Swoop Airlines: What you need to know about Canada's new low-cost carrier
Just before sunrise, Canada’s newest ultra-low cost airline saw its first flight take to the skies.
Swoop, a no-frills airline launched by WestJet, carried an inaugural group of travellers on Wednesday morning from Hamilton, Ont. to Abbotsford, B.C.
The airline hopes to offer Canadians something that travellers in Europe, the U.S. and parts of Asia have long enjoyed: cheap flights that cut add-ons to reduce the base price of a ticket.
Here’s what you need to know about Swoop.
WHERE WILL SWOOP FLY?
The airline will operate domestic flights between five small Canadians airports: Abbotsford, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Hamilton, and Halifax. The company hopes to win back travellers who live near the Canada-U.S. border and may opt to catch low-cost flights from American airlines.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
Swoop says its fares will be about 30 to 40 per cent lower than the typical national carrier, with several flights under $100.
For instance, it costs $99 for one-way flights from Winnipeg to Abbotsford, Hamilton to Halifax, and Halifax to Hamilton. Among the cheapest flights are one-way hauls between Winnipeg and Hamilton for $69 and between Edmonton and Abbotsford for $49.
The longest journey, from Abbotsford to Hamilton, costs as low as $129. A flight from Edmonton to Hamilton can go for as low as $109.
WHAT ARE THE ADDED FEES?
To keep those costs low, Swoop charges extra fees on everything from carry-on baggage to standard seat selection.
Here’s a quick look at some of the costs:
- $6 to choose any standard seat (including a middle seat)
- $12-$23 for extra leg room
- $11.50 for priority boarding
- $26.25-$28.75 for checked baggage, purchased online in advance of the flight
- $36.75-$40.25 for carry-on baggage, purchased online in advance of the flight
- $42-$46 for checked baggage, purchased at the airport counter
- $52.50-57.50 for carry-on baggage, purchased at the airport counter
WHAT ARE THE PLANES LIKE?
The Boeing 737-800s are painted pink and white and will offer 189 seats for passengers.
ARE MAJOR CITIES BEING ADDED?
Swoop has no immediate plans to expand to larger cities, and Robert Kokonis, president and managing director of AirTrav Inc., thinks the company will probably keep it that way.
“I think Swoop wants to avoid Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver as much as possible,” he told CTV News Channel, pointing out that the airline will have a large clientele from smaller airports.
WILL IT WORK?
Swoop is betting that it will have enough customers to sustain a viable business, and Kokonis believes WestJet – which he calls a profitable airline with a solid executive team -- will be able to pull it off.
“If anyone can figure it out, I put my money on Swoop,” he said.
WHEN ARE TICKETS AVAILABLE?
Tickets are being sold online now with available dates varying base on the city.