Air Canada: Family Flying Airline Review

Our Globetrotters are reviewing 30 of the world’s leading international airlines for their family-friendliness.  Our reviews cover the airline’s policies and service offerings that the average family will deal with when flying standard economy class. For more details on the Globetrotters reviews and ratings referenced, please see the lead article.

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Our review today will be exploring Skytrax’s “Number 1 Rated North American Airline” Air Canada.  The fact that the first North American Airline comes in at No.24 is quite shocking (and slipped to no.31 in 2016) – but will they please the family traveller?

 Air Canada | Family Airline Review | OurGlobetrotters.Net

Code: AC

Base: Canada

Alliances: Star Alliance

Skytrax Rating 2016: 31

JACDEC Safety Rating 2017: 16

Air Canada Pregnancy Policy

Expectant mothers with a normal pregnancy and no previous history of premature labour may travel up to the 36th week. After 36 weeks you will need a medical certificate stating that you are fit to fly and estimated due date.

Newborns

Infants can travel from as young as seven days.

Infants (under 2 years)

Only one infant is allowed per adult lap (16 years or older) paying 10% of the adult fare.  Infants occupying their own seat in an appropriate child restraint must pay a child’s fare – 75% of adult fare (free to the US).  Child restraint devices are not permitted on international Business Class.

A bassinet can be requested in advance but cannot be confirmed until the time of departure, available on a first come first served basis.  Only available to babies less than 12kg (25lbs) who cannot sit upright.

The Ultimate Guide to baby Bassinets | Our Globetrotters

Children (2-11 years)

A child’s fare on International flights is 75% of the adult fare.  Between 2 to 11 years old the use of a child restraint device is optional.

Infant and children’s meals are available and must be ordered at least 18 hours before departure.

Unaccompanied Minors

An UM service can be purchased on non-stop flights operated by Air Canada, it cannot be purchased on connecting or code share flights.  The service is not available for children under 8 years old, and they cannot use the service if they are blind/deaf or suffer from nut allergies.  Between 8 and 11 years old, an unaccompanied child must use the UM service; it is optional for youths 12 to 17 years.  A service fee each way of $100 applies regardless of fare paid.

Bookings must be done with reservations in advance and the child will be seated at the rear of the plane near the cabin crew.

Our Globetrotters complete guide to Flying with Kids

Baggage Allowances

Children occupying their own seat have the same baggage allowance as an adult – allowances vary by route.

If you are travelling with an infant on your lap you may bring a standard carry-on bag not exceeding 10kg to carry their belongings, in addition to your own carry-on allowance. You are also allowed a sling/infant carrier to use on board in addition.

A small stroller is allowed in addition to carry-on (25.5cm x 92cm) to be checked at the gate and delivered to aircraft door at end of flight.  Large strollers need to be checked and count as a piece towards your luggage allowance.

A car seat is allowed on board if you have purchased a child’s ticket, otherwise, children aged 0-11 years are allowed one car seat or booster free of charge in addition to their regular baggage allowance.


Frequent Flyer Programs

Children can be enrolled in Aeroplan, the airline’s frequent flyer program from two years old and points do not have an expiry.  There is no evidence of being able to pool family points.

The Our Globetrotters View

There is nothing about Air Canada’s service offering that sets the airline world on fire. Their website is dull and unimpressive with little impression given of what your onboard experience will be like.  They rate highly on the JACDEC safety ratings, but Trip Advisor reviewers provide an incredibly poor satisfaction score.

Family policies are a little different than other airlines, with expectant mothers allowed to fly much later than others permit; no indication is given online as to whether rules are different for multiple pregnancies.   There UM’s policy also differs with only children 8 years and over permitted to fly unaccompanied, the usual age is 5.

Again the lack of family pooling for frequent flyer points is a big minus for me.  Uninspiring, uninterested – there would have to be no other choice for me to consider using Air Canada.

(As an after note, we are flying to a wedding in Canada in January 2016; we had no choice for our connecting flight but to use Air Canada.  Already we have been done over on luggage not being included in our booking.  Please wish us luck after a 16+ hour flight that we are treated ok on our North America connection).

Disclaimer: The information provided on this page should be used as a guide only.  It has been gathered from public sources and correct at the time of going to print (May 2015).  Please consult the airline’s own website before booking any family travel with this airline. This review is not an endorsement of Air Canada’s services and I am in no way affiliated with the airline.

Pin for later

Everything you need to know before flying Air Canada with a family. Guidance on pregnancy, infant policies, luggage allowances, unaccompanied minors & more | Our Globetrotters International Family Airline Reviews

Have you flown pregnant or with infants/children on Air Canada? Do you have a review or advice to share with travelling families?  Please comment below or you can email us at [email protected] and we’ll share your story!

Don’t forget to check out our advice on how to plan your flights and techniques for coping with jet lag



© Our Globetrotters

5 Comments

  • Air Canada is the worst! The trash was taped shut leaving us no place to throw away dirty diapers on our 2 hout flight. Then the flight attendant locked the bathroom door for the second half of the flight leaving us with our three year old needing a change of underweae. On our connecting flight the flight attendants were impossible to get for anything. I ended up putting the food tray on the floor as the arm rest table was stuck and I had an infant on my lap. When we went to the back to ask for water it took forever to get their attention while standing right beside them and talking to them.

    We have flown on several airlines all over the world and Air Canada is truly the worst as far as flight attendants, leaving on time, and functioning facilities. And, seriously, what cheap person decided to not just give the whole can to you on an 8 hour+ flight!?

    • oh dear this does sound terrible, living up to bad expectations.
      I think it sounds as much a staff moral issue as anything, they mustn’t have any good motivation to provide good customer service.

  • The most memorable experience I’ve had with Air Canada is the luggage handling. My skis have been around the world more times than I have due to lost luggage. My skis should get their own frequent flyer membership. And then there is the rough handling. I’m convinced AC move bags around using a catapult instead of a tug tractor with trailers or a convey. 🙂 Joel

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