Air Canada — airport lounge
My wife, Carol, and I have flown Air Canada a number of times to get to Europe from our home in Baltimore. It is convenient and pleasant to fly though Toronto from Baltimore. There often is a long layover in Toronto, but the Maple Leaf Lounge makes the wait easy.
Several months ago I made our reservations to fly on June 22, 2016, from Baltimore to Toronto to Rome with a return trip on July 7. I had recently stepped up my American Express card to Platinum. AMEX claims that one benefit is that entry to airport lounges is a benefit of Platinum AMEX. Maple Leaf Lounge is supposed to be one of those. I therefore did not reserve the Maple Leaf Lounge with our initial reservation.
A few weeks later, I thought to check whether my platinum AMEX would let us both into the Maple Leaf Lounge. I telephoned Air Canada. The representative was quite helpful. He explained that although my platinum AMEX afforded me admission to the Maple Leaf lounge, it would not cover my wife, Carol. Based upon that information, we redid the entire flight reservation, placing Carol and me now on different confirmations and requiring two check ins, etc. The sole purpose of that change was to buy admission for Carol to the Maple Leaf Lounge.
In Toronto on June 22, we went to the Maple Leaf Lounge for our 6 hour wait. The agent said only Carol could be admitted. I told the agent that I had cleared on the phone with Air Canada that I would get access with my Platinum AMEX. With a look of disdain that conveyed the message “Nice try, buddy, ” she sniffed, “Only a Canadian issued Platinum AMEX works.” I explained what I action I had taken, emphasizing the equities given that I already had paid for Carol.
The agent then told us to go find another lounge in the Toronto Airport that would accept my American issued AMEX card for admission. Because we had paid Carol’s fee to get into the Maple Leaf Lounge, that did not seem sensible. Finally, the agent let me buy my way in that day, adding that she was making a mark in my file so that I couldn’t do that on the way back. She cautioned me to pay for a pass to cover my admission to the Maple Leaf Lounge on the return flight or she would see that I did not get admitted.
Finally in the Maple Leaf Lounge I paid my fee on-line for the return trip immediately. I had been chastised that my record was marked to identify me as a likely scofflaw. I was not letting that happen again.
It was a substantial annoyance to divide the flight reservation for Carol and me into two reservation confirmation codes upon the reassurance from Air Canada that I would gain admittance with my platinum AMEX. There is nothing to be done, but I wanted to express my disappointment about my experience. Perhaps you can act to avoid a recurrence with another passenger in the future. I am sending a copy of this to American Express as well.
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