Air Canada, WestJet weigh in on Hopper app and those ‘secret fares’

Air Canada, WestJet weigh in on Hopper app and those ‘secret fares’

TORONTO — Air Canada says it is no longer providing tactical fares to airfare finder app Hopper and is now evaluating its future relationship with the company.

Montreal-based Hopper announced May 3 that WestJet and Air Canada were among its first global partners to unload some of their seats via ‘secret fares’ at discounts of up to 35%.

But both Air Canada and WestJet have disputed the claim that they would offer secret fares with Hopper and said they were offering the same discounts available to their travel agencies partners.

“Due to the confusion this has created in the marketplace, WestJet is severing ties with Hopper,” said WestJet spokesperson Lauren Stewart. “WestJet does not provide secret fares. WestJet has always offered our guests low fares and we will continue to do so through all of our selling channels which include WestJet.com, travel agents, online travel agents and other partners.

Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick said Thursday the airline doesn’t offer fares with Hopper that are not provided to its other partners.

“From time to time we offer tactical fares on select markets to travel partners in the normal course of business and to remain competitive,” he said, adding that such fares offered by Hopper were not available in Canada.

In its release Wednesday, Hopper said other ‘secret fare’ airline partners include LATAM, Turkish, Copa and Air China, adding they will be joined by other carriers in the coming weeks.

But the company clarified Thursday night that its ‘secret fares’ were a ‘Hopper-specific marketing strategy and not a unique class of airfare.’

“Airlines offer distinct fares to specific types of agencies, in our case online travel agencies, and they are marketed under a range of different brand names,” Hopper spokeswoman Brianna Schneider said in an email. “We are currently contacting relevant parties to clear up any confusion.”

With files from The Canadian Press