There are 38 new codeshare flights in the U.S. and eight in Canada.
Air Canada and United are coordinating their schedules to offer more codeshare flights that could simplify cross-border travel. Instead of only having access to destinations offered by each individual carrier, you can now take flights with both in a single trip without having to buy multiple tickets. The process operates much like an STM transfer that allows for travel on both buses and trains and expands how far you can get.
The partnership between Air Canada and United will offer 38 new codeshare flights in the U.S. and eight to major cities in Canada. Travellers will also be able to accrue rewards for the MileagePlus and Aeroplan loyalty programs during shared trips.
The specifics of just where the new codeshare flights will get you is still TBA, but some airline industry experts suspect the changes will streamline travel to cities that are often harder to reach.
"It's probably smaller markets that will be most affected. I'm pretty sure this codeshare agreement will remove barriers to some obscure destinations, like going from Quebec City to Wichita, Kansas," McGill's Faculty Lecturer and Coordinator of the Aviation Management Program John Gradek told MTL Blog.
"Now you might be able to take Air Canada from Quebec City to Toronto, and then United from Toronto to Wichita with the same ticket. A codeshare is a connection service that has been branded by carriers that are creating that connection as being a through service," he said.
Either United or Air Canada could sell you that ticket and you can check your bag all the way through.
"They have said they're going to exclude certain places [and] not codeshare across all markets in Canada," said Gradek.
"There may be some cities that Air Canada and United have excluded from their agreement and want them to be exclusively sold by either airline."
Neither airline has responded to MTL Blog requests for details about which destinations feature in the new deal.
The partnership expansion comes as the airline industry has faced staffing shortages and major flight delays, after a post-pandemic surge in travel. While United has majorly cut back on its summer and fall flight schedule, Air Canada temporarily stopped accepting pets in the cargo.
Prior to the pandemic, in 2019, transborder travel between Canada and the US was the second largest international passenger air transportation market in the world and the largest international market for both countries.