Air fares

October 30, 2021

Half of travel points customers frustrated with redemption process, says survey

Every person loves the idea that they could earn points while spending money that they would any way and eventually, they would be treated to a free trip. Unfortunately, about 68 per cent of people surveyed faced irksome situations when it came to cashing in their points, according to a recent survey conducted by Capital One Canada.

Some of the major issues include hidden fees, blackout dates and the lack of flight availability.

But there is one ray of sunshine within this survey, apparently credit card companies and airlines are changing their ways since customers aren't afraid to walk away and switch card providers, says the survey.

With many travel reward cards to choose from there's lots to consider including annual fees, extra benefits, such as car rental or travel insurance, interest rates, where you can collect points and how quickly you can accumulate points. Most importantly, you should consider any details about the redemption process, such as if there's an expiry date on using your points, and how many points you'll need to redeem for a flight to wherever you want to go.

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August 29, 2021

Would you pay extra to sit in a child-free zone on planes and trains?

Unruly children remain the biggest in-flight annoyance for the majority of travellers -- ahead of drunken passengers, surly cabin crew and over-talkative neighbours, according to a recent survey.

One in three passengers dread sitting next to a crying baby or annoying toddler so much that they would be prepared to pay more to sit in a child-free zone on a plane ... as much as $75 per return flight.

Children kicking the back of seats was seen as the most annoying in-flight incident, receiving 74% of the votes, while children crying or being unruly was chosen by 61% of those surveyed.

But help is at hand. One Singapore airline is now offering passengers the option to upgrade to seats in a quiet zone -- where children are nowhere to be found.

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July 04, 2021

Rise in interest rates expected in 2014

Buying your first home is one of the biggest decisions you will ever make.

While 31 per cent of first-time homebuyers expect interest rates to stay the same over the next five years, that just may not be the case, according to market projections.

BMO Economics reports that interest rate hikes are expected in the second half of 2014.

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Canadians now entitled to more compensation for delayed flights: report

Here's some good news about airlines' policies concerning involuntary denied boarding, or as most of us know it, getting bumped.

After a Canadian Transportation Agency ruling last month, bumped passengers on Air Canada flights will now receive as much as $800 cash — up from the current $100 — which is a big boost although still less than U.S. airlines which must provide up to a maximum of $1,300, depending on the length of delay.

In the U.S., passengers receive no compensation if they are rerouted within an hour. Between one hour and two hours, compensation is twice the airfare up to a maximum of $650. For delays of more than two hours, compensation is four times the airfare, up to a maximum of $1,300.

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May 17, 2021

Victoria Day weekend signals the start of summer travel

1414861_51130807It's beginning to feel a lot like summer.

And with the Victoria Day long weekend upon us many Canadians have turned their thoughts to adventure and warmer climates.

Even though there's a lot of excitement about upcoming fun in the sun trips, travellers have three top worries while away: the weather, losing something important and requiring medical attention.

According to a study by BMO Insurance, 83 per cent of Canadians are planning on taking a vacation this summer however, only half actually purchase travel insurance.

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March 21, 2022

Spring is in the air and so are Canadians

Spring is in the air and so are Canadian travellers.

It seems the cold, dark months have been with us for forever. Everywhere I go I hear people talking about heading to warmer climates or I see their vacation photos from some sunny paradise posted on their Facebook page.

If you haven't gotten away yet, don't worry.  There may be hope yet. A new survey reveals that at least 79 per cent of Canadians are planning on hitting the sunnier trails this season.

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December 20, 2021

Man puts on 70 pieces of clothing to avoid heavy baggage fee

Airline fees, it is no news to report, are getting absurd, although there’s no real way to talk about them without having it sound like an awful stand-up bit.

But then what else can we say? Not to sound like Jerry Seinfeld or anything, but the thing about airline fees is they’ll always be there, because for the most part they’re the only way airlines make money in their world of razor-thin margins. They need the mark-up.

Surely what other explanation could there have been after the recent news that Southwest would begin charging passengers a fee for … not showing up to their flights?

So under that premise, that airlines will gouge early and gouge often, it’s high time we salute a traveller that does his best to avoid paying.

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October 04, 2021

American airfare too cheap for Canadians to pass up: report

I have a set of parents that, in their ripe, old age, like to vacation maybe a little more than they did, say, a decade ago.

And when they do, despite living in London, Ont., smack dab in the middle of Toronto and Detroit, they always choose to fly from the latter.

But mom, dad, I would always say, the border waits! The parking! The hassle! Why do you always choose to fly out of the U.S.?

Shows what I didn’t know, and what the Conference Board of Canada confirms: now, and for the foreseeable future, you’d have to be silly to fly from a Canadian airport.

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September 07, 2021

Tell us your most frustrating run-in with an airline

If you’ve followed this space, you’ve noticed an interest in Ryanair, the airline with the crazy fees, the progressive ideas.

In fact, call it a distanced interest, because for all the headlines the budget Euro airline makes this side of the Atlantic, it doesn’t even sniff North American airspace.

Whatever the case, the spirit of Ryanair’s peculiar practices, at least in the rationale of company CEO Michael O’Leary, is to lower base fares for travellers. So, doing something as outwardly preposterous as removing one pilot from each flight seems wild, and indeed it is, but the idea is that Ryanair’s going to pass the savings onto you.

And perhaps it does. But a recent scandal between O’Leary and a customer has shown the airline’s nasty side, perhaps proving Ryanair abides a little too closely by its frugal affairs.

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July 09, 2021

How much would you pay to get off that plane faster?

After five hours in an airline seat that's just a bit too tight, would you pay to get off first? How much? $10, $12?

According to Airfarewatchdog, a fare-tracking site, 16% of flyers would shell out to at the front of the line when their flight lands. Of that group, 10% would pay $10 and 3% would pay as much as $20.

Flyers are willing to pay to board early (often as much as $30) so why wouldn’t they pay for the reverse, Airfarewatchdog’s George Hobica told US Today. ”That would make the whole experience less tortuous.“

An early exit can also give fliers more time to make close connections. Even if their flight isn't delayed, passengers often have little cushion to make the next flight. Paying a few more dollars to be first off the plane could be an advantage, Hobica says.

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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...