Air Transat adds domestic and European flights

More Air Transat flights, China on the cheap, skiing on Vancouver Island, flight deals from Canadian cities

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Lida MonfortonIf you’re travelling within Canada this summer or have a trans-Atlantic holiday planned, you’ll have more flights to choose from between the busy travel months of May and October.

Within Canada, Air Transat will start offering direct flights to Toronto and Vancouver from Calgary four times a week. Return flights from Calgary to Toronto will go Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesday and Saturdays. Flights from Calgary to Vancouver will go two times a day on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Vancouver to Calgary flights will be twice daily on Mondays and Satursdays, and once a day on Wednesdays and Fridays.

A quick search for flights from Calgary to Toronto in mid-June found prices at about $500 per round trip.

Also beginning in May, Air Transat will offer more flights between Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver, and to popular European destinations. It’s also recently added new flights to Tel Aviv, Israel.

From Calgary, the airline has added more frequent flights to London and Manchester, Paris and Amsterdam, all going through Toronto.

Eleven new destinations from Calgary will also be added beginning in May:

  • Rome, Venice and Lamezia (Italy)
  • Lisbon and Porto (Portugal)
  • Athens (Greece)
  • Barcelona (Spain)
  • Birmingham (England)
  • Dublin (Ireland)
  • Glasgow (Scotland)
  • Zagreb (Croatia)

Details at https://www.airtransat.com.

China on the cheap:
eight nights this fall

PACKAGE: In the middle of busy work day, it’s a pleasure to be diverted by a great travel deal.

Such a thing happened to me this week: China came calling, getting me to daydream about seeing the Great Wall, the Bund in Shanghai and the UNESCO World Heritage site gardens.

The Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China

The China enticement came through Travelzoo, the largest publisher of travel, entertainment and local deals, with 28 million members around the world. Here’s the deal: eight nights in China (10 days including travel days, stops in five cities, (including Beijing and Shanghai). Prices range from $720 to $920 per person, depending on your Canadian departure city. The tour is with Compass Holidays.

Both Calgary and Toronto prices were $720, while the price was $820 from Vancouver and $920 from Edmonton. Departures are in November 2018, or earlier in the year for an extra $200. The discounts are offered through 2019.

What’s included: International flights, including one domestic from Beijing to Shanghai, all taxes, stays at 4- to 4.5-star hotels, most meals, sightseeing tours (including Great Wall of China, Lingering Gardens, Bund in Shanghai) with English speaking guides, all transfers, plus transportation via coach bus.

Not included: China visa application which is $90US per traveller and tips of about $10US per day per person. Also on offer and recommended by the company, are daily add-on tours at reasonable rates, around $35 to $60US per person.

The one proviso to keep in mind, is the company describes this as a “shopping tour.” The tour company is required to make one- to two-hour stops at a certain store in each city. Though there’s no obligation to buy anything, you are obligated to stick with the group.

If you don’t mind going group-shopping for part of your day, this looks like good value.

Details at travelzoo.com.

Fairweather skiers  
head to Mount Washington 

VANCOUVER ISLAND – Outside of western Canada, people are often surprised to hear there’s a ski resort on Vancouver Island. It’s called Mount Washington, about 30 minutes from the Comox airport. This year with amazing snow and frigid temperatures in B.C. and Alberta Rockies, you might be looking for a little fair-weather skiing.  This is where you’ll find it.

We recently had the pleasure of skiing at Mount Washington in mid-February and came away happy with the experience for many reasons. The resort had record snowfalls in late January, dropping 100 cms in 24 hours, which ironically forced the ski hill to close because the road was inaccessible.

Skiing Mount Washington
Photo credit: Lisa Monforton

By the time we got there, there was still a lot of snow left, although hard-packed. The temps, however, were positively balmy. We also loved the spectacular vistas. Nowhere else can you see the ocean waters like those in the Strait of Georgia from the top of a ski run in Canada. There’s also plenty of on-hill accommodations with good deals coming up for spring break. Check them out here.

On-hill dining is great too with Ted’s Bar & Grill a good place to rest and fuel up with local B.C. brews. The Eagleview Bistro also serves above-average ski resort fare and is known for its sticky buns.

Check out the Discover Comox Valley website for a list of events, travel packages and things to do. Take a break from the slopes and hit some of the local wineries, and an oceanfront distillery called Shelter Point. Dine Around Comox Valley is happening until March 11 and offers prix fixe three-course dinner menus and happy hour discounts.

We flew in from Calgary, with multiple daily flights direct and non-stop on WestJet and Air Canada.

Flight deals from major
Canadian cities 

FLIGHTS – Like most travellers we’re always looking for travel deals on flights, hotels or car rentals.

Skyscanner.ca bills itself as the largest online travel marketplace with 50 million users monthly. It offers one-stop direct flight, hotel and car rental bookings. It’s an excellent travel website to add into the mix when you’re trip planning.

You can do comparison shopping, booking direct through millions of options to find the best price.

Say you’re just scouting around for your next trip? For example, you can search from your closest home international to “Everywhere” to suss out something that will fit your budget or find flights by “cheapest month.”

Here’s a sample of recent deals I’ve found for domestic and international “live” flight prices from major cities across Canada, done through the “cheapest month” option for one economy flight for an adult in the past 15 days. All prices are in Cdn currency and include taxes and fees. As always, prices are subject to change.

  • Vancouver

Vancouver to Toronto for C$412 in April 2018 – 28% savings
Vancouver to New York for C$339 in June 2018 – 34% savings

  • Calgary

Calgary to Vancouver for C$198 in April 2018 – 41% savings
Calgary to Paris for C$645 in March 2018 – 37% savings

  • Edmonton

Edmonton to Toronto for C$299 in June 2018 – 41% savings
Edmonton to Bangkok for C$595 in May 2018 – 40% savings

  • Toronto:

Toronto to Montreal for C$174 in April 2018 – 32% savings
Toronto to Paris for C$400 in March 2018 – 46% savings

  • Winnipeg:

Winnipeg to Edmonton for C$124 in April 2018 – 27% savings
Winnipeg to Las Vegas for C$303 in March 2018 – 31% savings

Check out the complete list of Canada flight deals here.

Lisa Monforton is an award-winner Calgary-based travel writer. Follow @lisamonforton on Instagram and Twitter.


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The views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.

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