Sunday Reader Questions: Connecting to an international flight for (close to) free

Today’s Sunday Reader Question is: I have a flight to catch, but to connect there, I need to fly Air Canada. I don’t want to pay the Aeroplan fees that are charged with Air Canada. What do I do?

Aeroplan is rarely the nicest company when it comes to reducing the fees that are charged. I’ve spoken about how to avoid surcharges on Aeroplan tickets before. However, to get to these flights that don’t charge YQ, like Vancouver YVR-Taipei TPE on EVA Airways, many people need to connect from smaller airports to get there. As you can’t fly between Canada-USA-Canada on one ticket (this is called cabotage), you often have to fly on Air Canada to get to your connecting city. Traditionally, Air Canada flights carry fuel surcharges. Here’s an example:

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Here, the charges to get from YUL-YVR amount to $85.22 in surcharges. If we look at a breakdown, $27.00 of that is in fuel surcharges.

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Now, let’s look at a no YQ flight from YVR to TPE:

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That’s $46.91 in surcharges. Looking at a breakdown, we see that there are no fuel surcharges attached to this reservation:

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Luckily, Aeroplan charges a reduced fuel surcharge on Air Canada flights that are connecting to a no YQ flight that crosses the Pacific or Atlantic oceans. In the above example, were full YQ charged, you’d expect a total surcharge that carries the $27 of YQ from the YUL-YVR segment. However, when you marry YUL-YVR and YVR-TPE together, the total cost is $7 lower:

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Looking at the surcharge breakdown, you’ll notice that the fuel surcharge is lower than what you’d expect:

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Now, this ONLY works if you’re connecting to an international flight that doesn’t charge YQ, and it has to cross either the Pacific or Atlantic ocean.

You’ll also notice that the Quebec taxes are reduced. I have to say I’m not totally sure why that is, but it works, so be happy about it 😛



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