Category: Abbotsford YXX

Flair Airlines pulling out of Abbotsford as competition with Swoop heats up

News provided by BNN Bloomberg – link to full story and updates

Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian Press

Flair Airlines
The tail section of a Flair Airlines plane is seen in this undated handout photo from Flair Airlines via The Canadian Press.

Flair Airlines Ltd. is pulling out of the airport in Abbotsford, B.C., due to a lack of passengers and intense competition from rival budget carrier Swoop.

Flair CEO Jim Scott cites an intense focus on the Abbotsford-Edmonton route by its competitor, a subsidiary of WestJet Airlines Ltd., that has resulted in a glut of cheap tickets.

“We just can’t compete with $3 airfares in the market — and not just a few of them, but tens of thousands of tickets,” Scott said.

“Either we’re going to be confined to very few routes or the government’s got to step in and show that anti-dumping and predatory pricing has meaning in Canada,” he said in a phone interview.

Flair operates 12 flights between the two cities each week, but plans to stop in June. Swoop, Flair’s only competitor along the route, operates 16 flights per week in winter and 24 flights per week in summer.

Flair said no passengers will face cancellations as a result of the Abbotsford pullout, which will also end flights between the Lower Mainland city and Kelowna, B.C., Calgary, Winnipeg and Toronto.

Swoop unveiled a so-called loonie sale last month, offering up to 100,000 seats for a base fare of $1 before taxes and fees. The sale disproportionately targets Edmonton-to-Abbotsford, which Swoop points out is its highest-frequency route.

More than one-quarter of the seats under the loonie deal are on the route.

Swoop did not immediately respond to questions Wednesday.

Last year Flair opted to leave Hamilton for Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, just months after Swoop landed at the smaller airport.

In 2018, the Competition Bureau launched an ongoing predatory pricing investigation into Swoop and WestJet over allegations the two carriers used anti-competitive practices to crowd out Flair from at least three routes.

Predatory pricing occurs when a company offers services below “avoidable costs” to hobble a competitor, along with an expectation to recoup losses through future price hikes, according to Competition Bureau guidelines.

Edmonton-based Flair plans to use its two freshly freed-up planes to add new flights to Ottawa, Saint John, N.B., Charlottetown and Halifax.

WestJet announces 90 new and expanded travel opportunities from Calgary this summer

WESTJET, an Alberta Partnership, Press Release

Calgary’s hometown airline continues to invest in convenient and unique travel options

CALGARY, Feb. 7, 2020 /CNW/ – Today, WestJet announced its summer schedule featuring more than 90 new flights from Calgary including new non-stop WestJet Link service to Dawson Creek, B.C.

“WestJet is focused on investing in Alberta to build and strengthen our Calgary hub,” said Arved von zur Muehlen, WestJet Chief Commercial Officer. “As WestJet continues on its strategic path of becoming a global network airline, we are pleased to offer our guests the ability to conveniently connect for business or pleasure across Canada, Europe and beyond this summer.”

With today’s announcement of the new service between Calgary and Dawson Creek, B.C., WestJet Link will operate five routes including between Calgary and Cranbrook, Lethbridge, Lloydminster and Medicine Hat and one between Cranbrook and Vancouver this summer. WestJet Link operations between Calgary and Prince George, B.C., will shift to year-round service on WestJet Encore’s 78-seat Q400 aircraft effective April 26.

In addition, beginning May 14, 2020 WestJet will begin new service between Calgary and Boston. WestJet is offering guests convenient flight times between its extensive hub out of Calgary and the capital of Massachusetts. 

WestJet also recently announced new four-times weekly service between Calgary and Charlottetown starting June 25, 2020.

The schedule also highlights frequency increases from Calgary to popular destinations including Portland, Ore., Victoria, Nanaimo, Comox, Grand Prairie, Fort McMurray, Brandon, Winnipeg, Abbotsford and Yellowknife.

“WestJet continues to invest in YYC Calgary International Airport as its home base and expansion focus. It is Calgary’s largest carrier and we are committed to facilitating their growth. These additional flights will serve more guests bound for more destinations, delivering recreational and business opportunities for our region,” said Bob Sartor, President and CEO, The Calgary Airport Authority.

