Correction August 31: When originally posted the story included incorrect information regarding who was eligible. To clarify this program is only available to Canadian Armed Forces members and Veterans.
West Jet and Air Canada recently announced an increase to the cost of checking baggage when travelling with either airline. What used to be $20 for your first bag and $30 for your second bag, has now increased to $30 for the first checked bag and $50 for the second checked bag.
Despite the increased cost of checking your baggage, West Jet and Air Canada continue to offer their free bag checking service to Canadian Armed Forces members and Veterans. CAF members and Veterans are allowed to check up to three pieces of luggage, weighing up to 70 pounds each.
When checking in for a flight, CAF members and Veterans simply indicate they have no luggage to check. Upon arriving at the airport, speak with a flight agent to indicate they are indeed a service member or Veteran and provide an acceptable form of identification. The flight agent will then check their three pieces of luggage, free of charge.
Acceptable forms of ID include:
– DND ID card for National Defense (NDI 20)
– Record of Service Card (NDI 75)
– Any Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) Benefit Card
– Discharge Certificate from any branch of the Canadian Military
– Statement of Service from any branch of the Canadian Military
– Certificate of Service (CF 54 or CF 75) from any branch of the Canadian Military
– Valid DND Temporary ID card (NDI 10)
– Canadian Forces or Former member CFOne card (with photo ID)
– Membership Card from the National Association of Federal Retirees, bearing the mention Canadian Armed Forces Veteran (with photo ID)
In addition to checking three pieces of luggage for free, some passengers have been deemed as low-risk travellers, or what they call Trusted Travellers after undergoing a series of background checks.
Once dubbed a Trusted Traveller, they carry with them a special photo ID which they show prior to a security screening at various checkpoints across Canada.
Trusted Travellers include:
– Members of NEXUS and Global Entry programs
– Currently serving members of the Canadian Armed Forces and U.S. military, including reservists, all with valid ID (no uniform required)
– Canadian aircrew and airport workers with Restricted Area Identification Cards (RAICs)
– International aircrew in uniform with valid airline ID
– Those accompanying these trusted travellers on the same flight
For more information on how you can become a Trusted Traveller, visit the CATSA website here.
Unfortunately, this offer is NOT extended to the following:
– Current Department of National Defence (DND) public servants and their families
– Serving and former Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and their families
– Other members of first-response agencies, peace officers, etc.
– Current staff of Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) and their families
– Current staff of Defence Construction Canada (DCC) and their families
– Current staff of Communications Securities Establishment (CSE) and their families
– Honourary Colonels/Captains(N), Lieutenant Colonels/Commanders and their families
– Former Staff of the Non-Public Funds, Canadian Forces with a pension and their families
– Former Staff of Department of National Defence (DND) with a pension and their families
– Family members of the Staff of the Non-Public Funds (NPF), Canadian Forces (CF)
– Family members of the Military Family Resource Centre (MFRC)