A better seat goes to the highest bidder.
Air Canada is not putting seat upgrades up for auction.
Credit: Flightlevel80/Getty Images

Air Canada customers can now bid to upgrade their seats.

The new program will give passengers with confirmed seats in economy or premium economy the option to enter an upgrade bid before their flight. Successful bids will get passengers a seat in premium economy or business class, depending on their original cabin class.

For now, bidding is available on select flights on Air Canada, Air Canada Rogue or Air Canada Express. The upgrade auction process will be fully rolled out by summer.

Customers can enter their booking details on the new bidding website to see if their flight is eligible.

Premium economy on Air Canada includes a larger seat with more legroom, complimentary drinks, increased baggage allowance, and priority boarding. Business class includes a lie-flat seat, a “state of the art” entertainment system, fine wines and gourmet food, a special amenity kit, and priority check-in and boarding.

For eligible flights, passengers can offer a bid between a set minimum and maximum shown on the Air Canada website. The airline offers a chart that will show the strength of a bid, according to Travel Weekly.

Air Canada sends an email 48 hours before flight to let customers know if their offer was accepted. If it is, the credit card on file is charged and the boarding pass reflects the upgrade. Customers whose bids are not accepted are not charged, and they keep their original seat.

Airlines are increasingly turning to bidding as a way to sell remaining seats in their premium cabins, which means passengers hoping for an upgrade need to learn some new skills to increase their chances.