Air Creebec Review: Explore Northern Quebec And Ontario To Your Heart’s Content

May 8, 2020
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Air Creebec is a regional airline that focuses on flying to lesser-known Aboriginal communities in Canada. Its main focus is on small cities and towns in northern Ontario and Quebec, most of which can only be reached by them.

If you need to go farther than Timmins, Montreal or Val d’Or, this is the perfect airline for you. Air Creebec also offers one of the best reward values when using Aeroplan to book your flights.

Ever felt the need to take a trip through Canada’s less known cities and towns? If that’s the case then we know exactly how you feel, and that’s why we made this article for you.

Canada is a beautiful and extensive country with so many unique sights and places to see that even its inhabitants can’t manage to discover the full charm of it. That’s why we’re writing this Air Creebec review, so that you can start exploring northern Ontario and Quebec to your heart’s content.

What Is Air Creebec?

Air Creebec is a small airline that was founded back in June, 1982 in Quebec. It was owned by The Cree and Austin Airways, which held 49% and 51%, respectively, of the company’s assets. A few years later, The Cree bought all of the airline’s assets, consolidating the biggest Aboriginal commercial deal in Canada. That’s the story of how this airline became Air Creebec.

The airline currently flies to 16 destinations in total, all around northern Quebec and Ontario. Air Creebec is reserved for the most northern places anyone can get in both provinces. Its main bases are Val-d’Or, Montreal, and Timmins airports, but it also has hubs in Chisasibi, Moosonee, and Waskaganish.

Where Does Air Creebec Fly To?

If you’ve ever felt the need to just escape from your busy and crowded life, Air Creebec is the airline for you. When you fly with Air Creebec, you’ll find yourself in cities you might not even have known existed before.

Air Creebec essentially operates 4 routes: from Timmins to Peawanuck and back, and from Montreal to Whapmagoostui and back. Both routes stop at a handful of other cities along the way. Here’s a more detailed look at the locations and routes this airline offers, so you can get an idea of how far you can really go.

From Timmins Through Ontario

The starting point for Air Creebec’s flight route in Ontario is at the Timmins Victor M. Power Airport. From here, you can reach Moosonee, Fort Albany, Kashechewan, Attawapiskat, and Peawanuck. Peawanuck is the furthest you can get in Ontario—after reaching Peawanuck, you can only head south back to Timmins.

From Montreal Through Quebec

When it comes to the Quebec route things get a little different. At the Montreal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport you can head in two directions. You can either choose to go over Val-D’or and continue to Waskaganish or head to Chibougamau. From here you can continue through Nemaska and reach Waskaganish as well.

At this point the route can go two ways, one going straight to Chisasibi and then to Whapmagoostui. The other one takes some extra stops in Eastmain and Wemindji, finally converging in Chisasibi.

Air Creebec doesn’t go further than Whapmagoostui since there’s nothing much to explore near the Arctic border.

Air Creebec Review - Ontario & Quebec's North
Ontario and Quebec’s north is filled with luscious views you can’t get anywhere else.

What About From Ontario To Quebec?

Air Creebec doesn’t offer flights between Ontario and Quebec. They offered a route this way, but the service was cancelled as of May 24 of 2019. This means if you want to travel between these two provinces, you’ll have to use an airline like Air Canada, Porter Airlines or another. A round trip ticket for this route will cost you at least $350, or as much as $500 on these airlines, although it depends on the season.

What’s Their Schedule?

We couldn’t leave the airline schedule out of this Air Creebec Review, otherwise, how would you know when to travel? The airline operates on a fairly easy to understand way, flying almost every day to the routes we’ve previously described. You’ll find that on some days like Monday, Wednesday and Friday, you can get from Timmins to Attawapiskat only passing through Moosonee. Instead, on Tuesday you’ll find flights that cover the whole Timmins – Peawanuck route.

This can be a little confusing, but luckily there’s an official PDF with the weekly schedules, so that you can find the best time available for you.

Air Creebec’s Aircraft

Now that you know where you can actually go with Air Creebec, let’s discuss how you’ll travel to those destinations. Besides covering few destinations, being a small airline also means having only a handful of planes. At the moment of writing this article, the airline only holds a total of 18 airplanes, all relatively small in size and capacity. These are then subdivided into the ones used for commercial flights and cargo respectively.

Aircraft Used For Commercial Flights

Here we encounter most of the actual fleet Air Creebec uses, ranging from small/medium capacity planes and a couple of bigger ones. The first category we mentioned comprises a total of 14 Dash 8-100 planes, which can hold 29 to 37 passengers. These are the planes used on most flights since they’re perfect for short routes with not a lot of passengers.

