Canadian airlines are lining up to offer the latest trend in air travel: cheap, no-frills fares.
But passengers should be careful what they wish for. That’s because some may find the discount fares so stripped down, they’re just not worth it.
“Anything you want in terms of comfort, convenience and flexibility, you can bet you’re going to pay [extra] for it,” warns Calgary-based aviation consultant Rick Erickson
In the U.S., customers are already discovering this hard truth when they book a new type of discount fare called “basic economy.” It often excludes features some passengers see as their right, such as access to the overhead bin for carry-on and the opportunity to sit with a travel-mate.
Some find the rules so restrictive, the fare has sparked a backlash.
“The airlines call it basic economy. Misery class is more accurate,” Boston Globe travel columnist Christopher Muther recently wrote.
Ultra-low fares flying into Canada
While no-frills flying is now widespread the U.S., it has yet to really take off in Canada. However, that’s set to change. WestJet has announced it will launch an ultra-low-cost airline next summer.
Newcomer Canada Jetlines is also promising to launch a deep-discount carrier in June 2018. It will fly out of the Hamilton and Waterloo airports in Ontario.
“We’re going to start a rebellion against high fares in Canada,” announced CEO Stan Gadek earlier this month.
Air Canada is also pledging to join the pack. This week, Ben Smith, president of passenger airlines, announced that Air Canada is considering both expanding its discount carrier, Rouge, and adding a new “ultra-low-cost fare” for passengers “only focused on cost.”
The airlines will join low-cost carrier Flair, which bought fledgling NewLeaf Airlines in June. Flair has had a bumpy start due to scheduling changes which forced it to cancel some flights.
But the company says it’s full speed ahead as it gets set to expand with more planes and more destinations. On Dec. 15, it will add Toronto, Vancouver and Kelowna to the cities it already serves — Winnipeg, Hamilton, Edmonton and Abbotsford, B.C.
Carry-on bags not included
Flair boasts that it offers low fares such as short-haul flights ranging from $49 to $99. But the costs can still add up if passengers aren’t…