7 Best Low-Cost Airlines in Canada (2023): Fly Cheap

Do you love to travel but worry about the cost? Try one of these low-cost airlines In Canada.

These budget airlines offer cheap flights to destinations all throughout Canada and the U.S., and sometimes even further.

If you’re looking to skip the frills and save some money, these low-cost airlines need to be on your radar.

Rethinking Travel

The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way everyone travels. From restrictions to masking mandates, getting on a plane and flying wherever you wanted without concerns for health and safety wasn’t the norm anymore.

With more individuals getting vaccinated and countries beginning to open again, travel, especially airline travel, is ramping back up.

The demand for air travel that is convenient and affordable is more important than ever, and low-cost airlines are hoping to cash in on the uptick in travel.

If you’re dreaming of getting away, even if it’s just for a weekend, check out these carriers coming in at ultra-low prices. While you might have to sacrifice a few amenities, you’ll get to your destination without breaking the bank.

1. Flair Air

Flair Airlines Logo

Destinations: Locations within Canada and portions of the U.S.

One of the leaders in budget travel is Flair Air. This might be a good way to go if you’re looking to get away and aren’t concerned with the frills typically attached to legacy airlines. Flair has locations throughout Canada, including Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Edmonton, and more.

The base fee includes a seat on the plane and one personal item stored at your feet. Flair Air is great for those that don’t have a lot of baggage and are just looking to get to their destination.

The airline does have a lengthy list of optional fees associated with added “perks.” They include:

  • Fees of $39-$59 for a carry-on bag.
  • A first checked bag costs $39-$59, with additional bags costing more.
  • Bookings and changes made through the call centre instead of the website will cost you $15.
  • Travelling with pets? It’ll cost you. Having your furry friend in the cabin will add $99 to your bill.
  • If you’re travelling with a companion and want to sit together, you have to pay $10-$20 to ensure you’re next to each other. Otherwise, the airline randomly assigns you a seat at no extra cost.

Flair Airlines heavily promoted its go travel pass established back in early 2020. For $700, travellers could book an unlimited number of domestic flights within a certain period.

At the time, it was a three-month window from February to May. The pass sold out quickly, and according to the airline’s website, they plan on developing similar perks like this one, so keep an eye out for more deals.

2. Swoop Airlines

Swoop logo

Destinations: Throughout Canada, portions of the U.S., and parts of the Caribbean and Mexico.

Westjet Airline, the number two Canadian airline, is the parent company of Swoop. With that in mind, don’t assume it’s just like travelling on Westjet. Swoop is a discounted airline for a reason.  The basis for the company is to offer budget-friendly travel without all the excess frills, and Swoop delivers on that.

The price of your ticket includes a seat on the plane and a personal item. Examples include a purse, small backpack or laptop. Carry-on items are allowed for an additional fee.

Carry On Pricing

Carry-on item costs are dependent on the flight destination and how and when you purchase your baggage item. The closer to departure, the more you’ll pay.

Checked bags range in price from $36.75 online to $57.75 at the airport. Checking additional bags will cost you even more money, so it’s best to pack light.

Seat selection choices are available for as low as $10. However, the more legroom you want, the more you’ll pay.

While Swoop is ideal for those travelling alone, families that think they’re getting a bargain because of the ultra-low-cost fare might be in for a surprise with all the additional fees. They’ll add up quickly and eat into any potential cost savings you planned.

3. Air Canada Rouge

Air Canada Rouge Logo

Average cost of one-way ticket: Prices vary depending on destination, but fares are lower than its parent company, Air Canada.
Destinations: Throughout Canada, the United States, the Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America, and Europe.

Air Canada Rouge is a lower-tiered, low-cost offering from Air Canada. The airline offers cheap flights to many destinations not available from other budget-friendly brands because they are already integrated into Air Canada’s networks. Basically, Rouge is Air Canada’s budget airline that offers cheap fares.

The airline offers a premium economy section in place of business class. While it’s considered an upgrade, you’ll get more legroom than the typical economy section of the plane. Coach seats are tight, something to keep in mind if you’re tall, but the seat itself is wider than many other airlines.

