Air Canada jumps into the gutter…

I’ve always condemned the charter airlines (like WestJet and Canada 3000) for advertising cheap fares by using the “one way fare based on return travel” gambit. They advertise a $99 fare to Toronto, but then, in smaller print, tell you that this is the one way fare, but that you have to buy a return ticket. So the real fare is $198.

Until now I hadn’t seen Air Canada adopt this deceptive technique. This changed last night when they announced their latest seat sale.

They’re advertising a one way trip to Boston for $189, a fare which, deep into the fine print, you read is “each way based on return trip travel and may only be purchased on a return basis.” So the real return fare to Boston is $378. This isn’t a bad fare, but it’s not fantastic — I’ve flown with little advance notice in the past year for $490. It’s certainly not a “jaw-dropping” fare, as they suggest on their website.

I wish Air Canada would stop the sneaky tactic; they shouldn’t have to lower themselves into the charter gutter to compete.

It is interesting to note that you can fly to Zurich from Charlottetown for $10 more than it costs to fly to Seattle from Charlottetown.