Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have a question? You’ll no doubt find the answer to it below. If not, please contact us  - our agents will be happy to help.

About my ticket

One place you’re guaranteed to find our lowest prices is aircanada.com. When you complete your purchase on our website, you can change or cancel your booking with ease, request an upgrade, and even shop for your hotel or car rental -  right from our homepage. You can even confirm the status of your flight or check in up to 24 hours before your flight.

If you prefer to purchase your ticket with the help of an Air Canada agent, contact us - we’re there to help.

Travel agents are another great source of personalized service. Be sure to ask what fare type you'll be travelling on, and any important conditions on changes or cancellations. In North America, Air Canada has a very simple fare structure, but important differences exist between each fare type.

Travelling as part of a group?

If you're part of a group of 10 or more, you may be interested in our Meetings and Conventions or Group Travel services.

Like all other airlines, we’re required to collect taxes, fees and charges for a variety of purposes, including national security, infrastructure enhancement and airport maintenance. Other foreign taxes, fees and charges are collected on behalf of foreign governments. Airlines also collect surcharges in an effort to partially offset the volatility of and fluctuations in operating costs, such as the costs associated with the use of Canada's and other foreign countries' air navigational infrastructure and services, and the costs associated with the price of fuel.

The amount you pay in taxes, fees, charges and surcharges on a ticket is based on your itinerary (e.g. the number of times you board a new flight and at what airport).

For example, on a typical ticket for an international itinerary, you can expect to pay:

  • Canadian and provincial sales taxes
  • Foreign taxes, fees and charges
  • An airport improvement fee (levied by various airports across the country to fund airport improvements),
  • A federal air travellers’ security charge to fund security personnel and security equipment
  • Navigational, fuel or other surcharges

We’re committed to being as transparent as possible about which taxes, fees, charges and surcharges are collected with your purchase. For this reason:

  • Our Special Offers and Select Flight pages display the base fare amount in addition to the approximate taxes, fees, charges and surcharges associated with a given itinerary, as well as the total price associated with the itinerary.
  • You can see the total price you’ll have to pay and the breakdown of the amounts of applicable taxes and fees as well as other charges and surcharges for your itinerary:
    • prior to purchase, on the Review Booking page (just click on the ‘See details’ link)
    • after purchase, on your itinerary-receipt

Your travel agent should also be able to explain taxes, fees, charges and surcharges to you.
 

Find out more about the taxes, fees, charges and surcharges that may be added to your ticket at time of purchase.

Air Canada will cancel any purchased ticket and provide a full refund without penalty up to 24 hours after purchase.

Beyond 24 hours of purchase, a non-refundable ticket offers no options in the event that an unexpected medical emergency or other unforeseen circumstance forces you to cancel your trip or modify your travel plans. And we can’t make any exception to the fare rules.

The best advice is to prepare and plan for the unexpected. Many travellers consider the purchase of cancellation insurance as a good investment against such risks. Some payment cards also cover trip cancellations; check with your bank or service provider. The time to make these decisions is when you purchase your ticket.RBC Travel Insurance is available via aircanada.com should you wish to protect your ticket's value.

Air Canada will cancel any purchased ticket and provide a full refund without penalty up to 24 hours after purchase.

The best time to decide about getting a refund is when buying your ticket. Familiarize yourself with our refund policies, and take the time to select a ticket that suits all of your needs at the outset. You should always be aware, at the time of purchase, if your ticket is refundable and under what conditions.

Non-refundable tickets:

Beyond 24 hours of purchase, most of the great promotional or seat sale tickets are seldom refundable - that's part of why they're such great deals. In most cases, the words "non-refundable" or "non-ref" are clearly printed on the ticket and ticket receipt. Certain tickets allow for no changes or refunds at all. Other tickets may allow changes (other than a name change) for a fee.

One fully unused non-refundable ticket may be applied as a credit towards the purchase of one new ticket in the same passenger's name. Travel must start within 1 year of the date the original ticket was issue. If the fare for the new journey is lower, any residual amount will be forfeited. Additional fare amount and change fees may apply.

Refundable tickets

If you purchased a refundable ticket on aircanada.com and you have not travelled yet, you can cancel your booking online by going to My Bookings. This will automatically initiate your refund process.