Highlights of WestJet’s 2020 summer schedule include:
Domestic:

  • Calgary-Dawson Creek, B.C., new daily WestJet Link service begins April 26, 2020
  • Calgary-Winnipeg, an increase of seven weekly flights
  • Calgary-Victoria, an increase of seven weekly flights
  • Calgary-Nanaimo, an increase of seven weekly flights
  • Calgary-Grand Prairie, an increase of seven weekly flights
  • Calgary-Abbotsford, an increase of five weekly flights
  • Calgary-Fort McMurray, an increase of five weekly flights
  • Calgary-Comox, an increase of four weekly flights
  • Calgary-Brandon, from seven times weekly to 11 times weekly
  • Calgary-Yellowknife, from twelve times weekly to 14 times weekly
  • Calgary-Charlottetown, new four-times weekly seasonal service begins June 25, 2020

Transborder:

  • Calgary-Portland, from once daily to twice daily for a total of 14 weekly flights
  • Calgary-Boston, new daily seasonal service begins May 14, 2020

International:

  • Calgary-Paris, from four-times weekly to six-times weekly
  • Calgary-Rome, new three-times weekly service begins May 2, 2020
  • Calgary-Cabo San Lucas, from twice-weekly to three-times weekly

The airline has added more than 300 Dreamliner departures out of Calgary in 2020, an increase of more than 52 per cent over 2019, to key transatlantic Dreamliner routes. The flights are uniquely and conveniently timed in the interest of Albertans and western Canadians with late-day departures and daytime arrivals to suit guests travelling to Europe. 

Dawson Creek is WestJet’s 72nd destination out of Calgary, WestJet’s home and largest hub. By June 2020, the airline will operate more than 1000 flights per week in peak season out of Calgary International Airport. More Calgarians choose WestJet for their air travel than any other airline.

Flair Airlines offers three-month unlimited travel pass for $700 as discount competition heats up

News provided by the Vancouver Sun – link to full story and updates

Low-cost carrier takes on Swoop in battle for best deals

ZEBA KHAN – February 5, 2020

Flair Airlines Ltd is offering a three-month unlimited pass from February to May. BRENT LEWIN/BLOOMBERG

Flair Airlines is offering a three-month unlimited travel pass as competition in the discount air space heats up.

Flair’s Go Travel Pass, which runs from Feb. 13 to May 13, offers two options. The basic pass for $499 allows unlimited travel for three months with Fridays and Sundays excluded and some blackout days. The unlimited pass offers unlimited travel for all days of the week at $699 with no blackout dates.

The airline travels to Vancouver, Abbotsford, Kelowna, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Toronto. It does not fly to Quebec.

“We are thrilled to offer our passengers the freedom and flexibility to travel with our unlimited pass.  Whether you are a student who needs to visit home, a small business owner on a budget, a family needing to connect or an adventure seeker looking for your next thrill; all Canadians deserve to travel without hesitation,” Sarah Riches, director of commercial for Flair Airlines said in a press release Wednesday.

Flair is one of only two ultra-low cost airlines in Canada. WestJet affiliate Swoop Airlines is the second.

And competition has been fierce. Earlier this month Swoop held a loonie seat sale where the base cost for a seat was only a dollar before taxes, fees and extras.

Last year the Competition Bureau launched an investigation into Swoop over allegations that “predatory pricing” was used to try to crowd Flair out of some routes.

Flair last year sold a stake of its company to a U.S. private investment firm in a bid to boost its fleet to compete against its rival.

With file from Julia Mastroianni

Canada allowed grounded Boeing 737 Max jets to fly — without passengers — at least 160 times

News provided by CBC News – link to full story and updates

WATCH: Link to video

Airlines can get permission to fly if ‘very strict conditions’ met

Ashley Burke · CBC News · Posted: Feb 03, 2020

Canada grounded Boeing 737 Max planes in March following 2 deadly crashes. Transport Canada is making exceptions for ferry flights for maintenance, storage or training purposes. None of these flights are allowed to carry passengers. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

Canada has allowed at least 160 flights to criss-cross North America using Boeing 737 Max jets since grounding the fleet for commercial use almost a year ago. 

Transport Minister Marc Garneau banned the planes from Canada’s airspace in March after two crashes within five months in Indonesia and Ethiopia killed 346 people, including 18 Canadians. Satellite data showed both planes experienced significant flight control problems. Garneau said he won’t lift restrictions on the planes until all of Canada’s safety concerns have been addressed. 

CBC News analyzed flight data that shows Canadian airlines have continued to fly the jets for the past 11 months, often multiple times a week. The flights include four hours in the air over Canada from Windsor to Vancouver and shorter hauls such as Montreal to Trois-Rivières, Que., and Abbotsford, B.C., to Calgary.

Transport Canada said no passengers were on board any of the flights. The department said it has been allowing Air Canada, WestJet and Sunwing to fly the planes for maintenance, storage, or pilot training under certain conditions. Only certain pilots with specialized training and briefings of the 737 Max are allowed to operate the aircraft.

The flights came as a shock to some families in Canada whose loved ones died on a 737 Max.

“It feels like a slap in the face,” said Chris Moore who lost his 24-year-old daughter in the Ethiopian Airlines crash. “Your loved one has died due to that plane and they’re still gearing up for the day when it’s ungrounded.”

