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December 16, 2021

Ottawa forces Cdn. airlines to advertise all-in prices

This morning, a recent headline got me browsing Air Canada’s website.

Stock-photo-431394-up-up-and-awayFirst, what I found. Out of curiousity, I checked up a Toronto-Honolulu return flight. We reached nine degrees or so here in Toronto yesterday, but come on. Hawaii in winter > Canada in winter.

The airline quoted me $499 there, via Montreal and  Vancouver, and $349 home, via Calgary. About $850 to Hawaii: cool!

Of course, then I went to the checkout, and all of a sudden taxes, fees, charges and surcharges brought me up over a thousand bucks. A lousy surprise, right? Almost … deceitful. Well, no more, says the federal government.

Today, Ottawa announced new regulations that will force Canadian airlines to clearly advertise what the passenger will pay, taxes, fees and everything included.

*Bing: Why is flying within Canada so expensive?

“This will allow consumers to easily determine the full cost of airfares in order to make informed choices,” Steven Fletcher, Minister of State for Transport, said Friday.

Certainly, this is a wondrous move of transparency. Chances are, you and a friend have discussed airfare before, someone’s quoted a price and you go, “Yeah, but what is the price really ?”

The new rules won’t go into effect for a year or so, the Star reports, but surely it’s about time.

Europe has had advertise-what-you-pay legislation in place since 2008 (nine euro Ryanair flights, anyone?), and the U.S., which currently imposes a few airfare regulations, will require all-in advertising beginning next month.

What this means for Canadians, then, is say goodbye to those “$99 seat sale” emails, unless, of course, airfare truly amounts to less than $100, taxes and fees included.

Notes the Globe and Mail, “Investigations by journalists have revealed that Canadian customers were being deceived by airlines advertising fares that omitted items like fuel surcharges that often add 50 per cent and more to the advertised cost.”

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...