Turning over a New Leaf could save you a bundle this holiday

Canada’s newest airline, NewLeaf, is providing cheap air fare to Canadians year round, making Christmas vacations a lot easier this year.

NewLeaf Travel Company introduced its ultra low-cost flights in April, 2015 and was initially set to launch rock-bottom prices between several smaller Canadian airports on Jan. 6.

However, the company ended up cancelling and re-scheduling flights and tickets after the Canadian Transportation Agency reviewed the airlines’ plans.

The airline is operated by Flair Airline Ltd. and has now been selling tickets since July 25.

However, Calgarians will find it difficult to take advantage of these cheap prices because flights only currently fly out of Edmonton.

Others will also notice the limited destinations.

Harmanjit Singh, a business student at SAIT, is surprised and delighted to hear that his friends and family are can now afford to travel and visit their families this upcoming holiday.

“Flights throughout Canada were insanely expensive before,” Singh said.

“I know I will be using this airline to see family in Ontario and friends of mine will definitely take advantage of this as a way to go home for Christmas.”

Currently, the airline travels to nine cities, including Abbostford, B.C., Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Hamilton, Ont., Kelowna, B.C., Winnipeg, Moncton, N.B. and Surrey, B.C.

Julie Rempel, NewLeaf’s director of communications, explained that the travel company’s strategy is to be conscious of operating efficiently.

They are doing this by spending less time on the ground, costing the airline less money as a result.

“We manage to keep our costs low by operating differently than the big guys,” Rempel said.

“When you purchase a ticket with NewLeaf, you get a seat and a seatbelt. Anything beyond that, you have the opportunity to purchase.”

The additional fees that Rempel mentioned include changing the name on a ticket and changing travel dates.

Where the airline seems to falter compared other competitors is one’s carry-on bag.

While most airlines allow a purse along with one carry-on piece of luggage, NewLeaf charges anywhere from $31 to $92 depending on whether you book your carry-on item online, at airport check-in, or at the gate.

NewLeaf does allow one personal sized bag, with dimensions 15 centimeters by 33 centimeters by 43 centimeters and weighing 10 kilograms, free of charge.

However any and all checked bags are subject to a fee.

This may be a great option for those travelling on shorter business trips, or anyone traveling with little to no luggage.

Similar to airlines like RyanAir in Europe, NewLeaf provides a way for Canadians to visit other parts of Canada without breaking the bank.

NewLeaf has prompted other airlines to follow suit, by drastically reducing their prices to keep up with the new competition.

As an example, large carriers like WestJet have lowered their fares.

“Canadians have been paying way too much to travel,” Rempel said. “Since NewLeaf began operating we have witnessed a drastic reduction in air fares on the routes that we service.”

“In many cases we have put service back into a market others had previously abandoned, like Hamilton.”

“From the consumer standpoint, and even the airports, NewLeaf has been a big win for Canadians.”

I know I will be using this airline to see family in Ontario and friends of mine will definitely take advantage of this as a way to go home for Christmas. – Harmanjit Singh

Currently, flights on the NewLeaf website are as low as $19, the fare between Edmonton and Hamilton.

“It was a tough road to go through all the regulations, and adhere to all the restrictions,” Rempel said.

“But there is a firm commitment at NewLeaf that this is something that, not only do we need in this country, but that we deserve.”

About Nisha Leba 5 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Nisha Leba is working as a reporter for The Press during the 2016-17 academic year.