Airline offers cheap domestic flights to attract Canadians to take off again

Throughout the pandemic, Anshul Singh, an Ottawa travel blogger, stayed at home and wrote about travel, but not life.

In September, when he was about to fly to Vancouver to start his first trip outside Ontario in more than a year, this situation was about to change. Singh said the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions and cheap air tickets in the provinces convinced him to take the plunge.

“I’m just waiting for a good deal to come, and pricing is definitely the reason for pulling the trigger.”

Although the pandemic and travel restrictions in several provinces still exist, major Canadian airlines are advertising discounted domestic flights to attract Canadians to start flying again.

Air Canada and WestJet are currently offering a 20% discount on basic fares for domestic flights-even without discounts, domestic flights appear to be very low-until the end of December. The problem is that customers must book before Monday.

Inspired by cheap air tickets, Ottawa-based travel blogger Anshul Singh plans to leave Ontario for the first time soon in more than a year. (Submitted by Anshur Singh)

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CBC News searched the websites of two airlines and found that the fare for a one-way flight from Toronto to Vancouver this summer was $117, the fare from Montreal to Halifax was $86, and the fare from Winnipeg to Calgary was $86. The fare is slightly less than $90.

Air Canada spokesperson Peter Fitzpatrick said in an email: “As the provinces set a timetable for reopening, we are promoting our services because Canadians are now planning future trips.” “There are suppressed needs.”

Air Transat also offers cheap fares starting in late August, such as a one-way flight from Calgary to Toronto at a price of US$107. Air Canada and WestJet offer the same flights for as little as US$105.

At the same time, the ultra-low-cost airline Flair Airlines Expanding routes Expand service to more cities, including Halifax, Saint John, Charlottetown and Ottawa.

How long will it last?

Singh’s round-trip airfare from Ottawa to Vancouver totals US$171-the departure flight booked on Air Canada is US$112, and the return flight booked on Flair Airlines is US$59.

He will have to pay Flair Extra carry-on baggage fee But he said that the estimated total of US$238 is a far cry from his usual round trip from Ottawa to Vancouver (about US$750).

“This is amazing,” Singh said. “When I saw these tickets [prices], This idea is ok, let us do it, because if not now, then when? “

Air Canada and WestJet would not disclose what will happen to their domestic transactions after Sunday, or whether any new promotions are in progress.

Watch | Travel of Air Canada executives under scrutiny during the pandemic:

Some Air Canada employees filed internal complaints after learning that several executives were traveling during the COVID-19 lockdown and advised on non-essential travel. 2:11

Frederick Dimanch, dean of the Ted Rogers School of Hotel and Tourism Management at Ryerson University in Toronto, predicts that cheap air tickets from major airlines will not last long.

Dimanche said he thinks airlines cut prices for two reasons: to make money quickly after travel plummeted during the pandemic, and to warm up Canadians to the idea of ??returning to air travel.

“If you book your flight now… you will tell people how satisfied you are with it, and you have never seen such a cheap flight from Toronto to Vancouver. This will generate some discussion.”

Singh said that Flair’s expansion of services has also prompted major airlines to reduce prices—at least for a period of time—to help avoid competition.

“It’s definitely the specific route that Flair flies. I noticed that Air Canada and WestJet have lowered [prices] It is very important on these routes,” he said.

What are the risks?

Although cheap fares may prompt some travelers to book travel, there is no guarantee that Canadians will be able to travel freely across the country this summer.

At present, the Atlantic provinces still prohibit most tourists from entering-those who can enter usually must be quarantined for 14 days. Travellers to Manitoba must also be isolated.

As more and more Canadians are vaccinated, all provinces are making plans to eventually relax COVID-19 restrictions. But the Winnipeg travel agency Walter Rodriguez warned that the sudden increase in the number of infections could reverse these plans — which was the case earlier this year when the provinces began lockdowns after relaxing restrictions last summer.

“Suddenly, when the case becomes important [were] It’s very high, and they said,’Well, wait, we have to close,'” said Rodrigues of Bestway Travel Agency.

Walter Rodrigues of the Bestway Travel Agency in Winnipeg warns eager travelers that when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic, the country is not yet out of trouble. (Submitted by Walter Rodriguez)

Rodriguez pointed out Portugal, Due to the sudden increase in COVID-19 cases, it has disappeared from the UK’s list of safe travel countries. Therefore, British residents traveling to Portugal-including those already in the country-must now quarantine for 10 days after returning.

“These are things you’ve been afraid of that might come up suddenly,” he said.

If passengers have to cancel their flights, Air Canada, WestJet and Transocean Airlines will provide free one-time changes to flights booked before July 1. Flair customers can make change $25 per flight.

But even if travelers can fly to their destinations this summer, is it safe to go there?

Epidemiologist Dr. Nitin Mohan advises travelers to stay near their homes until they are fully vaccinated, and focus on domestic travel in areas with a low number of COVID-19 cases.

Mohan, an assistant professor at the University of West London in Ontario, said: “We still have a responsibility to protect each other and make sure we don’t… spread the virus to an area that may not be able to deal with it properly.”.

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