An unannounced Air Canada fare sale has slashed ticket costs on fall flights between a selection of US cities and China, enabling American travelers to take a round-trip flight to the far east for as little as $593. Cheap seats are available on flights to both Beijing and Shanghai, with fares cut by up to 46%, according to the average prices reported in Hopper’s when to fly and buy reports.
The flash fare sale began on September 15 and is expected to last less than a week. Discounted tickets are available on flights departing in September, October and November.
Sale flights to Beijing depart from six US airports: New York, Chicago, Washington, Portland, Seattle and Detroit. Sale fares to Shanghai are also available from Portland, Seattle and Detroit, as well as Atlanta.
The sale is a sign that Air Canada is trying to expand its market for international flights in the United States. Just last month Air Canada ran a similar fare sale from major US airports to Istanbul, connecting via Toronto, that saw prices drop to as low as $492.
All discounted flights in the United States to China fare sale involve connections in Air Canada’s hub cities north of the border, either Toronto or Vancouver.
These connections mean that, on several of the routes, quicker direct flights are also available. For example, sales fares on Air Canada flights from Seattle to Beijing have been cut by 34%, from $978 to $643. These flights have a connection in Vancouver and an overall travel time of 17 hours. Alternatively, fliers can shave five hours from their flight time by choosing to travel with Delta, which offers direct flights that take 12 hours and cost around $760, only $100 more than the Air Canada sale fare.
In other instances, the price increase involved in taking a non-stop flight is much starker. Flights from Detroit to Beijing connect in Toronto and are discounted by as much as 41% in the sale, falling from $1181 to $691. Choosing to fly direct, again with Delta, will shave two hours off your travel time. But it will also add over $1000 to your ticket costs, as comparable direct Delta flights were selling at around $1700 at the time of writing.
Canadian travelers, however, are out of luck, as Air Canada has not put any of its Canada to China routes on sale.
Airlines participating in fare sale: Air Canada
Start of fare sale: September 15
Fare sale length: Just a few days
Conditions: Available on departure dates in September, October and November
Airfare savings: Up to 46% lower than the average prices reported in Hopper's flight reports
The research team at Hopper uses data drawn from a combined feed of Global Distribution System (GDS) data that includes 10 million flight price queries per day, containing about one billion individual trips per day, to provide insights on airline pricing to consumers.