Air Canada Increases Checked Baggage Fees

Shortly after many US carriers and WestJet increased checked baggage fees, Air Canada has followed suit. For flights booked as of February 28, 2024, the cost to check a bag has increased on Air Canada flights within North America.

The raised baggage fees affect passengers who book Economy (Basic) or Economy (Standard) fares for domestic and transborder flights, as well as flights to the Caribbean, Central America, and Mexico.

Air Canada Increases Checked Baggage Fees

Air Canada is the latest North American carrier to increase the cost of checked baggage on select fares. 

The changes to Air Canada’s checked baggage fee structure took effect on February 28, 2024, according to an update on the Air Canada website.

For domestic and transborder flights, as well as flights to the Caribbean, Central America, and Mexico, you’ll now have to pay the following to check a bag when booked on an Economy (Basic) or Economy (Standard) fare:

  • First checked bag: $35–42
  • Second checked bag: $50–60

A full list of checked baggage fees can be found on the Air Canada website, and you can also use Air Canada’s checked baggage calculator to determine what you’ll pay.

According to data reported by the CBC, checked baggage fees have increased by 40% since they were first introduced in 2014.

How to Save on Checked Baggage Fees with Air Canada

If you’re planning a trip with Air Canada and will check a bag, it’s important to check the options available to you so you don’t pay more than you need to.

Travellers who seldom fly with Air Canada should compare the price difference between Economy (Basic and Standard) fares with Economy (Flex) fares, since the latter fare has one free checked bag included.

In some cases, the price difference might be less than the cost of a checked bag. If this is the case, then paying more for a higher fare will wind up saving you cash.

It’s worth noting that you get at least one free checked bag when travelling on Economy (Flex), Economy (Comfort), Economy (Latitude), Premium Economy (Lowest and Flexible), and Business Class (Lowest and Flexible) fares.

Plus, travellers with Aeroplan Elite Status also enjoy at least two free checked bags on Air Canada flights.

Passengers with Aeroplan Elite Status enjoy at least two free checked bags with Air Canada

However, if you fly with Air Canada more than once per year, and if you travel as a couple or as a family, then it’s certainly worthwhile to add an Air Canada Aeroplan co-branded credit card to your wallet.

That’s because you’ll enjoy a free checked bag for yourself and up to eight passengers travelling on the same booking on Air Canada flights. 

Core Aeroplan Credit Cards
Credit Card Best Offer Value
Up to 50,000 Aeroplan points† $756 Apply Now
45,000 Aeroplan points $720 Apply Now
Up to 50,000 Aeroplan points† $617 Apply Now

The above cards come with annual fees of $120–139 (CAD); however, you’ll wind up saving on checked baggage fees quite quickly.

With increased checked baggage fees, it’s almost certain that competition for overhead bin space will be more fierce than ever. 

You may also want to consider a premium Aeroplan co-branded credit card, which not only comes with one free checked bag, but Zone 2 boarding. This means that you’ll get front-of-the-line access to overhead bin space, and won’t have to worry about being in an uncomfortable position.

Premium Aeroplan Credit Cards
Credit Card Best Offer Value
Up to 85,000 Aeroplan points† $924 Apply Now
85,000 Aeroplan points $858 Apply Now
80,000 Aeroplan points $845 Apply Now

At this point, there are no indications that Air Canada or other mainline carriers will begin to charge for carry-on bags. However, there’s some speculation that this may change if passengers stowing carry-on bags delay the departure of flights due to limited space.

Conclusion

Following the lead of other carriers, Air Canada has increased checked baggage fees on select fares for travel within North America.

If you’re flying on an Economy (Basic) or Economy (Standard) fare, you’ll have to pay around $5 more to check a bag if your flight was booked on or after February 28, 2024.

However, if you fly with Air Canada more than once per year, or if you travel as a couple or a family, you’ll want to consider adding an Aeroplan co-branded credit card to your wallet, as you’ll enjoy one free checked bag on Air Canada flights as a cardholder perk.

1 Comment
  1. Brendan

    If I book a family member’s flight with my points and pay the extra charges with my Aeroplan Visa Infinite, should they have to pay for a checked bag?

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