air canada check in fee

Canadians aren't happy with Air Canada for introducing another fee at check-in

Air Canada passengers with standard or basic fares can now change their automatically assigned seat during check-in, but for a fee, and Canadians aren't too pleased with it.

A Facebook user shared notice of a new seating assignment policy in a Canadian air passenger rights group on Wednesday.

The announcement from April 18 introduced the new seating assignment process for Standard and Basic Fares.

"Effective April 24, when customers begin the check-in process, a seat will automatically be assigned free of charge," reads the notice.

It goes on to specify that this will only apply to Air Canada customers who haven't purchased a seat before check-in.

"We understand that customers may have a preferred spot. If they wish to change their automatically assigned seat, they can easily do so for a fee," reads the notice. "This option gives them the freedom to select the seat that best suits their needs."

In a statement to Daily Hive, Air Canada said it offers a "variety" of branded fares at different price points, which all have different "attributes that customers can choose to pay for or not, depending on the branded fare they buy."

"The ability to select your seat ahead of your flight is one such attribute (an extra bag, refundability are examples of other such attributes)," said the airline.

It added that for its branded fares that don't allow free seat selections, customers "always had the option to choose a seat prior to check-in and pay a seat selection fee, or wait for us to assign a seat at time of check-in for no fee."

"What has changed, and is consistent with our branded fares, is that after seats are assigned at check-in for no fee, customers who now wish to change to a different seat from the one we assigned them will have to pay the same fee they would have paid prior to check-in. This is the practice at other airlines, including some in Canada," stated Air Canada.

For customers with children, the airline said it will continue to assign seats to ensure families on the same flight will be seated together for no fee.

Customers took to social media to express their dismay with what some of them referred to as a "money grab fee."

Others responded to the post in the Air Passenger Rights advocacy Facebook group, sharing their disappointment, and Gabor Lukas, the group's president, noted that it was "lame indeed."

"[It's] another junk fee," he stated.

A junk fee refers to surcharges or service fees customers have to pay on things like credit cards, concert tickets, airline tickets, hotel bookings, and bank charges.

"It's like they want to make flying less and less attractive," wrote a person in the comments.

"The airlines are nickel and diming passengers to death!" remarked a commenter.

"Another cash grab by a terrible over-priced and overrated airline," reads another comment.

Some noted that other airlines also charge the fee.

"This seems to be very common in Europe. All our flights have been assigned this way," noted one person. "We've been together and had seats that I wouldn't need to change so it's worked for us but hopefully, it doesn't add too much stress to those who are concerned."

"This is what most other airlines do on their basic fares. Sad that it's happening to standard fares too though" noted a group member.

Air Canada says customers who want to learn more about the branded fares and the options available with each can do so here.

Lead photo by

Elena Berd /

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