We always try to make sure everyone gets on the flight they have booked, however in those occasional instances where we may have more customers booked than we can accommodate on a flight, we will soon start asking for volunteers to travel on a different route to their destination in exchange for compensation at the time of self-service check-in. By doing this, we may be able to get you to your destination quicker and more seamlessly, after you have reviewed options available to you with one of our airport agents.
You will notice the following prompt during your web, kiosk or mobile check-in whenever we are looking for volunteers:
If you select “yes” to volunteer, you will keep your confirmed seat until you have spoken to one of our airport agents to review compensation and rebooking options and confirmed you are willing to make alternate travel plans. You can always opt-out from volunteering at any time before or during your conversation with our airport staff; in fact, we are reconfirming your intent to volunteer should you return to a self-service check-in kiosk to reprint your boarding pass or make other changes to your booking, after you have initially checked-in.
If you accept to volunteer, we ask that you identify yourself at one of our Check-in Assistance counters to discuss compensation and re-routing options with our agents. Compensation varies depending on your itinerary. Re-routing may include a more direct, non-stop itinerary instead of connecting flights, or an earlier flight on the same route.
If you are travelling in Business Class or Premium Economy Class, we will not ask you to volunteer.
Why does Air Canada overbook?
There are two main reasons why flights may not be able to accommodate all booked customers:
In most instances, it is the result of operational constraints such as weather or a maintenance issue requiring us to substitute a flight with a smaller aircraft, not overbooking.
On rare occasions, it is due to overbooking. All major international airlines overbook due to the number of customers reserving flights and then subsequently deciding not to travel without cancelling their reservation, or simply missing their flight due to misconnections or other reasons. In light of this industry practice, we use the best tools available to minimize disruptions to our customers. Market factors and historical travel patterns are used to determine acceptable overbooking levels which in turn allows other customers to book and travel on flights they would otherwise not have had access to.
Our new voluntary alternate travel tool provides our customers with voluntary alternate travel choices for compensation.