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Travel Unravelled: Stopover Tickets

Q. I want to have a prolonged stopover in Toronto on my way home from Halifax, but I don’t want to pay for two separate tickets. Do airlines have stopover fares?—Natalie Clark, Calgary, AB

A. For major Canadian airlines, the answer is no. Air Canada and Westjet both give passengers the option of buying a multi-city ticket, which allows you to take a multi-city journey without going through the hassle of booking a bunch of one-way tickets. But, there are no price savings to multi-city tickets; they’re merely a time-saver, and are not meant to replace stopover tickets. To travel Halifax-Toronto-Calgary on Air Canada, for example, the mutli-city tickets comes out to $527.21. Two one-way flights on the same dates total $539.79. When you book one-way or return tickets, you can try to select flights with a waiting period in between, but most airlines don’t allow gaps longer than four hours—this is an option for passengers who want to meet someone for coffee at the airport, for example.

Outside of Canada some airlines do have stopover tickets as part of their marketing campaigns. These tickets are more common on long-haul flights with specific, well-travelled routes, such as London-Bangkok-Sydney. Air Emirates has a stopover option in Dubai, and Qantas Airways, for example, has “stop-over specials,” with stops for Australia-bound passengers in destinations such as Bangkok, Hong Kong, San Francisco, Singapore and Tokyo. They also book these flights as “multi-city” tickets, but they are closer to a traditional stopover ticket than Air Canada’s or Westjet’s multi-city tickets.

If your heart is set on a stopover journey within Canada, and you don’t want to buy multiple one-way tickets, you can travel the old-fashioned way. Via Rail offers one complimentary stopover ticket per through fare, with additional ones available for a small fee. These tickets are also called multi-city.

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