You are currently viewing You can now get free alcohol and snacks on your next Air Canada flight to Canada or to the USA

Good news! Air Canada now offers economy-class passengers free beer, wine, and snacks on domestic and transborder (USA) flights. This has been prompted by the fact Porter, a smaller premium Canadian airline, has been growing fast precisely on domestic and transborder routes… and has always offered free beer, wine, and snacks in economy. 

The only caveat, though, is that Air Canada is promoting this as a limited-time offer.

Here’s everything you need to know about this Air Canada’s economy-class improvement.

 

Overview of Air Canada’s new economy class improvement

New freebies. Let’s be realistic. Like any service or product in any industry, it’s not really free: it’s just built into the price, and therefore, you don’t even have the option of not paying for it if you don’t want alcohol or snacks. 

But most travelers will be fine with this tradeoff, and this is an awesome upgrade for them, just in time for the busy summer travel season.

Here are the essentials: 

  • New initiative by Canadian flag carrier Air Canada
    • To elevate the economy-class experience
    • Business class obviously already has everything free
  • Offered until the end of 2024
    • Represents a period of over 6 months
  • Free beer, wine, and premium snacks (and $5 spirits)
    • To improve the current free offering in economy
      • Non-alcoholic drinks
      • A simple snack
  • On all domestic and transborder flights
    • Flights within Canada
    • Flights to the USA
  • Already free on long-distance flights
    • So Mexico and the Caribbean are the only exclusions

Porter has long used free beer and wine (served in real glassware) as a differentiator. And since the pandemic, the airline has more than doubled its fleet and added numerous flights within Canada and to the USA. 

Of course, this Porter expansion is great news for travelers (even those who don’t fly with them): more competition means more pressure on all airlines to improve their offering or lower their prices… or even both.

That’s exactly what is happening! It’s no coincidence Air Canada is offering this precisely where Porter flies. Porter doesn’t serve Mexico and the Caribbean, and these are the only Air Canada routes with no free alcohol and snacks for the rest of the year.

 

What are Air Canada’s new free alcohol choices?

Previously, Air Canada only gave out free non-alcoholic beverages in economy on flights to Canada and the USA. All the alcohol options were only available for purchase — although they were free in business class on those flights of course.

air canada business class flight summer drinks san francisco
My Air Canada business class flight from San Francisco last summer (photo credit: Andrew D’Amours/Flytrippers)

 

If you’re flying within Canada or to the USA at any point this year, you now have a lot more options. You can now relax, sit back, and order alcoholic drinks!

Beer drinkers can choose between Hop Valley (Oregon), Creemore Springs Premium Lager (Ontario), Molson Canadian, and Coors Light.

Wine enthusiasts can choose between 2 options from Paul Mas, a producer based in the south of France: a robust red and a fresh, dry white.

beer and wine drinks on air canada
Beer and wine on Air Canada (photo credit: Air Canada)

 

Spirits aren’t included, as is often the case, but they are available for just $5. If you buy 2 in the same transaction, you’ll earn a whopping 25 Aeroplan points (≈ 38¢). A bit less than the 53,000 points you get with the American Express Aeroplan Card, isn’t it? 

Once again: welcome bonuses are the key! At least if you want to earn lots of free travel. It’s THE single most important thing to understand!

