Air Canada has changed its programs for mature travelers. Most of the changes are for the better, except for some slightly increased prices due to inflation.
The carrier has expanded its Freedom Flyer senior fare program and dropped the minimum age to 60 from 62.
Unlike most U.S. carriers, which have discontinued their basic senior discounts, Air Canada now offers discounts of 10% to seniors on all of its fares, even the lowest discount fares.
Discounts are in effect on fares within North America, and to the United Kingdom and the Caribbean.
A companion of any age can accompany the senior passenger for the same fare, provided that they travel together.
While the senior discount remains 10%, such restrictions as advance purchase and off-peak travel vary with the discounted fares.
Since the across-the-board airline discount fares are normally quick to sell out, travelers wishing to get an additional 10% discount should act fast.
Air Canada also now offers Freedom Flyer senior coupon books, which it calls "Single-Trips." Valid for one year, a four-coupon book costs $550, an eight-coupon book $889.
There are two "Multi-Stop" fare plans with the Freedom Flyer program. Travel must originate in the United States and, again, applies to travelers age 60 and over. It's $508 for one trip, with up to four different stopovers (up just $9 from last year), and $677 for a trip with five to eight stopovers (up $78 from last year). The carrier has discontinued a nine- to 12-stop plan offered last year.
A companion of any age may accompany the senior traveler for the same discounted fare, provided that they travel together on the same itinerary.
There is a minimum travel period of seven days for the Multi-Stop programs, and a 14-day advance purchase requirement for the Multi-Stop programs and Single-Trip fares. The fee for cancellations or changes has been lowered from $75 to $42.
New this year is an option for Freedom Flyers to purchase, while in Canada, a seven-day pass on Greyhound Lines of Canada for $99 Canadian (about $114 U.S.). This allows travelers to explore most Canadian regions up close, or can provide ground travel to cities not served by Air Canada or its connector carriers.
As an example of how the Freedom Flyer Multi-Stop program could be used, Air Canada points out that a traveler could fly nonstop from Los Angeles to Toronto, then travel by bus to Montreal, continue across Canada to Vancouver, B.C., and fly home nonstop from Calgary to Los Angeles, all for $508.
For more information on Air Canada's various Freedom Flyer options, contact your travel agent or call Air Canada at (800) 776-3000.