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Air Canada resumes US flights, will serve fewer than half its destinations this summer

May 22, 2020
4 min read
Air Canada resumes US flights, will serve fewer than half its destinations this summer
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Air Canada has returned to select U.S. airports after a nearly month-long hiatus ahead of a summer travel push that includes new booking flexibility aimed at getting would-be flyers to buy tickets.

The Montreal-based Star Alliance carrier resumed flights to Boston (BOS), Chicago O'Hare (ORD), Los Angeles (LAX), New York LaGuardia (LGA), San Francisco (SFO) and Washington Dulles (IAD) on Friday, Air Canada said. The airline suspended all flights to the U.S. for the first time in nearly 80 years -- except when all U.S. flights were grounded after 9/11 -- due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition, Air Canada will roll out a summer schedule with flights to 97 cities around the world this weekend. The schedule features expanded domestic Canada options and both more U.S. and global destinations.

Get Coronavirus travel updates. Stay on top of industry impacts, flight cancellations, and more.

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 01: Grounded Air Canada planes are seen at Toronto Pearson International Airport on April 1, 2020 in Toronto, Canada. Air Canada announced it would temporarily lay off over 15,000 employees and reduce activity by up to 90 percent due to the coronavirus. (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
Grounded Air Canada planes at Toronto Pearson airport in April 2020. (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)

"As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic… our customers are expressing their eagerness to travel, where it is safe to do so” said Lucie Guillemette, chief commercial officer of Air Canada, in a statement. “We are accordingly gradually opening for sale flights for the summer and beyond as we rebuild our network.”

Air Canada had pared back most of its schedule in the face of near-zero demand during the pandemic. The airline has operated less than 10% of its normal schedule since mid-March and will continue to fly to less than half of the cities it served last summer in is new schedule.

In addition, the carrier will retire 79 jets from its fleet due to the crisis. This includes many of the 30 Boeing 767-300ERs in the Air Canada and Rouge fleets, plus some Airbus A319s and its 14 remaining Embraer E190s. The E190s will be replaced by the airline's new Airbus A220-300s, which it still plans to take 14 more of this year.

Related: Air Canada suspends all US flights, likely for first time in nearly 80 years

To entice would-be travelers with concerns about COVID-19, Air Canada is offering booking flexibility through the end of June. Two new options that allow passengers to cancel bookings without a fee become available on June 1: they can either take a voucher with no expiration date, or convert the value of their ticket into Aeroplan Miles with a 65% bonus.

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The new flexibility will apply to tickets booked between March 30 and June 30, and for travel through June 30, 2021. Air Canada's previous change policy applies through the end of May.

Related: A complete list of major airline coronavirus change and cancellation policies

The U.S. and Canadian border remains closed to all but essential travel through June 22. This will prohibit most U.S. flyers from boarding an Air Canada flight for at least the next few weeks.

But come June 22, Air Canada plans to significantly expand its typically broad offering of U.S. destinations. One airport where flights will resume is Ronald Reagan Washington National (DCA), according to John Potter, president and CEO of Washington National operator the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.

Related: What to expect when flying into the United States

Air Canada served National from Montreal (YUL), Ottawa (YOW) and Toronto Pearson (YYZ) prior to the crisis, according to Cirium schedules.

Fellow Canadian carrier Porter Airlines plans to resume operations on June 29 after suspending all flights in March. WestJet has suspended all U.S. flights through June 25.

Related: A rare opportunity to fly Air Canada’s all-business-class ‘Jetz’

Featured image by Photo courtesy of Air Canada.

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Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
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There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

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  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees