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Friday, July 19th 2024

"I'm a travel junkie who's hooked on deals from YVR." - Chris Myden

Cheap Flights Within Canada : Anything left for summer?


Back in February 2021, Flair Air announced an ambitious expansion of new routes across Canada.

The *really* interesting prices were from British Columbia (Vancouver, Victoria, Abbotsford, Kelowna) to Toronto, Kitchener, Ottawa, and Montreal.

WestJet, Air Canada, and Air Transat took notice of this, and swiftly responded with ridiculously cheap prices of their own.

Of course, at the time, Canada was not in the mood for travelling, or even thinking about it. We were just getting over the second wave, and the vaccine supply was relatively non-existent. The low demand, combined with the intense competition, gave Canada prices unlike anything we've seen before.

For many months now, it's been easy to find flights from cities in Ontario/Quebec to cities in B.C./Alberta for less than half of what they would normally cost, even for travel in the peak summer travel months of July and August.

On June 6th, the mainstream media started copying each other's news stories about 'cheap flights within Canada' as though they just suddenly appeared in June, with various theories as to why. The cheap domestic flights were always there, but we Canadians were now starting to notice them as vaccination rates soared.

As the provinces started to set summer dates for when they would like to see their fellow Canadians visit again, demand has ramped up for domestic travel, and cheaper July & August flights have largely disappeared.

The cheaper flights that remain to destinations in Ontario and Quebec are now in September. Except from Vancouver or Abbotsford to Ottawa, which still has some cheap ones in July.

From Vancouver, Abbotsford, and Victoria to Alberta, it's still possible to find cheap ones in July and August.

WestJet, Air Canada vs Flair, Swoop

When it comes to comparing prices between WestJet / Air Canada versus Flair / Swoop, if you have intention of bringing *any* luggage (checked OR carry-on), you should probably add about $100-$120 to Flair and Swoop's roundtrip prices, to give you a fair comparison.

Flair and Swoop's base prices will buy you just a seat on the plane, so don't be fooled by the first price you see on search engines. They're not telling you the whole story.

As a general rule, somewhere around $250 CAD roundtrip including taxes and fees has been the rock bottom price you'll find for non-stop flights between B.C./Alberta and Ontario/Quebec with WestJet or Air Canada.

And with Flair or Swoop, the bottom price will be around $100-$125 CAD roundtrip *before* adding any luggage, and not by coincidence, around $220-$250 CAD roundtrip with checked luggage or carry-on.

So at the end of the day, if your grand total price is in the ballpark of $250 CAD roundtrip per passenger, you're doing very well. It's still a lot better than the $500-$700 roundtrip that Canadians have traditionally paid for summer travel within our own country over the years.

Are there any requirements such as a negative covid test result for flying within Canada?

There have never been any special requirements, such as having a covid test result, when flying between any combination of Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, or Alberta.

Flying between these 4 provinces is essentially identical to pre-pandemic times, and always has been.

The Maritime and Atlantic provinces have each had their own various rules for entry, or what you have to do when you get there. These will be gradually disappearing over the next few months.

Alright, so what's left?

If you click on the links below, it will take you to an example Google Flights search you can start with.

When you get to Google Flights, you can click on the departure date box to browse for the cheapest dates to fly.

PROMO CODE: Flair Airlines has a promo code out for '40% off' base fare prices. Realistically, it might bring your total price down by 10-20%. Use the Google Flights links below to look for the cheapest dates, and then use promo code FLYTO40 at the www.flyflair.com website. The code expires July 1st at midnight.