Paul Njoroge, who lost his wife, 3 children and mother-in-law on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. (Njoroge family)

Paul Njoroge lost his wife, three young children, and mother-in-law in that same crash. He’s also concerned for the safety of the pilots in the air and Canadians on the ground.

“It’s shocking to me that they are still flying,” said Njoroge. “It just tells me that these people will never stop playing or juggling with human life.” 

“You cannot say it’s not safe for passengers, but still allow the plane to fly. If you’ve grounded the plane, it has to remain grounded.”

‘Ferry flights’ exempted

When Garneau banned the jets on March 13, the notice to airmen stated it was “necessary for the protection of aviation safety and the public.” But the notice also made exemptions for “ferry flights” that take off or land in Canada. 

CBC News pulled data from flight tracking website FlightRadar24 to see where Canadian 737 Max planes have been spotted in the skies since grounded.

An analysis reveals that Air Canada has been flying its Boeing 737 Max fleet the most often. Between March 14 and Jan. 16, Air Canada flew 121 times, in comparison to 29 times for WestJet and 12 for Sunwing.

In at least 27 instances, Air Canada took off or landed in Marana, Ariz. In some cases, flying more than five hours straight.

“Those aircraft movements were required for maintenance purposes, including to relocate them to the southern desert where they can be stored more safely,” said Air Canada in a statement to CBC News. 

Air Canada also said it’s using the ferry flights as an opportunity to keep pilot certifications current for those who train frontline pilots.

Watch

Flight data shows 160 Boeing 737 Max flights

  • 20 hours ago
  • 0:18

737 Max aircraft flew across Canada and the U.S. 0:18

WestJet said its ferry flights were for maintenance and storage space. Sunwing said it proactively grounded its fleet before Canada made it mandatory. Since then, the airline confirmed it moved several 737 Max aircraft from large, busy airports to outside storage facilities. 

“We approach these necessary transfers with an abundance of caution, conducting thorough risk assessments and only using senior pilots who were briefed on responses to any potential anomalies. All these flights operated without incident,” said Sunwing in a statement. 

Flights must be approved, follow ‘very strict conditions’

Transport Canada said in order for ferry flights to be approved, airlines must follow “very strict conditions”: 

  • Only advanced pilot evaluators are allowed to fly.
  • Pilots must get specialized briefings and training including on a 737 Max simulator.
  • Additional crew is on board all flights and a mandatory third pilot.
  • They can only fly in certain weather conditions.

Larry Vance, former Transportation Safety Board aviation crash investigator, said he has no concerns with the 737 Max flying under this criteria.

“These are not flying bombs about to explode,” said Vance. “They’re not gonna start dropping out of the sky on people. These are very safe airplanes flown under those conditions. 

“They’re only flown by the best of the pilots with briefings. Anything that might go wrong with the airplane they know how to handle it.”

Vance added that planes are like cars — if left idle they deteriorate, and need to be in the air to stay in top shape.

Victims’ families meeting with transport minister

That doesn’t comfort Moore and Njoroge, who question why the planes can’t be restored for service if and when Canada declares them safe for passengers. 

“That tells you a lot about the regulatory authorities promoting the industry instead of promoting safety, instead of safeguarding the lives of human beings.” said Njoroge.

“I don’t understand why they would use that as an excuse to fly,” said Moore.

Families of the Ethiopian Airlines crash victims say they are meeting with Garneau on Feb.12. Njoroge plans on asking Garneau to keep the planes on the ground — no exemptions.

Canada is continuing to independently review and validate changes to the Boeing 737 Max.

Transport Canada has four areas of concern that it wants addressed before the fleet can return to service including: acceptable levels of pilot workload, architecture of the flight controls, minimum training required for crew members, and aircraft performance, according to Garneau’s briefing binder obtained through an access to information request. 

“I certainly understand how the families feel,” Garneau said today, commenting on the story before entering the Commons chamber.

“We look at every single one of these ferry flights very carefully, where it’s going to go and who’s going to be on board and what training and preparation they’ve had before we accept and doing it.”

“I want to tell everybody that we’re not going to put these planes back into Canadian skies to fly passengers until we’re 100 per cent satisfied.

Abbotsford International Airport celebrates 1 million passengers in 2019

News provided by the Vancouver Sun – link to full story and updates and City News 1130 – link to full story and updates

According to figures shared by airport officials and the city, more than 1 million passengers departed or arrived at YXX this year, an 18.7 per cent increase over the previous year.

POSTMEDIA NEWS Updated: December 30, 2019

More than 1 million passengers opted to fly out of Abbotsford International Airport this year, continuing the Fraser Valley airport’s growth. HANDOUT / PNG

More than 1 million passengers opted to fly out of Abbotsford International Airport this year, continuing the Fraser Valley airport’s growth.

