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.
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.
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.
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
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?
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.
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:
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:
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?
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.
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:
Are the seats really 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 cm. Air 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.
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.
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.
Soft Drinks $1.99
Alkaline Water $3.29
Chocolate Bars $2.99
Hummus and Lentil Crackers $4.49
Beef Jerky $4.49
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.
Is there Wi-Fi on Swoop?
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.
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:
Domestic Swoop Destinations:
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!
Once the runway is re-opened, air traffic will return to its normal flight paths, which will affect a number of local areas.
Fort Garry-Riverview, Fort Richmond, west Fort Rouge, northeast Fort Whyte, Headingley, Riel, River Heights, Seine River, Southdale, St. Francois-Xavier, east St. James, St. Vital, east Tuxedo, and west Wolseley will all see a return to pre-construction air traffic.
Flights to Phoenix, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta affected, not known when flights will return to normal
CBC News · Posted: Sep 10, 2019
Saskatchewan travellers looking to fly south for the winter this year might be in for a bumpy ride.
This week, WestJet announced flight cancellations from airports in Regina and Saskatoon.
The company blamed the disruptions on Boeing’s 737 Max 8 jets. The planes were pulled from service by Transport Canada after 346 people were killed in crashes involving Indonesia’s Lion Air in 2018 and Ethiopian Airlines in March of this year. Both incidents involved the Max 8.
“Guests who hold a current reservation impacted by this update will be notified proactively if there are changes to their itinerary,” wrote WestJet spokesperson Morgan Bell. “Where possible, we will work to substitute other aircraft directly onto a route and will not impact a guests itinerary so notifications will not be necessary.”
The following flights will be affected:
Saskatoon-Phoenix: Three weekly flights suspended.
Regina-Orlando: One weekly flight suspended.
Regina-Phoenix: Three weekly flights suspended.
Regina-Cancun: suspended one weekly flight in November. WestJet will operate one weekly flight in December.
Regina–Puerto Vallarta: One weekly flight suspended. WestJet will continue to operate once weekly in November. Two weekly flights will be suspended in December.
Air Canada and Sunwing had already announced plans to pull all Max 8s from its schedule until next year.
WestJet said the suspensions are temporary and that flights will resume once the Max 8 is cleared to return to service. However, that won’t happen until January 5, at the earliest.
Transport Canada hasn’t said when the ban will be lifted.
Boeing says a system designed to help keep the Max 8 stable seemed to be a factor in each crash.
Many other governing bodies, including China, the United States and the European aviation authority, have banned the planes from their airspace.
WestJet currently owns 13 Max 8 jets, accounting for 10 per cent of its fleet.
Many other flights from Calgary, Winnipeg and Toronto have also been affected.
WINNIPEG, Sept. 6, 2019 /CNW/ – The quality of Canada’s transportation infrastructure and the efficiency of the country’s trade corridors are key to the success of Canadian companies in the global marketplace. The Government of Canada invests in infrastructure projects that create quality, middle-class jobs and support economic growth.
Airports are important economic drivers. The Government of Canada recognizes the significant role played by Canada’s airports in supporting jobs and tourism, enabling investment and facilitating trade. That is why the Government is investing to improve airport infrastructure.
Today, Doug Eyolfson, Member of Parliament for Charleswood — St. James — Assiniboia — Headingley, on behalf of the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, announced a major investment of $30.4 million to increase air cargo capacity at Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport, and move Canadian goods to international markets more efficiently.
The airport is a key transportation hub for central Canada, the Canadian North, and for Canada’s international trade flows. This project, financed by the Government of Canada and the Winnipeg Airports Authority, provides wide-ranging economic and trade benefits for Canadian producers in the region by offering additional export capacity for commodities that would otherwise be exported via U.S. transportation hubs. The project will also improve accessibility and affordability of goods in Canadian remote and Northern communities.
The construction of a 13,000 square-metre cargo logistics facility will include space for cold storage and perishable commodities, live animal handling, expanded air cargo capacity, and additional space for aircraft. This will benefit producers in multiple industries, particularly e-commerce, agricultural livestock, pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, and aerospace, which require the specialized storage space it will provide. It will also improve the efficiency and affordability of air resupply out of Winnipeg for remote and Northern communities.