Other differences from a usual Air Canada flight include no in-flight entertainment. Rouge does not have monitors on the seat’s headrests, meaning it’s crucial to bring onboard your own entertainment. You could always rent an iPad for $10 if you forget your own device.

Additionally, some of the Rouge aircraft do not have USB charging ports, a luxury frequent travellers have grown accustomed to.

Flights to Europe include a complimentary meal and non-alcoholic beverages. However, on shorter flights, you’re allowed to purchase food (pizza!) and alcoholic beverages. 

The flip side is that Rouge offers travel to many more destinations than usual low-cost carrier. South America and Europe aren’t available on other carriers, so if you’re looking to travel outside Canada and you’re on a budget, this might be the airline for you.

4. Porter Airlines

Porter Logo

Destinations: Select locations in Canada as well as parts of the U.S.

Porter Airlines is a regional airport located on the Toronto Islands. The airline recently returned to the skies after suspending flights for almost 18 months because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Porter started making a name for itself before the pandemic because of its low-cost prices and convenient destination locations.

The airline plans to add 80 more jets to its fleet and thousands of jobs by the end of 2022. With 3% of Canadians using the budget-friendly airline, the expansion increases the hopes of adding even more passengers to its booming business.

Fees are dependent upon which fare option you choose – Porter Airlines has four different ones: Basic, Standard, Flexible, and Freedom.

The Basic fare includes your seat and a personal item. All other items must be checked. The other three fares (Standard, Flexible, and Freedom) allow two carry-on bags.

As for checked bags, the Freedom fare is the only one with free baggage check. The checked bag fees for the other fares range from $27.50 to $42.55 for one bag checked at the time of booking. Fees increase the closer you get to departure.

One major difference between Porter Airlines and other budget-friendly ones is its complimentary services. No matter your fare, passengers can enjoy free in-flight beer, wine, snacks, and other refreshments while on board.

Are There Any New Airlines in Canada?

Starting a whole new airline takes a lot of money, which is why many that aren’t legacy airlines fail. To keep things moving and attract passengers, airlines need planes. Many low-cost operations only have a small number of planes they can fly, leading to delays and passenger aggravation.

Still, there are a few new airlines in the works throughout Canada. Here’s the scoop on them.

5. OWG

OWG Logo

Destinations: Toronto, Montreal, Cuba, Los Cabos, Mexico

OWG (Off We Go) is taking air travel to a whole other level. The airline doesn’t consider itself low-cost, instead, it aims to give passengers a positive flight experience, deemed “High Love.”

Not only will passengers experience gourmet meals and unlimited bar service, but they can choose their seating based on three different zones:

  • The High Zone for singles
  • The Love Zone for couples
  • The Heart Zone for families

The airline partnered with all-inclusive resorts in Mexico to become a package deal. The new airline experience launches in March 2022.

6. Canada Jetlines

Canada Jetlines Logo

Destinations: Sunny destinations in the U.S. and Mexico

The low-cost carrier’s path to flight finally took a better turn when it teamed up with GlobalX in 2019. With new team leadership in place, the airline hopes to connect winter-weary Canadians with sunny destinations like Florida, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

7. Lynx Air

Destinations: Flies to destinations within Canada

Lynx Air is an up-and-coming discount airline travelling to locations throughout Canada, such as Vancouver, Toronto, and Calgary. There are no hidden fees, and you only pay exactly for what you want, such as priority boarding and seat selection. The company uses the latest generation Boeing 737s. It’s a pretty new operation, but one to keep a close eye on in the future.


Low Cost Airlines In Canada

The demand for low-cost airfare is constantly growing, and the Canadian airline industry is taking note. Whether you want to fly to a major Canadian city or a tropical destination, more lower-cost options are available now.

With new airlines in the pipeline and existing ones constantly adding deals and promotions, low-cost airlines are making a huge dent in the travel world.

If you’re looking to take off for a weekend trip or get in some relaxation time, check out these ways to save money for your next travel adventure.

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Author Bio - Christopher Liew is a CFA Charterholder with 11 years of finance experience and the creator of Wealthawesome.com. Read about how he quit his 6-figure salary career to travel the world here.

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