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Air Canada's new check-in deadline: 45 minutes before domestic departures

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MONTREAL - Air Canada passengers accustomed to checking in a half-hour before departure will soon find themselves out of luck.

Starting April 10, the airline's new deadline for check-in and baggage drop-off on domestic flights across Canada will be 45 minutes before departure, up from the current 30 minutes. The change applies to both Air Canada and Air Canada Express flights.

The exception is flights leaving Toronto's Billy Bishop Airport, which remains at 20 minutes.

"With these changes, minimum domestic check-in and baggage drop-off deadlines will now be more closely aligned with those of other airlines in Canada," Air Canada said Monday in a statement.

The airline recommends that travellers on domestic flights get to the airport 90 minutes before departure to allow enough time to check in — if this has not already been done online or on a mobile device — drop off baggage and pass through security.

For flights to the U.S. and most international destinations, Air Canada's deadline for check-in and baggage drop-off is 60 minutes. (Exceptions are Tel Aviv, at 75 minutes, and Caracas, 90 minutes.)

CBC Marketplace reported last week that Air Canada had the worst on-time arrival record of any major international airline in 2012. Requiring passengers to check bags earlier would be a positive step that should save time, Anming Zhang, professor of air transportation at the University of British Columbia, told Marketplace.

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