If you didn’t purchase your refundable ticket at aircanada.com, you’ll need to present your refund request via your original point of purchase.

Our Refund Services page gives you all the information you'll need.

About my special needs

Just the facts:

With a little advance notice, we’re happy to help meet your special needs at each step of your journey.

We'll be happy to help with:

  • Pre-selecting seats,
  • Check-in and proceeding to the boarding area,
  • Boarding and deplaning,
  • Special meals (not available on Air Canada Bistro flights),
  • Tagging mobility aids (e.g. canes, walkers and wheelchairs) as priority baggage,
  • Stowing and retrieving baggage and mobility aids,
  • Proceeding to the public arrivals area

We’ll also provide individual safety briefings to visually and/or hearing impaired customers and, in most cases, will accommodate certified and trained service animals aboard our flights.

Behind the facts:

Special services are one way in which we try to serve all our passengers according to their needs and preferences. It's also one of the ways we differentiate ourselves from other airlines.

Our only request is that you give the Air Canada Medical Assistance Desk as much advance notice as you can (48 hours or more is required) so that we can be ready to make your flight as smooth as possible. Please also give yourself extra time when arriving at the airport and checking in to allow us to better serve you.

You can reach the Air Canada Medical Assistance Desk as follows:

Phone:

1-800-667-4732 (toll-free between Canada and the U.S.)
1-514-369-7039 (long distance charges apply)*

Hours of operation (ET):

Monday to Friday: 6am to 8pm
Saturday and Sunday: 6am to 6pm

 

*If you’re calling from outside Canada or the United States, contact Air Canada Reservations and ask for the Medical Assistance Desk.

You can also ask your travel agent at least 48 hours before departure to arrange the services you need.

Just the facts:

Apart from the obvious need to have infinite patience, we'd like to offer some useful advice on travelling with an infant or child.

Beyond the facts:

The wonder of flying is infectious to people of all ages, and to none more so than a young child. Make the flight as stress-free and entertaining as possible by arriving at the airport early, bringing your child's favourite food and a small (quiet) toy or blanket. If your child hasn't quite caught the wonder of travel yet, a small smile and acknowledgement to your grimacing neighbour usually goes a long way in breaking the ice.

We offer a special Unaccompanied Minor (UM) service for children age 8 and up who are travelling alone. The service is available on non-stop flights only.

Our UM service is highly personalized for your child. Accordingly, a fee applies each way per child.

Beyond the facts:

This service makes sure that your child travelling alone is accompanied by our staff in airports and looked after on board by our in-flight crew. At the final destination, our airport staff will ask the person meeting your child for proof of identification in the form of a photo ID. It is imperative that the UM service be requested at the time of your reservation so we can get all the information we need and make the necessary arrangements. The UM service cannot be arranged on the day of departure at the airport.

Just the facts:

Our Bereavement Fares page has all the information you'll need. You can also contact Air Canada Reservations for more details.

Beyond the facts:

You’ll be asked to submit appropriate documentation. This is simply to help us make sure that those benefitting from bereavement fares are the ones for whom it was intended. While we apologize for this extra step, it’s necessary to maintain the integrity of this important program.

About my trip

Just the facts:

Beyond the facts:

Don't wait until the last minute to check your travel documents. Do this well in advance of your travel dates in case some of the documentation requires preparation and lead-time.

One key thing to remember is that your name on your travel documents must perfectly match your name on your ticket. (That's a legal requirement, not an airline rule.) Out of concern for security and because of heavy government fines, we will refuse boarding to passengers who are deemed to have improper documentation. 

Just the facts:

Code sharing refers to a practice through which a flight operated by one airline is jointly marketed as a flight by one or more other airlines. Through our codeshare partnerships, we place our designator code (AC) on flights operated by our codeshare partners, which allows us to provide you with worldwide services through an extensive network of convenient flight connections.

Your Air Canada itinerary receipt or your travel agent will tell you if any portion of your trip is on a non-Air Canada airline.

Behind the facts:

Airlines, including Air Canada, codeshare because it's a way to share resources and offer more frequent service. The effect of code sharing on our customers is minimal because we only codeshare with high-quality airline partners. But, we do believe it's important for customers to know which airline they will actually be travelling on, and that's why we will tell you at the time of ticket purchase if any part of your trip is actually on another airline.

