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Flair Airlines Review: Is Flair Air Worth It?

Flair Airlines Review: Is Flair Air Worth It?

Are you thinking of booking a flight on Flair? Read our Flair Airlines review to learn what you need to know based on our experience travelling with Flair Air.

You may already have heard of Flair Airlines. It’s an Edmonton-based, ultra low-cost carrier (ULCC) that’s been flying since 2017. Their slogan is “Plane and simple” and it certainly is. As is the way with all ULCCs, including competitors like Lynx and the recently departed Swoop, this is bare-bones flying. Amenities you may be used to having included with your fare on airlines such as Air Canada or WestJet (for example, carry-on luggage, printed boarding passes or an in-flight glass of water) are all an extra charge on Flair. But with bargain basement sale prices, like the advertised flight deal $19 for a one-way trip from Abbotsford to Calgary, it might just be worth it.

I flew return Edmonton-Vancouver in December, 2023. I didn’t luck into one of those dirt cheap seat sales, but with taxes and airport improvement fees, etc, I paid a very reasonable $210.

I booked my tickets directly through the airline’s website. I found the Flair Airline site to be clean and straight forward. There were several pop-ups offering amenities at an extra cost and warning that the fare I was booking was the most basic. It was a bit annoying, but as it is different from regular airlines, I can see why they are trying to give people ample warning.

An image of a Flair Airlines airplane taking off.
Flair Airlines has a fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft. It’s a no frills option, but there are things to consider when booking a flight with Flair. Photo by Flair Airlines.

Flair Airlines Check in – Booking Process and Ease of Reservation

Check-in is up to 24 hours before flying via the website or the Flair travel app. If you prefer to do it in-person at the airport, you guessed it…there’s a charge. There was a technical issue when I tried to check-in for my flight home from my phone, but the error message instructed me to take a screenshot and I would be checked-in at the airport for free. It wasn’t a problem in the end, but I can see it being frustrating, especially if you aren’t very tech-savvy.

An image of the Flair Airlines check in area at the airport - Flair Airlines review.
It’s best to check-in in advance on the Flair app for your flight. If you have an issue with the online check-in take a screen shot. They charge a fee to check in at the airport. Photo by Jen Mallia.

Flair Airlines Review – Luggage Restrictions on Flair Are an important consideration

If you know you want to bring a suitcase (checked or carry-on,) pay for it when you are making your reservation. You have the opportunity to buy a spot for your bag several times: when you book, on-line before you fly, at the airport at the Flair desk, or at the gate. The price gets more expensive the closer you get to boarding the plane.

Flair is very strict about luggage. You may only bring one personal item onto the plane for free. The maximum dimensions are 15 cm x 33 cm x 43 cm (6 in x 13 in x 17 in) and 7 kg (15.5 lb)—roughly the size of a laptop case. There is a sizing guide at the Flair check-in desk and another at the gate. You will have to prove your bag fits by putting it through the sizer and getting an “approved” tag. If it is too big, you have to pay. They don’t make exceptions. My pro tip is to get the size approval from the check-in desk rather than wait to do it at the gate when there is a massive line. If you get to the gate and find your bag is too big, you are looking at a $75 charge. I overheard one passenger complain that the carry-on charge was more than she paid for the ticket. Better to pay $45 when you book. [Note that the prices vary.]

An image of the interior of a Flair Airlines airplane.
The interior of the Flair Airplane looks like any other economy class cabin. Be aware that there are no outlets for charging devices. Photo by Jen Mallia.

In-Flight Comfort and Amenities

Well, newsflash, Flair doesn’t have Turkish Airlines-style Ferragamo amenity kits. The offerings on Flair are most kindly described as minimal.  If you want a snack or drink (including soft drinks) there is a charge. The in-flight entertainment system is pretty dismal. You need to download the Flair In-Flight app, which is different from the Flair Travel app.  From the app you have access to a handful of games and a selection of Superchannel movies and shows. There is no Wi-Fi nor places to plug-in/charge your devices.

The fleet is made up of Boeing 737s which have two columns of three abreast seats. According to SeatMaps, they have a pitch of 71-74 centimetres (28-29 inches) and a width of 43 centimetres (17 inches). I have pleasant curves and short legs and I didn’t notice that this was any smaller than usual. There are seats (at a cost) with extra legroom at the bulkheads and exit rows if you need a little more.

Flair Air Reviews from Passengers: How Bad Is Flair?

Flair Airlines does not get overwhelmingly excellent reviews. CBC reported the Canadian Transport Association received the most customer complaints about Flair Airlines in the first quarter of 2023, with 20.9 complaints lodged for every 100 flights (compared with 10.7 for WestJet, 5.8 for Air Canada, and 5.2 for Lynx Air.)

Most of the complaints focus on the lack of customer service in response to a problem, for example Kitt P, a TripAdvisor reviewer who was re-booked on a flight a week later than their original flight and not offered the compensation passengers are due under the Canadian Air Passengers Protection Regulations. I didn’t run into any interruptions, cancellations or lost luggage, so I’m not able to comment on the customer service I received (or didn’t!).

An image of the Flair Airlines bag measuring device.
Flair Airlines is very strict about luggage. If your personal item is too large, you will be charged for a carry-on. Photo by Jen Mallia.

Flair Airlines customer service

Here’s a link to Flair Airlines Customer Service. You can contact Flair via a chatbot or reach them by phone at: 1-833-711-2333 between 7 am and 9 pm MST. Like many airlines, it can be difficult to reach them by phone.

Flair Airlines Review final Verdict: Summing Up the Flair Air Experience

Here’s our final verdict for this Flair Airlines Review. In my opinion, flying Flair Airlines is fine. I’ll do it again as long as the price is right.

My suggestion to anyone considering flying a ULCC is to add up all the extras you are going to pay for and compare that price to the regular airlines’ fare. I was able to avoid baggage fees by cramming everything into my tote bag, but if I had needed more room, the fare plus the baggage charge would have made the price the same as WestJet, and honestly, I probably would have opted for them, if only because I like the in-flight entertainment app and pretzels with a glass of tomato juice.

Because I knew what to expect and didn’t face any problems that necessitated having to deal with customer service, I was okay with getting what I paid for: in both cases, not much. But the plane was clean and safe, the service was pleasant, and we departed and arrived more or less on time. For my money, I’d say it’s worth it.

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