Canadian carriers Air Transat and Air Canada are selling tickets for economy class flights from Paris to Montreal and Toronto at really affordable prices. You can get your nonstop return-flight for only €258 to Montreal with Air Transat. Air Canada charges €260. These are all non-stop connections.
While Air Canada offers betters service and cabin layout, but their offer is only for flights in June 2021 or earlier. Air Transat offers further flight dates in Fall 2021. You won’t be able to find any flights at the advertised fare in July and August 2021.
As always, cheap economy class flights to Northern America are Light or Basic fares and therefore won’t include any checked bags. If you want to bring more than just a piece of carry-on you can book this flight on Air Canada’s website for €360.
This is a Star Alliance fare that does not include check-in luggage. Additionally, some other disadvantages may apply, especially when flying with United:
Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian
Lufthansa Group airlines call this fare Economy Light. You can select your seats during the check-in process. While these airlines still allow Star-Alliance-Gold customers to bring one 23kg bag, it is said that this benefit will soon be eliminated without much warning.
The long-haul United Basic Economy allows Star-Alliance-Gold customers to fly with 2 x 23 kg luggage, or even 3 x 32 kg if you’re a MileagePlus frequent flyer. Nevertheless, there are other restrictions:
- You cannot reserve your seats. Even at the time of check-in, you’ll be automatically assigned a seat, which you cannot change.
- You’ll be the last one to board the plane (except if you’re a frequent flyer).
- Additionally, if you’re a MileagePlus-customer:
- No free Economy-Plus upgrades
- Only 50% PQM instead of 100%, and only 0.5 PQS per flight
- No modifications (e.g. Same Day-Changes) possible
- Upgrades are not permitted
On flights with Air Canada, there is also a Basic Economy, but it is not quite as restrictive as United’s. If you have a Star-Alliance-Gold-Status, you can give up a 23 kg luggage, and Air-Canada-Altitude status holders can even be allowed up to 3 x 32 kg.
Other restrictions include:
- You can reserve seats, but at a higher price than usual for Economy.
- For Air Canada Altitude customers:
- 25% miles for transatlantic flights, none for domestic.
- Upgrades are not permitted.
- From Prestige 25K onwards you can select your seats.
If you feel that these restrictions are unbearable, you should book over Lufthansa.com or United.com and select the rate that includes luggage for roughly €100 more.
The non-stop connection will take you to Canada in around 8 hours on board of Air Canada’s Boeing 777. If you choose the cheaper option with a layover, you could change planes in Vienna or Munich, for example. Air Transat uses a 3-3-3 configuration on its Airbus A330 between Paris and Montreal. The usual seat layout for this plane is 2-4-2, so you can expect a rather narrow experience when choosing this airline.
We expect further shakeups in the airline industry over the following months. Some services might be cancelled, aircraft changed or downgraded. The schedule we describe may very well change.
Search & Book
The fare rules state that Air Transat tickets will be available until January 19, 2021. You can find travel dates with this airline as late as December 2021. Air Canada sells tickets at the lowest fare until February 1, 2021, for travel ending before July 9, 2021.
Air Transat’s minimum stay requirements are 6 days. But you could also return after spending a night from Saturday to Sunday in Canada. Air Canada wants you to stay at least three days in Montreal. The maximum that the fare allows for is 3 months. Don’t forget to get your eTA!
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.
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
Cover Picture: © Friedberg