How to Fly Standby With Air Canada | Standby Policy

Understanding the Standby Policy

Air Canada’s standby policy might seem complex at first, but once you understand its basics, it’s a great tool in your travel arsenal. The policy essentially allows you some flexibility in flight adjustments at the last minute. Now, let’s get down into the nitty-gritty detailing of the policy.

First off, standby flights are subject to availability. Standby isn’t a guarantee of travel but rather an opportunity to take an earlier or later flight. This might be beneficial when unforeseen circumstances arise or plans suddenly change. The trick is to keep a keen eye out for available seats.

Changes can be made on the same day as your original flight. Standby is typically for the same-day switches either at your origin or destination points. You can’t use standby to change your departure city or destination.

A fee may be a part of your standby journey. Unless you’re flying on a flexible or business fare where standby is included in the ticket price, most travelers will need to pay a fee to fly standby. The charges usually depend on your specific fare type, airline status, and flight direction. Here’s a simple table to help you grasp it:

Fare Type Airline Status Standby Fee
Flexible Any Included
Business Any Included
Other Fares Premium Status Small Fee
Other Fares Non-Premium Status Higher Fee

But, remember that the standby policy is subject to airline policy changes and may vary depending on your fare rules. So, it’s invaluable to stay updated with Air Canada’s standby policy to make the most out of your journey.

Eligibility Criteria for Standby Flights

Now that you’re familiar with the basics of Air Canada’s standby policy, let’s investigate into understanding who is eligible to fly standby and what conditions apply.

Keep in mind, not everyone is eligible to fly standby on Air Canada flights. The eligibility largely hinges on the type of ticket you have, your destination, and your status with the airline.

Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Fare type: Only tickets purchased under certain fare classifications are eligible. Most notably, Basic Economy fares do not offer standby options. Your mileage may vary with other fare types, so always check the specific fare conditions at the time of booking.
  • Airline status: If you’re a member of Air Canada’s loyalty program, you might be in luck. Status members often have more flexibility when it comes to changes, including access to standby flights. Priority for standby is generally given based on your status tier.
  • Flight direction: Standby isn’t available on all routes. Most commonly, you’ll find it on domestic flights and some flights to the United States.

Also, as we mentioned earlier, standby travel is subject to availability. Just because you meet the criteria doesn’t mean you’ll automatically nab a standby spot. You have to keep an eye on the flight load and be ready to go at a moment’s notice if a seat becomes available.

Remember, while standby does offer an element of flexibility, it’s not a guarantee. Be prepared for a bit of uncertainty and a potentially long wait at the airport.

With this standby game plan, you’ll be prepared to take on whatever travel obstacles come your way! And as always, for the most accurate and up-to-date information, make sure to visit the official Air Canada website.

Booking a Standby Flight with Air Canada

Understanding how to secure a standby seat with Air Canada is essential knowledge for the adaptability and versatility it offers. But, booking a standby spot comes with its steps and procedures that you should be aware of. Depending on your eligibility factors, securing these spots becomes relatively easy.

The booking process begins with purchasing a regular ticket. Unfortunately, Air Canada doesn’t sell standby tickets directly. Hence, any standby travel opportunity is decided on the day of departure.

Make sure to arrive at the airport early. As standby spots are offered based on seat availability after all confirmed passengers are accommodated, an early arrival increases your chances of securing a standby spot.

The next step is to speak to a customer service representative at the Air Canada counter. Let them know that you’re interested in flying standby. They’ll guide you through the rest of the process, including providing a list of flights and helping you get your name on the standby list.

Remember, standby travel on Air Canada is always subject to availability. So, you must remain patient and prepared for any outcome. As your standby status depends on different factors including fare type, airline status, and flight direction, knowing this can heighten your overall travel experience.

When you’re on standby, it’s smart to keep yourself updated through Air Canada’s flight schedule displayed in the airport, or the airline’s mobile app. Continually checking these resources will notify you of any changes, delays, or cancellations.

It’s also important to note that Air Canada may charge a standby fee for certain fare types. This fee varies on different factors. For instance, no standby fee is charged to Air Canada Altitude Elite 35K members and above, while other customers may have to pay accordingly.

Sure, standby travel may seem a bit uncertain at first. But with careful planning and the ability to adapt to changes quickly, you often have the chance to benefit from this flexible travel option.

Standby Fees and Charges

Now that you’ve got a grasp of Air Canada’s standby policy, let’s investigate into another important aspect – Standby Fees and Charges. Understanding this facet of your journey can go a long way in making your standby travel experience smoother.

