READ MORE FROM THIS TRIP
Introduction: From Cold To Hot and Checking The #1 Country Off of My Bucketlist
• Review: Plaza Premium Lounge (Toronto Airport)
• Review: Air France / KLM Lounge (Toronto Airport)
The first leg of my trip was on the brand new Air France A350-900 from Toronto to Paris before continuing on to Stockholm.
As I mentioned in my previous post, access to the Air France / KLM lounge was included with my Air France business class ticket, however, when I arrived at the lounge there was a line out the door so I decided to review the Plaza Premium Lounge across the hall.
I returned to the Air France / KLM lounge nearly 30 minutes later and the line had only slightly decreased in length. There was only one person working at the front desk and she appeared to be on hold on the phone. I’m not sure what was taking place.
A few minutes later, the couple that she was helping said “why don’t you just help these people and we’ll step to the side” and in a matter of seconds we were all in the lounge.
Again, the Air France-KLM Lounge Toronto is located in Terminal 3 near the C gates and across the hall from the Plaza Premium Lounges.
The lounge is open daily from 8:00AM until 12:00AM.
While, both, Air France and KLM each have a scheduled evening flight, the lounge is open all day because it is also used by others.
For example, SkyTeam Elite Plus members have access, as well as those flying other SkyTeam airlines.
Additionally, Priority Pass members also have access to the lounge. Interestingly, the lounge did not seem as busy as I would’ve thought given the how many people have access to it.
Once you enter the lounge, this is the initial view with a buffet-style food options directly in front of you.
Just inside the entrance (on the left side) is a roped off area that was marked with a sign that said “This area is reserved. Thank you.”
Typically, rooms likes this are reserved for individuals with elite status or flying First Class, however, it appears no one was utilizing it this day.
Continuing down the left side of the lounge and just past the “elite area” was a section with dozens of tables and individual chairs. It was quite busy in this section so I took a photo from outside the wooden lattice frames.
I have to applaud the lounge as they’ve done a good job of using partitions in an effort to make it feel more private.
I continued past the partitioned sectioned and towards the windows on the back wall.
To the left, there were a half-dozen individual chairs and small tables.
And to the right, there were communal tables where larger groups could sit (…or individuals like you see below).
As you walk along the back window and past the communal table area, you find a lot more seating, including several chairs with ottomans, and a large, wall-framing couch.
As I mentioned in my Plaza Premium Review, one of the main reasons that I moved to the Air France / KLM lounge was for the natural light (aka windows). I also had the benefit of being able to see the tarmac and a great view of the Air France A350 as it arrived. She’s a beauty, yeah?
FOOD AND DRINK
Turning back into the lounge, you will find the dining area, which had, both, low dining tables and high top seating. In this area, you will also find the buffet.
Unfortunately, this is where it begins to go downhill.
Perhaps, I had high expectations but, typically, Air France has a more refined experience than most other airlines so I expected more from their lounge experience. However, I found the food selection to be underwhelming and exactly what you’d expect from a Priority Pass lounge.
Sometimes, airline lounges that are also open to Priority Pass members will bring out better food options a few of hours before departure for their own passengers (<–this is normal), however, it never came.
There were a total of four hot (unappealing) dishes:
1) Penne Pasta tossed with Pesto, Tomato Sauce, and Parmesan
2) Roasted Carrots, Zucchini, Red Pepper Romano Beans and Lima Beans (vegan/gluten free)
3) Teriyaki Chicken and Bell Pepper Stir Fry
4) Black Bean Island Rice Pilaf (Vegan/Gluten free/Kosher)
One aspect that I did appreciate was the fact that they had clearly labeled options for individuals with dietary restrictions. You may be surprised how difficult it is to find vegan options in an airport, let alone a lounge.
There was also a “unique” assortment of extras that included hummus, cheese cubes, cold cuts, shredded lettuce, pickles, hardboiled eggs, and a fruit salad.
None of that is strange until I mention that there was no pita (or anything else for that matter) to eat the cold cuts or hummus with.
If you have a sweet tooth, there is also an assortment of cookies and pastries.
Interestingly, Air France is an airline that takes pride in the fact that they serve champagne in all cabins (yes, even economy), yet their drink selection is somber.
Anyway, the bathrooms were in the back right corner of the lounge, and were adequate but this is where I was most disappointed.
I had been traveling all day and had spent the last 4 hours in the lounge. I had planned to take shower before my flight to Paris because I only had an hour connection in Paris before continuing to Stockholm.
Well, the lounge didn’t have any showers so I wasn’t as relaxed and comfortable as I wish I could’ve been.
Anyway, the flight was scheduled to board at 5:55PM from gate C31 so, I said “Au revoir” to the Air France / KLM lounge at at 5:35PM and reached my gate a few minutes later..
They had set up three boarding zones with A TON of wheelchairs in the middle of it all.
Stay tuned to my next installment and you’ll understand why there were so many wheelchairs.
The Air France / KLM lounge…where do I start!?!? Let’s start with…
THE BAD…the food selection, the drink selection, no shower
THE GOOD…the view of the tarmac (and thus the beautiful A350 arrival), adequate seating, labeled vegan food
But let me be candid…off the top of my head, this is quite possibly the worst Air France Lounge I’ve ever visited.
I was extremely disappointed but it’s also a good reminder of how lounges can differ by airline and airport. Fortunately, Air France is currently investing in lounge renovations in many of their lounges so we have a lot to look forward to.
Have you ever visited the Air France / KLM lounge? What was your experience?