Saskatchewan

Watch for hidden fees: Expert says NewLeaf charges for bags, boarding pass

Barry Prentice says NewLeaf charges $10 to print boarding pass and $70 to check bags at the gate.

Barry Prentice says the airline charges $10 to print boarding pass

NewLeaf will have a fleet of 737s operating out of seven Canadian airports starting in February 2016. (NewLeaf)

A new discount Canadian airline called NewLeaf started taking bookings this week with destinations including Saskatoon and Regina.

The company's introductory fare, for their B.C. destinations, is $89 one-way. The Hamilton fare is $119. But Barry Prentice from the Transport Institute at the University of Manitoba said passengers need to be aware of the hidden fees.

"I mean $89 is what they are charging but you have to watch out for the fine print because there are other fees you may not expect like carrying on a bag and that depends on whether you book ahead or you wait until you get to the airport to check that bag," Prentice said on CBC's The Morning Edition.

He said if you check your bag online it is $25 but if you wait until the gate it is $70.

"That's a big penalty, which I suppose their argument is they want to move their airplanes fast. They have to turn them around," Prentice said.

"They really don't want you to carry any bags on. They want you to check them. It's the same price to check that bag. They are trying to get people on and off the airplanes quickly."

There is also a $10 fee if you have your boarding pass printed at the airport but it's free if you do it from home.

"It's an encouragement to do everything from home, make it as least expensive as possible for them and they pass on some of the savings," he said.

Prentice said he is optimistic there is a place in the aviation market for the new airline, even though Canada doesn't have a great history of successful discount carriers.

"I wish them well. We want more competition. There are examples around the world where this kind of service has prevailed," he said. 

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