According to figures shared by airport officials and the city, more than 1 million passengers departed or arrived at YXX this year, an 18.7 per cent increase over the previous year.

“I’m proud of the careful and strategic management of this asset and I know that YXX welcoming its 1 millionth passenger is one of many exciting achievements at the Abbotsford International Airport; with many more to come,” said Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun.

YXX passenger growth since 2015:

  • 2015 – 487,833 passengers
  • 2016 – 530,643 (8.8% increase)
  • 2017 – 677,653 (27.7% increase)
  • 2018 – 842,212 (24.3% increase)
  • 2019 – 1 million plus (18.7% to date)

The airport, while small in comparison to the nearby Vancouver International Airport, hosts four national airlines including WestJet, Swoop Airlines, Flair Airlines, and seasonal service on Air Canada Rouge. The regional Island Express Air also transports passengers to other parts of B.C.

Direct routes are available to Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Hamilton, Nanaimo, Victoria, Las Vegas and London, Ont., while seasonal direct service is available to Toronto, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta.


YXX welcomed one-millionth passenger

BY RIA RENOUF, Dec 30, 2019

Patricia Lovatt is the one-millionth passenger through the Abbotsford International Airport. (Courtesy, Abbotsford International Airport)

ABBOTSFORD (NEWS 1130) — The one-millionth passenger has made her way through Abbotsford International Airport.

Maple Ridge’s Patricia Lovatt found out after flying in from Edmonton on Sunday.

To celebrate, she received a $1000 voucher to use on any of the flights at YXX.

Mayor Henry Braun notes how long it took to get to this point.

“This airport has been waiting for this day for 23 years,” he says. “I think that we will hit 2 million within the next two to five years.”

Lovatt was selected at random from a group of passengers waiting for their bags.

Swoop Continues North American Expansion with Release of 2020 Summer Schedule

Provided by Swoop/CNW

The ultra-low fare airline adds increased service and three new destinations to its network

CALGARY, Dec. 13, 2019 /CNW/ – Today, Swoop, Canada’s ultra-low-fare airline and subsidiary of WestJet Airlines Ltd., released its 2020 summer schedule, announcing increased service and three new destinations. Starting in April 2020, Swoop’s newest routes will take travellers to two new domestic destinations including Victoria, Kamloops, and one U.S. destination, San Diego.

With summer being a busy travel season for Canadians, Swoop is also increasing its weekly frequency service between many markets including Hamilton to Winnipeg, Edmonton to Abbotsford, and Abbotsford to Winnipeg.

“In only 18 months, Swoop has experienced significant growth, and we are excited to continue this momentum with the release of our 2020 summer schedule,” said Steven Greenway, President, Swoop. “By introducing Swoop to more markets, we are achieving our mission of providing Canadians with accessible summer travel opportunities throughout North America.”

Highlights of Swoop’s 2020 summer schedule includes service between:

  • Edmonton-Kamloops up to four times weekly
  • Winnipeg-London up to four times weekly
  • Winnipeg-Victoria up to five times weekly
  • Edmonton-San Diego up to three times weekly
  • Edmonton-Abbotsford from 16 times weekly, to 24 times weekly
  • Hamilton-Winnipeg, from six times weekly, to 10 times weekly
  • Abbotsford to Winnipeg, from four times weekly, to daily

Since its June 2018 launch, Swoop’s summer network has grown to serve 14 domestic, 10 transborder and four international markets, rapidly expanding the airline’s network across North America. Fulfilling a need in the Canadian marketplace, Swoop continues to make a positive impact on the aviation industry, becoming Canada’s leading domestic, transborder and international ultra-low-cost carrier, with the new schedule set to increase Swoop’s frequency to 328 ultra-low fare weekly flights.

“We are very pleased to welcome Swoop to Victoria International Airport with new service to Winnipeg,” said Geoff Dickson, President and CEO, Victoria Airport Authority.  “We are one of the lowest cost airports in Canada and that makes us a natural fit with the low-cost business model of Swoop. We look forward to a growing partnership and welcome the new destination and travel options for our local community and visitors to our region.” 

“We’re glad to see Swoop’s growth plan includes increased service for Edmonton International Airport,” said Tom Ruth, President and CEO, Edmonton International Airport. “We look forward to more flights both for the Edmonton Metro Region and for other communities to come here and experience our great area.”

“Winnipeg Richardson International Airport travellers will have more options this summer thanks to two new direct routes from Swoop,” said Barry Rempel, President and CEO, Winnipeg Airports Authority. “We are pleased to grow our partnership with Swoop as they continue to expand our community’s connectivity, giving travellers new places to discover and bringing more people to Winnipeg to explore everything our city has to offer.”

