The forecast looks bright as air travel continues to recover from disruptions caused by the pandemic. According to recent reports, travel demand is expected to be higher, with pent-up demand slowly being released and strong employment across the globe. However, this means flights will be pricier, making it necessary for cost-conscience travellers to look for ways to get the most bang for their buck when flying.
Several factors will go into making travel more expensive as time goes on, including higher jet fuel costs and fluctuating oil prices. As a result, the cost of airfare will remain high, and many travellers may decide to forgo that trip or vacation they have put off for the past few years. Fortunately for those who have put off travelling long enough, there is a more affordable way to get to where you need to go, and that’s with low-cost airlines.
Low-cost airlines offer significantly reduced fares for those looking to travel on a budget. Travellers can find and compare great deals on low-cost carriers in Canada by researching and booking their flights well in advance. Many low-cost airlines offer perks that provide even greater value along with lower-cost airfare, such as free checked bags, onboard entertainment, refreshments, seat selection, and more.
8 Low-Cost Airlines to Consider
- Air Canada Rouge
- Porter Airlines
- Sunwing Airlines
- Canada Jetlines
- Lynx Air
- Flair Airlines
- Swoop Airlines
- Air Transat
This article will provide a brief history of each airline, where they offer flights, and other information to help air travellers decide which low-cost airline is best for their travelling needs. Also, travellers should check each airline’s website for the most up-to-date information on fees, ticket prices, policies, and other details.
Air Canada Rouge
Air Canada Rouge is a relatively new airline, founded in Montreal in 2012 by the Canadian airline giant Air Canada. It operates over 180 flights to more than 50 destinations throughout Europe and North America.
As described on their website, “There’s something magical about travel. That’s why we believe in making the world easier to reach. By offering direct access to amazing destinations, and with valuable perks built-in to your ticket, you can maximize your trip when you fly Air Canada Rouge.”
The Air Canada Rouge fleet includes 39 aircraft. It offers a wide range of amenities, including complimentary snacks and beverages, onboard entertainment, priority boarding for those wanting to get off the plane first, and free checked baggage for all customers. In addition, they offer WiFi for purchase, as well as other amenities passengers can choose to upgrade.
Prices for their flights vary depending on where you’re heading. Still, you can anticipate paying lower fees than their parent airline, Air Canada. Pick from destinations like Canada, the US, the Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America, and Europe, and travel comfortably at a great price! In fact, Air Canada Rouge has been ranked #3 in the world for the best long-haul low-cost airline.
Based out of Toronto, Porter Airlines is a Canadian airline that has been flying since 2006. They offer scheduled short-haul services to more than 20 destinations in Canada and the US, including New York, Montreal, Boston, and Washington, DC.
Their fleet comprises 29 aircraft, offering a range of amenities, such as complimentary snacks and beverages and onboard entertainment with WiFI access for purchase. Additionally, customers can get priority boarding and free checked baggage when travelling on their flights, depending on their select fare type.
Porter Airlines recently invested in building two new hangars at the Ottawa Airport. The project will create hundreds of jobs in the area while allowing Porter Airlines to offer more flights and expand its offerings. This project is expected to complete in early 2024.
Prices vary depending on where you’re headed and the fare type you choose: Freedom, Flexible, Standard and Basic. However, you can expect competitive fees overall thanks to Porter’s commitment to offering great deals for its passengers – perfect for those constantly on the lookout for how to save money!
Next, we have Sunwing Airlines, which provides affordable flights for leisure travellers. This Canadian airline has been running since 2005. It offers services to dozens of Caribbean, Central America, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, and North American destinations. Sunwing is responsible for transporting about 700,000 vacationers to their destinations each year.
Their fleet consists of over 40 Boeing 737-800 aircraft, offering a wide range of amenities. On board, passengers can enjoy complimentary coffee, water, or tea and have snacks available for purchase. For those travelling with children, Sunwing also offers complimentary activities to keep little ones busy.
In 2022, the WestJet group announced their intent to acquire Sunwing Vacations and Sunwing Airlines:
“The airline announced a plan in March to buy Sunwing, a move that would bolster its holiday tour business. Financial terms of the agreement, which would see Sunwing’s shareholders become equity holders in the WestJet Group, were not disclosed.”
If the deal goes through, it is expected to close in early 2023. It could have a notable impact on the Canadian travel industry.
With its inaugural flight from Toronto in August of 2022, Canada Jetlines is an ultra-low-cost carrier and one of Canada’s newest airlines. They provide scheduled service to destinations across Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and the United States. Currently, their fleet consists of one Airbus A320-200 that holds 174 passengers.
They offer impressive rates, including Vancouver to Toronto, for just $157. Some of their fares include up to two free checked bags! When flying with Canada Jetlines, passengers can also purchase various meals, snacks, and beverages onboard. There are no built-in screens on board, but passengers can use provided screen holders to prop up their personal devices.
