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Canada Jetlines
Jetlines Vacations now available directly to consumers

Less than three months after initially opening bookings to travel advisors, Jetlines Vacations is now available direct to consumers.

Launched by Canada Jetlines in November 2023, Jetlines Vacations offers packages to sun destinations where the airline – which made its debut in September 2022 – currently serves. These include Mexico, Jamaica, Florida and Las Vegas, with additional destinations in the pipeline as the airline sets its sights on rapid expansion. Over the next couple of months, it will be doubling the size of its fleet with the arrival of its fourth, fifth and sixth A220-200 aircraft.

During a media briefing yesterday, Jan. 31, Canada Jetlines’ CCO Charles McKee said the full realization of Jetlines Vacations for both the travel advisory community and consumers is “a very important part of our business.” Though still in its infancy, McKee says there are high hopes for Jetlines Vacations to compete with Canada’s top tour companies.

There are some wonderful names in travel that offer packages today, but we wanted to offer travellers – particularly the next generation of travellers – an alternative to those established brands,” said McKee.

We have an advantage where very few tour operators have in Canada in that we actually have our own airlift. This means we can effectively point our airplanes to wherever we think makes sense. We’re reading the tea leaves and taking signals from our travellers on where they want to vacation next. So we have this ability to actually grow our Jetlines Vacations business in a way that’s really synced up to the airline itself,” he added.

Eventually, McKee hopes to establish Jetlines Vacations as a tour operator that has aircraft as opposed to an airline that has a tour company: “That’s how much promise we see, and we’re full steam ahead.


Travel agents remain key

Although consumers can now book Jetlines Vacations directly through jetlines.vacations.com and jetlines.com, McKee says the airline remains focused on building relationships with the travel advisor community through several ways. It announced last month that any travel advisor who books a Jetlines Vacation product through Canada Jetlines will receive a $25 gift card of their choosing. Plus, the airline has extended its 10% base commission offer through to the end of May.

But what McKee says is equally as important as monetary incentives is talking freely and openly with the advisor community about logistical issues that often plague airlines.

Being an emerging, smaller airline, there are understandably questions about, ‘What would you do in the event of a delay or flight disruption?’ We’re really sitting down with agents and having very open discussions with them about these concerns. We’ve built our schedules in such a way that we’ve got a lot of flexibility,” said McKee.

It’s not easy being a new player in a well-established sector like the tour business in Canada. But if you come in with a fresh approach, with fresh thinking and with an economic proposition that recognizes the incredible value that travel agents have, then I think we’ve got a good shot,” he added.

Travel advisors can book Jetlines Vacations through SIREV.


The hotels 

Jetlines Vacations currently has access to 18,000 rooms across sought-after sun destinations like Montego Bay and Cancun. It will also be expanding to include hotels in Central Florida, including Orlando. Nevada, said McKee, will be a “fast follower in all of this,” however, the immediate focus in terms of short-term expansion will be Florida.

As for what kind of hotels Jetlines Vacations offers, there’s a range from three- to five-star properties. The “sweet spot”, however, will be in the four-star segment.

That seems to give us the greatest lift,” said McKee. “And certainly from an inventory standpoint, the redefinition of the four-star category by many hoteliers over the last 10 years provides an incredible price value equation for travellers.”


The destinations 

Expect to see big things from Canada Jetlines this year, including a significant increase in destinations, mainly in the Caribbean and Mexico. And as the airline’s product offering expands, so too will Jetlines Vacations’. 

We’re in deep discussions right now with airport authorities, national tourist offices and our colleagues at the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) to secure slots for what will be a fairly major announcement for Jetlines in the coming weeks on what our winter 2024-2025 program will look like,” said McKee.

When asked what Canada Jetlines’ most popular destinations are right now, McKee says it’s established itself well in Cancun, Mexico, despite fierce competition from other airlines.

We’ve been flying to Cancun without packages for the last year and it continues to go from strength to strength. What we’ve seen on the air-only side of our business into Cancun is now being translated into the package side,” said McKee. 

Montego Bay, which launched in December 2023, is also seeing growth this winter season. Service to Montego Bay will continue throughout the year “so we think it’s going to be an excellent contributor as we mature in that marketplace,” he added.

With Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) being Canada Jetlines’ home airport, all vacation packages – as well as all flights – currently originate in Toronto.


The differentiators 

So how will Jetlines Vacations differ from the Sunwings, the Air Canada Vacations, the Transats and the WestJet Vacations currently in the marketplace? According to McKee, it comes down to scale.

Because of our scale, we can truly offer a more personalized level of service in the pre-sale environment, whether it’s with a travel agent or the customer directly. And we pride ourselves on that,” he said. “That is a qualitative difference from perhaps some of the larger, more mass market operators out there today.

McKee also noted that as the airline grows its fleet, it will have the flexibility and opportunity establish a presence in less-developed markets.

You’re going to see some interesting route announcements as we move forward that will be applicable and relevant for our consumers,” he hinted.

And finally, with the Jetlines team heavily focused on the next phase of product development for the tour arm of the business, “we’re out there trying to find and source experiences that could be unique to Jetlines Vacations.” 


Source: Travelweek

Feb 01, 2024

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