“Expanding flight services and destinations continues to be a priority for us at San Diego International Airport,” said Kim Becker, President and CEO, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority. “We are proud and excited to welcome Swoop with service to Edmonton as our newest travel destination, bringing even more offerings to our passengers in San Diego and Canada.”

“We are very pleased to welcome Swoop to Kamloops Airport this coming summer season,” said Ed Ratuski, Managing Director, Kamloops Airport. “The return of service between Kamloops and Edmonton will be welcomed by our community and offer great opportunities for adventures on both ends of the route.”

Swoop’s unbundled model ensures fares remain ultra-low, with a base fare that starts with just the seat, giving travellers the power to add the things they want, and nothing they don’t.

Flights are now available for booking through until October 24, 2020. To learn more about Swoop’s destinations, schedule and ultra-low-cost model visit FlySwoop.com or connect with Swoop on FacebookTwitterInstagram.

Red Arrows’ quick display over Victoria draws hundreds of spectators

News provided by The Abbotsford News – link to full story with a hint from P.N.

(c) The Abbotsford News

The Royal Air Forces’ acrobatic team headed to Vancouver next

Evan Taylor, September 27, 2019 – Abbotsford News

The Red Arrows, the Royal Air Forces’ acrobatic team, arrived in Victoria right on schedule Thursday. Their display saw them fly by the British Columbia Parliament Building.

The display could be seen from quite far away, so it’s difficult to put an exact figure on how many watched the Red Arrows but hundreds crowded the Inner Harbour during the event.

The flyby was brief, the whole thing only lasted a few seconds. The Red Arrows did treat the spectators to a bit of showmanship, by deploying red, white and blue smoke.

After their routine, they flew off to Vancouver, their final stop in Canada on their North American tour. There the pilots visited children at the Canuck Place Children’s Hospice. They will also be speaking with local students to promote careers and education in the fields of aviation and aeronautic engineering.

The tour has included stops in three other Canadian cities starting in Halifax, then stopping in Ottawa and Toronto.

(c) The Abbotsford News

Sunwing partners with Swoop to offer customers even more travel options this winter

Provided by Swoop/CNW

TORONTO, Sept. 27, 2019 /CNW/ – Canadians looking for a tropical escape that’s easily accessible from their local airport have even more options to choose from this coming winter thanks to a new agreement between leading tour operator, Sunwing, and ultra-low-cost airline, Swoop.

Sunseekers departing from Hamilton, London, Abbotsford, Edmonton and Winnipeg can now book vacation packages with the tour operator that include a Swoop flight.  

Cancun, Mexico Aerial Photo (CNW Group/Swoop)
Cancun, Mexico Aerial Photo (CNW Group/Swoop)
Sunwing Logo | Learn more about Sunwing at Sunwing.ca (CNW Group/Swoop)

Andrew Dawson, President of Tour Operations for Sunwing, commented on the news, “Saving our customers time and money by providing convenient, direct flight services from their local airport has always been a key priority for us. Sunwing Airlines already offers flights to over 45 of the most popular sun destinations from over 30 departure airports coast to coast. With this new agreement, even more Canadians will be able to experience our top-rated resorts (including leading chains such as Royalton Luxury Resorts, RIU Hotels & Resorts, Planet Hollywood Hotels & Resorts) as part of a valued-added vacation package departing from their local airport.”

All Sunwing vacation packages with Swoop flights include one complimentary item of checked luggage, round-trip airport to hotel transfers, assistance from Sunwing Experiences representatives throughout, the option to benefit from savings by pre-purchasing Sunwing Experiences excursions at the time of booking and more.

“It’s a privilege to be entrusted with carrying Sunwing travellers onboard Swoop flights to our extensive network in Mexico,” said Steven Greenway, President, Swoop. “Partnering with a well-respected tour operator who shares our vision of making travel affordable and more accessible is a welcome opportunity for Canadians who want to travel more.”

Sunwing customers that take advantage of Swoop’s extensive network of flight services can now benefit from even greater access to some of Mexico’s most popular vacation destinations. A new departure airport now available as part of this agreement is Abbotsford, where travellers can take advantage of twice-weekly flights to Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta. The popular vacation destination of Cancun is now within easy reach for Sunwing customers in London if they choose to take advantage of the twice-weekly Swoop flight service as part of their vacation package.
Vacationers departing from Hamilton can now select from both Sunwing’s and Swoop’s regular flight services to Cancun – giving them the choice of four different departure days each week (including both Saturday and Sunday). Vacationers from Edmonton will enjoy additional weekend departure options to reach Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta. Finally, the addition of Swoop flight services from Winnipeg to Los Cabos has tripled the choice of departure days for customers travelling from the region, with new flights options departing Sundays and Wednesdays. 

For more information on Sunwing packages or to book, visit www.sunwing.ca or contact your travel agent.

Swoop Airlines Review – is it really cheaper?