Learn more about code sharing and what it means to you, the customer.

In the aviation industry, a direct flight is any flight between two places that carries a single flight number, but which may include one or more stops where customers don’t have to change planes.

Customers travelling on connecting flights need to change from one plane or airline to another at an intermediate point, called the connecting point, en route to their destination.

Just the facts:

Yes, you can choose your seat before you travel. Just make sure to purchase a fare that includes complimentary advance seat selection or, if you're buying our lowest price Tango fare in North America, you can purchase Advance Seat Selection as an add-on.

The best and simplest way to choose your seat is through aircanada.com. You'll need to enter your booking reference number. Once you've done that and retrieved your booking, click on "Select Seat" and follow the steps to the seat map. Choose the seat you want.

You've changed your mind? Just repeat the steps and choose another seat. If you’re booking through an Air Canada reservations agent or travel agent, you can also take advantage of advance seat selection and specify the kind of seat you want (i.e. window or aisle). If you don’t choose advance seat selection, then you can select the best seat available by checking 24 hours in advance on aircanada.com or at check-in time at the airport.

Learn more about online advance seat selection.

Beyond the facts:

Remember that complimentary seat selection comes included with Business Class, Latitude and Flex fares. If you purchase a Tango fare, you can add advance seat selection for a nominal fee during the customization portion of booking your fare at aircanada.com.

Yes, they’re critical to the on-time departure and, more importantly, the on-time arrival of your flight.

Online check-in is simply the best way to check in for your flight, and You can check in and print your boarding pass as early as 24 hours before your flight.

You can also check in at one of our airport kiosks up to 12 hours in advance, and print your own baggage tags at airports across Canada, in the U.S. and at London Heathrow.

Learn more about Check-in and boarding times.

Behind the facts:

Customers sometimes question the need to arrive so early for check-in and boarding. The fact is there's a lot that goes into making sure a flight leaves on time. For our part, we need to have an aircraft and crew ready to leave at the scheduled departure time. When you respect the check-in times, you're giving us a tremendous advantage in terms of getting every checked bag on the plane and issuing all the boarding passes - without a last minute rush. That's something we really appreciate.

Early check-in also gives you the time you need to pass through the various security screening points en route to your gate. These security processes and procedures are a fact of life in today's airports and they often take time. In the case of flights to the United States, you may also need to go through U.S. immigration and customs formalities before boarding.

Just the facts:

It depends on where you're going, the length of your flight, and the cabin you’ve chosen to travel in.

Take a minute to see what meals and beverages are typically served in all of our cabins, from Economy to Business Class. You can also learn more about our policy regarding customers with allergies, as well as our NutriCuisine products.

Just the facts:

Our prime objective is to let you know as early as possible if there's a schedule change or delay, so please make sure to provide us with accurate contact information at time of booking. We can't contact you if we don't have the right telephone or email information.

The best way to stay on top of the latest arrival and departure information for your flight is to sign up to receive an automatic email or SMS text message on your cell phone with one of our Flight Notification services. Real-time flight information is also available on our Flight Status page, or by calling our automated flight information system at 1-888-422-7533.

Passengers hate to arrive at the airport only to find that their flight has been delayed, and we hate to have to tell them. But, if you've already arrived at the airport, we'll do our best to let you know what's going on at regular intervals and keep you updated about the status of your flight. In the case of last-minute cancellations, we'll help you rebook on the next Air Canada flight with available seats, or cancel the ticket and refund you if you prefer.

Learn more

Just the facts:

In the case of delays caused by Air Canada, which are expected to last longer than 4 hours, we’ll offer a voucher for use at an airport restaurant or for our Air Canada Bistro service. We’ll also communicate with you at regular intervals to provide an update on the flight status with the latest, most accurate information available. In the case of an unplanned overnight stay caused by Air Canada, we’ll provide out-of-town customers with meal vouchers, transportation to and from the airport as well as hotel accommodations (subject to availability).

Behind the facts:

Without a doubt, long delays are one of the worst airline experiences, and we do everything we can to avoid them. But, they do happen.

 

We can't control the weather, power outages, acts of God, riots, traffic congestion, airport construction or security-related situations. In these cases, we won't provide compensation, but we’ll do our best to get you on your way as quickly as possible.

