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Air Canada Connecting Flights


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This is an Air Canada connecting flights guide.

The guide contains information about Air Canada connecting flights, passenger rights, baggage rules and compensation regulation. Air Canada is the flag carrier of Canada. It is one of the largest airlines in the country. Along with its regional partners, the airline operates flights to 200+ destinations worldwide.

Did you miss a connecting flight? File a compensation claim online.

Air Canada plane
Air Canada plane


Is It Protected?

Yes, it’s a protected connection.

Traditional airlines sell airline-protected connecting flights. It’s more convenient and more safe than self-transfer flights. You don’t need a visa for connecting flights like this.

Unless you book flights separately.

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Baggage Rules

Airline takes care of your baggage.

Mostly, you will check in baggage only once — you won’t have to recheck baggage for every flight. This is how it works with full-service airlines and airline-protected connecting flights.

Baggage allowance depends on the ticket, destination and occasionally some other factors. 


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1. Air Canada Connecting Flights

Air Canada is a full-service traditional airline.

Full-service traditional airlines offer airline-protected connecting flights. It is one of the main differences between traditional and low-cost airlines. Airline-protected connecting flights are considered to be better than self transfers.

Airline-protected connecting flights are:

  • Safer. Your airline takes care of flight problems.
  • More convenient. Baggage transfer is automatic.
  • Easier to book. You book several flights as a single journey.

Yes, Air Canada sells airline-protected connecting flights.

1.1 Connecting Flights, One Airline

You have booked a connecting flight with Air Canada.

In many cases, your connecting flight will be operated only by Air Canada. The flight will be serviced by an Air Canada plane manned by Air Canada staff. But it’s not always the case with Air Canada connecting flights.

1.2 Air Canada Codeshare Partners

Sometimes airlines share their flights.

It is done to widen the flight network. So that the airline can provide more flights to its customers. Even to destinations it would not normally service. Connecting flights with different airlines is a a common practice in aviation industry. These kind of flights are called codeshare flights, and airlines collaborating — codeshare partners.

What you should know is that:

  • If you miss a connecting flight through no fault of your own, contact Air Canada to learn more about your options. In most cases, you will be issued a new ticket fee of charge. As long as it’s an Air Canada connection booked from Air Canada (legally they are called marketing airline, in this arrangement), they have to take you to your destination. Even if a part of your connecting flight is operated by a partner airline.
  • If your flight is heavily delayed, cancelled or overbooked, compensation is paid by airline operating this particular flight. If it’s operated by some other airline, not Air Canada, then they are called operating airline — they have to pay compensation when it’s due.

See a list of Air Canada codeshare partners here.

Chairs at an airport
Chairs in front of an airport gate

2. What If Air Canada Cancels a Flight?

Why is Air Canada cancelling flights?

Just like any other airline, Air Canada can cancel their flights, if there are certain problems. Such as: bad weather, staff shortage, airport congestion, security issues and various technical problems. These are just some of the most popular reasons why airlines cancel their flights.

2.1 One of Your Flights Is Cancelled

Air Canada is a Canadian airline.

According to the EU Regulation 261/2004, they must:

  • Offer you a choice between a new flight and full refund.
  • Offer you assistance at the airport (you have a right to care).

This applies to all their flights departing from Europe.

If you miss your flight due to delay or cancellation of the previous flight, Air Canada should offer you a new flight (free of charge). If your Air Canada flight departs from Europe, you may request a full refund, if the alternate flight you were offered doesn’t fit your travel plans. Also you may have a right to compensation (more on this below).

Did you miss a connecting flight? File a compensation claim online.

2.2 All Your Flights Are Cancelled

Overall, for you as a passenger, the options are the same.

According to the EU Regulation 261/2004, Air Canada must:

  • Offer you a choice between a new flight and full refund.
  • Offer you assistance at the airport if it’s a last-minute cancellation and you are already at the airport (you have a right to care).

This applies to all their flights departing from Europe.

Refund must be paid within seven days.

You may have a right to EU flight cancellation compensation (conditions apply).

2.3 Air Canada Refund for Cancellation

Yes, you have a right to ask for a refund.

If your Air Canada flight departs from Europe, and it has been cancelled, you may choose between a new flight or a full refund. This refund has to be paid by bank transfer within 7 days. You don’t have to accept any coupons, vouchers or miles.

