Monday, June 22, 2009

Fantasy Airfare Ads

Two years ago a law passed requiring airlines to advertise the full price of airfares. Unfortunately, it contained a provision to delay implementation, and this delay has continued to today. There seems to be little political will to enforce such a rule despite the fact that it is popular with Canadians.

I decided to try a little test. Air Canada has a listing of special offers, the first of which is a $295 flight from Montreal to Bogota. However, here is a full listing of all the charges that came up for this route after I chose the lowest costs I could find:

$314.99 outgoing flight
$314.99 return flight
-$15.00 receive no Aeroplan miles for outgoing flight
-$15.00 receive no Aeroplan miles return flight
$30.02 surcharge
$252.00 fuel surcharge
$31.00 airport improvement fee
$17.00 air traveler security charge
$11.18 JS
$1.55 GST
$36.88 Columbia domestic airport tax
$979.61 Total

So, $295 turned into $979.61, a 232% jump! If they just increased the $252 fuel surcharge a little and maybe added another surcharge or two, they could advertise flights for just $1.

It has reached the point where advertised prices for flights are just meaningless. It’s high time that airlines started advertising all-in prices.


  1. Curious that the government doesn't do anything about this type of deception. Interestingly, the Quebec gov't recently introduced legislation that prohibits some deceptive practices (like hiding freight/PDI charges in pricing for new cars). I guess the government believes that the interests of the travel companies are more important than providing honest pricing to consumers.

  2. Here in Ottawa we are lucky enough to get an airport fee on top. WOOT!! I am so pleased to pay $400 for a $99 ticket.