This investment will have important economic and employment benefits for Canadians by creating an estimated 630 jobs during construction.
The Government of Canada is supporting infrastructure projects that contribute most to Canada’s success in international trade. Trade diversification is a key component of the National Trade Corridors Fund, through projects that:
improve the performance of the transportation system to increase the value and volume of goods exported from Canada to overseas markets; and
generate new overseas trade as a result of the investment.
“Transportation systems are a vital part of Winnipeg’s economy and the investment announced here today will foster long-term prosperity for the city. These improvements to the Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport will help businesses and producers get more products to market.”
Doug Eyolfson Member of Parliament for Charleswood — St. James — Assiniboia — Headingley
“Our government is investing in Canada’s economy by making improvements to our trade and transportation corridors. We are supporting projects to efficiently move goods to market and people to their destinations, stimulate economic growth, create quality middle-class jobs, and ensure that Canada’s transportation networks remain competitive and efficient.”
The Honourable Marc Garneau Minister of Transport
An efficient and reliable transportation network is key to Canada’s economic growth. The Government of Canada, through the National Trade Corridors Fund, is making investments that will support the flow of goods to international markets. While the United States continues to be Canada’s top trade partner with $741.4 billion in trade ($437.6 billion exported, $303.8 billion imported) in 2018, trade is growing with international markets. From 2015 to 2018, trade with Asia (excluding the Middle East) grew by 18.9 per cent to $199.2 billion and trade with the European Union grew by 19 per cent since 2015 to $118.1 billion in 2018.
This project will strengthen the safety and sustainability of the Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport, which is part of the National Airports System. The 26 airports in the National Airports System serve about 95 percent of all scheduled passenger and cargo traffic in Canada, and handle almost all of Canada’s international trade flows by air.
The Government of Canada is making investments that help Canadian exporters accelerate their presence in new markets, and take advantage of the new opportunities that exist because of the trade agreements the Government has secured in the past three years. By investing in export-intensive industries, the Government is committed to the creation of well-paying jobs and strengthening Canada’s economy.
Through the Investing in CanadaPlan, the Government of Canada is investing more than $180 billion over 12 years in public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes, and Canada’s rural and northern communities.
Edmonton, Alberta, Sept. 05, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Flair Airlines, Canada’s only truly independent low cost airline, is pleased to report an average passenger load factor of 92% for July & August 2019.
“We are delighted with the rapidly growing number of Canadians who have flocked to Flair this summer” said CEO Jim Scott. He continued ,“After only one year as an exclusively scheduled carrier we have established Flair as the place to go for low fares, great service and are already recognizing many return customers.”
During the summer, Edmonton-based Flair flew from Vancouver, Abbotsford, Kelowna, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto and Halifax. Flair successfully initiated daily non-stop service between Toronto (YYZ) and Vancouver as well as between Toronto and Calgary.
Over the last few months, as part of it’s fleet renewal program, Flair has added three newer Boeing 737-800NG aircraft and is gradually phasing out it’s older B737-400’s. All three additions sport Flair’s distinctive new livery and logo.
By next summer Flair plans to be operating a single-type fleet of B737-800 NG‘s, which are more fuel efficient and also have longer range capabilities. Flair’s unified fleet will open up a number of exciting southern destinations offered at accessible rates.
While Flair’s year-to-date on-time performance has been one of the best in Canada, the younger aircraft should serve to make it even better.
Councillors move along request from developers for land-use changes around massive mall
Sean Kavanagh · CBC News – September 4, 2019
The Winnipeg Airports Authority will not clear residential development around Polo Park for takeoff — at least not the way it’s being proposed so far.
A request, however, to change the area’s land use plan by two developers — Toronto’s Cadillac Fairview, which owns the Polo Park Shopping Centre, and Winnipeg’s Towers Reality Group — will still move to a next phase, despite the opposition.
