It Just Got Even More Expensive to Fly in Canada

Canada’s two biggest airlines have teamed up to make flying even more expensive for Canadians.

On Friday, both WestJet and Air Canada introduced increased checked baggage fees. Passengers will now be required to pay $30 instead of $25 to check a bag. Checking a second bag will now cost $50 instead of $30.

Both airlines cited the need to maintain competitive prices in justifying an increase in the price of optional services, like checked luggage. Of course, with winter looming, checking bags to hold all those coats and hockey sticks may not be so optional for most travellers.

Karl Moore, an associate professor at McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management, told CTV News that the move is mainly the result of increasing fuel prices.

“It’s not as easy making money as an airline in Canada as it was a year or two ago because the price of high fuel and the growth of competition as well,” he said. “Fairly quickly, people (will) get over it and I think they also realize that (in) the U.S. and Europe, particularly on low-cost carriers, this sort of thing is very common-place now.”

Ah, “people will get over it” – a very suitable slogan for the state of air travel in Canada. Such a mantra flies precisely because there’s a lack of this apparent “growth of competition,” of course. Air Canada and WestJet enjoy about three-quarters of major airlines’ domestic market share in Canada. And while low-cost carriers in Europe do charge about 50 euros for checked baggage, that can sometimes be more than the price of the plane ticket. You’ll find no such deals in Canada.

Look for airlines to impose stricter carry-on regulations in the near future.