May 3, 2019

By Callista Ryan

Cheap Flights? Hold my Wallet!

If there’s one thing that’s the bane of any Canadian’s existence, it’s domestic travel. Yes, living in a geographically large country with a small population within it makes travel more expensive. Yet, that doesn’t mean Canadians, especially Canadian millennials will accept it. Canadian infrastructure on domestic travel is highly criticized, but nothing takes more heat than the cost of plane tickets (especially during the holiday season). In fact, it’s usually cheaper to fly to Europe or Asia round trip than it would be to fly from the east to the west coast. Yet, it should be noted that the industry is responding to the demands of the travel savvy millennials with many new discount airlines and bus routes.

A while back, you may have read about our introduction to the Millennial Airline, Joon, in Europe. This airline will be known to serve gourmet meals and gluten-free dishes, much to the delight of the millennial consumer. However, up and coming airlines in Canada are targeting Canadians millennials through a much different approach – discounted prices. These aeroplanes may not be pretty, have much less leg room, and little or no snacks, but they can save the credit card bill up to 40% (before extra fees or baggage is added).

They may not be glamorous, but they’re in demand. This may be because Canada was ranked the 8th most expensive flight jurisdiction (out of 138 countries!) in 2015. Millennials love to travel (being 20% of total world travellers) yet have little money to do so. These discount airlines may not improve millennial access to travel internationally, but it could domestically. In a former article of ours, it was revealed that millennials are much more likely to travel abroad than within Canada. Who knows, maybe discounted and cheaper plane tickets may inspire the travel savvy millennial from Ontario to BC or bring the Albertan to PEI. This could improve both millennials budgets (as international travel have other fees tagged onto it) and increase the tourism industry and local markets of hotspots in Canada.

Now, airlines aren’t the only players in the travel industry that is changing due to the millennial demands of affordable travel. Newer discount bus lines are making headlines such as Megabus’ low ticket fares challenging Greyhound for market share. Even Via Rail is working on catching the millennials to opt for the train by offering one-time payments of student passes and commuter fares. However, millennials love carpooling and the spring of online groups and website to connect those travelling intercity for a gas fare are also popular ways to get around.

Millennials don’t like to sit still, and the more that companies curate the prices towards this group of consumers, the more likely they’ll be rewarded from their business.


At Abacus we strive to understand the nuances of generational change and how it impacts you and your business. The Canadian Millennials Report is the largest syndicated study of millennials in Canada. We survey 2,000 millennials twice a year on a range of topics including politics, social values, and consumer trends. If you are interested in learning more about this generation, reach out to us and we would be happy to connect.

Good Decisions Require Good Data.