We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Air Canada ripoff

Sydney, Australia
posts: 5
Air Canada ripoff

The topic of airfare price drops has been done to death I guess but I'll give it another whack. Is Air Canada the worst offender?

I am not an experienced air traveller but I was very surprised to find the airfare for the same flights I booked in early February from Australia to Vancouver return (Sep/Oct travel) have dropped by 25% six weeks later! I booked the cheapest fare (economy tango) for my family on our first international trip and I chose Air Canada because it is a direct flight and we have limited time during school holidays. The airlines seem to know when it is holiday time and bump up the prices.

I have to say 25% is a significant price drop for the same class seats on the same flights. I am disappointed at losing $2000 and it is an unfortunate lesson. If I could afford the higher fares I gather the tickets would be refundable and I would not lose out, except for the nasty cancellation fee. My tickets are not refundable and I am informed there is no option to rebook at the new lower fare. I wouldn't mind so much if the price drop wasn't so large.

If this is a normal occurrence it seems booking with Air Canada is like spending money on a lottery ticket.

30 replies to this topic
Toronto, Canada
posts: 4,869
reviews: 31
1. Re: Air Canada ripoff

Are you 100% sure your fare is totally non-refundable? . Many Tango fares on Air Canada (at least when booked in Canada) are refundable except for a $200 fee. In other words, you cancel, pay the $200 fee and then rebook at the cheaper price.

Here are the exact terms and conditons related to that on an AC trans-pacific ticket I recently booked (and this is for Tango ticket, their cheapest category)

_______________

Cancellations:

Tickets are refundable (a $200 CAD fee applies per person) and non-transferable.

Partially used tickets may be submitted for a refund assessment....

Cancellations can be made up to 45 minutes prior to departure.

___________

Those cancellation conditions are a lot more reasonable than many other airlines (eg United would be completely non-cancellable). As for the price being a rip-off, I disagree. When you booked, you must have thought the price was good for what you wanted and you booked it. The fact they offered a sale price later is not a "rip-off", but just another seat sale. Airlines regularly offer special reduced fares to fill seats, or to match a competitors product, etc.

That's why it pays to monitor fares, and for some airlines, you rarely get the cheapest fare by booking many, many months in advance. I know some posters here like to book 6 to 9 months in advance, but I can tell you for AC that is usually not the best strategy.

Edited: 10:01 pm, March 26, 2013
Calgary, Canada
posts: 2,839
reviews: 43
2. Re: Air Canada ripoff

This is a complete crapshoot....like anything. If we could predict when the fare would be lowest - everyone would be booking then.

..and no, Air Canada is not a rip-off and its not the worst.

..and NO, I don't work for them neither am I a shareholder.

Sydney, Australia
posts: 5
3. Re: Air Canada ripoff

Yes the international Tango fare is definitely non-refundable. Any change to my ticket looks like a no-win situation - see statement of conditions below (especially the last paragraph). The airline wins each time. I guess I could cancel and lose C$600 then try to rebook new seats. I'll think about that.

Why do I feel like I was ripped off? I paid as much as I could afford, and my payment apparently went into subsidising the next guy's seat who was able to pay 25% less. The person paying flexible fare prices is also being subsidised by me because the flexible fare traveller can cancel his ticket if he wishes and take the cheap fare. $2000 is a big hit I could have done without.

Say you bought a new SUV then next month the manufacturer decided to sell the same vehicle for 25% less. How would you feel? Que Sera?

PENALTIES

CANCELLATIONS

Any time

CHARGE CAD 200.00 FOR CANCEL/NO-SHOW/REFUND.

CHANGES

Before departure

CHARGE CAD 150.00 FOR REISSUE/REVALIDATION.

NOTE -

THE NEW BASE FARE AMOUNT MUST BE

RECALCULATED USING CURRENT AND APPLICABLE FARES IN

EFFECT AT THE DATE OF ISSUANCE. CHARGE DIFFERENCE

IN FARE PLUS CHANGE FEE. CHANGE FEE IS SUBJECT TO

EACH CHANGE TRANSACTION.

------------------------------------------------

NEW FARE AMOUNT MAY BE LOWER/EQUAL OR HIGHER THAN

ORIGINAL FARE. IF NEW FARE IS LOWER THAN ORIGINAL

FARE-NO REFUND PERMITTED. THE RESIDUAL AMOUNT IS

FORFEIT.

Nannup, Australia
posts: 3,605
reviews: 23
4. Re: Air Canada ripoff

So what do you do when you pay $1.40/lt for petrol one day and the next day it's $1.35? Same principle.

South Pole
posts: 15,408
reviews: 39
5. Re: Air Canada ripoff

yes, well i booked as simple delta flight lax to las for $100 (ok, expensive but it was at a time i needed)

got a schedule change notification a few weeks later and was very smug to see fare was now $200

today got another schedule change and the fare for the flight is $75

so u pays your money and you takes your chances.

best not to look again.

"The airlines seem to know when it is holiday time and bump up the prices"

and this surprises you?

what do hotels/motels/airlines do in australia during school holidays?

Bangkok
Destination Expert
for Bangkok, Air Travel, Thailand
posts: 13,749
reviews: 71
6. Re: Air Canada ripoff

Hi,

I think we'd all feel not so great... But... That's a far cry from being a "rip off". It is, to a large degree how variable pricing goes and when its applied to a product that has a fixed, diminishing lifespan.

Using your car analogy isn't that the same as someone who buys earlier in the model "year", as compared to someone who waits and buys the same car, but at the model year end; and pays less?

The person who bought early had the larger(est) selection to choose from; the person who bought late did run the risk of; a) no cars available b) the specific type s/he wanted not being available... Kind of like those who book earlier, versus later... The earlier buyer does, in many cases, have some advantages over the late(r) buyer in terms of selection etc... but often that comes with a cost to it.

Do they price it higher during vacation periods? Probably so.. And that is really a result of supply and demand.. No more so than movie matinees- that show at less popular times being cheaper than prime-demand showing times.. Or hotels that have room rate specials on Mon-Thurs only.. It's a reflection of the demand at that specific time.

Is it a crap-shoot? Perhaps.. I don't think its *purely* luck however as one can do *some* advance homework to see where the other competing carriers (if any) are pricing out at, see what the overall demand looks like-- all things that might give you at least some ideas as to where the current pricing migh be.

Travel Safe,

Hong Kong, China
posts: 792
reviews: 23
7. Re: Air Canada ripoff

you can cancel it - - will cost you $600

You said new fare is $2,000 less

therefore you would still be better off by $1400

no brainer really

London, United...
posts: 16,042
reviews: 23
8. Re: Air Canada ripoff

No one can predict airline pricing. It's goes up and down. If it went up, you would be posting very differently.

Yes,mits annoying, but really you should always book airfare at a price you like and not look back, unless you have the option to change.

Watford, United...
posts: 3,930
reviews: 12
9. Re: Air Canada ripoff

Next time you book a fare and it goes up in price by 25% afterwards you can feel happy that you have got your 'lost money' back and someone else will be subsidising your cheaper fare.

Edinburgh, United...
posts: 7,794
reviews: 15
10. Re: Air Canada ripoff

Ugh, talk about a misleading headline.

Reply to: Air Canada ripoff
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted