Star Alliance member Air Canada has put quite a decent price tag on nonstop flights between Barcelona, Madrid and their largest hub, Toronto. For only €309 you can cross the Atlantic twice and enjoy full board service along the way. Fares including checked bag up to 23 kg cost €50 extra each way.
Worldwide travel restrictions are in place to slow the spread of Covid-19. We strongly recommend gathering detailed information about the travel and quarantine restrictions that apply to your desired origin and destination.
A good start is the International Air Transport Association (IATA) website. It provides current updates on a country’s immigration policies. Even better, the Covid-19 Travel Regulations Map is one of the most useful tools you can find.
While availability is great between August and mid-December 2021, there are only certain weekdays on which nonstop services are offered:
- From Barcelona: Monday and Saturday – To Barcelona: Friday and Sunday
- From Madrid: Monday, Wednesday, Friday – To Madrid: Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday
All promoted prices are Star Alliance fares without checked luggage allowance. Especially when flying United, you will also have other cutbacks:
Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian
On flights with Lufthansa Group carriers, you will be able to select your seat for free at the time of check-in. Star Alliance Gold member can currently bring one checked bag (23 kg). But it is not sure how long this will be possible.
When flying United you can still bring two pieces of checked luggage (23 kg each) as a Star Alliance Gold member, MileagePlus frequent flyer can even bring three pieces (32 kg each). But there are other disadvantages:
- No seat selection. You will be assigned a seat during check-in and can’t change it anymore
- Lowest priority while boarding
- For MileagePlus members:
- No complimentary Economy+ seats
- Only 50% tier miles (instead of 100%)
- No same-day changes
- No upgrades
Air Canada’s Basic Economy fare isn’t as restricted as the one from Lufthansa and United. Star Alliance Gold members can still bring one piece of checked luggage (23 kg), and Air Canada Altitude customers can bring up to three pieces (32kg each).
- Altitude members:
- Only 25% earning rate for international flights, no miles for domestic
- No upgrades
Air Canada uses its Airbus A330 aircraft on both routes. These planes come with the usual 2-4-2 seating in economy class, a rather decent seat pitch of 79 cm and personal inflight entertainment for each individual seat.
Search & Book
According to the fare rules, tickets for this price are on sale until April 15, 2021. They are valid for trips longer than six days with a maximum of three months. You can find multiple dates each week at the lowest fare from August to mid-December 2021.
Google Flights will help you find suiting flight dates. While online travel agencies you can find via our flight search are up to €50 cheaper, we still recommend buying your tickets at Air Canada’s website.
Why is booking with an airline better than with an online travel agency?
More often than not, online travel agencies offer lower fares than airlines do. We still recommend booking with the airlines directly. There are three main reasons for that:
- The Covid-19 Pandemic
During the worldwide outbreak of Covid-19, planning international travel got more and more risky because of ever-changing restrictions. In contrast to many online travel agencies, most airlines modified their terms & conditions to become more customer friendly. Rebooking conditions are eased, change fees are waived and cancellations are much easier when there is no third party involved.
Further, by adding an OTA to your plans, you increase the risk of one service provider involved going bankrupt. Now, the airline and the online travel agency involved could vanish along with your money.
- Better Customer Service
In case any problems like delays, cancellations or missed connections arise, you can communicate directly with the airline. The airlines has to take care of you because you have a contract with them.
If a travel agency issues your ticket, you may have to reach out to them first. You also depend on your OTA to forward you information like flight changes instead receiving them directly from the airline. You may get a prime exhibition of responsibility shifting rather than problem solving.
This especially applies for premium tickets. You don’t want to spend more than €1,000 to wind up with some budget OTA’s telephone hotline in case anything goes wrong.
- Baggage Fees
Economy fares not including hold luggage are more and more common. In most cases, travel agencies charge much higher baggage fees than the airlines themselves. If bags are not included in your fare, airlines are often the cheaper alternative.
Air Canada issues these tickets in booking class K. This is a discounted economy booking class – your earning opportunities are barely existent:
- 1,000 Kilometers on Air China PhoenixMiles
- 500 Miles on Miles&More
- 500 Miles on Ethiopian ShebaMiles
- 500 Miles on Asiana Club
- 500 Miles on Aegean Miles+Bonus
- 300 Miles on Copa ConnectMiles
- 300 Miles on United MileagePlus
- 150 Miles on Air Canada Aeroplan
Information & Tips for Canada
The North American country of Canada is the second largest country in the world in terms of surface area. In Canada, English and French are the official languages. Tourists visit Canada because of its many natural attractions and large cities, and the flight prices vary between the east and west coasts. Flights to the east coast e.g. to Toronto or Montreal regularly cost less than 400€. For flights to the west coast, e.g. to Vancouver or Calgary, prices are closer to 400€ – 600€. Other destinations are mostly only reachable with an additional domestic flight. Just like in the USA, most airlines now only offer cheap fares that do not include checked baggage. For checked baggage you should budget an additional 50€ per direction.
Best Time to Travel
Canada is a huge country with many varying climate conditions, but it is safe to say that the winters (November to March) are very cold and snowy in most regions. Summers are relatively mild and partly rainy.
Immigration & Visa Requirements
Most EU citizens do not need a visa for tourist stays of up to 6 months. However, an electronic travel waiver (eTA) must be applied for, similar to the ESTA required for entry into the USA. This costs about 5€ and is valid for up to 5 years.
Canada’s national currency is the Canadian Dollar (CAD). One euro is approximately $1.50 CAD. Many credit cards may charge a foreign currency fee of up to 2% to pay in CAD.
Transfer from Canada to the USA
Canada is located north of the USA and is the only other country apart from Mexico that shares a border with it (2 borders, actually: Alaska borders Canada in the southeast!) At many airports in Canada US immigration is already done before departure, so you arrive in the USA as a “domestic” passenger in the domestic terminal which can potentially save you lots of time since you do not have to stand in line at customs upon arriving. By land the same entry formalities take place as at the airport or by train at the station in Canada. Most EU citizens don’t need a visa and can instead make use of the digital ESTA procedure.
All Dealz for Canada