Will a flight pass save you money?

Buying flight tickets in bulk doesn’t necessarily pay off in the end

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From the Summer 2014 issue of the magazine.

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(iStock)

Buying in bulk is supposed to save you money, right? That might be true for toilet paper, but for flights, not so much.

Air Canada’s flight passes let travellers buy a set of one-way flights to a specific region at a fixed rate. Once they’re purchased, the prices won’t change and you can use them at any time of the year. But if you do the math, you’ll find that Air Canada’s passes, as well as Porter Airlines’ similar prepaid passes, probably won’t save you money.

For example, Air Canada’s Maritimes Pass costs $3,435 for 10 one-way trips between the Maritimes and Toronto, Montreal or Ottawa. That’s about $345 per flight with fees and taxes—more than the $230 average price of a one-way flight from Toronto to Halifax. “If you’re good at searching in advance and know a good deal when you see it, you’d likely be better off shopping for flights the conventional way,” says Shawn Hawkins of the Flight Centre.

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