With air fares to Canada sky-high, can you save by travelling there via the USA?

 

Q. Flights to Canada seem so expensive! Any tips for getting there with enough cash to buy a hot dog on arrival? Should I go via the US and onwards by bus? Lynne Pointer, Oxfordshire

 

A. Going east to west, the main gateways to Canada are Montreal, Toronto (pictured) and Vancouver. They roughly correspond, in terms of flying time from the UK, to Boston, New York and Seattle. From each of those cities you can reasonably travel overland north of the border into Canada.

Yet the fares vary dramatically. We have checked fares for non-stop scheduled flights from Heathrow, travelling next May. For the big eastern cities, New York and Boston are far cheaper than Toronto and Montreal.

The US cities are available for about £435 return on quality airlines, while their Canadian counterparts are coming in at £675. The difference in fare would certainly make it worth putting up with a 10-hour bus journey from New York or Boston. You could also build in an extra stay in either of these fine cities.

But before you book, bear in mind that you will be required to pay $14 (£9) for an "Esta" to gain admission to the US. In addition, Air Canada and British Airways are not the only game in town. Air Transat, bookable through Canadian Affair, has excellent fares from Gatwick and other UK airports. In May, its Gatwick-Toronto fare is about the same as the prevailing New York and Boston prices.

If your destination is Vancouver, the tables are turned. Because BA competes with Air Canada from Heathrow to the British Columbia city, you can expect keener fares than to Seattle – where BA has a monopoly. In May, the fare to Seattle is around £800 return, with Vancouver available for around £25 less. Yet you need not pay anything like those prices, if you are prepared to change planes along the way. To Seattle, a quick connection at Minneapolis on Delta brings the fare down to around £575. Vancouver is available via Amsterdam on KLM for around £600.

Finally, if Montreal happens to be your final goal – don't buy a hot dog. Head for Schwartz's Hebrew Delicatessen and indulge in a medium fat smoked beef sandwich, which will transcend the finest American hot dog.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Car Sales Executive - OTE £36,000

    £12500 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This established Wakefield Deal...

    Guru Careers: .NET Developers / Software Developers

    Competitive (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: our .NET Developers / Software Dev...

    Sheridan Maine: Accounts Assistant

    £25,000 - £30,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you looking for a fantastic opportunity...

    Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester

    £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

    The masterminds behind the election

    How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
    Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

    Machine Gun America

    The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
    The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

    The ethics of pet food

    Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
    How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

    How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

    Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
    11 best bedside tables

    11 best bedside tables

    It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
    Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

    Italy vs England player ratings

    Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
    Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

    An underdog's tale of making the most of it

    Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
    Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

    Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

    Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat