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Lynx Air’s closure has out-of-province students scrambling for cheap options to fly home

Students are forced to pay hundreds more in airfare to get back to school from break

Students travelling for reading week were left in a lurch when budget airline Lynx Air announced on Feb. 22 that as of Feb. 26 at 12:01 am MT, it will cease operations, and all scheduled flights will be cancelled. 

The announcement is unwelcome to some Dalhousie University and University of King’s College students who live out-of-province. 

King’s student Màiri Jacobs was left scrambling when Lynx cancelled her flight home from second-semester reading week three days before its scheduled takeoff. 

“The first thing I did was I tried to find another flight,” Jacobs said.

While trying to find a different flight, Jacobs said she found a $400 one-way flight with Air Canada but ended up finding and booking a cheaper flight with Porter Airlines. 

“I booked this Lynx flight in November because it was under $100 at the time,” Jacobs said. 

She pays for her own flights and didn’t mind Lynx’s lack of amenities. 

“I was just happy to be flying home at the price I was,” she said. 

A roundtrip flight from Toronto Pearson to Halifax on Lynx previously started at $130. 

Now students who want to fly the same route are looking at paying over $400 on Air Canada and over $320 on Porter for the most basic package. However, the Air Canada and Porter fares include a carry-on bag, an amenity that costs between $70 and $80 with Lynx. 

No cheap alternative

Dalhousie student Ella Grossman’s flight to Toronto for reading week was cancelled last minute by Lynx, leaving her with no choice but to pay hundreds extra to fly a different airline.  

“Every single flight I’ve taken to and from Dal has been through Lynx, which has been great,” Grossman said. “I found it fine not having snacks or drinks, and honestly, the legroom is better than on other flights I have been on.”

Grossman had plans to go home to Toronto for the weekend for a family event because she got such a cheap flight. 

“We had already told my family that I would be coming. So last minute we had to splurge on a $500 flight,” said Grossman.

As an alternative to an expensive flight, Dalhousie student Harper Ross-Tolton took the train home to Kingston from Halifax. The ride was supposed to be 21 hours, but ended up taking 29. 

“[The train] was not a very pleasant experience,” Ross-Tolton said. “It’s terrible. It’s uncomfortable and I’ll never do it again.”

Ross-Tolton, who pays for his travel himself, couldn’t afford last minute airfare. 

“I booked the train because I forgot to book my plane tickets in time,” he said. “They were $900 to fly to Ottawa. So, I wasn’t going to do that.”

Ross-Tolton’s round trip train ticket ended up costing approximately $300 to $400. 

WestJet’s Response

WestJet released a statement on Feb. 22 outlining actions it is taking to support passengers and employees of Lynx. 

The airline offered a 25 per cent discount on all non-stop economy fare WestJet routes that were previously serviced by Lynx, for flights between Feb. 22, 2024 and Oct. 26, 2024. But that promotion was only valid until Feb. 29. 

The airline capped fares “at $250 plus taxes and fees on all northbound economy cabin fares, on non-stop WestJet routes previously served by Lynx, for travel up until February 29, 2024, booking to be made before February 29, 2024,” according to the statement. 

WestJet also announced that “All domestic fares on non-stop WestJet routes previously served by Lynx, for travel up until February 29, 2024, will not exceed $500 plus taxes and fees.”


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