The Guide to Air Canada Baggage Policies and Fees

Air Canada is Canada’s largest airline and the country’s flag carrier. Air Canada’s baggage policies don’t differ too much from the policies of U.S.-based airlines. And as with U.S. airlines, you can save money on bag fees by holding elite status or using a branded airline credit card.

Let’s take a look at Air Canada’s baggage allowance and the fees for checked bags.

How many bags can you bring on Air Canada?

Air Canada’s baggage allowance varies based on the fare type you book, the destination, your elite status and whether you hold a co-branded credit card.

Air Canada carry-on allowance

When traveling with Air Canada, you’re able to bring two articles on board — one standard article and one personal article — plus a coat, a small purse or an infant care item, regardless of the destination. Maximum allowed dimensions:

  • Standard article: 21.5 x 15.5 x 9 inches (55 x 40 x 23 centimeters).

  • Personal article: 13 x 17 x 6 inches (33 x 43 x 16 centimeters).

Maximum dimensions for carry-on bags include wheels and handles, and they must fit in the overhead compartments. Although there’s no weight limit to cabin baggage, you must be able to lift it and store it in the bin by yourself. If you’re traveling with an infant on your lap, you’re allowed to bring an extra standard carry-on article.

Air Canada checked bag allowance

The airline sells five fare classes within economy class: Basic, Standard, Flex, Comfort and Latitude. If you’re flying in economy class within Canada, to the United States, Mexico or the Caribbean, you get the following checked baggage allowance:

  • Basic and Standard fares: No free bags.

  • Flex and Comfort fares: First bag free.

  • Latitude fare: First and second bags free.

For other international travel, you get a free first bag on all fares except Basic.

The maximum weight for a checked bag is 50 pounds (23 kilograms) per bag and maximum linear dimensions — that is, width plus height plus depth — are 62 inches (158 centimeters). Bags that exceed those limits are considered overweight or oversized, and are subject to additional fees.

Air Canada baggage fees

Here’s what you can expect to pay for your first and second checked bags in economy class on Air Canada-operated flights.

Between Canada and the U.S.

Between Canada and Mexico or the Caribbean

Other international travel

Overweight and oversized baggage fees

Bags weighing 50 to 70 pounds (23 to 32 kilograms) are considered overweight, and bags with measurements of 63 to 115 linear inches (160 to 292 centimeters) are considered oversized. (Bags larger than these tolerances need to be shipped via air cargo.) You’ll pay the following fees for overweight and oversized bags and for additional bags beyond your standard baggage allowance.

Overweight or oversized bags

Overweight and oversized bags

Between Canada and the U.S.

Between Canada and Mexico, Costa Rica or the Caribbean

Other international travel

Sporting and hunting equipment fees

Certain sports equipment and hunting equipment incurs additional fees. If you’re traveling with the following items, expect to pay extra:

  • Surfboard, paddleboard, kiteboard, wakeboard or wave ski: $100.

  • Firearms used for a sporting or a hunting activity: $50 to $59.

  • Antlers and horns: $150 to $177. 

Use elite status to get free checked bags

If you’re an elite member of the Aeroplan program or Star Alliance, you get some baggage perks. For example, elite members traveling on a domestic route within Canada receive the following free checked luggage allowance:

  • Aeroplan 25K: Two complimentary checked bags.

  • Aeroplan 35K, 50K, 75K and Super Elite: Three complimentary checked bags.

  • Star Alliance Gold: First bag free.

Additionally, weight allowances change for elite members. Aeroplan 25K members get two bags weighing 50 pounds (23 kilograms) apiece, whereas Aeroplan 35K, 50K, 75K and Super Elite members can check three bags up to 70 pounds (32 kilograms) apiece.

Credit cards that give a free checked bag with Air Canada

NerdWallet rating 

For U.S.-based flyers, if you hold the Aeroplan® Credit Card, you get a free checked bag for you and up to eight travel companions booked on the same record locator. The benefit applies only to flights operated by Air Canada, Air Canada Rouge and Air Canada Express.

For Canadians, the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card does the trick. The benefit terms are the same as with the Aeroplan Card.

If you don’t hold any co-branded cards from Aeroplan, then the travel credit that comes with the Chase Sapphire Reserve® can come in handy. The premium travel rewards card offers a $300 credit good toward travel purchases, and checked bag fees fit the category quite nicely. Just use your card to pay the checked luggage fees, and the credit will apply to your statement automatically.

Check-in times for checked luggage

Baggage drop-off deadline is 45 minutes for flights within Canada and 60 minutes for all other flights, including flights to the United States and other international destinations.

However, the baggage drop-off time is increased to 90 minutes if you’re departing from Toronto Pearson International Airport for any destination outside of Canada.

Air Canada baggage fees recapped

When you fly Air Canada, Air Canada Rouge or Air Canada Express, you might have to pay to check a bag.

However, you can avoid the checked baggage fees if you purchase select fares, fly certain routes, have elite status with the Aeroplan program or hold the right credit card. Keep in mind that you still might be on the hook if your bag is too large or weighs too much or if you’re checking multiple bags.

(Top photo courtesy of Air Canada)

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