Flying with Flair – a no frills flying experience

Flying with Flair – a no frills flying experience

Flight experiences for Canadians are going to look different as we have more options to consider in our near future. While WestJet and Air Canada have dominated the Canadian skies for a long time, the introduction of recent ultra low cost carriers (ULCC’s) provide more flying options and attractive pricing to encourage people to travel.

But, we need to take a closer look at what the ULCC’s offer vs the big two (WestJet and Air Canada). I recently chose to fly Flair Air from Calgary to Abbotsford over the Christmas holidays because of the price. All other flight options were much higher than I wanted to pay, and Flair Air flies to Vancouver and Abbotsford from Calgary so I decided it was worth the gamble to try out Flair Air for myself.

A no frills flying experience is exactly that. No frills. Basic. You get a seat on the airplane and you choose what you want to pay for. With this model, it is completely up to you to decide what you want to pay for and what type of flying experience you want for your trip.

There is no onboard entertainment, nor is there a charging port for your phone or electronic devices and no beverage service or snacks.

Everything has a fee. But you can choose what you want to pay for. Seat selection, checked baggage, carry on baggage, meals, etc. If you purchase your options in advance, the price is cheaper than at the airport or at the gate. Printing a boarding pass will cost you $10 at the airport or you can print on your own computer or select mobile option for no cost.

However, if you’re one who doesn’t like to feel “nickelled and dimed” for everything, then the ULCC option may not be for you. If you don’t plan properly in advance for what you want to pay for, the prices they charge you at the airport or the gate can be extreme, sometimes negating your ultra low cost fare for your flight.

But sometimes, the savings is worth it. With base fares starting at $39 to $99 taxes included, it is tempting to consider and can open the opportunities for more travel. If you are looking for a transportation option to get you from one place to another, then a great fare is worth it, knowing you will be getting a very basic flight experience.

For my situation, the savings to fly from Calgary to Vancouver over the Christmas holidays was worth it. The price for three passengers (including costs for checked baggage and advance seat selection) was half the cost of flying with either WestJet or Air Canada. It was a short one hour flight so there was no concern regarding the lack of onboard entertainment, power charging or snacks.

The service onboard the flight was fine. However our flights were delayed both ways, each about 45 minutes to an hour. Luckily, we were not on any timeline that would have been affected, but there was no indication beforehand that our flights were delayed.

For longer flights, amenities and comfort, sometimes the cost to fly newer planes, with onboard entertainment, might be more important. It is ultimately up to the passengers to consider the cost vs savings on whether the ULCC option is worth it. You really need to evaluate all the fees on the different fares to determine what will be the best option and as long as you know what you are expecting with the ULCCs, it’s great to have increased options and choices for travel. It can be worth considering, if the savings will help you in your travel opportunities!

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