Cheap at a price: the hidden costs of Canada’s budget-friendly airlines

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budget-friendly airlines
Businessman angry at the airport waiting his delayed flight with luggage / Shutterstock

With flights to Mexico from Vancouver selling for as little as $99 CAD, a flight on one of Canada’s new budget-friendly airlines may seem like a dream come true.

With that in mind, there are a couple of factors to consider before you book, or at least to keep in mind prior to departure.

For one, these flights get rescheduled – a lot. It is true that most airlines, even the most expensive and highly rated ones, cancel and delay flights; however, flight delays and cancellations seem to happen a great deal more with budget-friendly options.

And while some travellers prefer to pack light in order to avoid hefty baggage fees, they won’t be able to do so with a discount carrier. Of course, they allow you to have a personal item, such as a purse or a laptop bag, but you won’t be able to bring a piece of carry-on luggage.

What’s more, both airlines will charge you more if you don’t pre-pay for the carry-on bag. So, if you plan to bring one, make sure that you pay online beforehand.

Swoop

  • Online: $36.75-$40.25 CAD
  • Airport Counter: $52.50-$57.50 CAD
  • At the Gate: $89.25-$97.75 CAD

Flair

  • Online: $36.75-$40.25 CAD
  • Airport Counter: $52.50-$57.50 CAD
  • At the Gate: $84.00-$92.00 CAD

Not only do you have to pay for the luggage on the flight, but you’ll also be dinged for printing your boarding pass.

That’s right – you have to pay $10 to print off a boarding pass.

Flair Airlines states, “Or you can have your boarding pass printed at the check-in counter for $10(plus tax) per person.”

Now, this isn’t to say that either of the aforementioned airlines offers terrible service onboard, or that their prices aren’t great. In some cases, even with all of the fees, these prices simply cannot be beat – and sometimes by hundreds of dollars. Nevertheless, it pays to read the fine print before making a booking, as well as considering your options.