Best credit cards for
Aeroplan points
American Express® Aeroplan®* Card
American Express Aeroplan Card
Min. income (card):
Min. spend (bonus): $3k in 3 mos. + $1k
WELCOME BONUS
(Flytrippers VALUATION)
Rewards: ≈ $675
Card fee: $120
Aeroplan points: 53,000 pts
+ a free bag
on Air Canada
TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card
TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card
Min. income (card):
Min. spend (bonus): $12k in 12 mos. (or $7.5k for lower bonus)
WELCOME BONUS
(Flytrippers VALUATION)
ends September 3rd
Rewards: ≈ $641
Annual fee: $139
Aeroplan points: 40k pts with bonus
(52,000 pts total)
40k + 12k on min. spend
American Express Cobalt® Card
American Express Cobalt Card
Min. income (card):
Min. spend (bonus): $750/month for 12 months
WELCOME BONUS
(Flytrippers VALUATION)
Rewards: ≈ $900
Card fee: $156
Aeroplan points: 60,000 pts
+ 5X the points
best card in Canada
American Express® Aeroplan®* Reserve Card
American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card
Min. income (card):
Min. spend (bonus): $7.5k in 3 mos.
WELCOME BONUS
(Flytrippers VALUATION)
Rewards: ≈ $1041
Card fee: $599
Aeroplan points: 69,375 pts
+ unlimited AC lounges
& other AC benefits
TD® Aeroplan® Visa* Infinite Privilege* Card
TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege Card
Min. income (card):
Min. spend (bonus): $24k in 12 mos. (or $12k for lower bonus)
WELCOME BONUS
(Flytrippers VALUATION)
ends September 3rd
Rewards: ≈ $976
Annual fee: $599
Aeroplan points: 75k pts with bonus
(105,000 pts total)
75k + 30k on min. spend
American Express® Gold Rewards Card
American Express Gold Rewards Card
Min. income (card):
Min. spend (bonus): $1k/month for 12 months
WELCOME BONUS
(Flytrippers VALUATION)
Rewards: ≈ $1180
Card fee: $250
Aeroplan points: 72,000 pts
+ 4 lounges
and $100 travel credit
Platinum Card® from American Express
Platinum Card from American Express
Min. income (card):
Min. spend (bonus): $10k in 3 months
WELCOME BONUS
(Flytrippers VALUATION)
Rewards: ≈ $1600
Card fee: $799
Aeroplan points: 80,000 pts
+ unlimited PP lounges
and $200 travel credit
TD® Aeroplan® Visa* Platinum Card
TD Aeroplan Visa Platinum Card
Min. income (card):
Min. spend (bonus): $1k in 3 months
WELCOME BONUS
(Flytrippers VALUATION)
ends September 3rd
Rewards: ≈ $315
Annual fee: $0 $89
Aeroplan points: 20k pts with bonus
(21,000 pts total)
20k + 1k on min. spend
Terms and conditions apply. Flytrippers editorial opinion only. Financial institutions are not responsible for maintaining the content on this site. Please click "See More" to see most up-to-date information.
Best credit cards for
Aeroplan points
WELCOME BONUS
(Flytrippers VALUATION)
Aeroplan
points
American Express Aeroplan Card
Min. income (card):
Min. spend (bonus): $3k in 3 mos. + $1k
Rewards: ≈ $675
Card fee: $120
53,000 pts
+ a free bag
on Air Canada
TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card
Min. income (card):
Min. spend (bonus): $12k in 12 mos. (or $7.5k for lower bonus)
Rewards: ≈ $641
Annual fee: $139
40k pts with bonus
(52,000 pts total)
40k + 12k on min. spend
ends September 3rd
American Express Cobalt Card
Min. income (card):
Min. spend (bonus): $750/month for 12 months
Rewards: ≈ $900
Card fee: $156
60,000 pts
+ 5X the points
best card in Canada
American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card
Min. income (card):
Min. spend (bonus): $7.5k in 3 mos.
Rewards: ≈ $1041
Card fee: $599
69,375 pts
+ unlimited AC lounges
& other AC benefits
TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege Card
Min. income (card):
Min. spend (bonus): $24k in 12 mos. (or $12k for lower bonus)
Rewards: ≈ $976
Annual fee: $599
75k pts with bonus
(105,000 pts total)
75k + 30k on min. spend
ends September 3rd
American Express Gold Rewards Card
Min. income (card):
Min. spend (bonus): $1k/month for 12 months
Rewards: ≈ $1180
Card fee: $250
72,000 pts
+ 4 lounges
and $100 travel credit
Platinum Card from American Express
Min. income (card):
Min. spend (bonus): $10k in 3 months
Rewards: ≈ $1600
Card fee: $799
80,000 pts
+ unlimited PP lounges
and $200 travel credit
TD Aeroplan Visa Platinum Card
Min. income (card):
Min. spend (bonus): $1k in 3 months
Rewards: ≈ $315
Annual fee: $0 $89
20k pts with bonus
(21,000 pts total)
20k + 1k on min. spend
ends September 3rd
Terms and conditions apply. Flytrippers editorial opinion only. Financial institutions are not responsible for maintaining the content on this site. Please click "See More" to see most up-to-date information.

Currently, there’s even a promo offering a statement credit of 25% back on all onboard food and beverage purchases if you pay with a TD Aeroplan card (TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card, TD Aeroplan Visa Platinum Card, TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege Card). That means the $5 spirit costs a net of $3.75!

Moreover, did you know that Air Canada has the widest range of spirits of any airline in North America? Baileys Original Irish Cream, Canadian Club rye, Bacardi Superior rum, Bombay Sapphire gin, Smirnoff vodka, Tromba Tequila Blanco, or Campari — they are all $5.

spirits on air canada
Spirits on Air Canada (photo credit: Air Canada)

 

What are Air Canada’s new free snack choices?

Forget about boring pretzels.

air canada pretzels drinks fall flight
My Air Canada pretzels and drinks last fall (photo credit: Andrew D’Amours/Flytrippers)

 

If you get the munchies, Air Canada now serves complimentary premium sweet and savory snacks, like buttery herb and garlic pretzels from TWIGZ or Leclerc’s Célébration Cookies. Both are Canadian companies, as Air Canada genuinely seems to make an effort to showcase local products.

air canada premium snacks
Air Canada snacks (photo credit: Air Canada)

 

Air Canada’s PR team sent me a sample of many of their new onboard snacks and drinks earlier this year.