News provided by Travel Off Path – link to full story

Swoop Airlines Review

KASHLEE KUCHERAN SEPTEMBER 26, 2019

Canadian’s have always gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to cheap air fare, but that finally might be changing!

Swoop Airlines is a new discount airline that has launched in selected (smaller) airports throughout Canada, and they are offering some sweet ticket prices.

Living in Kelowna, I don’t have a lot of choices when it comes to direct flights. I’ll be honest, YLW airport sucks in its offering of non-stop destinations. When I first moved to Kelowna we at least had a direct to San Francisco and Los Angeles, but they slowly fizzled out and left us with just a few direct options.

However, Swoop Airlines just moved in and they are offering a few direct flights that caught my eye! Winnipeg for $79 and Las Vegas for $99. Those are some INCREDIBLY low prices for direct flights out of Kelowna.

Swoop Kelowna

My brother Cody lives in Winnipeg, but I can’t say I’m regularly tempted to fly over to visit him. (Sorry bro!) A one-way flight on WestJet or Air Canada is usually $250-$450 and all flights have at least one stop-over. The moment I saw I could get to Winnipeg for $79, I booked the flight instantly! $450 is a hard sell for me, but $79 I can do!

Now here is where people get concerned with a low-cost airline. They start to worry about the maintenance of the planes, how uncomfortable it might be in-flight, or how many extra fees will get tacked on for bags, water, or even breathing.

I’ve got you covered. Here is everything I experienced during my recent flight on Swoop from Kelowna to Winnipeg on September 18th 2019.

Swoop Airlines Review

Swoop review canada

Is Swoop’s website easy to use?

The site is super easy to use and very straight forward. It looks like any other major airline website and wasn’t sneaky or hard to understand in anyway.

They allow you to choose a seat (paid) add carry-on or checked baggage (paid) or you can hold off to do that at check-in or at the airport. Just know, if you buy baggage or seats DURING your initial booking, it will be cheaper. But more on that later.

Does Swoop have hidden fees in the fare pricing?

Surprisingly, no.

The price advertised was $79 and that’s what it was at the end of the day. The airfare was actually only $48, then after taxes and fees, came out to a total of $79. Great! No surprises there! I was half expecting it to double in price by the time I had just run through taxes, fees, and weird hidden surcharges – but thankfully that never happened.

Booking flights on Swoop

Can you bring ANY type of luggage on Swoop for Free?

YES! They allow a free ‘personal item’ on board.

They classify this as something that can fit under the seat in front of you, like a small backpack, purse, laptop bag, or briefcase.

If you can pack a super smart bag, you could likely get away with just using this personal item allowance for a short trip.

Here are the official dimensions they allow for your personal item:
16” x 6” x 13” (41cm x 15cm x 33cm)

How much is CARRY-ON BAGGAGE with Swoop?

Now here is where you can start to rack up a bill with Swoop, but truth be told, it’s STILL cheaper than flying with Canada’s other two carriers, even if you buy all the add-ons. 

Carry-on baggage starts at $35.

I was visiting my brother in Winnipeg on my way down south for the winter. Since I had to carry everything I needed for 6 months with me on this trip, I had no choice but to purchase BOTH the carry-on bag and the checked bag through Swoop. If I was just flying there for a weekend to see him, I could make it work with just the free personal item.

My carry-on bag from Kelowna to Winnipeg was $35 CAD.

Carry-on Baggage weight and size restrictions:

If you are considering buying a carry-on bag for a Swoop flight, know that it MUST fit within these dimensions: 21” x 9” x 15” (52cm x 23cm x 38cm).

But here is a fun tip – 
Swoop does NOT limit how much your carry-on bag can weigh.

Fees for carry-on bags on Swoop:

How much is a carry-on with swoop
Swoop Fees for carry-on bags

The cost for carry-on baggage will vary depending on two things:

  • If your flight is within Canada, or going to the states
  • If you purchase it at booking, or later on at check in or at the airport

You can buy a carry-on bag for as low as $35 as long as you do it at the time of booking.

Each moment that your flight draws closer it goes up in price. If 30 seconds after you book your flight you decide you want to buy a carry-on bag, it’s now $40. When you go to check-in for your flight 24 hours before departure, it’s now $45. If you wait until you reach the check-in counter at the airport, it’s now gone up to $50. The worst price is definitely if you wait until last minute until the gate, about to board your flight – here they will charge you a whopping $70 for your carry-on bag.

How much is CHECKED BAGGAGE with Swoop?

Checked baggage is around the same cost as carry-on baggage.
It starts at $35.

Checked Baggage weight and size restrictions:

Your checked baggage with Swoop can weigh 50lbs MAX

Maximum dimensions: 157 cm (62 in.) total combined dimension (length + width + height)

You obviously get a bigger dimension allowance, but be warned, they are STRICT about their 50lb maximum weight policy.

