“What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” is one of the better-known phrases used to justify fun (albeit often misguided) decisions.
And coming January 19, 2023, our country’s newest commercial carrier, Canada Jetlines, will be helping you and your friends fly to Sin City to walk in the footsteps of Hunter S. Thompson.
If gambling and bright lights aren’t really your thing, the good news is that Jetlines will also begin service to Melbourne, Florida on January 19, 2023. Melbourne is a short distance from Orlando, which gives access to the many attractions in the area.
Will these routes be a roll the dice, or will Jetlines hit the jackpot? Let’s look at the details.
Canada Jetlines’s New Toronto–Las Vegas Route
As one of the youngest entrants to the local aviation market, Canada Jetlines has been dynamic in trying to expand its routings and keep up with competition. With the likes of other Canadian ultra-low-cost-carriers Lynx Air, Flair, and Swoop in the sky, it can be quite the challenge for a nascent company to keep up with the other retail-focused, leisure market airlines.
I think this is why Jetlines decided to announce their entry into the ever-popular Vancouver–Toronto route just last month. These two urban centres are some of the most important cultural and economic hubs of the nation, and they lie on opposite coasts, so it makes sense to appeal to people who travel to either for recreation or to visit family.
Of course, Jetlines has to contend with multiple other airlines on this single route, no matter how popular it is. That’s why the company has announced one of two inaugural international routes, starting on January 19, 2022: Toronto to Las Vegas.
When it comes to flying from Toronto to Las Vegas, there are four other airlines already operating the route: Air Canada Rouge, WestJet, Flair, and Swoop. The flight, which takes five hours, is long enough to require some form of comfort, but short enough that you can stick it out.
Air Canada Rouge tends to charge full-service airline prices on this route, but leaves a lot to be desired with both the hard and soft products. A five-hour flight charging full rate, but lacking in-flight entertainment and with notoriously small seats, just doesn’t cut it.
On the other hand, both WestJet and its budget subsidiary Swoop fly the same route, but they don’t seem to have the penchant for “fun” vibes the way that Jetlines is taking to marketing itself. After all, any company that advertises serving Boxer lager must not take itself too seriously by design.
With Flair also in the mix, consumers will have a choice between three ultra-low-cost-carriers and two not-quite-full-service products on the same route.
For example, a one-way flight from Toronto to Las Vegas in mid-January prices out as follows with all five carriers:
- Air Canada Rouge: $234
- Canada Jetlines: $215
- Flair: $167
- Swoop: $107
- WestJet: $405
So, while Jetlines doesn’t offer the lowest price on the route in this example, it’s a far cry from WestJet’s fare, which is almost double the cost. Of course, you’ll have to take other options, such as baggage, meals, and seat fees, into consideration, but it will be interesting to see if fares between all five options reduce in the consumer’s favour.
Jetlines is scheduled to fly Thursday through Sunday to Las Vegas, with flight times as follows:
- AU240 Toronto (YYZ) to Las Vegas (LAS), departing 8pm and arriving 9:53pm
- AU241 Las Vegas (LAS) to Toronto (YYZ), departing 10:47pm and arriving 6:40am
The nonstop route will be serviced by Jetlines’s A320 narrow-body aircraft, of which Jetlines is set to have a total of two by December. This aircraft is venerable, and will surely be decked out in the new orange-and-blue livery that Jetlines proudly splashes all over its marketing materials.
I suspect the route will be designed to be fun on the way there and relaxed on the return flight – perfect for would-be revellers in the City of Sin.
Canada Jetlines’s New Toronto–Melbourne (Orlando) Route
Also joining Jetlines’s new American schedule for early 2023 is a route from Toronto Pearson (YYZ) to Melbourne Orlando (MLB) in sunny Florida.
Starting on January 19, 2023 date, Jetlines will fly twice weekly between Toronto and Melbourne (Orlando), which is undoubtedly catering to the family leisure market for whom Las Vegas is a little too risqué.
Our family travel writer Amy can attest to many of the joys that await families big and small in Orlando, but the biggest winner of course would be Disney World, which can be booked on points. However, why limit yourself to Disney when the oft-vaunted Universal Studios theme park is right next door?
There’s also plenty of beaches, shopping, and leisure to attract the typical seasonal family travel to this destination, so I suspect this will be a one of the more popular itineraries.
Jetlines is scheduled to fly on Thursdays between Toronto and Melbourne, with flight times as follows:
- AU200 Toronto (YYZ) to Melbourne (MLB), departing 9am and arriving 11:43am
- AU201 Melbourne (MLB) to Toronto (YYZ), departing 3:12pm and arriving 5:55pm
When shopping for flights from Toronto to Melbourne (Orlando), you now have six airlines to choose from. Keep in mind that Air Canada, Sunwing, and WestJet fly to Orlando International Airport (MCO), which is nearer to the hot destinations than sleepy Melbourne, Florida.
A sample selection of airfares shows the following costs:
- Air Canada (including some flights operated by Rouge): $263
- Canada Jetlines: $278
- Flair: $167
- Sunwing: $180
- Swoop: $164
- WestJet/Delta: $263
Jetlines doesn’t seem to offer great value for this route. Not only will you pay more, but you’ll arrive much further from the main theme park zone.
Perhaps we’ll see prices go down as time goes on, or maybe they’ll make up for it with more generous baggage policies? Either way, it’s good to see more competition in the market, so be sure to shop around for flights.
The Future for New Carriers?
The growing number of leisure-oriented, lower-cost carriers entering the travel space seem to be competing for the same market space.
Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary remain the primary battlefields between each company as they battle for a share of the market. Time will tell if consumers move away from traditional products, such as Air Canada, in search of lower-cost alternatives.
Therefore, it makes sense that newborn carriers stop clawing for market share in these inundated spaces and start turning their attentions abroad.
With most airlines, especially the established players, already covering Mexico and the Caribbean, perhaps the real demand will be in getting customers down south to the United States.
Will we see more planes fly to Las Vegas, or will carriers also choose to challenge Jetlines and Westjet for the Orlando Disney hotspot that families are so fond of? We’ll have to wait and see, but I don’t foresee the lines at Universal Studios or the House of Mouse getting shorter any time soon.
Canada Jetlines continues to market itself as a fun-focused company, rather than just another ultra-low-cost-carrier. Choosing Las Vegas and Orlando as their first destinations outside Canada proves that this continues to be the company’s focus.
How many planes Jetlines’s fleet will expand to, or whether they can remain competitive in an ever-growing retail aviation market, remains to be seen. Of course, we will be keeping an eye on any new developments here at Prince of Travel.
Until next time, may your dealer bust on every hand of blackjack and may you not have to stand in a never-ending line.