As a Canadian, I love the duty free store. Heck, sometimes cheap booze is one of the main reasons I'll pop across the border.
But if you're flying, you don't always have the time to pick up a bottle when you're running between airport terminals and trying to keep track of all your luggage – and that's where pre-ordering can come in handy.
Air Canada now gives passengers on select flights the option to pre-order duty free items. And if that sounds too good to be true, I'll admit that I was a little skeptical at first.
So I took a closer look at the process and decided to put together a guide to explain it all. Here, you'll find instructions for ordering duty free items online, info on exactly who qualifies for pre-orders and a breakdown of the perks you might get for shopping a little early.
How to pre-order duty free items online
To start, you must have an upcoming international flight with Air Canada to order duty free items. That means your ticket needs to be completely booked. Once that's taken care of, you can head to Air Canada Boutique, their online duty free store. From there, shop as you would on any other site.
You can browse duty free items by category or search their store for a specific keyword to get exactly what you want. When you find what you're looking for, add it to your cart. Go to the checkout when you're ready to place your order and enter your Air Canada flight number, travel date and passport information. Air Canada Boutique accepts just about all major credit cards, and you'll be charged in CAD. Then, your item(s) will be delivered to you on board your flight. It's that simple.
Keep in mind that you can't pre-order items at the last minute. You NEED to place your order at least four business days before your scheduled flight to allow for processing. So if you're booking a trip on short notice, it's still a good idea to buy any duty free items at the airport.
Don't want to place an order online? Call their Customer Service department at +1-877-553-3277. They'll accept pre-orders over the phone on weekdays between 9 AM and 4:30 PM EST.
Who qualifies for duty free pre-orders?
As I mentioned earlier, you need to be on an upcoming international Air Canada flight to pre-order your duty free items online – but it does get a little more complex than that. Their duty free pre-order service is only available to passengers travelling between these destinations:
- Depature: Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver
- Destination: Amsterdam, Beijing, Bogotá, Bruxelles, Buenos Aires, Copenhagen, Francfort, Genève, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Londres, Madrid, Milan, Munich, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Rome, Santiago, Sao Paulo, Seoul, Shanghai, Sydney, Taipei, Tel Aviv, Tokyo, Zurich
You can't pre-order items for Air Canada Rouge flights or when you're flying in their three-cabin Boeing 777-300ER (77W) aircraft between Vancouver (YVR) ad Hong Kong (HKG). If you have any questions about whether or not your flight is eligible, you can call +1-877-553-3277.
The perks of ordering duty free items early
Besides the obvious fact that you don't need to pay duties, there are some extra bonuses that come along with ordering duty free items online. First, you don't need to worry about rushing to shop at the airport. You can browse products online and have them delivered to your seat on the plane.
Second, since you're ordering online, you can browse the entire Air Canada duty free catalogue. ALL available products are listed online, and you have an even wider selection to choose from than you would if you're shopping in person at the airport or on a plane. There is even a section of their site devoted just to Pre-Order Exclusives, where you'll find about 60 different things that are only available when you pre-order your duty free items through Air Canada Boutique.
And finally, there's the points. Aeroplan members will earn 1.5 Miles on every dollar spent between $49 and $199 CAD. For pre-orders of $200 to $1,000 CAD, you'll receive 2 Miles for every dollar. If you don't have an Aeroplan account yet, you can sign up here to get started.
The Air Canada Boutique return policy
Mistakes happen, and you might change your mind about your order. If things don't work out, Air Canada Boutique has a pretty generous return policy in place to help. In general, all sales of alcohol and tobacco are final, but you have a few options if you need to return other items.
If you pre-order duty free items and then decide to change plans or miss your flight, call Customer Service (at +1-877-553-3277) with your new flight details or to receive a refund. If you receive the wrong product or a damaged one when you're on the plane, let the flight attendant know right away (and don't open the product). Email [email protected] when you land and explain the situation to receive a full refund. You can also return unopened items on your flight.
You officially have 30 days to receive a refund, so reach out if you change your mind in that time. You can only return items in their original packaging, and you must have proof of purchase and indicate a reason for return. Email customercare[email protected] to arrange any refunds or returns and keep in mind that postage and shipping costs are not refundable.
How to find Air Canada Boutique promo codes
You know I love a good deal! Air Canada Boutique promo codes are pretty hard to come by, but it's always worth a look. Remember, you're already not paying duties on these items, so the prices are already great to begin with. Occasionally, you might see freebies with select purchases online, so you might want to scout out their website for those the next time you pre-order.
However, you can sign up for their newsletter (at the bottom of their homepage) to receive 10% off your first order. Just enter your first name, last name and email, and you're all good to go!