What’s Included In Your Ticket (What’s not)

A $99 ticket to Iceland? Believe it! With a major battle afoot between low-cost and legacy carriers, could travellers be winners? MICHAEL SMITH takes a closer look.

On a domestic flight, I’m no longer surprised to find I don’t get a meal or that I have to pay for my checked bag. But when I’m flying for seven hours over the ocean, I expect my small comforts. However, as the airlines compete over fares, they are slowly breaking out their offerings and charging extra fees. Here are a few things to be on the lookout for when you book your next flight to Europe.

MEAL TICKET

The airline meal is always being made fun of, but on long flights, it’s no laughing matter. Hot meals are no longer standard, nor are the snacks or a stiff drink when you’re looking for a nightcap on a red-eye.

LET ME ENTERTAIN YOU

Did you know that in order to save weight, WestJet took the entertainment units out of the chairs for their London flights? As a replacement, you can download their app to watch on your own screen or rent an iPad from the airline. My neck starts to hurt just thinking about staring down at my phone for seven hours.

WOW PRICE TAGS

Iceland’s WOW Air has burst on to the scene with some eye catching price tags like CAD$179.99 to Copenhagen from Montreal (via Iceland). They have also quickly become the king of the fee, with every small upgrade costing you extra. Your carry-on better be small, otherwise it will cost you.

EXTRA LEGROOM, EXTRA FEE

Providing your favourite spot on the plane has now become a big revenue source for airlines. KLM and Air France’s reserved-seat price takes into account the demand on each flight to maximize their profit.

THAT’S BOTH WAYS

Seeing $14 for a meal doesn’t seem that bad or $25 for a bag. But remember to double the fee, because you will want to eat and have your bag on the way back.

WI-FEE

It’s starting to become a norm for airlines to offer wifi for a fee. For those who like to stay connected, we have included it in our comparison. Personally I like being disconnected on my flights.

CODESHARE CONFUSION

When booking a flight with Lufthansa, you might be surprised to find yourself on an Air Canada flight. If you book with Air Canada, you might end up on a Brussels Airlines flight or an Air Canada Rouge flight. If you have your preference, make sure to book on the plane you want.