Rebooking your Air Canada flights around the new 72-hour quarantine
Updated: Feb 19, 2021
I've split this off into its own article as there's a lot of detail to cover. For details on the hotel quarantine itself, please see "Understanding Canada's new quarantine rules for airline passengers".
Please note that everything in this article applies only to US and International travel into Canada, and does not apply to domestic bookings entirely within Canada.
Starting February 22, air passengers landing in Canada will be required to take a PCR test on arrival, and quarantine in a government-approved hotel (at the traveller's own expense), until the results come back. All international flights into Canada will now land at either Montreal, Toronto, Calgary or Vancouver, and any traveller with a connecting flight within Canada will do their mandatory hotel quarantine near one of those four airports.
As a result, anyone who's flying something like New York - Toronto - Winnipeg, will quarantine near Toronto Pearson, and won't be able to take their connecting flight to Winnipeg until they know the results of their arrival PCR test. This is a really unusual way to have to change a plane ticket, and as a result Air Canada has issued special policies to manage the necessary changes.
All customers are granted one free change of their international flight *into* Canada, as well as one free change of their domestic flights *within* Canada, from one of the four approved arrival airports (Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver) to your final Canadian destination. Air Canada is now asking affected travellers to "rebook their connecting flight for three days after your original arrival date in Canada" at no charge, and cautions that anyone who does not proactively change their flight in this way, may be automatically rebooked at Air Canada's discretion.
You'll be rebooked in the same cabin class as your original ticket, but note that flight schedules have been heavily reduced, which means the few flights there are, may be full in your desired cabin, so you may be able to get home faster if you don't mind flying on whatever's available soonest. However, if you have Air Canada elite status, you may find that you're able to request an eUpgrade for your new flight, following all the usual upgrade procedures.
If your test results arrive earlier than the expected 3-day window, you can call Air Canada, who promise to "do our utmost" to get you rebooked on the earliest possible flight.
If you booked your ticket directly from Air Canada then is pretty simple. Call in, and they'll rebook you. No change fee, and no added cost as long as you're still flying the same origin and destination with all flights operated by Air Canada.
Here's a list of quick links for other common scenarios.
- If you booked your ticket through another airline, but your last flight(s) within Canada are operated by Air Canada (for example Frankfurt - Toronto - Winnipeg, on Lufthansa and then Air Canada).
If you want to change your flight and fly home before the quarantine requirement starts on Feb 22:
For all travel between February 22 and April 30, 2021, Air Canada will let you change your flight for free to a date Feb 21 or earlier. You'll be rebooked in the same cabin class as your original ticket, but note that flight schedules have been heavily reduced, so you may have to choose between staying in Business Class or getting home in time to avoid the hotel quarantine.
If you booked your ticket through Aeroplan, or any online travel website like Expedia or Orbitz
If you booked directly with Air Canada, including their app or website, or through Kayak, Google Flights, or Skyscanner, you can call Air Canada at 1-888-247-2262. For international and other numbers, visit www.aircanada.com/othernumbers
If you booked your ticket using Aeroplan points, you need to call Aeroplan. 1-800-361-5373.
For Air Canada Vacations bookings, please call 1-800-296-3408.
If you booked your ticket through a travel agent, you need to call them, by now they should have received the same briefing materials I have, with deails on exactly how to enter this into their booking system.
If you booked your ticket through any other website like Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz etc., you need to call them.
If you booked through another airline (for example Frankfurt - Toronto - Winnipeg, on Lufthansa and then Air Canada), you need to call your original airline.
An easy way to tell is to look for a 13-digit ticket number on your reservation, if it starts with "014" then your booking is through Air Canada, if it starts with anything else then you're booked through a different airline and you need to call their reservation center or your travel agent to rebook.