As I was in line at the check-in counter I saw them make a girl who was only 2lbs over take items out of her luggage.

I was sweating with nerves because I knew my checked bag was shoved full of stuff for the next 6 months of travel. I don’t have a scale at home, so I crossed my fingers and prayed I would be okay.

When I put my bag up on the scale at the counter it weighed 55.3lbs. DANG!

She gave me two options: I could either find 5.3 lbs of stuff to take out of my checked bag OR I could pay the $106 overweight fee. There was NO way I was paying $106 for 5lbs, so I dug out 2 sweaters and my leather jacket and put them on over my t-shirt. Yep, I felt like Chandler from friends. I was still 1.5 lbs overweight, so I had to take out some items and shove them into my already brimming carry-on.

I put my checked luggage back on the scale and low and behold it came in at EXACTLY 50.0lbs. Success! The check-in attendant told me it’s better to buy a 2nd checked bag for $50 at time of booking instead of the $106 over-weight charge for next time.

Fees for Checked Bags on Swoop:

How much are baggage fees with swoop
Checked baggage fees with Swoop

The cost for checked baggage will vary depending on two things:

  • If your flight is within Canada, or going to the states (states is $5 more)
  • If you purchase it at booking, or later on at check in or at the airport

Just like the carry-on baggage, the checked baggage is also on a sliding tier scale. You will get the lowest price ($35) for your checked bag at time of booking, and it will go up to $70 by the time you reach the gate.

How does Seat Selection work on Swoop?

Seat selection on swoop

FREE:
You will be automatically assigned a random seat upon check-in. This random selection is free, so if you are budget conscious, just roll the dice.

PAY:
To pick ANY seat on the plane ahead of time, even the worst one, it will cost you. Prices for seat selection at time of booking range from $10-$50, and if you wait until check in you will pay anywhere from $20-$70. (approx $10 more per seat if you wait.)

Since my TOTAL bill for a direct flight to Winnipeg was only $150, even after buying both a checked bag and a carry-on bag, I decided to really go all out and buy a seat in the emergency row. Of course, I waited until check-in so I could give Swoop some extra money.

emergency row on Swoop

The emergency row seat cost me $40 at check-in, 24 hours before the flight. The best part of buying this seat was that no one else on my flight decided it was worth the extra $40. I had the entire row to myself, including the row across the aisle. Most of the regular seats on the flight were full, which made it extra luxurious to have the entire area to myself.

Here is the pricing tier for seat selections on Swoop:

How much does it cost to select a seat on Swoop
Seat selection fees on Swoop

Are the seats really crowded on Swoop?

are seats crowded on swoop

Swoop says their normal seats give 74-76 cm of leg room (that’s 29-30 inches).

If we compare that to other flights heading to Winnipeg, WestJet has one flight with 76 cm and one with 79 cmAir Canada also ranges from 76 cm up to 81 cm depending on the type of aircraft.

So, if you’re on a Swoop flight with 76 cm in their ‘base’ seat, you might find the exact same leg room on certain WestJet and Air Canada flights also providing 76 cm. (Usually a Bombardier Dash-8).

If you fly a 737 or an a320 on WestJet or Air Canada, you’ll likely have 79 cm to 81cm, making them much roomier than Swoop.

Swoop seat

Now, I did fly in the emergency row which gave me lots of extra room. Swoop’s website says their ‘extra-pitch’ seats give 86 cm to 96 cm of legroom (34-38 inches). While I didn’t whip out my measuring tape to see exactly what mine was, it felt extremely spacious.

By the way, seats have a USB plug and 110v plug, which makes any small seat a little more comfortable.

plus on Swoop

Does Swoop charge for water?

You bet! And I’m cool with that. I would rather score a ticket for $79 and have to pay for my own water than pay $450 for the same flight that offers free water or pop. In reality, we should all be bringing empty re-usable bottles through security and filling them up for free at the many water fountains.

Does Swoop serve food and drinks?

Yes they do, of course for a fee. The prices are pretty decent considering they are on a flight.   

Drinks

  • Soft Drinks $1.99
  • Juice $2.49
  • Tea $2.99
  • Alkaline Water $3.29
  • Coffee $3.49
  • Spirits $5.99
  • Beer $6.99
  • Wine $7.99

Food/Snacks

  • Gummies $1.99
  • Biscotti $2.49
  • Brownies $2.99
  • Chocolate Bars $2.99
  • Pringles $2.99
  • Hummus and Lentil Crackers $4.49
  • Beef Jerky $4.49
  • Oatmeal $3.49
  • Mr. Noodles $3.49
  • Instant Pho $5.49
  • Snack Plate $6.99

You are allowed to bring your own water, pop, coffee and food on-board to consume if you don’t want to by airplane food. Most food you can bring through security but remember all drinks will have to be purchased post-security.

