Open Jaw Gets A Sneak Peek At Air Canada’s New YVR Signature Suite

with Vickie Sam Paget

Air Canada’s new airport lounge doesn’t feel like an airport lounge -- it feels like a really cool bar.

That was this writer’s experience earlier this week when I was invited to be one of the first people to experience the airline’s new Signature Suite at Vancouver International Airport.

Mats Winter, director of airport and in-flight product at Air Canada.

The Signature Suite is open to eligible Signature Class clients travelling to intercontinental destinations – and with its uber-cool ambience, premium alcohol offering, concierge service and à la carte dining at a complimentary restaurant with a menu by acclaimed Vancouver chef David Hawksworth -- they’re in for a treat. 

The concept of a free David Hawksworth meal before take-off is a great sales tool for travel agents from across Canada to utilize, too.

Jamie Steiner, brand senior manager at Air Canada.

“We opened our first Signature Suite in Toronto in December 2017 and it’s been very, very successful,” Mats Winter, director of airport and in-flight product at Air Canada, told Open Jaw. “The Toronto facility has been very well received and customers actually show up early at the airport to use it. We’ve also seen customers book longer connections in order to benefit from it. 

“So for us it was natural to bring the concept to our Pacific hub in Vancouver. It’s an integral part of us making Vancouver our Pacific hub not just for Canada, but also for the western part of the continent. 

Mats Winter of Air Canada and Frank Bruno of Bespoke Wine & Spirits.

“We’re not going for the traditional lounge here; we’re not going for business services and quiet areas,” he added. “When we designed this concept we didn’t benchmark ourselves against airline lounges, we actually benchmarked ourselves against really high-end restaurants and bars – and the ambience there. 

“The focus here is all about the food and the beverages and that personalized experience. It’s all about creating that memorable meal before getting on a flight.”

Celebrating the opening of Air Canada’s second Signature Suite in style.

Sheema Faisal, general manager at YVR’s Signature Suite.

Clients dine on a menu by David Hawksworth at YVR’s new Signature Suite.
© Britney Gill Photography

YVR’s new Signature Suite feels more like a really cool bar than an airport lounge.
© Britney Gill Photography

Vickie Sam Paget

Vickie Sam Paget Western Correspondent

Hailing from the UK, Vickie Sam Paget is a travel and tourism storyteller located in Vancouver, BC. When she’s not on the road, creating engaging travel content or gazing at the North Shore Mountains, you can usually find her curled up with a good book or sipping a pint of the good stuff in her local Irish bar.

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