COLUMN: Air travel within Canada too costly
Santa Claus has the right idea when taking to his sleigh and eight tiny reindeer when travelling around the world and specifically across Canada.
Aside from the difficulties of takeoffs and landings from one house to another if making his deliveries by airline, the cost would be astronomical and would drive the old boy right out of business.
I say this following attempts to book a flight for my stepson from Edmonton home for the holidays.
My wife is the family’s travel agent with a nearly unblemished record in finding the good vacation deals.
The proof is in great prices on trips to Mexico, Hawaii, Cuba, Disneyland and San Diego. Deals were always achieved on flights, resorts or car rentals.
But her record took a bit of a beating when it came to air travel within Canada.
Parking herself in front of the computer, searching for a deal over Christmas for flights from Edmonton to Nanaimo, Edmonton to Vancouver, Edmonton to Comox or Edmonton to Victoria only resulted in grumblings, heavy sighs and finally a few expletives.
“Do you know I can get him a flight and one week in a four-star hotel in Mexico cheaper than a flight from Edmonton to Nanaimo?” she raged.
It’s nothing new. The cost of air travel within this country’s borders is ridiculous.
A friend needing to get from Vancouver to Prince Edward Island had to pay through the nose unless he was willing to stop at what seemed like every major airport from here to the Maritimes.
We once looked into flying to Prince George for a family event but decided it was cheaper to drive even with two ferry trips, stops for gasoline and food and one hotel stay.
My biggest concern was it was October and you never know what weather you may encounter.
But we geared up for the worst and thankfully the drive there and back was uneventful.
The same concerns arose with my stepson’s visit and the possibility of him driving from Edmonton.
But driving the Rockie Mountains, B.C.’s Interior and the Coquihalla Highway in December is a completely different set of circumstances.
It was not worth the risk for a seven-day visit, so he flew.
But the price might make him think twice about coming out again by air anytime soon or us flying to visit family and a new grandchild in Alberta.
I’m sure there are others thinking along the same lines and that has to be a concern for the Canadian tourism industry.
With the number of U.S. tourists visiting on the decline, one of the avenues the industry is turning to is in-country travel – Canadians taking in the wonders of their own country.
But when $1,400 gets you a flight, hotel stay, and food and drink in a Caribbean resort for a week, you have to think twice about dishing out a similar amount for just a flight to Toronto.
Something has to be done to remedy the problem.
A healthy Canadian dollar gives travellers more options around the world and a vacation in Canada is not so attractive when it costs too much.
The federal government is working on airline advertising policies so consumers know from the beginning the complete cost of a flight.
It’s a start, but it’s not enough.
Most people know the old saying about it being too good to be true and that there are taxes and other surprises added on to that $49 flight to Las Vegas.
Instead of informing the public that the flight to Toronto is going to cost and arm and a leg, the government should be asking why it costs an arm and a leg.
Until then, I’ll take a blue ocean and cold beer on a beach in Mexico over an historic tour of Quebec City or watching icebergs float past Newfoundland.