Air Canada Charging for Inflight Meals – Lawsuit in Waiting?

Ok. So its not Technology and Internet related (except that I purchased my tickets online). But can you believe that Air Canada has now started charging for in-flight meals (in fairness, they have eliminated the “free” meal. No one is required to pay for their meal and can simply bring their own)? Its obviously something they should be entitled to do on a going forward basis – after all, we’re constantly being told that the airline industry is struggling. But Air Canada has decided to implement the policy retroactively. That’s right. Even for customers who had purchased tickets months ago for flights they have not yet taken. Even though at the time of booking, a “free” meal was included. This cries out for a class action lawsuit.

By the way, a quick search on Google for “Air Canada Sucks” turned up turned up many hits. I’d say they have a public relations problem.

Here’s the link to their information page for their new and improved meal service.

By the way, I got the news via email. After they promised me, when they asked for my email address, that it would only be used to notify me of flight changes and that I’d receive absolutely no other junk mail from them. There, a privacy related angle to the post!

Here’s the text of the email:

Dear Sir / Madam,

You have booked flight(s) for travel on [DATE].

Please be advised, as of November 01, 2005, all Hospitality Class service, for flights over 1.5 hours, within Canada and the continental USA (Hawaiian and Mexican destinations excluded) will feature our Onboard Café service. As well, Special Meals will no longer be available for these flights in Hospitality Class.

With our Onboard Café, we are pleased to offer our Hospitality Class customers with a popular, innovative menu of reasonably priced items featuring brand, quality and choice. Please refer to the Onboard Café page on for details of the product, including the latest menu.

Thank you for choosing Air Canada. Bon voyage!

Its actually ambiguous in that it only says that the Onboard Cafe service will be available. It does not actually say that regular free meals will not. However, a quick call to Air Canada confirmed the situation (Thanks Mona). According to Air Canada, the meal was “free” and they are entitled to start charging for it. I sure hope they don’t eliminate the “free” seats. Probably not since there are likely safety regulations they need to meet. But the seats at the gate seem like fair game.