People are giving up on Swoop Airlines after wave of flight cancellations
You get what you pay for, as the adage goes, and air travel appears to be no exception.
More than 150 customers of Swoop Airlines — WestJet's newish ultra- low fare carrier — learned this the hard way on Thursday after getting stuck in Hamilton, Ontario for more than 24 hours when they should have been in Las Vegas.
And they're far from alone: Swoop has either cancelled or delayed more than a dozen flights in recent days due to what the airline calls "unscheduled aircraft maintenance."
Sorry for the inconvenience travellers! Our flights were cancelled just as we were about to board — 3 weeks ago! No phone calls, no emails no money back, no replies from anyone. Our wedding flights went from 700$ to 4900$ and 8 hour layover in Edmonton plus 5 hours in Calgary.— Greg R (@hyperchicken1) July 8, 2019
Four flights have been cancelled outright for today between the airline's main hub, the John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport, and airports in Halifax and London, Ontario.
Flights meant for tomorrow servicing Winnipeg, Edmonton and Hamilton have all been cancelled, while five flights were cancelled yesterday between Hamilton, Edmonton, Orlando, and Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Passengers booked on those flights can at least take comfort in the fact that, unlike those stuck in Hamilton on Thursday, they don't need to wait on the tarmac in a painfully hot plane for nearly an hour, just to find out they're going nowhere.
CHCH News reports that the Vegas-bound passengers affected by Swoop's delay-turned-cancellation-turned-delay on July 5 received hotel accommodations and a $10 food voucher each.
The Canadian Transportation Agency is encouraging those same passengers to come forward "if the transportation carrier has not respected the terms of its tariff."
"Customers should consider filling out our complaint form to ensure the matter gets resolved," tweeted the CTA. "Here's the link."
Update Swoop #WO800 Hamilton to Las Vegas canceled due to “an incident requiring a maintenance inspection”. “Flight attendant required medical attention unrelated to the incident”. Passengers getting transport/accommodation vouchers or refunds. Flight rescheduled to this evening. pic.twitter.com/ZdRtB6MkMp— Tom Podolec Aviation (@TomPodolec) July 5, 2019
This most-recent chapter in the history of Canadians airlines being terrible is making many reconsider the true cost of super cheap travel.
"My mom needs to get her heart medication tomorrow at the latest and now you've cancelled her flight home to Hamilton (from Halifax)," tweeted one person at the airline in response to its Sunday travel advisory. "What is she supposed to do? You've rescheduled their flight for TWO DAYS from now."
"Thanks for ruining my daughter and son-in-law's vacation that's been booked for months especially when she took time off without pay," wrote another. "Then [to] insult the situation, your customer service [is] closed on Sundays."
Fucking 6am on a show day, none of us have slept in 24 hours and still driving en route to Orlando. 6 more hours.— DGF (@DiscoGodfathers) July 9, 2019
Fucking thanks again for the spontaneous road trip @FlySwoop , fuck you.
Orlando tonight, we on at 1:15-2:00 let's go 😈👀
The airline is also being panned for its lack of communication with customers — something that happens so often in these types of situations that Canada's federal government will soon be putting formal rules into place to prevent it.
Dozens of irate customers complained on Sunday that they were unable to speak to anyone from the airline by phone about the delays and cancellations as Swoop's customer service line is only open during weekdays.
Even during business hours, people are having a hard time getting through to the company.
@FlySwoop Ok. This is getting ridiculous. Message & post on Facebook & twitter. No response. Call and no calls are accepted. I appreciate your situation but I need help. I’m not asking for much here. Just to ensure that my disabled mother is looked after. Please respond— Kim Michelle (@MissKymMichelle) July 8, 2019
Swoop itself is responding to some complaints directly on Twitter and has issued the following statement in response to ongoing reliability issues:
"First and foremost, we'd like to apologize. We know first-hand how disruptive it is when travel doesn’t go as planned, and we're deeply sorry for the disruption. Safety must and will always be at the forefront of our decision making and we are working around the clock to reaccommodate impacted travellers as quickly and safely as possible.
Travellers are being rebooked on the next available Swoop flight. If the alternate flight time provided is not suitable, travellers are able to self-manage bookings to try to find a more appropriate flight time (subject to availability) or cancel for a full refund (processed in 5 business days)."
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