Flying for Less with Your Family
Thinking of heading south, or anywhere else, this winter? If expensive air travel is holding you back, take a serious look at flying out of the USA. When flying with a family of five like me, every penny counts.
We have flown out of both Buffalo International and Detroit International airports numerous times– both are wonderful. If you don’t mind a longer drive, you will save considerably. Another perk that I like is that once you cross the border, you have cleared customs so you save yourself the time waiting in that long line at the airport as well.
-Prices are typically 50% less than flying out of Canadian airports
-Both airports are much smaller and easier to navigate than Pearson International in Toronto.
-You cross customs at the border when you drive over, which is much quicker and simpler than the airport customs.
-You will require passports for all persons in your party.
-Buffalo is approx. 2 1/2 drive from Kitchener-Waterloo
-Detroit is 3 hrs. Yes – it is a bit of a hike but the money you save makes it totally worth it and for me and my family of five, it means the difference between even going on a trip at all.
My Two Picks for budget friendly flying:
(based in Detroit, Michigan but offers flights across the USA, including Mexico, the Carribean and South America)
If you are not a picky traveller who likes to get there as inexpensively as possible, this is your airline. Spirit Air is a budget airline that offers remarkably cheap flights. My biggest score was two years ago when I booked one leg of our trip to Florida for $13. I thought it was a mistake but it wasn’t. Our entire round trip for 4 fares that year was only $300. Wow! Now tell me that isn’t worth an extra hours drive!
Their prices change hourly so if you are online at the right time, you never know what you will get. This year, I was able to book our family of 5 round trips to Florida for $1000 – still a wicked deal. These were direct flights and this price included the extra charges I paid for pre-assigned seating and luggage.
I have flown this airline a number of times with my family and give it the thumbs up. It is not luxurious, but the staff are friendly and the planes are more than adequate. Be warned that there are many hidden charges not shown in your fare, but despite this annoyance, it is still the most economical way to get from point A to B. Pre-assigned seating, ALL luggage (including carry ons) and snacks will be extra.
(Major hub is New York City but this airline flies to all major cities across the USA, Carribean & some in South America. Many flights have stopovers & connections in NYC)
I have flown Jet Blue on numerous occasions and really love this airline. They often offer flights to New York City for $49 one way and other great deals. A family of four can usually fly to Florida for $1200- $1500. They offer frequent sales on their website but not as cheap as Spirit.
Their claim to fame is that every seat has extra legroom and it’s true. This is a very comfy and roomy ride with great seats, free snacks. I like the fact that every passenger gets their own TV’s with lots of channels – a lifesaver when travelling with kids.
They offer excellent customer service and very friendly staff. Unlike Spirit, Jet Blue still offers your first bag checked free for every traveller and free carry ons. Jet Blue is my #1 choice for flying since it is the closest US airport to KW and no matter what, prices tend to be about 50% less than flying in Canada.
One thing to watch is that almost all longer flights include a stop-over in New York City so if you prefer direct flights, you may wish to drive the extra hour to Detroit since most of their are direct.
Here is a an example of what I found this year when looking around…
Price Comparison Winter 2012
Destination: Florida, Direct Flights Only, Family of Five
Air Canada – $2600
Jet Blue – $1700
Spirit Air – $1000
———————————-OLDER TRAVEL DEALS ——————–
Hot Travel Deals! Must book by April 11th midnight!
April seems to be a hot month to book some future travel — here are two sales that end tonight at midnight for my travelling friends. The sales just keep on coming!
Older Travel Deals
Expedia 24-Hour Sale
Must book by midnight April 11th.
Great deals across Canada and beyond on flights, hotels and combination deals for both.
Spirit Air Pirate Booty Sale
For flights within the United States as well as Jamaica, Columbia, Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic. Must purchase by end of day April 11th, 2012 for travel through to May 2012. Some sample rates as low as $19 out of Detroit — the closest hub to KW – include…
|Detroit To:||$9 Fare Club Member Fares||Non-Member Fares||Dates Available|
|Atlantic City||check web for fares||$39.80* one way||5/3, 5/5, 5/8, 5/9, 5/11|
|Chicago (O’Hare)||$19.80* one way||$39.80* one way||5/1, 5/3, 5/7, 5/8, 5/9, 5/10|
|Fort Myers||check web for fares||check web for fares||5/1, 5/4, 5/5, 5/7, 5/11|
|Los Angeles (LAX)||check web for fares||check web for fares||5/4, 5/5, 5/7, 5/8, 5/9, 5/11|
|Tampa||$28.79* one way||$48.79* one way||5/1, 5/2, 5/8, 5/15, 5/22|