Flying high in the sky will be more expensive than usual this Christmas season.
Flights from Regina to Toronto are already in the $ 700 to $ 1,000 range by the end of December and air travel only gets more expensive the further east you go.
Prices are also not expected to cool down until mid-January for many popular destinations across the country.
“Airlines are dynamic in the way they set their prices,” said James Bogusz, president and CEO of the Regina Airport Authority.
“I have been a traveler for more than 25 years and I can say that it depends on the time of year and, most importantly, on the supply and demand for travel,” he added.
Although Saskatchewan residents don’t have many airlines to choose from right now, Bogusz says that will improve in 2022. Flair Air will offer more flight routes within the prairies in April.
Flair Airlines will add routes between Winnipeg and Regina, Saskatoon in 2022
Having enough crew members to work on flights seems to be an ongoing struggle for the airline industry. Staff cuts and people leaving the industry to pursue other careers are having an impact. The onboarding process for new hires or retraining for previous staff also requires.
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“It is also a long training process. I have friends who are still in their six to eight week training process, ”said Barbara Crowe, Saskatoon-based travel consultant for Ixtapa Travel.
It’s just not something where everyone is called back to work and everyone is available, ”he said.
But for some, keeping your feet on the ground just isn’t an option.
“We still see people going, you know they haven’t been with their families in a couple of years. And you know, I think people just want to get together during the Christmas season, ”he added.
Flights are still being booked despite high costs, he notes, adding that passengers are still waiting to book. She recommends that anyone still looking to fly should buy their ticket sooner rather than later, as airlines are not expected to lower their fares.
“Well, the holidays are going to be a lot busier than last year,” Bogusz said.
With COVID-19 vaccines, booster shots, and continued COVID-19 safety measures, he says more people seem to feel comfortable flying compared to last year.
“We recommend that all passengers arrive at least 90 minutes before their scheduled flight, regardless of where they are going, so they have the opportunity to check their luggage and ensure they meet all pre-authorization requirements.” Bogusz stated.
Travelers should remember to have proof of vaccination or negative test results for children available before boarding.
Bogusz says the Regina airport had 40 to 50 percent of passenger traffic before the pandemic. Those figures are maintained until the end of this year.
He expects traffic at the airport to increase to around 65 percent next year, however that largely depends on the COVID-19 situation.