Business & Premium Classes

Air Canada Premium Economy: If It's Worth It and How to Get a Deal

By
Kaitlyn McInnis
|
Freelance Writer
Air Canada plane.
May 4, 2022
|
8 min read

Servicing more than 210 airports across six continents, Air Canada is the largest domestic and international airline in Canada. The flagship Canadian airline was named Best Airline in North America for over three years in a row and is largely recognized for its airline staff, on-board and lounge menus, and cabin cleanliness.

The Air Canada premium economy experience is an excellent example of the hospitality and in-flight benefits that the airline has become known for and is well-worth the additional fees if you prefer a streamlined experience with additional creature comforts. The upgraded cabin offers some of the exact same benefits as the more expensive business class cabin—including advance boarding and free priority checked luggage—for a fraction of the price.

Whether you’re looking for a more comfortable flying experience or you simply want to streamline your time at the airport in the most efficient way possible, Air Canada premium economy is leagues above its regular economy offerings. Here’s everything you need to know about flying Air Canada premium economy—from the on-board menu and wine list to the cabin configurations:

What to know about Air Canada premium economy

premium economy seats on Air Canada.

The Air Canada premium economy cabin is available on all international and domestic flights on Boeing 777, Boeing 747, and A330-300 aircrafts. The 2-3-2 arrangement is ideal for passengers who want easier access to the aisle and more legroom and recline, but don’t want to pay a premium for a full lie-flat seat.

How Air Canada premium economy compares to regular economy

Air Canada premium economy is a major step above regular economy—especially if you value priority services and a more streamlined experience at the airport and on-board. Major benefits that don’t apply to regular economy passengers include a larger seat (18-20 inches compared to 17 inches in economy) with deeper recline and more legroom, in-seat power at every seat, priority boarding, priority check-in, and priority baggage handling as well.

How Air Canada premium economy compares to business class 

Air Canada premium economy is an excellent alternative to business class if you’re looking for priority service without the business class price tag. Premium economy passengers will receive the same expedited check-in and priority baggage services, advanced boarding, and larger, more comfortable seats. The biggest difference is that premium economy tickets do not include lie-flat seats or lounge access while Air Canada's business class does.

Examples of previous deals we've found Scott's Cheap Flights members on Air Canada

graphic that says save up to 90% on premium economy

The Air Canada premium economy experience at the airport 

Air Canada premium economy check-in

Air Canada premium economy checkin

The Air Canada premium economy experience starts at check-in. Priority airport services include a priority check-in service with dedicated counters to expedite the process. Unfortunately the premium economy fare does not include expedited security but Air Canada Aeroplan Elite members can use the priority security lane when flying premium economy.

Air Canada premium economy baggage

Air Canada premium economy also includes two free checked bags and priority baggage handling that make the baggage claim experience much more expedited. Priority bags will be labeled with special tags so they’ll be the first to arrive on the carousel for Air Canada Signature Class, Business Class, Premium Economy Class, Premium Rouge customers and eligible Air Canada Elite members.

The Air Canada premium economy experience in the air

Air Canada premium economy seats

  • Boeing 777: The Air Canada Premium Economy cabin on Boeing 777 aircrafts features wider seats with more recline and legroom, and personal touch-screen TVs with on-demand entertainment. The seats are arranged in a 2-3-2 configuration and includes 21 seats total.
  • Boeing 787: The Air Canada Premium Economy cabin on Boeing 787 is nearly identical to the 777 with a similar  2-3-2 configuration.
  • A330-300: The Air Canada Premium Economy configuration on the A330-300 is also 2-3-2 and features a personal cocktail table, wider seats, and personal touch-screen TVs. Each seat also comes with a personalized power charger that you won’t have to share with your neighbors.
Air Canada premium economy.

Air Canada premium economy benefits

Air Canada premium economy benefits include a small but efficient amenity kit that contains a small toothbrush and toothpaste, an eye mask, and ear plugs. Passengers will also receive a small water bottle upon boarding as well as a pillow and blanket on international or long haul domestic flights.

Air Canada premium economy meals

The Air Canada premium economy experience includes enhanced food offerings that are fresher and of higher quality than basic economy and include menu items like garden salads and hot casserole dishes like stuffed ravioli and chicken parmesan. North American flights will include a cold meal while international flights will feature a three-course meal in collaboration with celebrity chef Jérôme Ferrer. The meal service is also served on real china and glassware with silverware rather than in plastic containers and disposable silverware.

