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The Best Low-Cost Airlines in Canada

Written by Jessica Steer
When it comes to traveling, there are a lot of choices to make starting with the destination. Then you need to sort out accommodations and whether you are driving or considering air travel.
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    Once you have made the decision to go with air travel, that’s when things start to get tricky. How much luggage are you taking with you? What airline do you wish to fly with? What is your budget? Should you buy flight insurance? Are you willing to sacrifice luxury for cost? There are so many factors to consider. With so many different airlines out there, it can be hard to know which one to choose. While the destination may cut down on part of this decision for you, it is important to do your research so you can get the most for your money.

    What are some of the differences between Canadian low-cost airlines?

    While it is always exciting to find a low-cost flight, it is important to do some research on the airline before you book. While some airlines are cheap, they tend to have many delays and cancellations, which can affect your trip. The other airlines, however, may have luxuries you don’t need and don’t want to pay for. Depending on the amount of money you are willing to spend and what you are looking for in a flight, there are a variety of airlines to choose from. Here are a few of the most popular airlines and what they offer to their customers.

    Air Canada Rouge

    Air Canada Rouge was created by Air Canada and offers cheaper pricing than you would find with Air Canada flights. This is considered to be Air Canada’s budget airline and allows them to offer cheap fares in comparison to the prices of Air Canada. It offers services in parts of Canada, Mexico, Europe, the US, as well as Central and South America.

    They have a premium economy section that’s better than most average economy sections but still not quite to the standards of business class. It offers things like extra leg room and wider seats which can be difficult to come across with other airlines. On the other hand, it doesn’t offer entertainment. They do offer iPad rentals for $10 if you need them. You are also able to purchase food with Air Canada Rouge, however, all locations do not qualify for this.

    The amenities that Air Canada Rogues offer as well as the number of destinations this airline offers put it a step above other low-cost airlines. It isn’t the right fit for everyone, but a great low-cost option if you still want some luxury in your travel. It is considered to be one of the best low-cost airlines.

    Porter Airlines

    Porter Airlines is another low-cost carrier to consider if you are looking for cheap flights. They offer one-way tickets for an average of $150, sometimes even lower than that. That being said, they only offer flights to destinations in major Canadian cities, the United States, and the Americas. They even operate out of larger airports such as Calgary International Airport.

    Even though it is low-cost, they offer free wine, beer, snacks, and refreshments. They also have a rewards program for frequent flyers. These are both things that most other low-cost airlines don’t offer.

    Lynx Airlines

    This airline only started in 2021 and is the newest low-cost airline. With Lynx being such a new airline, it only offers flights to destinations within Canada. They currently serve:

    • Vancouver
    • Kelowna
    • Victoria
    • Calgary
    • Edmonton
    • Winnipeg
    • Toronto
    • Hamilton
    • Halifax
    • St. Johns

    Their platform focuses on low-cost, affordable options. They have no hidden fees, and they have a new fleet of Boeing 737s. If you want more specialized features like priority boarding or seat selection you are able to pay an extra charge or you can just stick to the basics.

    Flair Airlines

    Flair Airlines was established in 2017 and, just like Lynx, focuses on being an affordable airline. Currently, they have over 35 Canadian and North American destinations and are continuing to expand. Their priority is safe and reliable travel, with no compromises.

    The feature they advertise about their prices is that they are unbundled. This means you can select the basic price and make any additions that you would like. You are not obligated to have any luxuries that you don’t want or would rather save the money on.

    All of the flight prices include government taxes and airport improvement fees. There is a $15 plus tax charge for all bookings done through the call center, whereas online booking is free. They include 1 small carry-on item that’s free. This includes things like purses, laptop cases, and briefcases. Carry-on bags are between $29-$49 plus tax if added online or they cost $59 plus tax if this is done at the airport. All additional bags come with a cost as well that goes up with the more bags that you add. However, there are bundles you can select for your luggage that are significantly cheaper depending on how much you need to travel with. A basic bundle that has a carry-on and a checked bag range between $49.3-$83.30. The Big bundle includes this but also offers priority boarding and cancellation up to 3 hours prior is $62.40-$94.40.

    On top of all of this, there are some small cancellation and flight change fees. It is important that you make the right selections when booking your flight in order to ensure that you won’t be spending any more money than you intended to.

    Is It Reliable?

    Because Flair is a smaller airline, the risk of cancellation is much higher than taking flight with a larger airline. They have less planes so if a flight is cancelled, it can be more difficult to obtain a different flight and can impact your trip. That said, as long as your flight isn’t cancelled, Flair is a great airline to fly with. Just remember, the risk of cancellation or changed flight times does happen with these smaller airlines so it might be something to factor into your plans.

    Swoop Airlines

    Another low-cost airline that you may have heard of is Swoop. They keep costs low, so they are able to offer savings to their customers. They start by just charging the basic fare of the seat cost and then you can add any additions you would like such as luggage. They also offer seats with extra leg room for a cost. Again, this is optional. They do have food and drink for sale on their flights as well, but they do encourage customers to bring their own refillable water bottles that can be filled at water stations once they have passed security.