If Air Creebec ever needs a plane with more passenger capacity they use a Dash 8-300, the biggest plane in the whole airline. These aircraft can hold up to 50 passengers at a time and are a little bulkier than the rest of the fleet. As of right now, this airline only has two of this bigger type of plane.

Aircraft Used For Cargo Flights

We mentioned the airline only has a total of 18 aircraft, which only leaves two planes left. Here’s where the Hawker model comes in, this big boy is reserved for cargo, and boasts a maximum payload limit of 5,851.3 kg.

So, even if they have a small fleet, Air Creebec makes do with the resources it has.

How Much Do Air Creebec Tickets Cost?

When considering an airline, only a few things should be more important than the price of a flight ticket. So, how much do their flights cost? and, how can you get the best deals? We’ll tell you.

Since Air Creebec is a regional airline, the destinations it covers are not that far away from each other. When it comes to a ticket price these can range from the $300 and $800, depending on where you want to go. A fair thing to note is that usually, Quebec flights are somewhat more expensive than their Ontario counterparts.

Ontario Route

For the most part, Ontario’s flights are less expensive than those from Quebec. Of course, the price of the tickets depends on the season. During our research, we found tickets at around $350 that later skyrocketed to $640.

Most of the one-way flights in Ontario’s route average a total of $642.59 per ticket. If you end up buying a round trip for this route your second ticket will likely average at $613. According to our analysis, return flights will always be a little cheaper than the base price you paid on your first ticket. This translates to a round trip flight costing $1255. We’ll later dive into how much cheaper a flight can get by using Aeroplan miles.

Quebec Route

Quebec’s flight routes are usually more expensive, but not by much. The base price of these tickets is usually centred around $700, but they can go up and down depending on the season. When the travel season is at its lowest, you might find that the prices have gone down from the $700 to at least $400 CAD.

When it comes to round trip prices the same process applies, they’re usually less expensive than what you paid to get there, but not by much. These flights average at $734 per ticket and $727 for a return flight, meaning that a round trip flight can cost at least $1462. We’ll also delve into how much of this total amount we can shave off by taking advantage of Aeroplan miles.

Aeroplan: The Best Way To Shave Off Prices

When it comes to flying in Canada you’ll find that there are a ton of ways you can save money. One of the best ways we recommend to do that when buying tickets is by using Aeroplan, the best flight rewards program in Canada. Luckily for us, Aeroplan and Air Creebec are partners, which means that we have the opportunity to use our Aeroplan miles instead of paying 1000+ per ticket.

How cool does that sound?

How To Use Aeroplan?

First off, you need to create an Aeroplan account, if you don’t already have one you can create it by visiting their website and clicking on “Become a member”. From this point onwards there is a myriad of ways you can start gaining and using your miles. These include using partner airlines, shopping at certain stores and way more. You can also gain Aeroplan miles by using Aeroplan partnered credit cards like the Aeroplan American Express Platinum or the American Express Aeroplan Gold.

Once you’ve amassed a certain number of Aeroplan miles you can exchange them for ticket flights. The idea behind this exchange is that by using miles instead o cash, you’d be paying a lot less when buying a flight ticket.

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You could be saving all of this money by using Aeroplan miles to buy your tickets instead of cash.

How Much Money Can I Save By Using Aeroplan?

Aeroplan lets you exchange miles for flights. The question now is: “How much are my Aeroplan miles worth? and, how much can I save?”, which we’ll answer in a bit.

The simple answer to these questions can only be “It depends”. What we do know is that you can save around 80% of the total price of a ticket by using Aeroplan’s rewards system. But again, this will vary according to where you’re using your miles and how you’re using them.

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Short-Haul Trips And Flight Rewards

Aeroplan has a flight rewards chart on its website which we listed above. There, it divides flights into two categories, short-haul and long-haul, each costing 15,000 and 25,000 miles for a round trip flight. If we pay attention we’ll notice that short-haul trips include flights in both Quebec and Ontario. This means that every flight in Air Creebec is a short-haul flight and costs 15,000 Aeroplan miles.

But this also gives us an edge to calculate how much money we’re actually saving. We established that Air Creebec’s prices range between $400 and $1,400 depending on the route. From this point on its just easy math, but there’s something else to take into account.

Fees And Price Per Mile

Whenever you buy a ticket with miles you still have to pay a certain amount in cash. This amount attributes itself to Government taxes. But don’t worry, most of the time these fees only amount to at least 5 to 15% of the total ticket price.

