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Inflated pricing, high airport taxes, lack of competition and monopolistic pricing models have long stigmatized the Canadian aviation industry. However, competition from southern neighbours and willingness of Canadians to cross the border for better deals has improved the pricing in Canada, but not enough in my opinion. When the largest budget airlines in US, Allegiant Air, announced a new route from Ogdensburg, New York to Florida, it came as welcome news to the snow birds that live close to the US border near Ogdensburg.
Allegiant Air announced new routes from Ogdensburg to Orlando and Fort Lauderdale, starting Oct 5th and 6th respectively. Inaugural pricing for this year round route starts at $55 USD each way. Ottawa, Canada’s capital and fourth largest city in the country is conveniently located within a 45 mins drive from Ogdensburg International airport. Ogdensburg International also offers free parking as an incentive, an added bonus for Canadians and other passengers from the region. Florida is a popular winter destination for Canadians and the new route pricing will be hard to ignore. Airline pundits are already billing this move by Allegiant Air as a direct threat to the Canadian airlines. In fact, the airport is listed on Allegiant Air website as “Ogdenburg, NY/Ottawa, ON (OGS)”, a clear indication of their target audience. Allegiant Air already had flights to Daytona Beach from Ogdensburg with prices starting at $75 each way.
New Route Pricing
Return journey to Fort Lauderdale, OGS–>FLL–>OGS priced at $112.50 USD.
Remember, Allegiant Air is a budget airline and charges extra for everything from checked bags,seat selection to boarding passes. For true comparison, I added the ‘basic extras’ like carry on bag each way and a fee for using credit card. That added an extra $40.75 to my trip and price was now $153.25 USD or $198.90 CAD
Below, is a look at other extras that I could have added to my trip, however these are typically not included in the Canadian competitors base pricing either, so I left them out.
With these expensive pickings my ticket price could have more than doubled to $266.77 USD.
Canadian Airlines React
Canadian airlines that compete in this sector out of Ottawa, clearly responded by adjusting their prices. For the same date range Air Canada Rouge priced at $301.77 CAD (no extras but includes a carry-on bag), with one stopover in Toronto each way.
And WestJet priced at $306.27 CAD (no extras but includes a carry-on bag), with one stopover in Toronto each way.
Both Air Canada and WestJet priced ~$100 CAD more than Allegiant Air. Clearly, that’s the price Canadian airlines are pegging against the drive across the border. Considering Allegiant Air’s $55 one way is an introductory price and regular prices would be slightly higher, the difference is fair and most customers would be willing to pay a little extra to fly a Canadian carrier and earn some miles along the way.
With three locations from Ogdensburg to Florida (Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and Daytona Beach), Allegiant Air has definitely heated up the market and given consumers more options. The pricing is not as threatening as media is making it to be, but enough to keep Canadian carriers honest. $55 fares are still available between October and February but may not last very long, so if you have plans to Florida, better book now!
Will you be traveling with Allegiant Air’s new route to Florida?
Hat Tip: @xSherrz