Air Canada Baggage Fees: How to Save Money

air canada baggage fees featured image

Chances are if you have flown in Canada, you have been on an Air Canada plane at one point or another. When it comes to Canadian airlines, Air Canada has the most expansive network not only within North America but also internationally. While flight tickets can be expensive on their own, it becomes even more expensive when you tack on additional fees, such as seat selection and baggage fees.

Let’s take a look at how you can save money on Air Canada baggage fees for your next vacation.

Air Canada Cabin Baggage Fees

Air Canada’s baggage allowance permits each passenger to bring one standard carry-on bag and one personal item on board for free on all Air Canada flights, including Air Canada Rouge.

air canada carryon baggage sizing guidelines

Carry-on bags must be sized 21.5” x 15.5” x 9” or smaller; these dimensions include any wheels or handles attached to your baggage. Automated carry-on baggage sizers may be in use at various airports, including Vancouver (YVR), Toronto (YYZ), and Montreal (YUL), and you may be required to check your carry-on bag if it does not meet the above dimensions. Carry-on baggage must be able to fit into the overhead bins.

Note that there is no weight limit on carry-on luggage when flying Air Canada; instead, the expectation is that you are able to store the luggage in the overhead bin unassisted.

On the other hand, personal items must be sized 13” x 17” x 6” or smaller. These items may include a purse, backpack, laptop case, or other small items. All personal items are expected to be stowed underneath the seat in front of you.

Air Canada Checked Baggage Fees

While Air Canada does not charge for cabin baggage, they do charge for all checked baggage. Prices for checked baggage do vary based on route and fare class; you can determine the estimated cost of checking baggage on your next flight by using the baggage allowance calculator on the Air Canada website here.

air canada checked baggage allowance calculator

Simply fill out your itinerary, Aeroplan loyalty program status, and the class of service to be presented with any free baggage allowance you are entitled to, in addition to the cost of checking any baggage on your flight. If you are looking to fly with more than one checked bag, there may be an additional bag fee for the second bag onwards depending on the route. 

All checked baggage must have a max linear dimension of 62” and weigh less than 50 lbs. Oversized and overweight baggage fees do apply if applicable and will be paid at the point of check-in at the airport.

How to Save Money on Air Canada Baggage Fees

When it comes to saving money on Air Canada baggage fees, there are quite a few options available to travelers to receive free checked bags. These options include holding an eligible Aeroplan credit card, booking a higher fare class, or holding Aeroplan elite status.

Hold an Eligible Aeroplan Credit Card

The most straightforward method to save on checked luggage fees is simply by holding an eligible Aeroplan credit card which offers free checked baggage as a perk. This is no different than the strategy to save on WestJet baggage fees, except that there are many more credit cards to choose from.

There are 10 credit cards in Canada that offer the first free checked bag on Air Canada flights for the cardholder and up to eight of their guests on the same ticketed itinerary. These cards are identified in the table below:

Credit Card Welcome Bonus Net Value
American Express Aeroplan Business Reserve 95,000 Aeroplan $1,396 Apply
American Express Aeroplan Reserve 90,000 Aeroplan $1,291 Apply
CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege 90,000 Aeroplan $1,291 Apply
TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege 75,000 Aeroplan $976 Apply
TD Aeroplan Visa Business 45,000 Aeroplan $945 Apply
TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite 40,000 Aeroplan $840 Apply
American Express Aeroplan 40,000 Aeroplan $720 Apply
CIBC Aeroplan Visa Business 30,000 Aeroplan $630 Apply
CIBC Aeroplan Visa Business Plus 30,000 Aeroplan $630 Apply
CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite 30,000 Aeroplan $630 Apply
CIBC Aeroplan Visa 10,000 Aeroplan $210 Apply

This is our favorite way to save on Air Canada baggage fees since it simply involves holding an Aeroplan credit card, which is a very low barrier to entry. Not to mention, many Aeroplan credit cards also have very high welcome bonuses that can get you enough points to reduce the cost of flights for your next vacation.

Book a Higher Fare Class

Similar to other airlines, if you are flying a ticketed fare higher than basic economy with Air Canada you may be eligible to receive a free checked bag.

For example, if you are booked on a latitude, flex, or comfort economy fare when flying in North America you can receive at least one checked bag free of charge.

On the other hand, if you book yourself on an upgraded fare class such as Air Canada Premium Economy or Air Canada business class, not only will you receive a bigger seat, more legroom, and complimentary food and drink, but you will also be eligible to check two bags at no cost. In fact, booking Aeroplan business class is straightforward if you understand the world of miles and points. If this concept is new to you, check out our miles and points beginner guide.

Related: Review: Air Canada Business Class (737 MAX 8)

While I would not recommend booking a higher fare class just for the savings on the baggage fees since it will never be cheaper than just paying for the checked bag outright, it can be a worthwhile perk if you were already looking to book a fare class above economy.

Hold Aeroplan Elite Status

Similar to VIPorter and saving on baggage fees on Porter Airlines, the Aeroplan loyalty program offers free checked baggage to those members who hold any level of status within the program. 

Starting at 25k status, eligible members are able to fly with two checked bags, free of charge on all Air Canada flights. Once you reach 35k status or above, you are able to fly with up to three checked bags, free of charge.

aeroplan elite status free checked baggage allowance on air canada flights

Aeroplan status is not overly easy to earn, and this may only be worth considering as a potential option to save on baggage fees if you already fly a lot with Air Canada and can earn status organically.

Conclusion

While baggage fees are much more reasonable on Air Canada compared to many ultra-low-cost carriers like Swoop or Flair Airlines, they still can add up whether you are flying by yourself or as a family.

Saving money on Air Canada baggage fees is very straightforward, and is something every traveler should take advantage of to reduce the cost of their next flight, especially when considering they can be waived by simply holding a credit card.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, you can pay for baggage fees in advance of your flight. Payment can be made by credit card online or on your mobile device.

Baggage fees vary depending on the route that you are flying. You can use the Air Canada checked baggage calculator here to determine the actual cost.

It depends on your fare type and Aeroplan elite status. Use the Air Canada checked baggage calculator here to determine if you will be charged for checked baggage on your next international Air Canada flight.

Passengers who book an Air Canada Vacations package to Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, Canada, Europe, or the United States, can receive their first free checked bag free.

The best way to avoid paying baggage fees on Air Canada is to hold one of the co-branded Aeroplan credit cards available in Canada. There are ten cards available to choose from, and each one offers the first checked bag free for the cardholder and up to eight of their guests on the same itinerary as a benefit.

Josh Bandura

Josh Bandura

Co-Founder at Frugal Flyer
Josh has been involved in the miles and points game since 2015 but has scaled up his knowledge and points earning potential in recent years. With a consistent attitude of "min-maxing" in many aspects of his life, Josh has transferred this mindset over to the miles and points game. Always looking for the next big opportunity, he aims to share content on a variety of topics including his travels, miles and points, and most importantly, how to get the most out of your credit cards

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