Another of Canada’s newest low-cost carriers is Lynx Air. Previously known as Enerjet, Lynx Air was rebranded in 2021. It operates out of Calgary International Airport with a fleet of six jets. What’s particularly appealing for passengers with this airline is there are no hidden fees when booking. For example, passengers can fly from Calgary to Los Angeles for as low as $121. In addition, they offer an a-la-carte pricing structure so passengers can choose which extras to add on.
Water is available on board, but due to COVID-19, Lynx Air does not offer additional food or beverages. As such, passengers are encouraged to bring their own. Their low prices make them an excellent choice for budget-savvy travellers looking to save.
Flair Airline is a popular budget airline that flies to several locations around Canada and some areas of the United States. Based out of Edmonton, they operate a fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft. The airline launched in 2005, and like Lynx Air, they offer optional fees for additional features, including priority boarding.
Because there is no in-flight entertainment onboard Flair’s aircraft, passengers are encouraged to bring their own devices for entertainment. Flair Airlines does have its own entertainment app passengers can use to play games or watch movies on their flights. The cost of flights with Flair Airlines varies depending on the route; however, they offer impressive deals like Toronto to Vancouver for under $300.
Swoop Airlines was founded in 2017 in Calgary, and its inaugural flight took place in 2018. Since then, they have become well-known as one of Canada’s most popular ultra-low-cost airlines. They offer services to multiple destinations in North America, Mexico, and the Caribbean, using a fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft. This is the fastest-selling aircraft in Boeing’s history, and the 737-900 model seats up to 220 passengers.
Passengers can choose from options with extra legroom. All the seats have adjustable headrests, leather seats, and in-seat power. Passengers can also purchase WiFi on their flight if they choose. Their base fares include only their seats. Like other low-cost airlines, passengers can add optional extras if they wish.
When flying with Swoop Airlines, passengers can bring a free personal item and one free carry-on, but checked bags will incur an extra fee. Passengers should be aware of the airline’s strict baggage policies, as overweight luggage is subject to hefty fees between $105 and $115.
Air Transat has been a big name in low-cost air travel in Canada since 1986, and it is Canada’s third-largest airline behind Air Canada and WestJet. They offer flights to more than 60 destinations worldwide in 25 countries and three continents. Thanks to their vast network, they are an excellent choice for travellers looking to fly domestically or internationally on a budget.
Their services include complimentary snacks and beverages onboard, such as tea, coffee, fruit juice, and cookies. In addition, they also provide passengers with the option of purchasing meals before their flight if they wish. Some of their aircraft include built-in tablets so passengers can watch movies or shows on their flights. Passengers are also invited to bring their own devices and use the Air Transat app to enjoy onboard movies, TV, and other entertainment.
8 Best low-cost Airlines in Canada: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Now that we’ve discussed the best low-cost airlines in Canada let’s look at some of the frequently asked questions about this topic.
What’s the cheapest airline in Canada?
The eight airlines discussed in this post are some of Canada’s cheapest air travel options. It’s helpful to look at options from each of them to find the very best deal for your specific travel dates.
Is Flair or Swoop better?
This depends on a passenger’s preferences, but some notable differences between the two airlines can help you decide between them. For example, Swoop offers in-seat power, and Flair offers lower baggage fees. Depending on the destination you’re planning to travel to, it’s helpful to look at options from both airlines to make the best decision based on budget and other important factors. Suppose the price of your tickets is your most significant consideration. In that case, you can’t go wrong when you choose the cheapest option between the two for your destination!
How can I get super cheap flights in Canada?
Along with choosing from the seven low-cost air carriers we’ve outlined in this post, there are many strategies you can employ to get cheap flights in Canada. For example, try to fly at off-peak times, use airline credit cards or loyalty programs where available, and consider flying from a regional airport near you for better deals.
Consider signing up for airline newsletters, which often offer exclusive discounts and special deals. Lastly, comparing prices across different booking sites is vital to ensure you get the best possible deal.
Which airline is the best to fly to Canada?
The best airline to fly to Canada depends on the passenger’s destination, budget, and preference. It’s always worth comparing prices across different airlines and booking sites to ensure you get the best deal possible. Additionally, it can be helpful to read reviews from other travellers who have flown with a particular airline before making your decision.
Air Canada was ranked #50 out of 100 in the Skytrax World Airline Awards of 2022. On that same note, Air Transat was voted North America’s Best Leisure Airline at the 2022 Skytrax World Airline Awards.
Concluding Canada’s Best Low-Cost Airlines
Several options are available when it comes to finding the best low-cost airlines in Canada. In this post, we discussed eight of them and highlighted some key features. Spend time researching each one more thoroughly to ensure you get the best deal possible for your travel needs. It can also be helpful to employ strategies like flying during off-peak times or signing up for airline newsletters for even better travel deals. With these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to finding the perfect flight at an affordable price.