Air transport: not so easy to buy a $500 ticket

Not so easy to book the new $500 plane tickets funded by the Legault government. Even Air Canada wasn’t ready for takeoff this week This program aims to facilitate access to the regions.

• Also read: There will not be tickets for everyone

The newspaper could see that it takes patience and perseverance to reap the benefits of the Regional Air Access Program (PAAR) that went into effect last Wednesday.

Apparently, the news hadn’t gotten around to the country’s largest airline. The newspaper was unable to book a discounted ticket through the Air Canada phone line.

“Nothing is confirmed yet,” the overseer answered us incorrectly, visibly at a loss.

“[Air Canada] is in that [programme], but we were given no instructions, no direction. We’re not issuing those tickets yet and I don’t know when that will be,” she admitted openly.

problem on the internet

Another trap, this time on the Internet. Air Canada does not currently offer a $500 ticket to destinations with stopovers. For example, this is the case for a Quebec citizen wishing to travel to Rouyn-Noranda, Bagotville or Sept-Îles.

“The program started this morning [mercredi] and that the logistics around it are complex, we have favored non-stop connections,” said an Air Canada spokesman, who did not identify himself on Wednesday. However, we are assured that the situation should return to normal within a few days.

Our journalist who was planning a family trip to the Magdalen Islands finally managed to book a return ticket with Pascan Aviation.

Our journalist managed to buy two round-trip tickets for $999 on Pascan Aviation's website.


Our journalist managed to buy two round-trip tickets for $999 on Pascan Aviation’s website.

Other obstacles also await travelers, and you need to read the fine print, it was possible to see (see below).


In the office of the Minister of Transport, François Bonnardel, we recognize certain difficulties, but we assure you that “in general everything is going well”.

“It’s the first day of a program that will last five years, so it’s safe to say there are small ones glitchesbut we will adapt and continue to monitor the situation,” said Jean-François Del Torchio, the minister’s communications director.


  • Eligible flights must connect Montreal or Quebec and the regions or vice versa.
  • For private travel only. Business trips excluded.
  • Participating airlines: Air Canada, Air Creebec, Air Inuit, Air Liaison, PAL Airlines and Pascan Aviation.
  • In the first 24 hours of the program, 1,200 Quebecers reserved subsidized tickets, according to Minister Bonnardel.


Not all carriers apply the discount immediately. For example, Air Canada requires you to do this manually via a subtle checkbox on its website. PAL Airlines requires you to enter a promotional code located on another website. Travelers unfamiliar with the program will most likely end up with a bill much higher than the promised $500.


Even if a carrier offers a connection, it doesn’t mean you can use it for $500. The prerequisite for this is that the connection is offered by the airline all year round and not just in summer. Want to visit the Îles-de-la-Madeleine for $500 from Montreal or Quebec? You can do that with Pascan, but not with Air Canada. To find out, you’ll have to… do some trial and error! Also, forget about Expedia, Google and other comparison platforms to find the schedule that suits you. You must purchase directly from the carrier’s website to take advantage of the promotion.

– In collaboration with Philippe Langlois and Charles Mathieu

Do you have any information about this story that you would like to share with us?

Do you have a scoop that might be of interest to our readers?

Write to us or call us directly at 1-800-63SCOOP.

Leave a Comment