Low airfare ‘will go higher’ as Canadians begin flying again: travel agent

From City News 1130 – link to source story and video

BY LAURA KRAUSE | Jun 13, 2021

EDMONTON (CityNews) — While airfare is at an all-time low to entice travellers to pack their bags, one travel agent says the cost of flights will soon rise as Canadians — and people around the world — get comfortable taking trips again.

Canadians have dealt with virus fearas, grounded flights, hotel quarantines and more — a bad combination for the travel industry since March 2020.

As the federal government begins to ease rules, and travellers become more comfortable with the thought of going on vacation, those low prices are expected to jump.

“There are a lot of different specials around to drive that pent-up demand, but we know that as soon as people are comfortable enough to book, the prices will get right up there,” said Edmonton travel agent Hidar Elmais of Travel Gurus.

Elmais says his phone has been ringing off the hook ever since Ottawa revealed that fully vaccinated travellers with a negative COVID-19 test would be able to skip the 14-day quarantine requirement.

“This month has been really great so far,” said Elmais. “We’re not even two weeks in so far and we’re well past our numbers from last year.

“I’m telling you, the prices are not going to stay this low. They’re going to be much higher. Especially for sun destinations, we truly think they will go higher.”

Prices for domestic flights within Canada are also low. A roundtrip flight between Edmonton and Toronto is available for $85 — much lower than before the pandemic.

Low-cost carriers like Swoop and Flair are contributing to those low prices.

“We don’t just have WestJet and Air Canada now,” Elmais said.

But some Canadians aren’t convinced that it’s the right time to travel, even with restrictions loosening and case numbers dwindling in some parts of the country.

“Internationally, no I wouldn’t feel comfortable travelling because there are new mutations of the virus,” said one Edmontonian. “If you get trapped out of the province, you can’t be guaranteed you’ll get back in or if there are flights.”

Added another: “I’d be much more comfortable but again I want to wait until two weeks after my second dose.”