Air Canada Is Ending Socially-Distanced Flights & In-Flight Meals Are Making A Comeback

The airline isn't blocking middle seats anymore.
Air Canada Is Ending Socially-Distanced Flights & In-Flight Meals Are Making A Comeback
Senior Editor

Air travel is about to look a little more familiar. Starting July 1, Air Canada will no longer block adjacent seats on its flights, meaning that you could be sitting beside a stranger again. In addition, meal services will be returning to some routes, and wider drinks selections will soon be available.

In a news release shared on June 29, Air Canada confirmed that they’d made some updates to their COVID-19 flight policies.

While the air carrier had previously promised to block middle seats to help enforce physical distancing, they will now sell all available seats.

“Starting July 1, Air Canada will replace its policy of guaranteeing adjacent seats in Economy Class are empty with a new transparent process offering flexible rebooking options for customers,” the airline explained.

The company says that when a flight is booked close to capacity, emails will be sent to all passengers in advance of check-in, giving them the opportunity to change flights at no extra cost.

Narcity has reached out to Air Canada for further information about the change and has asked whether passengers would be eligible for a monetary refund if they’d booked under the provision that the adjacent seat would be empty.

As part of the same announcement, the airline also confirmed that in-flight meals would soon be making a comeback.

From late July, Air Canada’s meal services will resume on all international flights. For flights within North America that are longer than two hours, a “limited inflight food option” will be re-introduced for pre-order.

“Customers will also be offered an expanded selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks adapted by cabin and route,” the airline explained.

Air Canada’s updated in-flight policies follow a similar change made by WestJet, which was also previously enforcing a one-seat distance between passengers.

However, last week WetJet confirmed that they would be selling all seats from July 1, per the guidance of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

"IATA’s guidance supports the removal of seat distancing," the airline said in a statement shared with Narcity.

While physical distancing will no longer be possible with the new seating plan, other health and safety measures will remain in place.

Passengers will still be required to have their temperature taken prior to boarding, and face masks will be mandatory during the flight.

In May, Air Canada revealed their updated summer schedule, with flights departing to almost 100 destinations.

Helena Hanson
Senior Editor
Helena Hanson is a Senior Editor for Narcity Media, leading the Travel and Money teams. She previously lived in Ottawa, but is now based in the U.K.