Vancouver (YVR) or Abbotsford (YXX) to Toronto (YYZ) or Kitchener (YKF), Ontario

Vancouver to Toronto $235 roundtrip on WestJet, Air Canada, Air Transat (August, September)

Vancouver to Toronto $175 roundtrip on Flair (September)

Vancouver to Kitchener-Waterloo $121 roundtrip on Flair (September)

Abbotsford to Toronto $103 roundtrip on Flair, Swoop (August, September)

Abbotsford to Hamilton $144 to $174 roundtrip on Swoop (September)

Vancouver (YVR) or Abbotsford (YXX) to Ottawa (YOW), Ontario

Vancouver to Ottawa $117 roundtrip on Flair (September)

Vancouver to Ottawa $239 roundtrip on Air Canada, WestJet (September)

Abbotsford to Ottawa $103 roundtrip on Flair (September)

Vancouver (YVR) or Abbotsford (YXX) to Montreal (YUL), Quebec

Vancouver to Montreal $250 roundtrip on Air Transat (September)

Vancouver to Montreal $172 roundtrip on Flair (September)

Abbotsford to Montreal $102 to $122 roundtrip on Flair (September)

Victoria (YYJ) to Kitchener (YKF), Ontario

Victoria to Kitchener-Waterloo $151 roundtrip on Flair (September)

Vancouver (YVR) or Abbotsford (YXX) to Calgary (YYC) / Banff, Alberta

Vancouver to Calgary $150 roundtrip on Air Canada, WestJet (late July, August, September)

Vancouver to Calgary $93 to $118 roundtrip on Flair (late July, August, September)

Abbotsford to Calgary $62 roundtrip on Flair (August, September)

Vancouver (YVR) or Abbotsford (YXX) to Edmonton (YEG) / Jasper, Alberta

Vancouver to Edmonton $150 roundtrip on Air Canada, WestJet (second half of July, August, September)

Vancouver to Edmonton $92 to $102 roundtrip on Flair (second half of July, August, September)

Abbotsford to Edmonton $85 roundtrip on Flair (August, September)

Victoria (YYJ) to Calgary (YYC) or Edmonton (YEG), Alberta / Jasper

Victoria to Calgary $131 roundtrip on Air Canada, WestJet (September)

Victoria to Calgary $72 roundtrip on Flair (September)

Victoria to Edmonton $124 roundtrip on Air Canada, WestJet (August, September)

Victoria to Edmonton $72 to $107 roundtrip on Flair, Swoop (August, September)

Vancouver (YVR) to Grande Prairie, Alberta

Vancouver to Grande Prairie $78 roundtrip on Flair (September, October)

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2 Responses to "Cheap Flights Within Canada : Anything left for summer?"

    Has Su been here?
       Su on June 25th, 2021

    Hi Chris,

    Any idea when we will be able to book Air Canada flights to Europe? I thought Air Canada was going to resume flights in July, but I dont see them. They are very limited, and very expensive right now. Looking for flight to Reykjavik mid to late August. Thanks!

    Has Chris_Myden been here?
       Chris_Myden on June 25th, 2021

    Hi Su,

    A person can book an Air Canada flight to Europe right now if they want to, but it's a matter of:

    a) Do they want to fly direct from YVR ? And what route? Right now, Air Canada is currently flying from Vancouver to London Heathrow. You have to try Wednesday, Friday, Sunday departure dates to see them.

    That's about it for Air Canada to Europe from Vancouver at the moment. Lufthansa (AC partner) has flights to Frankfurt.

    But in the case of Reykjavik, Iceland (KEF), it isn't possible to book anything that's with Air Canada the whole way, because normally it would be something like Vancouver to Montreal/Toronto to Reykjavik all on Air Canada.

    But those Montreal/Toronto to Reykjavik flights aren't operating, and I think it's unlikely they'll be back this year. Iceland has a pretty limited tourist season, and it's already nearly July. I doubt we'll see Icelandair flying from Canada again this year either. So there likely won't be direct flights from anywhere in Canada to Iceland until 2022 is my guess.

    So if someone wanted to go there this August from Vancouver, I think you'd have to look at something like Lufthansa through Frankfurt. Or piece together a flight through Europe, such as buying a roundtrip flight from Vancouver to Amsterdam ($760 roundtrip in August) and then a separate roundtrip flight from AMS to KEF. ($400s roundtrip?).

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