EDITORIAL – Airlines handing out lumps of coal to loyal fliers this Christmas

(Image: Armchair Mayor file photo)

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

EVERYONE WHO’S EVER travelled by air knows the early bird gets the best seats at the cheapest rates. Last-minute fliers are used to paying a lot more than other passengers on the same plane who were able to book with plenty of time to spare.

One might think the airlines would be anxious to fill up those last seats and, therefore, sell them cheaper but that’s not how it works.

It’s a matter of supply and demand. The fewer seats available, the more valuable those seats become. It’s like any other product.

But what’s happening right now with flights in and out of Kamloops looks a lot like price gouging. In good times, a round-trip ticket to Vancouver costs around $350, though it fluctuates. Now look at prices during this holiday season.

I searched on and, believe it or not, one Kamloops-Vancouver return ticket that covered the days before and after Christmas was priced at $1,600 including taxes and would take more than eight hours due to the fact it was routed through Calgary and involved a lengthy stop in the Alberta city. There was, according to the website, “one left.”

As reported by CFJC, booking back in September would have saved you several hundred dollars.

So is there anything we can do about it? After all, we can’t just hop in the car and drive to the Coast these days, and a lot of people are desperate to see family.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth acknowledged concerns but didn’t have an answer other than to say it’s federal jurisdiction. The Air Passenger Rights group doesn’t have much to say about it, either.

There’s actually been upward pressure on ticket prices for the past year, with COVID and all, but after taxpayers bailed out one of those airlines just a few months ago with low-interest loans worth billions, these extreme ticket prices feel like a lump of coal in our stockings.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (9510 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

1 Comment on EDITORIAL – Airlines handing out lumps of coal to loyal fliers this Christmas

  1. Bob Boonstra // December 13, 2021 at 8:06 PM // Reply

    Farnworth doesn’t have an answer other than to say its a Federal jurisdiction? How about opening up Hwy 99?

    I’ve traveled this route many times in all seasons and note only about a half-dozen cars on a typical winter traverse. I took two round trips in just the last few months. There were only pickups and cars on the route.

    The route is posted at modest speeds with essentially no heavy traffic because of the turns and grades involved.

    We deserve more from the Safety Minister than threats of criminality to those who during the summer refused to leave their rural properties behind during the fires, and more recently his pre-emptive slap to anyone who might consider going Black Friday shopping after the flood events. Readers will recall both.

    We deserve an individual intelligent enough to see the big picture.

    I would have made a recent trip to the Pemberton valley to help out with a flooding situation at our daughter’s home but I guess that wasn’t essential.

    What next? Buy a plumbing van and pretend to be a tradie?

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