    They offer flights to parts of Canada, the United States, Mexico, and the Caribbean and are adding more all of the time. Also, all of their flights are straight to the destination and have no layovers which are preferred for many travelers.

    The one thing swoop does tell you though is that they do not offer credits or refunds for missed flights or any of the optional selections. They are also strict on their check-in times. So, even if you are running just a few minutes behind, you will miss your flight.

    Swoop recommends that you arrive 2 hours before your domestic flight and 3 hours before international. The gates for a domestic flight close 45 minutes before and 60 minutes before for an international flight.

    Flair Airlines vs. Swoop Airlines

    Considering that both Flair Airlines and Swoop Airlines are Ultra-Low-Cost Carriers (ULCC) it can be hard to pick which one is better. Honestly, they are both great low-cost options but there are some differences.

    1. Flair does not offer Wi-Fi or have power outlets on the plane, whereas swoop does.
    2. Flair only offers domestic flights whereas swoop also has international options.
    3. Flair has lower baggage fees than swoop.
    4. With either company delays are common.
    5. Flair offers some of the cheapest prices compared to other ULCCs.
    6. Swoop has some of the most expensive flight prices of all ULCCs.
    7. Flair offers travel insurance on their website whereas Swoop does not.

    Overall, though, both of these airlines are low-cost compared to average-priced airlines. Which one you choose will depend on your destination, the options you want, and if you require Wi-Fi or power outlets.

    It is also important to mention that even though all ULCC companies deal with delays and cancellations more than other airlines, Flair tends to have this happen way more often than swoop. However, if you get flight insurance that’s covered so it is a good option to consider when booking with either of these companies.

    Flair Airlines vs. Swoop Airlines vs Lynx

    Above we can see differences between Flair and Swoop, but how does Lynx rate between these two different airlines? Well, for starters, Lynx is a much newer airline so they don’t offer as many different choices as the other two airlines. Also, the main difference is that Lynx only offers domestic flights, while both Flair and Swoop offer international flights as well.

    Air Transat

    Air Transat is what is called a 4-star leisure airline. This is based on the airport quality, onboard products, staff service, seat amenities, food, beverages, IFE, and cleanliness. While Air Transat may not be the cheapest airline out there, they make up for it by being named the world’s best leisure airline. They are also ranked as one of Canada’s best employers.

    Air Transat is a Canadian airline that was founded in Montreal in 1986 and has been Travel-Life certified since 2018. They offer flights to 60 international destinations and carry around 5 million passengers every year. Service is one of their main priorities, making them one of Canada’s most popular airlines, even though they might be slightly more costly.

    Air Canada

    Air Canada is one of the largest airlines in Canada; however, it isn’t in the low-cost airline category. Just like Air Transat, Air Canada is in Montreal, and they are known for the premium services that they offer like:

    • Signature Service
    • Premium Economy Cabin
    • Preferred Seats
    • Signature Suite
    • Maple Leaf Lounges
    • Air Canada Café
    • Concierge

    Of course, this added level of comfort does come with a price. On top of all of these things, Air Canada offers Wi-Fi, and they have culinary and wine talent for the food and drinks. They also have online and App services that allow for:

    • Self-Service
    • Flight Bookings
    • Check-in
    • Realtime updates
    • Itinerary Management

    However, if you aren’t looking for luxury and comforts, Air-Canada offers Air Canada Rouge, as discussed earlier in this post.

    Other New Cheap Airlines

    If you’re looking for a cheap airline to fly with, you don’t have to look very far. There are so many new different airlines emerging all of the time, all over the world. Which airline you choose to fly with just depends on your departure location, destination and budget. Some of these new airlines are only available in parts of Canada as well, not the whole country.


    If you’re looking to fly internationally from Vancouver at a low rate then your best bets are probably Flair or Swoop. Domestically, Lynx is probably going to be your cheapest option. Anyone you choose though is going to have lower rates than the larger airlines.


    If you’re looking for flights out of Toronto you have the choice of any of the airlines above. That said, there’s also a new airline in Canada that offers flights from different parts of Canada to Europe, at a discounted rate. One of the places they offer this is Toronto. They’re relatively new to Canada so their prices are currently in USD, and they’re offering different locations all the time as they begin their expansion into Canada.

    Make the most out of your trip

    Whether you decide to fly with an airline like Air-Canada or Flair Airlines, vacations and traveling cost money. It can never hurt to have access to a little extra or extend your vacation. For whatever reason you may need extra money for your trip, Spring Financial can help. We offer personal loans ranging from $500 to $35,000 that you can apply for in just 3 minutes. Once you have applied, we can get you the money as soon as a few hours later. We offer good rates, and all of our loans are open so you can pay them off at any time without penalty. Apply online today or give us a call at 1-888-781-8439.

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