To Flex or to Tango? Air Canada Economy Class fares explained
Not all fares were created equal.
It appears that many, even frequent Air Canada travellers, still aren’t familiar with the airline’s options in Economy Class on domestic and trans-border routes. And yes, there are options.
These days, it’s not just Economy, Premium Economy and Business Class cabins that are priced differently. With Air Canada, even within Economy Class, you find various fares and distinctions. Sure, your seat may be the same as everyone else’s but it’s what comes with the seat that can make a world of difference.
Basically, the choice is this – Flex or Tango.
Note: For the purpose of this article, the comparisons made are only between two of Air Canada’s lowest fares within Economy Class. In addition to Tango and Flex fares, there is also the option of an Economy Latitude fare, Air Canada’s highest in class (considerably higher and almost comparable to a Business Class ticket, at which point, opt for Business Class).
Often, it's an easy choice. Unless the price is substantially less to fly in Tango, we recommend Flex fares. If not for the difference in the amount of Aeroplan points one accumulates flying Flex versus Tango alone, just about everything that comes with a Flex fare is of value, especially to someone travelling on behalf of the company.
Let’s start with the points though. Only by booking a Flex fare do you accumulate 100% of your flown miles. And what about Altitude Qualifying Miles, you ask? Yup, only Flex gives you the full 100%. In contrast, those travelling Tango accumulate a measly 25% of flown miles on a domestic route and just 50% if travelling to the U.S. Accrual for Altitude Qualifying Miles is the same, quarter to half the value.
For anyone using the points they’ve earned from work travel towards their own personal travel, 25% isn’t going to get you very far. Trying to bolster your Aeroplan member status? Building at 25% is a pretty slow build too. Besides the eventual free flight here and there, frequent flyer points can be used towards cabin upgrades, car rentals and more. May as well load up!
Have you ever had to postpone or cancel a business trip? Chances are you have, as nearly half of business trips require at least one change or a cancellation. While same-day changes made at the airport on most routes aren’t free with either fare type, change fees double on a Tango ticket, on top of any difference in actual fare.
Of even more importance though is this; those travelling on a Flex fare have a smaller chance of being bumped in case a flight is overbooked by the airline, while Tango passengers are the most vulnerable.
Want more? Okay.
If you usually travel at the front of the bus, you’re probably quite familiar with the complimentary access to airline lounges. While neither, a Flex or Tango ticket, gets you by the doorman for free, only Flex passengers have even the opportunity to pay to play.
Do you still travel with checked baggage? Pay the Flex fare and check a bag for free within Canada. Airport surprises are the worst and scrambling to pay to check a bag at check-in is never fun.
With the amount of extras that come with a Flex fare, you’d think the cost would be double that of a Tango ticket but often it’s not. For example, we checked for 2 weeks from today and the Flex fare was only $83 more (one way) than a Tango ticket between Toronto and Montreal.
So, whatever you choose, at least now you know the facts. Often a Tango fare will be the cheapest option, but it's much more restrictive.....so don't be afraid to Flex! For more info, see our comparios sheet attached below. Or, to speak to one of our travel experts, please contact us at any time.