See More of Europe on Air Canada with Stopovers

See More of Europe on Air Canada with Stopovers

We discussed how to use Aeroplan‘s stopover rules to visit more places in South America. Aeroplan (Air Canada’s program) allows two stopovers or one stopover and one open jaw on a roundtrip award ticket.

Definitions:

  • Stopover: Intentional and planned interruption of air journey for four hours or more for domestic route and 24 hours or more for international route.
  • Layover: A stopover shorter than four hours on a domestic route and 24 hours on an international route.
  • Open Jaw:  Flying to/from one destination and returning from/to another.

Air Canada adds fuel surcharges to their own flights and some of its partners. Here are the partners with low or no fuel surcharges:

  • Avianca/Taca
  • Air China
  • EVA Air
  • Brussels
  • Copa
  • EgyptAir
  • Ethiopian
  • LOT
  • Scandinavian
  • Singapore
  • Swiss
  • Turkish
  • United

After you build your perfect itinerary, you will have to call

Unfortunately, you can’t book 2 stopovers online, so you will have to call at some time. If you’re OK with 1 stopover or 1 stopover and 1 open jaw, the website is fine, but in order to book 2 stopovers, you would have to call and pay $30 Call Center fee. For example, if you want to visit Paris and Venice during the same trip, you don’t need to call. You can book this itinerary online as a multi-city ticket. However, if you want to visit one more city, for example, Brussels, you would need to build your segments step by step, and call the airline after you’re done.

Beautiful view of the Grand Canal in Venice
Beautiful view of the Grand Canal in Venice

Of course, you could try and call right away and hope that all your flights will be available, but there are a couple of pitfalls to this approach.

First, your flights might not be available. And second, an agent doesn’t care about things like fuel surcharges. They will use the first connection they see on their computer screen, and it might be Lufthansa, which has abundant availability to Europe, and which you should avoid at all costs (if you don’t want to pay hundreds of dollars for your “free” ticket).

So it’s always a good idea to build your itinerary online first, and it’s not that hard anyway.

Let’s say, we are flying from New York and want to visit Paris, Venice and Brussels.

Go to the Aeroplan website and log in, then hover your mouse on Use Your Miles and click Travel.

Aeroplan-Stopovers-1

Check One-Way and enter your first segment, then click Search.

Aeroplan-Stopovers-NYC-CDG

When you get the next page, make sure it’s not Lufthansa. We know that Brussels Airlines does not add a fuel surcharge on an Aeroplan ticket. Click Details and not Select.

Aeroplan-Stopovers-NYC-CDG-Details

All we need is this information. Write it down.

  • Brussels Airlines SN502
  • Departs: Mon. Nov 16 18:15 New York Kennedy (JFK)
  • Brussels Airlines SN362
  • Departs: Mon. Nov 17 9:25 Brussels (BRU)

Now let’s search for the next flight: Paris-Venice. Unfortunately, Aeroplan won’t let us book one-way flights outside of North America. That inconvenience will end on December 15, but for now, we’ll have to pretend that we are interested in round trip flights. Don’t worry, it’s very easy.

Aeroplan-Stopovers-CDG-VCE-New-Search

Check Round-Trip, then enter your travel information and click Search. You could enter any date for the return, we’re not booking this flight anyway.

Aeroplan-Stopovers-CDG-VCE-Table

You can see a lot of Austrian Airlines flights. Austrian is not ideal, as they add a fuel surcharge, but for intra-Europe flights it’s bearable, about $40. Alternatively, you can choose a Swiss Airlines flight, which doesn’t add a surcharge, but, as you can see, it has a long layover. You might or might not run into a similar problem with your own search.

Click Details for the flight you choose.

AEROPLAN STOPOVERS CDG-VCE DETAILS

  • Austrian OS416 Departs: Fri. Oct 23 16:55
  • Paris Charles De Gaulle (CDG)
  • Austrian OS527 Departs: Fri. Oct 23 20:20
  • Vienna (VIE)

Once again, we don’t care about the inbound flight, as we are not going to take it anyway.

After you do the same searches for the other two segments: Venice-Brussels and Brussels-New York, write down the same information and call the Aeroplan Call Center at 1-800-361-5373 (7:00 a.m. to midnight ET) to finalize your booking.

You may lose a few minutes of your time by doing the research yourself, but you will save a lot of time on the phone by feeding the agent all the information they need to know. And you will probably save money too, because you will choose the airlines to take you there.