Air Canda Seat Sale: Charlottetown to London, $159

As proof positive that air fares bear no relationship to the cost of flying, Air Canada is having a two-day sale this week with one-way fare from Charlottetown to London as low as $159, and to Paris as low as $180 each way. By way of comparison, the fare from Charlottetown to Montreal is $194, to Hamilton is $164.

Using the direct great circle distance, that puts the fare to London at 5.6 cents a mile and the fare to Montreal at 37.6 cents a mile. So somehow flying to Montreal is 7 times more expensive than flying to London. Weird.

Should you wish to take them up on this crazy folly of a fare, the rules are as follows for London:

Tickets must be purchased by March 13, 2008. Fares are valid for departures from March 27 to April 14, 2008. Minimum stay: Saturday night Maximum stay: 12 months. All travel must be completed by April 30, 2008. Seats are limited. Day-of-week restrictions may apply: advertised fares are valid Monday through Wednesday departures. Higher seat sale levels are also available for weekend departures.


Andrew Chisholm's picture
Andrew Chisholm on March 12, 2008 - 15:22 Permalink

I bought a ticket on West Jet from Charlottetown to Calgary for March 23. The ticket price was an affordable $209. My original departure date was set for March 25 because the ticket price was originally posted as $259 but I ended up procrastinating on purchasing that ticket and the price jump to almost $500. I ended up with a better deal in the end and a personal story which proves that not all procrastinating is bad.

Three years ago I had to fly directly into Charlottetown from Vancouver. At the time, my only option was Air Canada who took advantage of their Island market hold and charged me almost $700. West Jet has really been a hero to frequent air travelers.

oliver's picture
oliver on March 12, 2008 - 22:19 Permalink

I imagine we’re talking about two very different sized planes though and different ratios of cruising vs. takeoff and descent—both of which would advantage the London flight for fuel efficiency and flight personnel cost per passenger.

Chuck McKinnon's picture
Chuck McKinnon on March 12, 2008 - 22:37 Permalink

I looked into this for Calgary-Paris and came up with a BASE fare (before taxes, fuel surcharges, expense padding, $5500/hr escorts, etc.) of $491. Not bad!

In the old days — say, circa 2002 — I used to apply a “lie factor” multiplier of 1.25 to estimate the fare including all surcharges. It was surprisingly robust as a rule of thumb, usually getting me very close to the actual, final, grudgingly-disclosed price.

Well, not this time. On a $491 ticket, the “fuel surcharge” is $202.00!! And then all the other charges on top of that, which alone add just over 20% to the putative base price. Grand total? $795.80.

Under $800 is still a pretty great price for a YYC-CDG roundtrip; it’s the deceptive marketing that bothers me. The price multiplier on this one is 1.6. In what other market would we accept a 60% discrepancy between the advertised and the final price?

oliver's picture
oliver on March 12, 2008 - 22:53 Permalink

I can’t find the specs I’d like, but I’m guesstimating the Boeing 767-300, such as might take you to London, flies about 5 times as many passengers about four times as far with about the same amount fuel as a Bombadier CRJ100, such as might take you to Montreal, and the same number of pilots.