Limitations with new economy fare classes

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Travel restrictions with the new Economy Basic fares for Air Canada and WestJet.

Air Canada and WestJet have followed the lead of some American carriers and have introduced a new inexpensive fare class, currently for travel within Canada, which may catch travelers off-guard who are trying to make changes. The new basic/lowest Economy fares on select routes are the lowest price fares consistent with UBC travel policy #83, but they do not allow for any type of itinerary change and would force travelers to buy a brand new ticket to make a change.

Judith Fograscher, UBC Travel Program Manager, recommends buying these basic/lowest Economy fares if you believe that your travel plans will not change. Among the UBC travel reports that she reviews, Judith sees a low rate of change.

However, frequent travelers and those who need flexibility in their travel plans should select Tango on Air Canada, or Flex when Tango is not available. On WestJet, Econo or Flex allow for more flexibility if travel plans change.

Please review the below tables for the additional fees associated with changes, seat selection and baggage. Air Canada and WestJet have the exact same rules for check-in baggage, but change fees and advance seat selection are less expensive on WestJet.

Air Canada fare attributes for travel within Canada.

Travel within Canada AC Economy Basic AC Economy Tango AC Economy Flex
Changes
(fare difference may apply)
No flight changes permitted
  • $100 change fee per fare component
  • $150 same day change fee (*free on select routes)
  • $125 name change fee
  • $75 change fee per fare component
  • $75 same day change fee (*free on select routes)
  • $60 name change fee
Refund No refund, no credit for future travel No refund, get a credit for future travel No refund, get a credit for future travel
Advance Seat Selection $20-$100 per flight segment $10-$50 per flight segment Free
Check-in Baggage
  • 1st bag $25
  • 2nd bag $35
  • 1st bag $25
  • 2nd bag $35
  • 1st bag free
  • 2nd bag $35
Aeroplan Miles No Aeroplan mile accumulation Earn 25% Aeroplan miles Earn 100% Aeroplan miles

Free on select routes: Free same-day itinerary changes allowed for travel between Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton for Tango and Flex fares.

WestJet fare attributes for travel within Canada.

Travel within Canada WS Econo Lowest WS Econo WS Flex
*Changes
(fare difference may apply)
No flight changes permitted
  • $25 for changes departing more than 60 days
  • $100 for changes departing within 60 days
  • $100 name change fee
  • Free changes to all flights anytime
  • $100 name change fee
**Refund No refund, no credit for future travel No refund, get a credit for future travel No refund, get a credit for future travel
Advance Seat Selection No advance seat selection
Seats maybe purchased only at the airport
$10-$40 per flight segment Free
Check-in Baggage
  • 1st bag $25
  • 2nd bag $35
  • 1st bag $25
  • 2nd bag $35
  • 1st bag free
  • 2nd bag $35
WestJet Dollars No accumulation Earn WestJet dollars Earn WestJet dollars

* Change fees are charged by itinerary and not fare component (outbound & return flights)

** Refunds are permitted only within 24 hours of booking on all fare types.

Air Canada (including AC partners Lufthansa and United), WestJet and Cathay Pacific have discount programs available on select airfares for UBC-related travel for Faculty, Staff, Students and Guests. These discounts are only available through the UBC travel program with either UBC’s self-service booking tool (Concur) or through our contracted travel management company UNIGLOBE One Travel, which is also offering UBC a low airfare guarantee.

To get started please register to create a profile. Profiles are required only for UBC employees and for both traveler and travel arranger. This ensures credit card data is handled more securely and the booking process runs more efficiently.

If you have further questions, please review the rest of the travel pages on this site or contact Judith Fograscher at 604-822-5878.