Canada’s largest airline has announced that it will gradually build up its summer schedule starting next month. The airline will fly to nearly 100 destinations around the world after suspending much of its international service due to the pandemic.
Air Canada’s announces its summer 2020 schedule
The assumptions will be gradual, starting from next month. Throughout the summer, a total of 97 destinations will see Air Canada passenger operations. During the same period last year, that number was 220.
Within Canada, the flag carrier is currently flying 34 routes. However, by June, that number will be 58. Additional destinations will come in August and September.
To the US, Air Canada is flying to New York-LaGuardia, Washington-Dulles, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, and Chicago this month. More flights will resume by June 22nd, depending on demand and regulatory changes.
Next month, Air Canada will also resume flights from Toronto to Frankfurt, London, Zurich, Tokyo, and Tel Aviv. From Montreal, it will fly to Frankfurt, London, Paris, and Brussels. And, lastly, from Vancouver, Air Canada will operate to London, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Seoul.
Barring major changes, expansion is planned from mid-June onwards. Future routes include Montreal to Athens, Rome, and Geneva; Toronto to Munich, Lisbon, Amsterdam, Rome and Athens; Calgary to Frankfurt; and Vancouver to Shanghai (pending government approval).
Lucie Guillemette, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer at Air Canada, said the following:
“Air Canada has put in place an abridged summer schedule offering a choice of nearly 100 destinations across Canada, in the U.S. and internationally. As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, during which as much as 95 per cent of our flights stopped operating and which has left us flying to less than half last year’s destinations, our customers are expressing their eagerness to travel, where it is safe to do so. We are accordingly gradually opening for sale flights for the summer and beyond as we rebuild our network, leveraging our strong position as a global airline. Air Canada is ready for take-off, and we look forward to welcoming our customers onboard”
Onboard, expect service to be reduced on Air Canada flights. In addition, the airline is giving customers a “CleanCare+” experience. Personal protective equipment, like face coverings, is required for Air Canada passengers.
New flexible policies
Along with this new schedule, Air Canada has updated its cancelation policies. If Air Canada cancels a flight, it has to provide refunds to passengers. Since January 1st, the airline has provided almost C$1bn in refunds.
However, if a customer cancels their own flight, they will have two options:
- You can receive an Air Canada Travel Voucher for the remaining value of your ticket. There is no expiry date for this voucher. Furthermore, it is fully transferable, and retains residual value.
- Or, you can choose to convert the remaining ticket value into Aeroplan Miles– with a 65% bonus versus the normal rate for buying Miles.
Tickets issued from March 1st, 2020, and June 30th, 2021, inclusive, will be able to select either of the two options. If you have already received a travel credit, you will be able to go back to Air Canada from June 15th onwards to select one of the new options.
What will this mean for passengers?
For most people, these flights will be a chance to repatriate if necessary. It may also be for those looking to visit loved ones or take an essential business trip. Leisure travel may be impacted due to government restrictions and the closure of attractions. Some countries even have quarantine requirements in place.
The airline has chosen to fly to destinations where the carrier has partners. Frankfurt, Brussels, Zurich, and Tokyo are all major Star Alliance hubs, thus giving passengers who need to go even further plenty of other options.
Many airlines, including fellow Star Alliance partner, United, are looking to restart services to China. However, this will depend on government approval and possibly subject to change if demand is nonexistent, or if governments do not give the green light.
While these flights are part of the larger industry’s recovery from the current crisis, expect the flying experience to be radically different from what it was just a year ago.
The new travel options, however, are a good start. Air Canada’s Aeroplan has a lot of excellent redemption options. This author used Aeroplan Miles to book SWISS Business Class and Lufthansa First Class flights to Johannesburg last year.
Will you take any of these new Air Canada international flights? Let us know in the comments!