Flying high in the sky is going to be more expensive than usual this holiday season.
Flights from Regina to Toronto are already in the $700 to $1,000 range for late December and air travel only gets more expensive the farther east you go.
Prices also aren’t expected to cool off until mid-January for many popular destinations across the country.
“Airlines are dynamic in how they do their pricing,” said James Bogusz, Regina Airport Authority president and CEO.
“I’ve been a traveler for over 25 years, and I can say it depends on the time of year, and most importantly, the supply and demand of travel,” he added.
Even though Saskatchewan residents don’t have many airlines to choose from now, Bogusz says that is set to improve in 2022. Flair Air will be offering more flight routes within the prairies in April.
Having enough crew members to work flights appears to be a continuing struggle for the air industry. Staffing cuts and people leaving the industry to pursue other careers are having an impact. The on-boarding process for new hires or retraining for previous staff also takes.
“It’s also a long training process. I have friends who are still in their six to eight week process of getting retrained,” said Barbara Crowe, a Saskatoon-based travel advisor with Ixtapa Travel.
It’s just not something where you call everybody back to work and everybody is available,” she said.
But for some, staying grounded simply isn’t an option.
“We still see people that are going, you know they haven’t been with their families for a couple of years and you know, I think people are just wanting to get together over the holiday season,” she added.
Flights are still booking up despite the high costs, she notes, adding passengers are still hoping to book. She recommends anyone still looking to fly should purchase their ticket sooner rather than later, since airlines aren’t expected to decrease their rates.
“Well, the holiday is going to be a lot busier than last year,” Bogusz said.
With COVID-19 vaccines, booster shots, and continuing COVID-19 safety measures, he says more people appear to be comfortable with flying compared to last year.
“We’re recommending to all passengers to come at least 90 minutes before their scheduled flight, regardless of where you’re going, so that gives you a chance to check your bag and make sure you do all the pre-clearance requirements,” Bogusz stated.
Travellers need to remember to have proof of vaccination or negative test results for children readily available before boarding.
Bogusz says the Regina Airport has had 40 to 50 per cent of the pre-pandemic passenger traffic. Those numbers are being sustained into the end of this year.
He expects traffic at the airport to increase to about 65 per cent in the coming year, however that largely depends on the COVID-19 situation.