First off, it’s crucial to remember these fees are not fixed and can vary. Factors influencing the costs include your fare type, airline status, and even the specific route of your flight. In certain scenarios, influences might include the type of ticket you’re switching from and the distance you plan to travel.


Fare Type Flight Distance Standby Fees
Tango Short-haul 30-75 CAD
Flex Long-haul 100-200 CAD
Premium Economy Transcontinental 0 CAD
Business Class International 0 CAD

To shed more light on the variability, a Tango fare may impose charges between $30 to $75 CAD for short-haul standby switches. Whereas, a Flex fare might cost between $100 to $200 CAD for long-haul changes. You will observe that Premium Economy and Business Class tickets on transcontinental and international flights respectively bear no cost. This fee structure serves as a broad guideline, but it’s subject to change based on Air Canada’s policy.

In some instances, frequent travelers with an Aeroplan Elite Status, Super Elite 100K, or Latitude fare can enjoy the privilege of standby travel without any additional cost. Remember to clarify with Air Canada or check their website to ascertain your status and the potential charges you may accrue for standby flight changes. Double-check these details before you arrive at the airport to sign up for the standby list, since it is in your favor to be prepared for any possible charges.

Wise passengers often ensure they’ve considered the possible standby fees and charges as they plan their standby travel. It’s also advisable to stay informed and updated on these fees, as they could change over time. Consider this knowledge that eases your standby flying experience.

Tips and Tricks for Successful Standby Travel

Now that you’re somewhat familiar with Air Canada’s standby policy, standby fees, and your eligibility, let’s investigate into some insider tips and tricks for making your standby travel experience smoother.

One of the cardinal rules of standby travel is to travel light. Standby passengers are often the last to board, and it’s likely that the overhead storage space may be full. With just a carry-on, you can sidestep the potential headache of arranging for checked luggage. Just remember to check Air Canada’s carry-on size and weight limits first.

Ensure you plan your time wisely. It’s no secret that standby flights can be unpredictable. Being prepared to wait is a part of the process. Have a book, work, or entertainment handy to pass the time.

Let’s be clear, you’re at the airport, you have a plan A, but do you have a plan B or even better, a plan C? It’s not wise to put all your eggs in one basket when you’re flying standby. You never know how many others are hoping to nab that last minute spot. Research and have a list of possible alternative flights ready to increase your odds of flying.

Understandably, this can sound a bit daunting. So don’t forget, knowledge is power. Stay informed, watch for changes in fare codes, stay on top of the Air Canada standby policy, and be sure to clarify any questions with Air Canada beforehand.

Moving on, keep in mind that frequent flyer miles can add up quick. If you’re part of an Air Canada frequent flyer program, you may be able to use these points for standby travel. Check and ensure your frequent flyer status’ allowances to take full advantage.

By following these insider tips, your experience flying standby with Air Canada can be less stressful and more enjoyable. The trick is to stay informed, be prepared, and remain flexible with your travel plans.


Navigating Air Canada’s standby policy isn’t always a breeze, but with the right knowledge and preparation, you can turn it into a smooth journey. Remember, your eligibility for standby flights hinges on factors like fare type, airline status, and flight direction. But even if you meet all the criteria, it’s important to be aware that availability isn’t guaranteed.

You’ve got some handy tricks up your sleeve now. Travel light, manage your time well, have a plan B, stay informed, and make the most of your frequent flyer miles. These tips can help you enjoy a less stressful and more successful standby experience with Air Canada.

Always keep yourself updated with Air Canada’s standby policy. With uncertainty a part of the standby process, being prepared is your best bet. So, ready to take on your next standby adventure with Air Canada?

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Who is eligible for Air Canada’s standby flights?

Air Canada’s standby flights are not open to everyone. Eligibility factors include the fare type purchased, airline status, and the direction of the flight. Refer to Air Canada’s policies for specific details.

2. If I meet the eligibility criteria for standby, will I definitely get a seat?

No, meeting the eligibility criteria does not guarantee a standby spot. Availability of seats on standby travel is limited and subject to the airline’s discretion.

3. How can I improve my chances of getting a standby seat on Air Canada?

Part of the secret to standby success lies in effective planning. Travel light, plan your time wisely, consider alternative flights, stay informed about the airline’s policy, and make use of your frequent flyer miles if you have them.

4. What should I expect when flying standby?

Expect uncertainty and possible lengthy waits at the airport when you’re flying standby. Always stay updated with Air Canada’s standby policy and be prepared for changes.

5. Does Air Canada provide any tips for successful standby travel?

Air Canada suggests traveling light, making wise time management decisions, having alternative flight options, staying informed about updates, and utilizing your frequent flyer miles for a smoother standby flying experience.

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