The two companies have asked the City of Winnipeg to change its Airport Vicinity Protection Area Secondary Plan (AVPA) around Polo Park. The bylaw restricts residential development in the area in order to avoid noise complaints.
The airports authority’s concern is that James Armstrong Richardson International Airport’s status as a 24/7 landing and takeoff facility would be threatened or lost, as has happened at airports in other cities.
“We’ve been able to avoid a lot of that by having a really good planning process in place in the city, where we’ve restricted the residential area around the airport where noise is going to be a factor,” said Tyler MacAfee, vice-president of communications for the WAA.
“To now move ahead and amend that is going to put us in a situation where we’ve seen in other cities. So, we know how this story ends. It ends with people having these issues between the airport and residents.”
MacAfee made the comments following a Wednesday meeting of the city’s property and planning committee. The airports authority has sent a letter to Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman and Brian Pallister, whose Progressive Conservative government is seeking re-election, outlining their concerns.
The director of the city’s property and planning department, John Kiernan, told councillors his staff has been in discussions with the WAA about the proposal. The two developers have also been talking to the authority, Kernan said.
“The department may or may not be able to broker a consensus on this one. There are two different perspectives, perhaps. We are trying to bring them closer,” he said.
The councillors on the committee voted to move the request from the two developers to a first reading of city council, which would pave the way for a community committee hearing on the proposal.
A request by Transport Canada could sidetrack that by asking for the matter to be heard in front of the Manitoba Municipal Board — but that is rarely done.
MacAfee says the WAA doesn’t want to close the door entirely on development opportunities for the city.
“There’s a path that can be followed and I think … there may be a solution to this where where everybody wins,” he told reporters.
“We’re driven by the interests of the community.… The airport exists for the benefit of the community.”
The committee voted to move the proposal along in the process to a reading in front of city council, but its chair, Coun. Brian Mayes (St. Vital) expressed concerns.
“I’m leery of doing anything that would negatively impact the 24-hour status of the airport,” Mayes said. He was the lone councillor to oppose the motion.
If it makes it past a first reading of city council, the proposal would next appear in front of the city’s Assiniboia Community Committee.
One passenger says the airline rescheduled her flight home a week later
CBC News · Posted: Aug 27, 2019
A group of friends from Winnipeg who spent the weekend at a bachelorette celebration in Kelowna say a cancelled flight left them stranded — with the airline offering return flights more than a week later.
Six women, including Anika Scheurer, booked their flights from Winnipeg with Swoop, an ultra-low fare airline owned by WestJet.
“It was mainly price and the dates,” Scheurer, 24, said in explaining why she chose Swoop, adding that the round-trip ticket was about half the price offered by other airlines.
But as the group prepared to board a plane home Monday, a mechanical problem caused a delay. Hours later, the delay turned into a cancellation.
That’s when Scheurer says the airline “turned a celebratory weekend into a nightmare.”
And according to Gabor Lukacs, founder of the non-profit organization Air Passenger Rights, that’s why travellers need to know what they’re entitled to when trip plans go sideways.
“This is an egregious case. Offering someone transportation the next week is unreasonable and unjustifiable,” said Lukacs.
Scheurer said the airline gave her and the other passengers a hotel voucher for the night and said $30 would be reimbursed for meals. They were told Swoop would find them flights or charter a plane within 48 hours.
But when she got an email from the airline late Monday night, she learned the flight home was scheduled an entire week later, Sept. 2. She said the group of six women was split up on various flights, with some scheduled to leave even later.
Distress and confusion ensued, as the women considered the costs of an unexpected few days away from home.
“We had someone who was doing pet boarding, there was child care cost, wages lost,” said Scheurer, adding that some of the women would be drawing from next year’s vacation time.
Scheurer called the number provided, and discovered Swoop’s call centre is only open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. MST on weekdays.
The group got in touch with WestJet and paid for flights home with that airline on Tuesday.
‘It’s Swoop’s problem’
According to Lukacs, the airline has a duty to find reasonable alternatives for its passengers — if a flight is cancelled and it can’t be blamed on an act of God — and that includes arranging flights on other airlines if necessary.
