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WestJet

First they went low. Now they’re going long. It was just 10 days ago or so that Calgary-based WestJet announced they were going to launch Canada’s first ultra-low-cost air carrier, a move that would see them tangle directly with New Leaf Travel in a sort of Canadian version of Ryanair or Easyjet. On Tuesday, the airline zagged in the opposite direction, announcing it will buy up to 20 Boeing 787 Dreamliners with an eye on grabbing some of Air Canada’s long-distance routes to Asia, Europe and South America. It’s a heckuva plan for a company that still positions itself as ... continue reading →

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Starwood several years ago came up with Aloft Hotels, aimed at millenials with casual, colourful lobbies, snack stations, tons of solid and free Wi-Fi and more. They’re nice properties. I stayed at one in Orlando on Thursday night last week and loved the lobby area (great drinks at the bar and local art work) and the overall feel of the place. So that’s fine. Then today I read that Hilton is developing the “Tru by Hilton” brand, also aimed at millenials. Good idea, and I’m sure Aloft is flattered. But check out the photo I saw on a press release ... continue reading →

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The deliberate crash of a Germanwings flight in the French Alps last week set off alarm bells with many airline customers. Airlines and governments around the world, including Canada, immediately brought in rules to require two people in the flight deck at all times. It is probably an improvement, but some travellers remain uneasy about low-cost carriers (December’s AirAsia crash is still a recent memory). Consumers are naturally attracted to the cheaper prices of airlines such as Germanwings, Ireland’s Ryanair and Florida-based Spirit Airlines, which flies a number of Canadians to the sunny south each winter – by some estimates ... continue reading →

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Mark my words; it’s only a matter of time until we start paying for our first bag on WestJet flights. WestJet yesterday upped prices by two per cent in response to the falling Canadian dollar. Air Canada did the same thing, as apparently did Air Transat. With the loonie down around 90 cents (it was up slightly yesterday), they probably have no choice. Some airlines, including Sunquest and Air Canada Vacations, already brought in special surcharges to make up for the falling dollar. Experts have said these moves have added seven to nine per cent in total costs to many ... continue reading →

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The air wars get more intense every week, it seems. And with it our choices for air travel increase. Calgary-based WestJet today announced “its most comprehensive schedule release since the airline took to the skies in 1996.” The airline said it’s adding five new routes, increasing frequency on 20 existing routes across the network, and moving five seasonal routes to year-round service. The biggest news for folks in the right-hand side of the country is that WestJet Encore is moving east (as expected) to start service between Toronto and Thunder Bay, as well as between Thunder Bay and Winnipeg. “The ... continue reading →

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