On May 22nd, Air Canada announced via a press release that it would be resuming select international flights as coronavirus conditions improve in various parts of the world. With nearly 100 destinations announced, a handful of cities in the United States are included. So where can Air Canada passengers fly south of the Canadian border now?
“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% of our flights stopped operating…” -Air Canada
United States locations
The airline has explicitly announced that it has resumed service to the US as of May 22, with six destinations being served by May 25. These are the six destinations:
- New York-LaGuardia
- Los Angeles
- San Francisco
It appears from the airline’s website that most eastern destinations will connect through its hub at Toronto Pearson while west coast destinations such as San Francisco and Los Angeles operate from Vancouver.
Of course, as Air Canada points out, this is still a significant shortfall from the 53 US destinations it served last year. However, it says that there are tentative plans to resume more US service as of June 22, pending regulatory changes and demand.
Air travel is now possible – but only for some
On the same day that Air Canada made its summer service announcement, the US and Canadian governments announced an agreement to extend cross-border travel restrictions to non-essential travel through June 22nd.
According to the US embassy’s website, non-essential travel includes tourism, recreation, and entertainment. What is permitted as essential travel, however, are the following activities:
- Work and study,
- Critical infrastructure support,
- Economic services and supply chains,
- Health, immediate medical care,
- And safety and security.
Considering the somewhat broad list of activities labeled ‘essential travel’, Air Canada should be able to draw in a fair amount of business. For travelers flying the airline from the US to Canadian cities, a “credible 14-day quarantine plan” must be submitted, which may discourage northbound travel.
While many jurisdictions are relaxing their COVID-19 restrictions and airlines are resuming flights, it may give many people the idea that any and all travel is permitted. However, travel restrictions are still in place across much of the world and legitimate reasons (and associated proof) must be present to be allowed into destination countries.
Even though Air Canada has improved upon its rebooking and cancelation policies, a good deal of stress can be prevented by planning ahead so that rebooking doesn’t need to happen in the first place.
Do you have plans to fly Air Canada any time soon? Particularly to the United States? Let us know in the comments!