Air Canada stops guaranteeing adjacent economy class seats are empty


In attempt to be able to fit more paying passengers on its planes, but also give customers flexibility, Air Canada has started offering rebooking options to Economy Class customers on flights that are close to capacity.

The airline has also introduced additional touchless processes at airports, and enhanced its inflight service and amenities.

"As we rebuild our schedule, we are continually increasing the range of products and services available to safely and efficiently enhance our customers' travel experience," said Andrew Yiu, Vice-President - Product at Air Canada. "We will be transparent about flights booked close to capacity in Economy Class and will provide rebooking options for customers booked on such flights. In addition, we are introducing industry-leading, streamlined, touchless airport processes such as TouchFree Bag Check and virtual queuing, and will be resuming meals designed by our Canadian chef culinary panel. We continue to assess new bio-safety initiatives to further build on the multi-layered, bio-safety approach our best-in-class Air Canada CleanCare+ Program features to give customers confidence in a safe, secure, and enhanced travel experience with Air Canada."

Starting July 1, Air Canada replaced its policy of guaranteeing adjacent seats in Economy Class are empty with a new process offering flexible rebooking options for customers.

On flights where Economy Class is booked close to capacity, notification emails will be sent to Economy Class customers in advance of check-in and announcements will be made at the departure gate.

Customers will have the option to change to another flight operating within three days or to the next available flight without additional fees.

Touchless Services and Lounges

Air Canada has implemented TouchFree Bag Check for all domestic flights from Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Calgary airports, and is now expanding this process to other select Canadian airports, as well as for customers departing on international flights.

Later in July, virtual queuing will also be introduced at primary Canadian airports to more efficiently manage wait times at select counters. Customers requiring service from an airport agent can simply scan their boarding card to enter a virtual queue and they will be notified via their smartphone to proceed to the counter for assistance.

Maple Leaf Lounges are expected to begin re-opening later this summer.


Beginning late July, Air Canada will resume meal service planned by its panel of celebrated Canadian chefs in Air Canada Signature Class, and for the first time, will introduce chef-designed meals in Business Class – North America.

Customers travelling on international flights in Economy Class will receive what Air Canada calls "an enhanced meal service".

Limited inflight food options in Economy Class onboard North American flights greater than two hours will be re-introduced on a pre-order basis.

Customers will also be offered an expanded selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks adapted by cabin and route.

In addition to Air Canada CleanCare+ customer care kits containing hand sanitizer, a mask, antibacterial wipes, hand sanitizer, gloves, water bottle, headphones and a snack, additional antibacterial wipes will be available as part of each meal service and in lavatories. Pillows and blankets will be offered again on all international flights and presented to customers wrapped and sealed.

Air Canada's summer schedule includes nearly 100 destinations across Canada, the U.S. and worldwide.

© Asia Travel Tips

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

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I've only used them once to fly to Japan, and it wasn't the greatest experience, but it's good to see them seriously addressing a problem the industry needs to overcome if it is to recover to anywhere near even half of last year's level.

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Flew on them to Toronto last year - 'Premium Economy - very poor. Flight attendants arguing amongst themselves, meal menu not available due to wrong order, in-flight entertainment not working, and 3 attendants concentrating on some celebrity passenger and ignoring everyone else. Arrived in Toronto airport to a broken escalator and flooded toilets. Return flight was much better. Would give them a second chance, but this PR message seems to be offering less service, not an enhancement.

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IF you are not going to govern them what is the point of GOVERNMENT... Airports just will not allow any aircraft to take off of land without social distancing. This point of egress and entry is how WHOLE world became infected.

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It really sucks if you've got someone sitting right next to you in economy class unless the seat on the other side of you is empty. That's because they design these seats as though children under 10 are going to sit there.

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