Air canada PR team snacks drinks
My box of Air Canada snacks and drinks (photo credit: Andrew D’Amours/Flytrippers)

 

So I can tell you the pretzels are really delicious.

TWIGZ pretzels delicious snack
My TWIGZ pretzels (photo credit: Andrew D’Amours/Flytrippers)

 

And as a big fan of cookies, I also very much enjoy Leclerc Célébration products, although I’m not sure I prefer them to the free Biscoffs currently served onboard.

Pro tip: you’re allowed to ask for more than one snack, as you have always been able to. I do it almost every time and, by asking nicely with a smile, I don’t remember ever being told no.

biscoff cookie air canada flight
My Biscoff cookie(s) on Air Canada last week (photo credit: Andrew D’Amours/Flytrippers)

 

Why Air Canada is improving the economy experience

Air Canada is the airline with the most robust premium offering in Canada. When it comes to food and beverage in particular, they really invest a lot more than others. But those who don’t fly with Air Canada for long-distance flights or in premium cabins may not realize it as much.

For a long time, Air Canada had no real nationwide competitor, and still today, it remains Canada’s only truly global airline.

WestJet has many flights within Canada, to the USA, and to Mexico and the Caribbean — and will have many more of those once they integrate Sunwing, although that has recently been delayed to 2025. However, WestJet is very focused on Western Canada.

But nowadays, Porter Airlines is expanding quickly across the country. Porter is now directly competing with Air Canada as it operates many domestic and transborder flights.

route map porter airlines flight connections
Porter route map (image credit: Flight Connections)

 

As I said earlier, on each of its flights, Porter offers free beer, wine, and snacks, to all passengers!  Porter’s tagline is even “Actually enjoy economy” and clearly Air Canada is fighting back to make its own economy experience better.

Porter even made fun of the Air Canada announcement on social media!

 

That being said, it’s worth mentioning that Porter has an extra perk in economy: there are no middle seats on any of its planes. Not everyone knows this, and it’s normal not to know all the intricacies of every airline. But all travelers should know the basics for the Canadian airlines at least, since we don’t have that many. I’ll share a complete guide very soon, to help you out.

Middle seats are pretty terrible for sure, but it’s great for travelers who like beer and wine that Air Canada will at least match that element of the Porter experience for 2024.

 

Snacks and drinks on other Air Canada routes

Adding free alcohol and snacks is certainly a great improvement to the economy experience for flights within Canada and to the USA.

Those routes obviously make up the majority of Air Canada’s flights.

air canada route map flight connecions
Air Canada route map (image credit: Flight Connections)

 

Of all Canadian airlines, Air Canada also offers the most long-distance flights, and by far. 

Those flights to South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Oceania already feature free snacks and drinks in economy, along with free meals too.

meals air canada destination brazil fall
My meal on the Air Canada flight to Brazil last fall (photo credit: Andrew D’Amours/Flytrippers)

 

As for flights to Mexico and the Caribbean, I’m somewhat surprised that Air Canada has excluded them from this new initiative.

At an Air Canada event last week, I got to speak once more with Air Canada’s Vice-President responsible for the Aeroplan program, and again, he reiterated their motivation to always make things more simple. 

(In this particular case, we were talking about the upcoming changes to how elite status is reached. But I remember in 2020, at the very first media event about the Aeroplan revamp, simplicity was at the core of everything they changed — which is  why you can use your points for any seat on Air Canada if you prefer getting more simplicity over getting more value with the fixed prices on Aeroplan’s 48 airline partners.)

In any case, we can’t say that simplicity is currently reflected in their 3 different policies for economy-class food and drinks inclusions, depending on the destination! Having 2 different policies was already hard for many to understand.

It seems the non-Aeroplan side of the business isn’t as focused on simplicity, but at least they’re offering this improvement!

 

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Summary

Air Canada now offers free beer, wine, and premium snacks in economy class for domestic and transborder flights, matching a staple of the Porter experience. This new initiative to improve economy flights is planned to last the entire year.

 

What would you like to know about Air Canada adding alcohol and snacks in economy? Tell us in the comments below.

 

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Featured image: Air Canada snacks and beverages (photo credit: Air Canada)

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Andrew D'Amours

Andrew is the co-founder of Flytrippers. He is passionate about traveling the world but also, as a former management consultant, about the travel industry itself. He shares his experiences to help you save money on travel. As a very cost-conscious traveler, he loves finding deals and getting free travel thanks to travel rewards points... to help him visit every country in the world (current count: 71/193 Countries, 47/50 US States & 9/10 Canadian Provinces).

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