But when it's our fault, we'll take full responsibility for the situation. If the delay continues for a matter of hours, we’ll do our best to see that you get something to eat and drink. We’ll look after out-of-town customers who are trapped at the airport overnight and find them hotel accommodations (subject to availability).

Learn more

About my bags

Just the facts:

Checked baggage allowances are fully outlined on our Checked Baggage page.

Please note that we can’t check your bag for delivery to another airline to carry it to your destination unless you can show a single ticket for travel on both Air Canada and the other airline.

Just the facts:

The best course of action is to check with an Air Canada baggage service agent in the arrivals area who will take immediate steps to find your bag and return it to you quickly. You'll be asked to describe your baggage, and to provide detailed contact information. We'll then give you a File Reference Number. (This number is needed in all communications regarding your delayed baggage.)

Our Delayed and damaged baggage page gives you all the information you need.

Behind the facts:

We appreciate the inconvenience a delayed bag can cause, and know that the many reasons for it (including possibly a late delivery from another airline, your late check-in, or our failure to put it on the right flight) are not as important to you as being reunited with your bag is.

Beyond the facts:

One of the best ways to protect against misplaced bags is to clearly identify your bags by placing an up-to-date identification tag on the outside as well as on the inside of all baggage. (Many travellers forget to put identification inside their bags.)

Just the facts:

The best thing to do is report the loss or damages to an Air Canada baggage service agent within 24 hours for domestic travel and 7 days for international travel. Our Delayed and damaged baggage page gives you links to all the information you need.

Behind the facts:

You should know that there are existing regulations and legislation which govern airline liability on domestic and international flights. The Warsaw Convention, for example, is an international convention that regulates liability for international carriage of persons, luggage or goods performed by aircraft.

Like most international airlines, we settle claims for lost or damaged baggage in accordance with these regulations. The Warsaw/Montreal Convention's international rules for liability are listed in the 'Insurance and Baggage Liability Limitations' section of the delayed baggage and damaged baggage pages.

Beyond the facts:

You may want to consider purchasing additional liability insurance if the standard liability limits don't meet your needs. We have negotiated preferential rates with RBC Insurance.

The following items should not be included in checked baggage: passport or other travel documents, medication, money, jewellery, cameras and electronic devices, business documents, samples, valuables, fragile and perishable items. It makes good sense to store these items in your carry-on baggage for your own protection and convenience, and also because all these items are excluded from our liability.

Our Restricted and prohibited items, carry-on and checked baggage pages provide essential information. We also encourage you to visit the Canadian Air Transport Security AuthorityOpens in New Window (CATSA) website.

About Air Canada

Just the facts:

Yes, we do.

Behind the facts:

Airline passengers place a high value on refundable tickets (in case they can't make their flight, don't show up or decide to change travel plans). In these cases, overbooking is a means (certainly not perfect but, on the whole, pretty viable) that lets us offer refundable tickets without losing a lot of money.

In the rare circumstances (and it is rare) where you can't get on a flight due to overbooking, we offer compensation (in the form of a travel voucher or cash) and we make alternate arrangements to get you to your destination as quickly as possible.

In collaboration with ZerofootprintOpens in New Window, a not-for-profit organization that operates carbon offset programs, we launched the Carbon Offsets Program, which lets you reduce the environmental footprint of your travel. By calculating the impact of your journey, you can mitigate its effects with a small, voluntary additional payment to support environmental projects that reduce greenhouse gases. When you or your travel agents book your travel through aircanada.com, you have an option to purchase a carbon offset for your trip.

For our part, we’re working on a number of fronts to be a better environmental citizen. We’ve adopted more fuel-efficient procedures for take-offs and landings, reduced engine usage on the ground during taxiing and ground delays, cut fuel consumption in the air with more efficient aircraft and flight plans, expanded our on-board recycling program and employed hybrid technology for airport vehicles. Learn more about what we're doing.

Just the facts:

Our Customer Relations page has all the information you need.

Behind the facts:

Start with our Customer Relations department! Some people want to send their letter right to the President, but, our Customer Relations employees are the experts at making sure that your comments get to the right people at the airline, and are shared with the appropriate department or group. If you have specific comments or complaints, give us as much information as possible, including any documentation you have, so we can follow up. You can expect to hear back from us within 30 days.