If you’ve been saving up dimes and nickels for your next U.S. or European vacation, you could be a lot closer to affording that trip than you thought. Or at least you will be soon, thanks to the influx of cheap airline competitors Canada has been seeing in the skies lately.
Most of us have seen the ads from Wow Airlines — an Icelandic airline offering flights to Europe from Toronto and Montreal — on Facebook, promising luxe trips to European destinations for hundreds of dollars less than the traditional airline granddaddies like Air Canada or Air France. But it seems like Wow Airlines is just the beginning of what could be a whole new network of cheap flights.
And it’s about time.
Frontier is the latest airline looking to crack into Canada, with plans to offer flights between Calgary and Denver next fall. The airline, which is based in the U.S., currently offers flights from Denver to places like the Caribbean for as low as $39 USD (about $49 CAD) a seat. Sure, that price will get you the bare minimum (carry-on luggage will run you an extra 30 bucks, for example), but compared to the hundreds of dollars we currently pay to go south, that still seems like a bargain.
Obviously, we want to pay enough to ensure that the planes we’re taking are well-maintained and safe, and it’s important to make sure the people in charge of flying and checking these aircraft are well-paid. But the cost to travel in the sky has been pretty high for a long time, so it’s exciting to see airfare become a bit more grounded. And it’s already starting to happen.
Currently, you can fly from Winnipeg to Edmonton for just under 80 bucks thanks to Flair Airlines, while a new airline called Jetlines is supposedly coming out with low-cost flight plans from Vancouver, Winnipeg and Hamilton, Ont. As for WestJet? That company is working on a new, low-cost airline while Air Canada is also looking at ways to expand its “low-cost” Rouge service.
“You can bet that players operating out of Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, are going to be looking at this and saying, ‘Does it make any sense for us to go into Calgary, or what about other western Canadian destinations?'” Rick Erickson, an aviation analyst, told CTV News. “The winner in all of this will be consumers.”
But as flight prices become more competitive, airlines are forced to see what expenses they can cut. Naturally, this also means that we’ll have to pay extra for things like seat selections, checked bags, checking in at the actual airport (versus doing it online) and, of course, food. But it seems like we’ve been paying more for those things over the years anyhow, so will we really even miss those “freebies?”
Besides, who doesn’t want to put some of that airfare towards eating a little better on their actual vacation? Or towards seeing more of the sights or perhaps even towards bringing home a couple more souvenirs? With lower airfares expected in the near future, the sky’s the limit on where else that money can go.