Saturday, April 2, 2011

Losing Virgin America

We're riding one of the last Virgin America flights between the United States and Canada. Pity.

Virgin found flying in and out of Toronto too pricey, so has decided to move Toronto ops to Dallas next week. Can't blame them. My ticket Toronto-San Francisco return was $350 of which one-third was taxes and fees. I don't know how much Virgin had to pay for airport landing fees but I'm told Toronto is one of the most expensive airports for an airline to operate from.

With Virgin gone, that means higher fares for Toronto-California trips. Air Canada had been matching Virgin's fares but now is charging more than $600 for the same flight. Surprise!

I was once an Air Canada high mileage flyer but haven't boarded them in years. Got tired of the high prices and being made to feel like an imposition.

For some years now, I've been flying out of Buffalo-Niagara airport, usually on Southwest. Fares are much cheaper and SWA is more of a fun ride with friendly crew and relaxed atmosphere. More than one-half of the licence plates in Buffalo-Niagara parking lots say Ontario. Parking is much cheaper there than in Toronto. I've even done Canadian destinations from Buffalo. Usually means connections, but what's the hurry?

Virgin was a nice ride, while it lasted. Leather seats, reasonable amount of leg room. Bring your own lunch or order something off the computer screen at your seat. The blue and pink interior lighting makes the cabin feel like a 1960s cocktail lounge, but some people probably like that.

"Toronto's loss will be Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport's gain," the Dallas Morning News reports gleefully. And, Buffalo's. How many tens of millions of dollars is Buffalo-Airport draining out of Toronto? Must be huge.
Hey tax me, I'm Canadian. Not when I can find a way to avoid it.
Virgin - Weird Lighting, Good Fares


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