Not many people are aware, Air Canada actually has two variations of the Boeing 737 Max 8. One version has 24 seats with extra legroom that Air Canada does not advertise, nor are they considered preferred seat. How do you know which aircraft are you flying? Check if your aircraft has Wi-Fi service. If your aircraft has Wi-Fi, you are flying an aircraft with a reduced number of extra legroom seats. If your aircraft does not have Wi-Fi, then you are flying on a plane with secret extra legroom seats. As of the time of writing, 30 out of 40 aircraft have the additional preferred seating, however, that number is decreasing much faster than I anticipated.

Background Context

Air Canada original Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft had preferred seating from rows 12 to 20. However, these aircraft had massive issues around their W-Fi capabilities, rendering them useless in most flights. On March 2023, rather than Air Canada continue to offer an unreliable service offered by Thales, they decided to suspend the Wi-Fi service on all Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft.

In October 2023, Air Canada launched a new system for their Wi-Fi with Intelsat’s 2Ku inflight connectivity system. When those aircraft came back in service, there was one glaring difference. Rows 15 to 18 no longer had extra legroom. Over time, Air Canada stopped charging preferred seat pricing for those rows as well. I was always curious why some aircraft had preferred seating from rows 15 to 18, but other aircraft did not. Until I realized, that all aircraft with Wi-Fi also had three rows of preferred seating removed.

I am honestly not sure what Air Canada got out of removing preferred seats from four of the rows. Maybe the other three rows got extra legroom? I do not think there are more seats on the aircraft.

Where are the extra legroom seats?

On domestic and transborder flights, Air Canada has four different fare families in Economy Class; Basic, Standard, Flex, Comfort and Latitude.

If you are traveling on

  • Comfort or Latitude fare, you will get complimentary preferred seating.
  • Flex Standard, or Basic fare, you will either get complimentary standard seating or pay extra for standard seating. If you are flying on a Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft, I would recommend you selecting a seat between rows 15 and 18. If you are on an aircraft without Wi-Fi, you will get “free” preferred seating.

At least, as of the time of writing, you have a 75% chance to acquire a free extra legroom seat. This is the same logic I apply for clients when they fly Air Canada in Economy Class.

Conclusion

The number of planes being refurbished are always increasing but enjoy these secret extra legroom seats on Air Canada while it lasts!