Flair Airlines is Canada’s only independent Ultra Low-Cost Carrier (ULCC), headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta. Flair connects 20 Canadian cities with a fleet of Boeing 737 Max 8, and 737-800 aircraft. Launched in 2017, Flair added several new routes in 2021, including connections to/from my home airport of Ottawa (YOW), with very attractive fares across the network. That was invitation enough for me to give them a try, and I decided to book myself a one-way ticket from Ottawa to Vancouver for $59!
It’s not a typo, you read that right, Ottawa to Vancouver for $59 CAD. Here’s my experience of booking my first ULCC ticket in Canada, and my learnings on what is included in my ticket. And more importantly, what is not.
Although Flair Airlines has a mobile app, I booked my tickets directly on flyflair.com. The web interface is clean and simply to follow. Personally, I felt that there was room for improvement when it came to purchasing add-ons, for example, the system only presents bundled options to begin with, rather than the the individual add-ons available. The overall booking experience was pleasant and I was able to complete my Ottawa to Vancouver booking in under five minutes.
My $59 ticket only included one personal item, and offered several add-on ($$) options like advanced seat selection, carry-on baggage, checked baggage and so on;
Flair Airlines describes a ‘personal item’ as follows:
Flair permits one free personal bag/item per passenger which must be stored in the seat infront of you. Examples can include purses, small backpacks, laptop bags, briefcases and tote bags. Be sure to measure your personal item before arriving at the airport. Bags above the specified measurements and weight are considered a carry-on bag and will be subject to a fee.
15 cm x 33 cm x 43 cm (6 in x 13 in x 17 in)
7 kg (15.5 lb)
It’s not hard to imagine that most passengers flying would require a little more than a personal item. A carry-on bag can cost anywhere between $39-$59 depending on the route. The cost for a carry-on baggage on the Ottawa to Vancouver segment, one way, was a whopping $59 – doubling the price of the ticket! Had I chosen to add on a carry-on baggage to my $59 ticket the price breakdown would look like this;
- Ottawa to Vancouver one-way $59 CAD
- Ottawa to Vancouver one way, with a carry-on baggage, $125 CAD
Shortly after purchasing my ticket it occurred to me that the date did not work for my travel plans anymore, and I wanted to cancel and rebook on a different date. That is when I realized that Flair Airlines does not allow cancellation with full refund (within 24 hours) to be done online. This can only be accomplished by either sending an email or calling the toll-free number. Online cancellation slaps on a $25 fee, and the refund portion can only be used as future travel credit.
Flair’s Cancellation Policy:
To receive a full refund, passengers have 24 hours from the time of making a reservation to cancel the booking, as long as your trip is more than 7 days from the date of booking. This can be accomplished by sending an [email](mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org) or contacting customer support at 1-855-936-5656. After 24 hours, or if the trip is within 7 days of the booking, Flair does not refund flights – only changes are possible. Include your booking number, complete name and contact information in all communications.
No credit or refunds will be given for missed flights, no shows, cancellations made past cut-off times (3 hours prior to scheduled departure), or for fare differences after a reservation has been made.
I must say that while the process to cancel a ticket within the 24 hour window seems onerous, I was able to get a refund via email request within 48 hours. As expected with any ULCC model, Flair has an exhaustive list of optional add-ons, fees and charges.
The rebooking process was just as simple, and I was able to get another desired date on the same route from Ottawa to Vancouver for $59. The current promotion for flights to and from Ottawa include a 30% discount when using the promo code YOWFORLESS.
I cannot wait to review my flight experience on this route, and share the true ULCC service standards in Canada. If my booking experience is anything to by, I expect Flair to do a stellar job getting me to Vancouver as well.
If you have flown with Flair (or other ULCC carriers), please share your do’s/don’t with a comment below.