Air Canada premium economy alcohol

Air Canada premium economy doesn’t offer the same extensive wine list as its business class but travelers can still order individual sized bottles of red, white, or sparkling wine, which have been curated by Air Canada sommelier, Veronique Rivest, and will be served in a real wine glass. Premium economy passengers will also have access to a selection of domestic beer and limited spirits. 

How to book Air Canada premium economy

How much does it cost for a premium economy ticket on Air Canada?

Premium economy tickets on Air Canada range greatly in price depending on the destination, season, and flight availability. Expect to pay about 30% more for a premium economy ticket versus a regular Air Canada economy ticket.

How to upgrade to premium economy of Air Canada for free

Although it’s possible to be selected for a free upgrade to Air Canada premium economy if the flight is overbooked—it’s not common to receive a completely free upgrade. The best way to save on premium economy flights with Air Canada is to join the Air Canada Aeroplan membership.

Air Canada Elite members receive annual benefits that include free upgrades and major discounts on premium economy flights both for themselves and for passengers they’re traveling with. Members also have access to a number eUpgrade credits based on status which can be used to upgrade from economy to business class.

How much does it cost to upgrade to premium economy on Air Canada? 

Air Canada offers a Last Minute Upgrade Purchase that is available online up to 24 hours prior to departure or at check in up to one hour prior to departure for most domestic and international flights. The fee to upgrade to premium economy depends on the availability and flight path but tends to cost between $50 to $300 per passenger.

How many miles to upgrade to Air Canada premium economy?

Air Canada Aeroplan members can upgrade to premium economy for about 15,000 miles depending on the route, the seasonality, and how close to your departure time you’re requesting an upgrade.

Summary

The Air Canada premium economy cabin is well-worth the additional price—especially for those looking for a more streamlined and efficient airport experience. The priority check-in, advanced boarding, and free priority baggage make the airport experience much more pleasant and stress-free.

The in-flight amenities, including larger seats, curated wine list, and in-flight meals served on real china and glassware offer a much more dignified and comfortable way to travel without having to splurge on the full business class experience—whether on short haul domestic flights or international flights.

More premium economy resources

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Frequently asked questions about Air Canada premium economy

What does Air Canada premium economy include?

Air Canada premium economy cabins feature wider seats with more recline and legroom, complimentary meals, wines and spirits, and personal touch-screen TVs with on-demand entertainment. International premium economy includes a water bottle upon boarding, premium economy amenity kit, menu card, premium earphones, pillow/blanket, pre-meal bar and beverage service featuring exclusive premium economy wines selected by Air Canada sommelier, Veronique Rivest, and a premium all-inclusive meal tray with hot meal choices.

Do you get lounge access with Air Canada premium economy?

Air Canada premium economy tickets do not include lounge access. That said—Aeroplan Elite members have access to all Air Canada Maple Leaf and Star Alliance member’s lounges no matter what fare they’re flying.

Is food served in premium economy on Air Canada?

Yes—food is served in premium economy on all Air Canada flights. North America premium economy flights under two hours include bar and beverage services with a premium snack basket or breakfast pastries on morning flights. Flights over two hours include pre-meal bar and beverage services with exclusive premium economy wines selected by Air Canada sommelier, Veronique Rivest. A premium all-inclusive meal tray with hot meal choices will be served during the flight and a premium snack basket and bar/beverage service will be offered prior to landing on flights over four hours.

How many checked bags do you get in Air Canada premium economy?

Air Canada premium economy passengers can expect to get two free checked bags of up to 50 pounds each. Those with Air Canada Aeroplan Elite 35K, 50K, 75K, and Super Elite status can also check a third bag for free.

What are the best seats in Air Canada premium economy?

All of the Air Canada premium economy seats are virtually identical so it comes down to a matter of traveler preference, for example whether one prefers the window or aisle seat. That said, you’ll want to select your seat as soon as possible if you’d prefer to avoid the middle seat.

Last Updated 
May 4, 2022
Air Canada Premium Economy: If It's Worth It and How to Get a Deal
Kaitlyn McInnis
Freelance Writer

Kaitlyn McInnis is a Montreal-based author writer who has been published in publications across five continents, including Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, South China Morning Post, CNN, The Points Guy, and more. She holds a Bachelor of Arts focused in English Literature and Irish Studies and is working toward a Master of Fine Arts from the University of King's College in Nova Scotia.

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