Costs of domestic flights in turbulence



Students planning on doing some travelling over the summer might need to dig deeper into their pockets to pay for it.

As of December 2015, domestic flights out of Winnipeg cost the third highest in Canada. They increased three per cent in 2015, according to a Statistics Canada report.

The report found Winnipeg to have an average domestic flight cost of $193. Toronto remained the most expensive in the country, averaging flight costs of $215.10, with Vancouver coming in a close second at $201.20.

For students like Barney Morin, a rhetoric and communications student at the University of Winnipeg, the cost of flying means finding alternatives.

“It started off being more cost effective to gather a few people and take a road trip than to fly,” said Morin. “In Canada, flying is quick, but you’re in a tube and only get a minimal taste of the potential views. Add the hike in price and I’m turned off.”

Morin said he takes about two road trips a summer, and enjoys the spontaneity of being able to change the trip on a whim. However, he admits road trips can be limiting.

“If flying were more affordable, it would create bigger adventures for sure,” Morin said.

Robyn Chapman, an accounting student at RRC, said she doesn’t think high flight costs will necessarily hinder travel, but will definitely have an impact on where people will decide to go.

“The cost of flights definitely impacts the type of travel I do and the places I will travel to,” said Chapman. “I’m personally not likely to go on a cruise because the flight costs are so high just to get to port…I’ll choose to go to a certain place and avoid others based on price.”

Chapman also has a travel counsellor diploma from Robertson College and has done extensive travelling on her own. She said there are ways students can make travelling a bit more attainable.

“Work your butt off and save to travel,” Chapman said. “I know far too many people who travel with the money they get from student loans. It’s great when you’re still in school but it really sucks when you’ve graduated and have thousands of dollars in extra debt.”

It’s also a good idea to consider a travel agent, Chapman said, because they can help save you money in the long run if anything goes wrong abroad.

“They rarely cost you much more, if anything, than what it costs to book tickets yourself,” said Chapman. “Agents can also get you great deals sometimes that you will never find online, primarily when booking international overseas flights.”

Good news on the horizon

A new travel company plans to turn a new leaf on high domestic flight prices.

NewLeaf Travel announced Jan. 6 they are offering non-stop flights to Winnipeg, Halifax, Hamilton, Regina, Saskatoon, Kelowna and Abbotsford starting at $89.

“It’s a new year and we are happy to say 2016 is the year we officially bring affordable travel back to Canada,” Jim Young, president and CEO of NewLeaf Travel, said in a press release. “The ultra-low cost model we’re using has proven successful around the world, and we’re excited to bring it to Canada.”

The company is able to keep low costs by giving options to customize travel. You can purchase priority boarding, on-board drinks, snacks, and carry-on and checked baggage.

Flights booked through NewLeaf Travel will be operated by the Canadian-based airline Flair Airlines, which fly Boeing 737-400 passenger jets.

Departures start Feb. 12, but the website is taking online bookings now. The day bookings opened, the response was so overwhelming the website crashed.

See our website for more details.