super Elites can access this lounge on a ticket in any class of service, and can bring a guest.

Otherwise, access to the Air Canada Arrivals Lounge is reserved for passengers arriving on an Air Canada business class ticket from Canada to London. Eligible arriving passengers who aren’t Super Elites cannot bring a guest.

If you have an Air Canada business class ticket to London, bring it to the Arrivals Lounge after you pick up your bags.

When I arrived, I was asked to present my boarding pass. Since I used an electronic boarding pass on my cell phone, which had disappeared from the Air Canada app by the time I’d arrived, there was a bit of a kerfuffle at check-in.

Air Canada Arrivals Lounge London – Check-in desk

The staff were lovely, and after showing them my Super Elite card and giving them my booking reference, they made a quick phone call and processed my entry manually. So, be sure to get a paper boarding pass if you’re flying into London on a business class ticket with Air Canada and you want to use the Arrivals Lounge.

Feeling relieved that it worked out in the end, I waltzed into the lounge, took my bearings, and headed straight for the showers.

Air Canada Arrivals Lounge London – Showers

The main attraction at the Air Canada Arrivals Lounge is the showers. Immediately upon entry, head straight into a hallway of shower cabins, and one of the helpful attendants will direct you to a clean one.

Air Canada Arrivals Lounge London – Shower cabins hallway
Air Canada Arrivals Lounge London – Shower cabins hallway
Air Canada Arrivals Lounge London – Shower cabin

The shower stalls are simple, but clean and functional. Inside, aside from the shower, you’ll find a few amenities, including a dental kit, slippers, and a hair dryer.

Air Canada Arrivals Lounge London – Shower room amenities
Air Canada Arrivals Lounge London – Towels & slippers
Air Canada Arrivals Lounge London – Dental kit, shower cap, & Q-Tips

There are hooks to hang your clothes on the wall, and you can stow your luggage in the corner of the room.

Air Canada Arrivals Lounge London – Door & coat hooks

On the door, you’ll notice an odd-looking cabinet. At first, I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was for, but then realized that it was a two-way cabinet for an ironing service.

So, you can hang some clothes on the coat hanger from the inside, ring the buzzer, and then close the door. Theoretically, the lounge staff will open the cabinet from their side, grab your garments, iron them, and then hang them back up.

Air Canada Arrivals Lounge London – Two-way cabinet
Air Canada Arrivals Lounge London – Two-way cabinet buzzer

Admittedly, I didn’t have an important meeting to get to in downtown London after the flight. But, in the interest of responsible lounge reviewing, I decided to hang a wrinkled shirt from my suitcase in the cabinet for ironing.

Air Canada Arrivals Lounge London – Two-way cabinet with wrinkly shirt

After my shower, I was a bit upset to see that my call had not been answered. I found my shirt in the same wrinkled state as when I had left it in there a few minutes prior.

I assume that either the buzzer was malfunctioning or no one noticed my call. Instead, I grabbed a clean set of clothes from my luggage, brushed my teeth, and headed into the lounge for a warm drink and something to eat.

Air Canada Arrivals Lounge London Heathrow – Dining

Aside from the showers, the majority of the lounge consists of a dining area. There are a handful of tables set out throughout the open room, including a high-top work table. 

Air Canada Arrivals Lounge London – Seating
Air Canada Arrivals Lounge London – Seating
Air Canada Arrivals Lounge London – Seating

At the high-top table, there are plug-ins available at each seat. You’ll be able to use UK and North American plugs, as well as USB cables. 

Air Canada Arrivals Lounge London – High-top table plug-ins

At the buffet on the end wall, you’ll find some hot and cold breakfast items. These include fruit bowls, yogurt cups, mini croissants, smoothies, and other baked goods.

There is also a variety of hot and cold drinks available, but not any alcoholic beverages. You’ll find an automatic coffee maker, refrigerators with soft drinks, some juice dispensers, as well as a “Bloody Healthy Virgin Mary”.

Air Canada Arrivals Lounge London – Orange juice & cucumber/mint water
Air Canada Arrivals Lounge London – Beverages
Air Canada Arrivals Lounge London – Automatic coffee maker

Should nothing at the buffet tickle your fancy, there’s also an à la carte menu waiting at each table. Staff some around to take orders, and it didn’t take long before I was asked if I’d like something to eat.

Air Canada Arrivals Lounge London – Menu
Air Canada Arrivals Lounge London – Menu

After perusing the menu, I decided on a ham hock bowl from the à la carte menu. I grabbed a cappuccino, a smoothie, and a bottle of sparkling water for the interim, and spent a few minutes on my laptop planning my trip.

Shortly thereafter, my meal arrived. The portion size was relatively small, but since I’d just come off of a flight and wasn’t that hungry, it was the perfect size. 

Air Canada Arrivals Lounge London – Ham hock bowl

Should you need to visit a restroom, there are two located near the shower stalls. The staff kept them clean and tidy.

Air Canada Arrivals Lounge London – Restroom

In total, I spent around an hour in the lounge before heading into the city. Since I arrived at 6:30am, there was a very small chance that my hotel room would be ready, so I tried to drag out the process for as long as I could.

Conclusion

I enjoyed my visit to the Air Canada Arrivals Lounge in London Heathrow. While it wasn’t nearly the fanciest lounge I’ve been to, having a steamy shower and a hot meal after a flight in premium economy was exactly what the travel doctor ordered.

After this experience, I find myself wishing that more airports offered arrivals lounges for business class passengers. Depending on the cabin in which you fly, and the length of the journey, something as simple as a hot shower and a clean set of clothes before leaving the airport can make a world of difference.

I’ll be sure to use the Air Canada Arrivals Lounge whenever I fly into London Heathrow over the next couple of years. Next time, I’ll make another attempt at getting my shirt ironed, and hopefully it’ll work out that time.

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