“It’s not the passenger’s problem or concern how Swoop deals with it, it’s Swoop’s problem,” he said.
Lukacs said any costs incurred due to the delays, including meals, accommodation, lost wages, and even child care should be demanded from the company in writing. If it’s not reimbursed within about a week, he said passengers should take the airline to small claims court, even demanding $1,000 in punitive damages to send a message when appropriate.
Travelers who were expecting to fly from Kelowna, B.C., to Winnipeg had an unpleasant surprise when they were told their flight on the Swoop airline was cancelled – and that they wouldn’t be re-booked until, potentially, early September.
Pat Ward and Emily Rae say they were scheduled to come home to Winnipeg Monday but found out their flight had been cancelled due to mechanical issues.
They and nine other friends and family were in Kelowna for a wedding, said Ward, and they said they were promised a charter flight home by the company on Wednesday.
Ward said some have paid $750 to catch other flights to leave, and Swoop has told them they will not compensate them. Others have since found out that Swoop would only cover one night of hotel accommodation.
Monica Raabe, who was also on the flight, told Global News she ended up taking a WestJet flight to make it back to Manitoba.
“It’s ridiculous,” she said. “How could people just suddenly extend a vacation, or have money too? It’s absolutely unacceptable.
“We were fine with them cancelling a flight due to not wanting to put people in jeopardy. We were fine with having been put up in accommodations, but it’s just so insane to think that people would ever accept to stay that much longer.”
Raabe said she was given the runaround when trying to contact Swoop, and eventually just decided to take another flight.
“We had to book on WestJet, had to completely use a different carrier – although it’s not a different carrier, because I was told by many people that Swoop is owned by WestJet.”
Calgary-based Swoop was launched in 2017 by WestJet as an ultra low-cost carrier.
The airline confirmed there was unscheduled maintenance to the aircraft, and that Swoop has “all our available resources working to get travellers to their destinations as quickly and safely as possible.”
They did not say if passengers would be compensated for their other flights or hotel accommodations.
Rae said that wasn’t nearly good enough and warned people off the airline.
“I would say: Don’t fly Swoop,” said Rae.
“I hope they’re going to man up and come through for everyone,” Ward added.
If you ever fly on WestJet from Winnipeg to Ottawa and love playing with dogs, you’re in luck.
Karen George organizes a weekly rescue mission of dogs from northern Manitoba to Ottawa and is in need of volunteers to check these dogs, all expenses paid.
The benefit for the traveller, other than the satisfaction of helping stray dogs, is that they can play with each dog in Winnipeg before their flight takes off.
George has several partner organizations, but she is a one-woman show with transportation planning.
“I’m not an organization, I’m just one crazy lady,” she said. “It’s just me and the dogs, and they don’t really do anything. They just kind of reassign everything back to me.”
George says she focuses on northern Manitoba because many communities there organize dog culls, which she understands.
“When they start packing up, (the dogs) become dangerous,” she said.
The rescued dogs are flown from these northern communities to Winnipeg, where they are vetted, spayed or neutered and given all required shots.
“Don’t want to spread any diseases on the plane,” she said.
Once they’re in Winnipeg, George plans how the dogs will be transported to Ottawa, which involves recruiting volunteers with previously booked Westjet flights. George will then add several dogs to their boarding passes.
She said she preferred WestJet because the cargo holds of its planes had temperature controls, so they could take dogs year round, but she will use Air Canada for the same purpose if need to be.
George began her mission in 2017, when she discovered two stray German shepherd puppies in need of rescue in the northern Manitoba community of Red Sucker Lake. She said she learned about the transportation process involved and established a network of connections. Later, she decided to continue rescuing other strays.
George said she brought 150 dogs from northern areas in 2018 and in 2019 will have brought over 80 dogs by Saturday.
Once in Ottawa volunteers will pick up the dogs and George works with the Freedom Dog Rescue who help ensure they end up in various shelters across Ontario.
George said there are dogs flown in weekly so she is always in need of volunteers. Anyone arriving in Ottawa from Winnipeg who is interested in flying with — and playing with a dog can message her on Facebook.