Scoring a cheap flight in Canada isn’t the easiest thing. By comparison to other countries, flying in Canada can be expensive if you don’t plan it right and use all the services at your disposal. There are several factors to take in when trying to find the best deal on a domestic or international Canadian flight.
The two most popular airlines are AirCanada and Westjet. Both of which run international and domestic flights through Canada. AirCanada Jazz and Tango are their cheapest flights, and occasionally that can be noticeable. However, since AirCanada became the official airline of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, the flights are getting much nicer. The majority of airplanes in Canada will have a personal entertainment system built into the seat ahead of you, as well as those awesome fold down trays we all love so much.
Check for specials. Airlines will occasionally have specials during certain weeks of the month. If you’re trips not for another couple months, make a habit of looking twice a week for specials. Sometimes its only 15% off, but that 15% could go towards accommodation, food, or drinks.
Book your flights to fly during Mid week. A flight on a Tuesday or Wednesday will be cheaper than a flight on Friday or Saturday. Always! Also, try and making the initial booking on a Tuesday or Wednesday, airlines have a habit of lowering their prices mid week.
Search Google for Coupon Codes – apply a coupon code to your flight and save sometimes up to 40% off your flight! Check out Smart Canucks and Bargain Moose, they occasionally run coupon codes for flights. I’ve used these several times without a problem.
Compare costs of flights between Expedia, Kayak, Orbitz – some will be cheaper than others. Once you’ve found one, don’t hesitate too long. If you think it’s a better deal than what the others are offering, it probably is, dive on it before someone else does. However, check the airlines website for the exact same date. Occasionally it will be cheaper through the airlines as Orbitz takes a small fee (~$6), might save you the cost of a beer.
Book ahead – leaving a flight until last minute can cost you quite a bit. Try and give yourself at least 3 weeks, 4 would be preferable. But when you’re Backpacking Across Canada, sometimes schedules don’t always work.
If you’re a student or under 25 years of age, apply for a ISIC card. If you fly often, these cards are great to have, they’re valid all over the world, including Canada. With these cards you can use student sales at http://www.travelcuts.com/ – a great canadian site used by University students for cheap flights worldwide.
If you plan on making more than a couple flights throughout Canada, The United Stated, and Mexico, you should consider buying a North American Air Pass through Star Alliance. This pass allows you to purchase coupons (3 to 10) for flights anywhere through North America. There are serious amounts of savings to be had here, definitely worth looking into it.
Flights between Labor Day and Thanksgiving tend to be the cheapest time to book flights. Should you try and grab a flight around Christmas, you’re sure to pay some holiday inflation. Same goes for just about any other holiday, as well as the time of the day. Airlines update costs up to 5 times a day. Check the flights as early as possible. Check at least once before 5am, and again at or around 5pm.