Florida Celebrates New Connection

The operation of a new Air Canada flight to Miami from Vancouver is cause for “great excitement” at the tourism promotion body Visit Florida, which hosted an international travel trade market last week.

Air Canada’s new direct, non-stop service from YVR to MIA is a legitimate alternative to Hawaii as a holiday choice from the Canadian west coast, said Visit Florida CEO Dana Young. “Canadian visitors are crucial to Florida tourism, and we have missed them,” said Young, who was on site in West Palm Beach for the Florida Huddle travel trade show at the beginning of February.

This is the longest U.S. flight route from Canada on the continent, staying in the air for about six hours, depending on the east-west flight direction. It has been nearly 18 years since a non-stop service has connected Vancouver to Miami.

It operates on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and flies using a Boeing 737 Max 8 on the route. These have 16 business class seats and 153 seats in economy. The direct flight from YVR to MIA takes about five hours and 46 minutes, while the return service lasts about six hours and 45 minutes.

Young says there are many reasons why a Canadian traveller might want to invest their six hours in the air travelling to Florida rather than Hawaii.

Chief amongst those is the wonderfully warm and inviting weather while most of the rest of the continent shelters from the chilly blast of winter. But Hawaii has warm/hot weather in spades.

No, the most telling yardstick for comparison is the sheer diversity in attractions, eateries and myriad activities in the state of Florida – and they all tend to have lower price tags, said Young. “There is a broader diversity of experiences than Hawaii,” said Young, noting that one main point of difference is that the state offers a vast variety of theme parks, making it a major destination for families.

Now that Vancouver is on board with flights to Florida, the number of seats dedicated to Miami from Canada has reached 125,400, from Feb. to April, reports Visit Florida. That includes flights from Toronto and Montreal. Another 16,200 seats are destined for West Palm Beach from Toronto and Montreal, Feb. to April.

“This is a steep increase in the number of seats for the market from Canada,” said Young, noting that the loads in the first months of the new Vancouver service have been very good. Visit Florida is now looking forward to the predicted arrival of new flights to Orlando by WestJet, said the CEO.


PHOTO Caption

Visit Florida CEO Dana Young