Air Canada Adds Free In-Flight Messaging

by | May 15, 2023

Air Canada is the latest airline to announce that passengers will have access to free connectivity while in the air. The improvement is live as of today, so it’s worth taking a closer look.

Air Canada To Offer Free In-Flight Messaging Starting May 15, 2023

Air Canada has confirmed that members of its Aeroplan frequent-flyer program will get free in-flight messaging worldwide on Wi-Fi-equipped aircraft across its fleet. This includes Air Canada Rouge and Air Canada Express flights.

Starting Monday, May 15, 2023, passengers will be able to send and receive text-based messages via onboard Wi-Fi using popular messaging apps such as Apple’s iMessage, Meta’s WhatsApp and Messenger, Rakuten’s Viber, and Messages by Google on Air Canada flights without purchasing an in-flight connectivity package.

Interestingly, the benefit will also extend to strategic partner airline loyalty members. Customers of United MileagePlus, Lufthansa Group Miles & More, and Emirates Skywards when their account numbers are associated with an Air Canada booking.

The move was announced as part of a multi-year partnership with Canadian telecommunications company Bell on May 3, 2023.

“Canadians are at the centre of this exciting new partnership. We’re so proud to join with an iconic brand to deliver real value to customers across the country, and, importantly, to those new to our country. This multi-faceted partnership with Bell will allow Air Canada customers to keep in touch with friends, family, or colleagues wherever they travel. What’s more, we’re elated that Bell will be joining as the latest Aeroplan partner, creating another way for members to travel more, and travel better.”

Mark Nasr, Air Canada EVP and Aeropland President

“We’re excited to partner with Air Canada, and innovate on delivering enhanced experiences for our customers. For those new to Canada or visiting, we recognize how important it is to stay connected with family and friends, and the new opportunities being connected can bring. Many are already familiar with Bell and know we offer the best network, and we’re thrilled to be making it even easier for them to connect when they arrive in Canada.”

Claire Gillies, EVP at Bell

The partnership extends beyond in-flight Wi-Fi, newcomers and visitors to Canada will be offered complimentary mobile SIM cards on select inbound international flights, allowing passengers to activate in flight and stay connected as soon as they land.

As part of this partnership, Air Canada and Bell aim to collaborate in additional areas of customer benefit. This includes developing and offering Aeroplan promotional rewards and expanding Air Canada’s award-winning in-flight entertainment offering with the introduction of Live TV service on flights to the U.S., expected later this summer.

The Growing Trend of In-Flight Connectivity

Air Canada’s move to offer free in-flight messaging is part of a growing trend among airlines offering free Wi-Fi in the air.

Competitors like Delta and Star Alliance partner Turkish Airlines are among the airlines that have recently announced similar initiatives with Delta offering free Wi-Fi and Turkish offering messaging. This shift towards providing greater connectivity at no cost signals a change in passenger experience expectations that airlines increasingly must keep in mind to stay competitive.

The fact that Air Canada’s free in-flight messaging offer extends not only to Aeroplan members but also to members of key partner programs is interesting. This inclusive approach sets it apart from other airlines that only provide access to members of their own frequent flyer program.

Bottom Line

Air Canada is the latest airline to allow for a more connected travel experience by offering free in-flight messaging to Aeroplan members and partner loyalty program members. This shift towards providing greater connectivity at no cost signals a change in passenger experience expectations that airlines increasingly must keep in mind to stay competitive. Free in-flight messaging on Air Canada is live starting today, May 15, 2023.

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