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Air Canada suspends free seat selection at check-in

To the point As of today, it is no longer possible to choose a seat free of charge at check-in on Air Canada flights. From now on, seats will be assigned randomly, and a fee will be charged for changing them.

Air Canada - Which tickets are affected?

*** Update April 26, 2024: Air Canada has announced that it is suspending its decision to charge to change seats in Economy and Standard categories for the time being. We’re keeping this article as an archive since it no longer reflects reality, and it will be updated when further changes are announced.

Effective immediately, free seat pre-selection at check-in will no longer be available for fare tickets in Basic Economy, Standard Economy and Standard Flight Reward (tickets booked with Aeroplan points).

From now on, the computer system will automatically assign a seat free of charge to customers who have not made a pre-selection.

If the automatically assigned seat doesn’t suit you, you can change it for a fee. The fee starts at $14 per seat and vary according to the flight, fare class and seat selected.

You can find all the information on this page of the Air Canada website. The following table gives an idea of the costs to expect:


Members with Aeroplan Elite status are not affected by this new measure. In addition, seat pre-selection remains free for families travelling with a child under 14.

Air Canada - How can I get free seat pre-selection?

There are only two ways to get free seat pre-selection:

  • Choose a fare class that allows free seat selection: Economy Flex, Comfort and Latitude, Premium Economy, Business Class.
  • Aeroplan Elite 50K or 75K status: seat pre-selection is free at the time of booking for all flights and all fare classes, except Basic Economy.
Classes tarifaires des billets en points Aéroplan
Classes tarifaires des billets en argent

If you have no status or your ticket is at the basic fare, you’ll have to pay to change seats.

National Bank World Elite Mastercard® holders can apply their $150 annual travel credit to these fees. If you don’t have one yet, take advantage of our exclusive offer to get one!

Bottom Line

This is bad news for Air Canada customers. This measure particularly affects families, groups and people travelling on separate bookings. Now, the chances of sitting side by side are slim unless you pay the extra.

Come to discuss that topic in our Facebook Group!
Alexandrine Bertrand
Always on the lookout for exotic destinations, Alexandrine shares her strategies for traveling while saving with points and miles. She's an avid cook, both at home and abroad.

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