Make us your home page
Instagram

Air Canada's fare model puts positive spin on fees

Air travelers might remember 2008 as the Year of the Fee.

Most major carriers decided checking bags was a privilege and started charging $15 for one, up to $50 for the second. US Airways said it wanted $2 for coffee or bottled water. Delta ticked off surfer dudes everywhere by jacking up the fee for carrying their boards to $300 each way.

Airlines call it "unbundling" and say fliers should be happy to pay only for the services they want. Travelers prefer a different term: nickel-and-diming. Either way, the fees aren't likely to go away.

But a new pricing model could arrive soon from north of the border. Air Canada sells four fare categories — from bare bones to deluxe — each with a menu of services.

Business travelers who need flexibility in their schedules might choose a Latitude fare, which is fully refundable and includes free standby privileges and no fee for changing flights or checking sports equipment.

Fliers on a budget can pick a Tango fare. Extras cost extra, such as advance seat selection ($15 to $22) and booking through a reservations agent ($25). The airline knocks $3 off if you don't check a bag, $3 off if you don't get frequent flier miles and $5 off if you agree not to change or cancel a flight.

Air Canada was exiting a bankruptcy reorganization and under pressure from discounters when it switched to the new fare system in 2004. The carrier stopped erosion of its domestic market share, and 49 percent of passengers now buy a ticket more expensive than the basic Tango fare.

Air Canada's Web site has a grid that spells out what services come with each price level, says Robert W. Mann Jr., an airline consultant in Port Washington, N.Y. Offering discounts puts a positive spin on fees.

"Instead of making everything a negative, with Air Canada it's like horse trading,'' Mann says. "They've done the best job of merchandising … an unbundled model."

Will it fly over here? American Airlines, the first major U.S. airline to impose a first-bag fee, has looked at Air Canada's system as a possible model for tweaking its fee model, officials say.

Steve Huettel can be reached at huettel@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3384.

Air Canada's fare model puts positive spin on fees 10/14/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 21, 2008 2:43pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Reload your SunPass account. Roadway tolls return Thursday.

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida residents will no longer get a free pass traversing most stretches of the Florida Turnpike or certain local expressways across the state.

    With a push by the Florida Turpike to encourage more drivers traveling the Veterans and Suncoast Parkway to buy a Sunpass, motorists will begin to see more lanes converted to handle Sunpass. [Tampa Bay Times]
  2. Tampa Heights project gets $21.5 million in funding

    Real Estate

    TAMPA --- The Tampa-based Heights Community Development District got a financial boost from a $21.5 million tax-exempt bond issue to fund the waterfront community being built along the Hillsborough River just north of downtown Tampa. Proceeds from the bond issue are expected to used for new roads, sidewalks, the Tampa …

    Tampa's Heights Community Development District got a financial boost from a $21.5 million tax-exempt bond issue to fund the waterfront community being built along the Hillsborough River just north of downtown Tampa.
[Courtesy of Aerial Innovations, Inc.]
  3. Grocery chain Aldi hiring for 500 positions across Florida

    Retail

    Aldi, the German grocery store chain, is hiring for 500 positions across Florida, including at its locations in Tampa Bay. The company will hold a "one-day hiring spree" Thursday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. at all Aldi stores in the state, a Tuesday release said.

    Aldi, a German grocery store chain, is hiring for 500 positions across the state. | [Times file photo]
  4. Irma's death toll in Florida rises to 42, but will grow

    News

    TALLAHASSEE —Deadly carbon monoxide fumes have killed 11 people in Florida as Hurricane Irma's death toll rose to 42 on Tuesday, state officials reported.

    A resident walks by a pile of debris caused by a storm surge during Hurricane Irma in Everglades City. The isolated Everglades City community of about 400 people suffered some of Florida's worst storm surges, up to 9 feet (2.7 meters), when Hurricane Irma slammed the region eight days ago, leaving the insides of homes a sodden mess and caking the streets with mud. The storm affected nearly every part of the state, and, so far, the death toll stands at 42. [AP Photo | Alan Diaz]
  5. After Irma, Tampa Bay synagogues get ready for Rosh Hashana

    Religion

    As the holiest days of the Jewish calendar approached, so did Hurricane Irma.

    Congregants open the ark which holds several torah scrolls during Selichot services at Congregation B'nai Israel of St. Petersburg on Saturday, September 16, 2017. The Jewish new year, Rosh Hashana begins at sundown on Wednesday night.