Air Canada increases fees to change flights before departure

If you are flying Air Canada and need to change your flight, you may be expected to pay a little more for that option.

Up to 2 hours before departure, Air Canada customers are now asked to pay additional $25

Some time in early March, Air Canada increased the change-flight fee for its Tango and Flex fares. Customers are now being asked to shell out an additional $25 plus the difference in cost of the flight if there is one. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

If you are flying Air Canada and need to change your flight, you may be expected to pay a little more for that option. 

Some time in early March, the airline quietly upped the change-flight fee for its Tango and Flex fares. Customers are now being asked to shell out an additional $25, plus the difference in cost to a more expensive flight, depending on when the change is requested.  

Air Canada spokeswoman Isabelle Arthur said the fees were recently reviewed after they had not changed for several years. 

In correspondence with both WestJet and Porter, CBC News learned that neither airline has recently adjusted the change-flight fee. Both companies added they don't have plans to do so. 

Here's a comparison of the three airlines and their current change-flight fees. All are subject to taxes and some may be affected by the difference in fares when tickets are switched to a different flight.

Air Canada

Up to two hours prior to departure:

  • Tango: increased from $75 in February to $100 in March
  • Flex: increased from $50 in February to $75 in March
  • Latitude (unchanged): the cost of the fare difference, if there is one.

Air Canada's change fees are different when you make changes at the counter. On Rapidair routes and flights between Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver, the change fee was also increased from $75 to $100 in early March. 

WestJet

Changes made within 24 hours of booking incur no cost. For all changes made more than 24 hours after booking the flight:

  • Econo fare: $75 - $88.50
  • Flex fare: $50 - $59
  • Plus fare: the cost of the fare difference, if there is one.

Porter

Up to one hour prior to departure:

  • Domestic: $75 on Firm fare; $50 on Flexible fare
  • International: $200 on Firm fare; $200 on Flexible fare
  • On Freedom fare, there is no fee in addition to the fare difference for domestic or international flights.

On Firm fare, changes made to Porter flights at the airport are $150. That fee is reduced to $75 if customers are travelling between Toronto and Montreal or Ottawa. 

Sunwing's change-flight fees are more complex, depending on whether the flight is domestic, international, or whether part of a vacation package. 

Airline fees were last increased most notably in November. WestJet and Air Canada began charging $25 for the first checked bag, as well as for certain on-board comforts. Porter also now charges for checked baggage. 

In February, Air Canada CEO Calin Rovinescu reported a record adjusted net profit of $1.2 billion for 2015. That number is well and above the previous record of $531 million set in 2014. 

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