Hong Kong airport layover
Hong Kong airport

3. Air Canada Missed Connecting Flight

Why people miss their connecting flights?

There are a number of reasons. It could be anything from a simple mistake (like confusing am with pm or waiting at the wrong gate) to something more serious like airport congestion. You could miss your flight because your previous flight was delayed or cancelled. The reasons are different.

3.1 What Happens If You Miss Air Canada Connection?

If it’s your fault that it has happened — it’s your responsibility.

If it’s not your fault, then your airline has to solve this issue. If you booked a flight from Air Canada, it doesn’t even matter if the flight is operated by Air Canada or not, you should contact Air Canada. You missed a connecting flight through no fault of your own, Air Canada must offer you a solution. In most cases, it will be new flight to your destination. 

According to the EU Regulation 261/2004, they must:

  • Take you to your final destination as soon as possible.
  • Offer you assistance at the airport (you have a right to care).

With Air Canada, some of this apply only to flights from Europe.

Read more: Missed Connecting Flight Due to Delay 

3.2 Right to Compensation from Air Canada

Sometimes you have a right to compensation.

If your Air Canada flight:

  1. Departs from the EU, EEA or UK,
  2. Arrives to destination 3 or more hours late,
  3. Is delayed or cancelled due to the fault of the airline

Then you might be entitled to receive flight compensation from the airline.

Flight cancelled less than 2 weeks before the trip?

You might be entitled to flight cancellation compensation.


File a Claim Online

3.3 Right to Care from Air Canada

On all flights from Europe you have a right to care.

According to the EU Regulation 261/2004 airline should provide:

  • Free food and drinks in a reasonable relation to the waiting time.
  • Free hotel accommodation if a stay of one or more nights is necessary.
  • Free airport transfer to hotel and back.
  • Plus, two telephone calls, telex or fax messages, or e-mails. So that you contact your family and friends to let them know about the delay.

In Air Canada’s case, these regulations only apply to flights departing from Europe (EEZ, to be more precise). If it’s a European airline, like KLMLOT Polish AirlinesWizz Air and British Airways, it applies to all the flights.

When it comes to air passenger rights, unless otherwise stated, we talk about air passenger rights in the EU, EEA and UK. When we say Europe or European, we mean EU, EEA or UK. This is done for the simplicity, since the according laws in these countries are about the same.

Istanbul Airport
Istanbul Airport

4. How to Book Connecting Flights with Air Canada?

You can do it directly from Air Canada or via a third-party.

We would recommend you to book an Air Canada connecting flight directly from the airline (using their official website). But there’s another option — using a third party flight booking site such as or 

How to Book?

Airline website (directly).

This is the easiest way to book a connecting flight. It’s also the safest way to book a connection. You make a single booking, have a single reservation code and the booking includes several flights. Sometimes they are all with one airline, other times – two or more. Anyway, in this case, you can be 100% sure that you have a proper connecting flight.

Other Option

Flight booking websites.

Few examples:,,

Pay attention to the details. Because some of these sites are only search engines, and sellers are other websites. Apart from that, they often sell both airline-protected connecting flights and self-transfer flights. If it’s a self-transfer, know that it comes with its own risks, and there are things you should take into account. Self-transfer is not the same thing as airline-protected transfer. 

For extra protection, buy also a travel insurance covering flight disruptions, or book with sites like, who offer extra protection.

With you are more protected than normally.

Read more: How to Book Connecting Flights?

Two backpacks

5. Air Canada Connecting Flights: Baggage

Since Air Canada is a traditional airline, everything’s very easy.

Baggage rules on connecting flights with Air Canada are simple.

In short, Air Canada takes care of your baggage. If you have an Air Canada connecting flight (even if it’s operated by Air Canada’s partner), in most cases you won’t have to worry about your bag. You check it in only once, before your first flight, and the airline takes care of your bag throughout the journey. You don’t have to collect and recheck your luggage between flights. Unless you have a self-transfer, or you’re traveling through a country that requires everyone to collect and recheck their baggage (e.g., USA).

If you have doubts, ask staff at check in or baggage drop counter.

5.1 Baggage Transfer: Different Airlines

What happens if there are several airlines?

