Fares better over the border?

January 25, 2012
Fares from Washington DC:

    Q. I'm thinking of flying from Toronto to Italy. I live in Michigan, about a six-hour drive from Toronto, but the fare from Michigan is $1,450 round-trip whereas it's $887 departing from Toronto.  I've been across the Canadian border many times and never had a problem. Is their something that I should be concerned about that I'm not considering?

    A. Wow, that's pretty unusual, because normally fares to Europe from Canada are more expensive than from the U.S. However, there are a couple of discount Canadian airlines, such as Air Transat that do sometimes offer amazing bargains, especially at the last minute. It really depends on when you're flying. Checking fares from Toronto to Rome for February travel (I used a departure of Feb. 5 returning Feb. 15), there's not much price difference compared to flying from Detroit, Flint and other Michigan airports (even from Iron Mountain, MI, which isn't known for low fares). However, checking fares for June travel, you're absolutely right—there's a huge difference. The fare from Toronto to Rome on Air Canada in US dollars is $883 round-trip including taxes compared to $1,443 on the same dates from Detroit. So I'd look again at fares leaving from Michigan if you're flying in winter, but definitely it's worth driving to Toronto if flying in June. If you do fly from Toronto, be sure to leave time for the occasional unexpected border crossing delay.