When I noticed a post on Secret Flying with an Air Canada “error fare” last Sunday, it didn’t take me too long to book. In fact, it took me about ten minutes to book the first ticket… And then, I decided to book one more for a trip together with my friend Philippe (check his blog The Full Gull).
Then, for about two days, I watched various blogs and forums – both hearing reports of reservations being intact as well as, in some instances, cancelled. In the meantime, some people decided to contact Air Canada – and got the a reply like the one below, confirming that Air Canada will honor the fare for ticketed reservations.
Hello Vanessa, if an electronic ticket was issued, it will be honored. /ra
— Air Canada (@AirCanada) 2017年8月29日
With that the constant checking of whether the itinerary was still alive stopped, and an excitement about the upcoming trip came instead.
So, where will I be flying?
The Air Canada “Glitch”
There were tens of routes that were part of the glitch some of which included:
- Paris – Toronto
- Paris – Vancouver
- Prague – New York
- Munich – Havana
- London – Los Angeles
All of those were priced around $150 to $300 per roundtrip. For example, below is a sample of what the pricing chart looked like for roundtrips between Prague and New York in February 2018 (in Canadian dollars):
…and below is a sample final pricing for a similar roundtrip. As you can see, besides flights on Air Canada itself, also flights operated by some of its Star Alliance partners were included.
1st Booking: Paris to Toronto and Back with Air Canada
Given that I’ve never been to Canada before, I opted to book a flight to Toronto. As I wanted to grab the opportunity, I just booked the ticket for the first set of dates I found that would fit my schedule – in May 2018. I chose the date so that they went well with one of the trips to Europe I am planning for next year.
From the time I found the information about the fare until booking the first roundtrip, less than 10 minutes passed. And, for $157, I got the following:
- Paris to Montreal on an Air Canada 777-300ER
- Montreal to Toronto on an Air Canada A330-300
- Toronto to Paris on an Air Canada 777-300ER
The itinerary is also giving me the option to bid for an upgrade to business or premium economy class. And, while I will not be bidding for business class, I might try to bid on premium economy class one way to experience both economy and premium economy on the 777.
2nd Booking: Paris to Vancouver and Back with Lufthansa and Air Canada
When choosing the first destination, I was thinking about booking an open-jaw – flying to Toronto and flying back from Vancouver. But, assuming the transcontinental flight between Toronto and Vancouver would cost as much if not more than the roundtrip to Toronto, I put the desire to visit Vancouver on hold.
Then, however, I got in touch with Philippe and started to play with the reservation system once again. And, after a while I found the following for $194:
- Paris to Frankfurt on a Lufthansa A320
- Frankfurt to Vancouver on a Lufthansa 747-400
- Vancouver to Frankfurt on an Air Canada 787-8
- Frankfurt to Paris on a Lufthansa A321
Knowing that Philippe wouldn’t resist a chance to fly on a 747 for that price, I used that as an excuse to book the second trip – departing Paris back for Canada a bit more than 24 hours after arriving from Toronto.
What to Do in Toronto and Vancouver?
Now that I have the two tickets, and it’s more or less certain that the fare will be honored, I can start looking for flights into Europe. Separately, I also have to start thinking of what to do around the two cities.
I will have about 4 days in Toronto, and 3 days in Vancouver. In Vancouver, I am – of course – planning to do some seaplane spotting and (hopefully) flying.
Other than that, however, the plans are still wide open.
And, while May is still far away, if you have any suggestions regarding those two cities – especially from an aviation enthusiast point of view – please let me know.