Swoop menu food
Swoop menu drinks

Is there Wi-Fi on Swoop?

YES!

There is Wi-Fi on Swoop flights, for a fee.

They don’t have the prices listed on their website and some forums say it’s based on the type/length of flight. Rates should be around $6.49/1 hour and $8.99/3 hours.

wifi on Swoop

My Personal Swoop Experience

Everything was really equal to flying with any other Canadian airline. Booking, checking in, etc was all pretty similar. If anything, the below observations are because I am looking at Swoop with a very critical “I’m going to write a review about you” eye.

Here are the small differences I noticed flying with Swoop:

• They are hardcore about the 50-pound maximum for checked baggage. Don’t expect to get any leniency with Swoop.

• Post security, at the gate, they seemed a little behind schedule and disoriented. They called for families and anyone needing additional time/assistance to come up first and then held them there for a good 15 minutes without processing any of them through. The plane was there, and it was empty, so I am not sure what caused the delay.

• The flight did depart slightly late, but just a few minutes

•I guess it was a different experience to be nickeled and dimed with each tiny detail of the trip, but I still enjoyed a much lower fare than I would have with the full-service competitors.

• Service levels were not as hands on because the flight attendants don’t come through offering free drinks and pretzels to everyone. You really only see them for the safety demo and if you elect to buy something.

• Were the seats less padded? I couldn’t help but notice my butt didn’t feel as cushioned, but that might be me imagining things. Also, I am kind of a high maintenance flyer and I am usually doing everything I can to find a lay-flat business class seat, so I might just be extremely spoiled and biased. Sorry I have no data to confirm my suspicions on this one.

Once on board I didn’t notice anything different about the actual flight itself. The plane looked and felt like every other 737 I’ve ever been on.
Sometimes I think people suspect flying with a budget airline means flying on a lower end plane, but they are really all the same metal tube in the sky. We took off and landed without any events, which is always a blessing. Once we touched down in Winnipeg the plane went right to the gangway and we departed within a few minutes. Baggage came quickly. The entire experience went well!

Where does Swoop Airlines Fly

Swoop is able to keep their prices super low by only flying out of secondary and smaller airports in Canada. The fees and taxes are lower, which helps keep ticket prices down.

However, they still fly to some major airports and top destinations!

International Swoop Destinations:

  • Las Vegas
  • Phoenix
  • Tampa
  • Orlando
  • Fort Lauderdale
  • Los Cabos
  • Mazatlan
  • Puerto Vallarta
  • Cancun
  • Montego Bay

Domestic Swoop Destinations:

  • Abbotsford
  • Kelowna
  • Edmonton
  • Winnipeg
  • London
  • Hamilton
  • Halifax
Where Swoop airlines flies

My Rating of Swoop Airlines

I would give my experience with Swoop an 8/10. (taking into consideration it’s a budget economy flight!)

I really didn’t have any kind of a negative experience at all, but of course the main reason for such a high score really boils down to price. I love a good deal, and when I can pair that with cutting my flight down from a 1-stop to a direct flight, even better!

Now that Swoop has a $99 flight from Kelowna direct to Las Vegas, I think that is a great way to get down to the US for cheap, even if Vegas isn’t my final destination. I’m looking forward to trying that service and seeing what it’s like.

Would I recommend Swoop?

I actually did today! My friends are looking to come and visit me in Mazatlan this winter and they can fly DIRECT from Abbotsford to Mazatlan for next to nothing. On WestJet their total cost for 2 round-trip tickets was going to be $1900 and with Swoop it will only be $800. 50% off!

Updated: Swoop emergency landing in Abbotsford

News provided by The Abbotsford News – link to full story and updates – with a hint from P.N.

Passenger jet makes emergency landing in Abbotsford after hitting birds

737 aircraft hit flock of birds shortly after takeoff

Patrick Penner, 10 September 2019

A 737 aircraft was forced to make an emergency landing at Abbotsford International Airport Tuesday morning after hitting a flock of birds shortly after takeoff.

Flight number 312 departed from Abbotsford at 8:07 a.m. and was headed for Edmonton under Swoop airlines. It was carrying over 100 people.

People around the city reported hearing a loud boom in the skies and one witness said she saw flames coming out of one of the engines. One passenger reported a burning smell filling the cabin, which the pilot then reported was the result of the birds combusting.

“It’s not in my memory the last time an aircraft landed here due to an emergency tied to a bird-strike,” said the airport’s general manager, Parm Sidhu.

Police cordoned off the area as emergency crews headed to the scene prior to the plane landing.

It without further incident and passengers were escorted to the terminal to await another flight shortly after.