Air travel: not ready for $500 tickets

Not so easy to book the new $ 500 plane tickets funded by the Legault government.

Air travel: not ready for $500 tickets

Not so easy to book the new $ 500 plane tickets funded by the Legault government. Even Air Canada was not ready this week for the launch of this program supposed to facilitate access to the regions.

The Journal has seen that it takes patience and perseverance to take advantage of the Regional Air Access Program (PAAR), which came into effect last Wednesday.

Clearly, word hadn't gotten around to the country's largest carrier. The Journal was unable to book a discounted ticket via the Air Canada phone line.

"There's nothing confirmed yet," the attendant erroneously replied, visibly blank.

“[Air Canada] is in the [program], but we were given no instructions, no direction. We're not issuing those tickets yet and I don't know when it's going to start," she candidly admitted.

Internet problem

Another pitfall, this time on the web. Air Canada does not currently offer the $500 ticket for destinations with layovers. This is the case, for example, for a citizen of Quebec wishing to go to Rouyn-Noranda, Bagotville or Sept-Îles.

"Given that the launch of the program was this morning [Wednesday] and that the logistics around it are complex, we favored non-stop routes," an Air Canada spokesperson said Wednesday. is not identified. However, we assure you that the situation should return to normal within a few days.

Our journalist, who was planning a family trip to the Magdalen Islands, finally managed to book a return ticket with Pascan Aviation.

Travellers, too, have other hurdles, and you have to read the fine print, as we have seen (see below).


In the office of the Minister of Transport, François Bonnardel, we recognize certain difficulties, but we assure that "generally speaking, things are going well".

"It's day one of a program that will last five years, so for sure there may be small glitches, but we will adjust and continue to monitor the situation," said Jean- François Del Torchio, Director of Communications for the Minister.



Not all carriers apply the discount immediately. For example, Air Canada requires you to do it manually via a subtle box on its website. At PAL Airlines, you must enter a promotional code located on another web page. Travelers unfamiliar with the program will most likely end up with a bill much higher than the promised $500.


Even if a carrier offers a route, it doesn't say you can get it for $500. To be eligible, the connection must be offered by the airline all year round and not only in summer. Would you like to visit the Îles-de-la-Madeleine for $500 from Montreal or Quebec? You can with Pascan, but not with Air Canada. To find out, you will have to... do some trial and error! Besides, forget Expedia, Google and other comparators to find the schedule that suits you; you have to shop directly on the carrier's website to hope to take advantage of the promotion.