Be aware that the exact fees you’ll pay could be higher or lower than the ones we mention. The exact amount will always depend on the distance and complexity of the flight.

Before we dive into how much Air Creebec values each Aeroplan mile it’s important to know the average value we attribute to them. Here at Yore Oyster, we value Aeroplan miles at around 2 cents per mile (CPM), which means that it’ll only cost you $300 (15k x $0.02) to purchase any flight from Air Creebec. However, this value is an average and sometimes you can get a much higher CPP using Aeroplan miles, case in point: Air Creebec.

Let’s take for example a common route at Air Creebec, From Timmins to Attawapiskat in Ontario. If we search on Google Flights we can easily find a round trip flight going for $794. We deduce the fees on this trip would be around $100, so that’s 794 -100 = $694. Then, we divide this amount by 15,000 miles which results in 4.6 CPM per Aeroplan mile

Taking a look at another example in the Quebec route we have a round trip flight from Montreal to Waskaganish. On Google flights, this trip goes for $1029, so, if we apply the same math we’ll end up with a similar result. Let’s say the fees on this flight go for $120, so we end up with a total of 1029 – 120 = $909. This amount divided by 15,000 Aeroplan miles gives us a result of 6 cents per Aeroplan Mile.

Given that we value each Aeroplan mile at 2 cents per point, we notice that Air Creebec offers a great value for them. This makes Air Creebec one of the best possible airlines for you to use your Aeroplan miles.

How To Start Earning Miles

If you weren’t already an Aeroplan fan, by now you should be. There are many reasons to love Aeroplan, and there are many ways of racking up miles, that’s why we already wrote an article listing the best Aeroplan credit cards in the market. Using these is one of the best ways to accrues Aeroplan miles almost without thinking about it.

It’s worth mentioning that if you’re using an Amex credit card, you can transfer your reward points to Aeroplan on a 1:1 proportion.

Since you have a better idea of how much an Air Creebec flight can cost and how much you can save, we’re going to delve into the specifics. We’ll explain how the Cargo service works and how you can check your flight status.

How does Air Creebec Cargo work?

When it comes to handling parcels and cargo Air Creebec has 35 years of experience in the industry. Parcels are usually sent on the first flight with enough available space, which translates to easily trackable and safe deliveries. When you need to send cargo, you have to fill out a form with information like the destination and the schedule in which you need it sent.

Once you send your cargo or parcel you’re in the hands of people with almost 3 decades of experience.

Air Creebec Flight Status

We all know how stressing flying from one place to another can really be. That’s why it’s so useful to know what exactly your Air Creebec Flight Status is. During our research, we found an amazing application from Airportia which tracks every arrival and departure at Air Creebec. The application looks like this:

There Are Always Drawbacks

Everything might look like it’s all sunshine and roses, but of course, this isn’t always the case. Even if a service is too good to be true there must always exist some drawbacks that hold it back. In this case, we have a small airline that does its job, but not in an excellent manner.

According to customer reviews, we’ve heard both good and bad things from the service it offers. A drawback that is prominently mentioned is how this is a subpar airline in terms of customer service and flight quality. Its service isn’t bad or the worst in Canada, but it also isn’t the best out there.

Besides that, there’s not much else to say about it in this review. You can’t expect Air Creebec to be a top-notch and luxurious airline. It’s a small airline that manages to get by and does what it promises: taking you to the northernmost parts of Ontario and Quebec.

This airline is for you if you:

  • Intend to fly somewhere no other airline flies to.
  • You’re okay with flying with a small and rather humble airline.
  • You want to support Aboriginal communities like the Cree in Canada.

On the other hand, this airline isn’t for you if:

  • You only fly in the biggest and most expensive airlines.
  • You have no business visiting these small cities.

Alternatives to Air Creebec

There’s really not much to say when it comes to alternatives to Air Creebec. This airline is so regional, and small that most of its destinations are exclusive to them. The only flight we found that Air Canada covers is Montreal – Val d’Or. But besides that, Air Creebec practically rules that region.

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Air Canada only covers some of Air Creebec’s destinations, which leaves the latter as kings of the northern sky in Ontario and Quebec.

In Summary

Air Creebec is a pretty small airline that covers Cree territory in Canada. It does its job of providing access to lesser-known communities in Canada like Attawapiskat, Peanawuck, Waskaganish and even Whapmagoostui. In terms of quality, it sure isn’t the best out there, but it’s the only one that can get you as far as this one does. It does its job and there’s nobody else who can do it in the same way.

Feeling like you’re in need of booking a flight with them after reading our Air Creebec Review? Why don’t you go ahead and book a flight?