Carry On: New airlines are filling the skies with competition—and lower prices

How to take advantage of post-pandemic travel with planes, brains and automobiles.

Lynx Air

Credit: Lynx Air

How to take advantage of post-pandemic travel with planes, brains and automobiles

As a sure sign that air travel is on the rebound, the skies are becoming more populated with no-frills, ultra-low-cost carriers—and competition means lower prices.

Announcing its April YVR arrival with a cheeky commercial starring a fierce feline, Calgary-based Lynx Air flies between Vancouver, Kelowna, Calgary, Winnipeg and Toronto, with 70-plus flights a week in May and more planned for summer.

Edmonton-headquartered Flair has a dozen new routes, like Vancouver to San Francisco, Victoria to Toronto and Comox to Calgary, and flights from Canada to Nashville, Denver and more.

WestJet’s low-cost Swoop touches down in 18 Canadian cities, including Abbotsford, Kelowna, Victoria and Comox, with a dozen U.S. and some Caribbean destinations on its route map.

Parks Canada/Ian HoughtonParks Canada/Ian Houghton

Nature Rx

Doctors in B.C. can give A Prescription for Nature, recommending a Parks Canada Discovery Pass (worth more than $70) to patients. Medical research shows as little as two hours a week in nature can result in better health and well-being, counteracting anxiety and other mental health challenges. This effort builds on PaRx, founded in 2020 by doctors and the BC Parks Foundation, which was Canada’s first nature prescription program. It’s a forward-thinking summer team incentive.


Sweet Fleet

If you use ride-hailing apps to get to meetings, it’s good news that Uber is committed to going zero-emissions in Vancouver by 2030 (and in other Canadian markets by 2040). The company also has a new partnership with Plug ’n Drive, a nonprofit promoting electric vehicle (EV) adoption, to encourage all drivers to flip the switch. It pegs potential fuel savings at $2,000 a year and emissions per vehicle at up to 90 percent lower, for those choosing EVs.

Uber is also piloting an Earth-friendly Uber+Transit program in the Toronto area that recommends affordable, availability-based combinations of UberX and public transit routes to app users requesting suitable trips.

Invivo AirInvivo Air

Winning in the Air

The world’s first winery airline, Invivo Air, launched in New Zealand this year, with a gimmicky charter flight between Auckland and Queenstown. Promising “business class in every glass” for 34 passengers, the trip included a foray into the Central Otago wine region, where grapes for celebrity-branded Invivo X by Sarah Jessica Parker bottlings and other wines are sourced. Pour this concept into the Okanagan!

Klahoose Wilderness ResortKlahoose Wilderness Resort

Jet Setter

One of B.C.’s newest Indigenous travel experiences is Klahoose Wilderness Resort in Desolation Sound, which offers guided eco-adventures from May through autumn. Tourism manager Chris Tait, who has worked in tourism all over B.C. and the world for more than 20 years, says getting off-grid in rugged nature can be a powerful setting for corporate retreats.

Unlike the stifling confines of the typical conference centre, in Desolation Sound “you won’t see any other people, no distraction,” Tait explains. “Your senses allow you to slow down.”

There are also cultural benefits to an authentic Indigenous experience. “When you can be welcomed on our dock with a traditional Klahoose greeting, with just the sound of a drum and welcome song, it…sets the tone for the stay with a sense of sharing and listening,” Tait says.

The Klahoose are a welcoming people, and despite the creature comforts of the resort and the complete point-to-point travel services, it’s the people, and “a connection to ancient voices and a welcome into the home of the people that live there,” that corporate guests have found most memorable.