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Are there any low cost airlines that operate within Canada and fly out of Vancouver? As a European I have very limited knowledge of flying within the US and Canada.

I am struggling to find any, unless I am looking in the wrong places.

EDIT: Have checked Skycanner and the cheapest options between Vancouver and Toronto are all national carriers (or seem to be) and certainly not I would class as budget. Where are the £29.99 flights? (sarcasm) Is budget a thing in North America? Or does the vast distances involved stop any budget airline from operating like in Europe?

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Any reason why you can't just use a comparison site (ITA, Skyscanner, Kayak etc) and pick the cheapest option, "low cost" or not? – CMaster Feb 15 at 16:22
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Canada is bigger than you think. Even if you think it's big. Vancouver to Toronto is 4500km. You will not find a £29.99 flight between two cities in Europe that far apart, for the simple reason that there are no cities in Europe that far apart. Also both those cities are fairly small by European standards, Carriers aren't able to make their profit on volume. – DJClayworth Feb 15 at 16:56
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In North America, 100 years is a long time. In Europe, 100 miles (or km) is a long distance. – user13097 Feb 15 at 19:35
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@DavidRicherby A search suggested a flight from London to Edinburgh is in the £29.99 range. Its ~400 miles and that's nearly all the way across the country. Many times Europeans don't realize how big North America is (and 400 miles isn't that far of a distance for me... that's driving half way across the state I live in, doing some repairs and driving back... shoot, I used to drive ~90 miles one way to get a good dinner when I lived in the northern part of Wisconsin). The bit is a hint at the completely different scales of the countries in terms of history and distance. – user13097 Feb 15 at 20:16
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@DavidRicherby I think Michael's point was mostly just a reiteration of DJClayworth's point. Canada is really big. The entire U.K. fits inside Vancouver's single province... almost 4 times. The distances involved are the primary reason for the higher prices. It's hard to find a 30 pound fare on flight that is over 2,000 miles regardless of what continent you're on. Vancouver to Toronto is about the same distance as Madrid to Moscow. – reirab Feb 15 at 20:18
up vote 14 down vote accepted

As far as I'm aware there are not currently any really low cost airlines in Canada. But there seem to be a few in the pipeline:

  • NewLeaf: It looks like Abbotsford near Vancouver is one of their anticipated destinations, but they are running into a bit of bureaucracy.
  • JetLines: "Canada’s Ultra-Low Fare Airline" currently completed planning and development. Based in Vancouver.
  • Jet Naked: Not sure if they plan to fly out of Vancouver.

WestJet and Air Canada Rouge are I think currently generally the lowest cost airlines in Canada but they are not really budget airlines.

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There are several lower cost airlines already operating in Canada, but no ULCCs on par with Ryanair. In eastern Canada, where distances are shorter there tends to be more competition, here are the airlines on these routes:

  • Toronto-Montreal: Air Canada, Porter, WestJet, Transat from ca$99
  • Vancouver-Toronto: Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing (in summer) from ca$249

Elsewhere in North America you'll find your $29 flights. As you say, "is budget not a thing North America?" Canada isn't all of North America. Budget / ULCC airlines are a thing in the US and Mexico (Spirit, Frontier, Volaris, Vivaaerobus, Interjet, Vivacolombia to Florida, Norwegian from the US to the EU parts of the Caribbean...). Spirit and Allegiant specifically serve airports close to major Canadian cities (for instance Niagra Falls New York for Toronto, Plattsburgh New York for Montreal, Bellingham Washington for Vancouver) but mostly for flights to further south in the US and not east-west connections.

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$249 Vancouver Toronto is cheaper per km than £29 London Paris – DJClayworth Feb 15 at 23:49
    
@DJClayworth Ah, whoops, you're right. I missed the different currencies. – reirab Feb 16 at 15:24

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