What if one of your flights is operated by different airline, not Air Canada? As we already talked, you may experience this, because Air Canada does share some of its flights with its codeshare partners. In this situation the rules are the same — your baggage is being taken care of by an airline.

There’s a high possibility that you won’t have to worry about it.

Read more:

5.2 Air Canada Free Baggage Allowance

Baggage allowance varies — it’s not the same on all flights.

It depends on the airline, travel class, ticket type and destination.

Check your booking confirmation to see what is your baggage allowance. When you are booking a flight, you can see baggage allowance when choosing your ticket type and travel class.

5.3 Economy Light

This is the cheapest option for long-haul flights.

Economy Light comes without free baggage allowance.

We see this all across the industry. Full-service traditional airlines are offering also tickets without free checked baggage allowance. The wording is also often the same — Economy Light. So, if you see this, most likely it’s without checked baggage (carry on baggage only).

When you see cheap Air Canada flights, pay attention to this. Because Air Canada also offers a similar ticket type. It is called “Economy Basic”. If you travel with more than a carry on, this option is not for you.

Frankfurt City Centre
Frankfurt’s old town

6. Connecting Flight Examples

Here are two connecting flight examples with Air Canada.

6.1 Protected Connecting Flights with Air Canada (Most Common)

For this example I’ll use the website of Air Canada.

Let’s assume, you want to fly from Vancouver to Frankfurt.

You have found flights for October 1, and these are some of the options:

Vancouver - Frankfurt Germany Connecting Flight with Air Canada
Vancouver – Frankfurt Connecting Flight with Air Canada

On their website Air Canada sells both direct and connecting flights. Their connecting flights are airline protected. As you can see, there are both direct and connecting flights from Vancouver to Frankfurt. Some of these connecting flights are partly operated by Lufthansa, one of Air Canada’s codeshare partners.

If this matters to you, and if you want to travel on an Air Canada flight, pay attention to these details. Also don’t forget to check flight duration, number of stops and price, as they vary, too. 

Let’s choose one flight. For example, let’s take the cheapest option which is a connecting flight fully operated by Air Canada. It has one stop – a layover in Montréal. Total flight duration is 23 hours and 45 minutes.

6.2 Self-Transfer Flights with Air Canada

Now, let’s assume, that your itinerary is slightly more complex.

Your final destination is Hamburg. You want to fly from Vancouver to Frankfurt, and from Frankfurt onwards to Hamburg. But before that you want to spend a day or two in Frankfurt. 

  1. You can book a connecting flight to Frankfurt, like in the example above. You’re taking one of the cheapest options, the first one, which arrives in Frankfurt at 8:10 am. 
  2. And then you go to, or some other flight booking website, and book a flight from Frankfurt to Hamburg. Leaving yourself, let’s say, 30 hours in Frankfurt. That’s enough for a “layover in Frankfurt”. You may also book a flight directly from airline.

The first flight (Vancouver to Frankfurt, with a stop in Montréal) is an airline-protected connecting flight. This means that you are protected in case of delays and cancellations. If you miss your connection because of that, the airline will provide you with a new ticket free of charge. The last flight (Frankfurt – Hamburg), however, is a separate flight. With a self-transfer stopover

When booking such a flight, leave yourself plenty of time. As you will need to collect and recheck your baggage and separately check in for this flight. Take this into account and don’t risk with short layovers.

What is your experience with Air Canada? Have you ever missed a connecting flight with Air Canada? How did the airline solve this? Did you receive compensation from Air Canada?

Featured photo by Max Walter

About the author:

Co-founder and Editor at Connecting Flights Guide

Una is an organized globetrotter and foodie who’s been living a digital nomad lifestyle since 2013. She always starts her day early with a good book before diving into work. Apart from traveling and aviation, her other passions include gym, hiking and cycling. Una is also a strong proponent of AI technology. She firmly believes in its potential to simplify life and has often advocated for its wider adoption in our day-to-day activities. Her favorite airlines are Qatar Airways, Emirates, and KLM.


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Connecting Flights Guide

Your go-to guide to air travel rules and regulations. Connecting flights, self transfer, onward tickets and more – we want you to understand air travel better

This article may contain compensated links. Learn more in our disclaimer.

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