Air Canada is now offering flexible rebooking options to Economy Class customers on flights that are close to capacity.
The airline is also introducing touchless processes at airports and enhancing its inflight service and amenities.
Starting July 1st, the carrier said it was be "transparent about flights booked close to capacity in Economy Class" and will provide rebooking options for customers booked on such flights.
"As we rebuild our schedule, we are continually increasing the range of products and services available to safely and efficiently enhance our customers' travel experience," Andrew Yiu, Vice-President - Product at Air Canada, stated in a release.
In addition, the airline is introducing touchless airport processes such as TouchFree Bag Check and virtual queuing, and will be resuming meals designed by its Canadian chef culinary panel.
"We continue to assess new bio-safety initiatives to further build on the multi-layered, bio-safety approach our best-in-class Air Canada CleanCare+ Program features to give customers confidence in a safe, secure, and enhanced travel experience with Air Canada," stated Yiu.
When Economy is almost full
The news comes as Air Canada, on Friday (June 26th), announced that it would be ending its physical distancing policy on aircrafts starting on July 1st. (WestJet will be doing the same).
The move aligns with recommendations made by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to end seat blocking.
Replacing its policy of guaranteeing adjacent seats in Economy Class are empty is a new "transparent process" of offering flexible rebooking options for customers.
On flights where Economy Class is booked close to capacity, notification emails will be sent to Economy Class customers in advance of check-in and announcements will be made at the departure gate.
Customers will have the option to change to another flight operating within three days or to the next available flight without additional fees.
Air Canada has implemented TouchFree Bag Check, an industry-leading process for all domestic flights from Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Calgary airports, and is now expanding this process to other select Canadian airports, as well as for customers departing on international flights. (Watch a demonstration here.)
Later in July, virtual queuing will also be introduced at primary Canadian airports to more efficiently manage wait times at select counters.
Customers requiring service from an airport agent can simply scan their boarding card to enter a virtual queue and they will be notified via their smartphone to proceed to the counter for assistance.
Maple Leaf Lounges are expected to begin re-opening later this summer, the airline said.
Onboard meals are back
Beginning late July, Air Canada will resume meal service planned by its panel of celebrated Canadian chefs in Air Canada Signature Class, and for the first time, will introduce chef-designed meals in Business Class – North America. Customers travelling on international flights in Economy Class will enjoy an enhanced meal service.
Limited inflight food options in Economy Class onboard North American flights greater than two hours will be re-introduced on a pre-order basis.
Customers will also be offered an expanded selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks adapted by cabin and route.
In addition to Air Canada CleanCare+ customer care kits containing hand sanitizer, a mask, antibacterial wipes, hand sanitizer, gloves, water bottle, headphones and a snack, additional antibacterial wipes will be available as part of each meal service and in lavatories.
Pillows and blankets will be offered again on all international flights and presented to customers wrapped and sealed.
Air Canada's summer schedule includes nearly 100 destinations across Canada, the US and worldwide.
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