What is Swoop
Swoop is considered an ULCC (Ultra Low Cost Carrier) in Canada owned and operated by Westjet, which is a hybrid between a Low Cost Carrier and Full Service Carrier.
They fly across North America to and from secondary airports in major cities. For example, rather than flying from Vancouver International Airport to Toronto Pearson Airport, they instead fly between Abbotsford Airport near Vancouver and Hamilton Airport near Toronto. For residents flying between suburbs of these large cities, this can be a huge benefit, allowing for significant time savings on either side of their journey. However, if you are connecting in a major city, or live close to the major airport, traveling between the city and the suburbs can be incredibly expensive, and sometimes cost even more than a comparable flight on a full service carrier like Air Canada.
Why Fly Swoop
Let’s see an example search of pricing between Vancouver and Toronto on Swoop vs Westjet vs Air Canada on a random weekend in October:
Vancouver to Toronto Round Trip will cost over C$700 with the following conditions:
- No checked baggage
- No changes
- No cancellations
- No advanced seat selection
- No aeroplan miles
Vancouver to Toronto Round Trip will cost just over C$250 with similar conditions as Air Canada. (Swoop charges extra for a carry-on bag)
The reason why most even think about flying Swoop is, in comparison to the other carriers in Canada, Westjet or Air Canada, Swoop provides incredible savings for a similar flight with similar services. When you are traveling with a family, these savings can add up drastically to either save more money, or choose to spend your money on better experiences on the ground. Even if you consider the cost of a taxi between your home and the suburb where the airport is located, you are still likely going to save a significant amount of money.
When Not to Fly Swoop
With these incredible savings, it can be hard to resist the desire to fly Swoop, however, there are a few critical things to keep in mind before choosing to fly:
Although the example above represents a similar bundling on both airlines, the reality is, the differences are not always that significant. Many times, you have to consider the complete cost of travel. This includes:
- Seat selection costs
- What will you be traveling with?
- How much will your bags weigh?
- Additional food & beverage (Swoop “might” run out of water during your journey, forcing you to pay for bottled water
- Transportation to/from the suburbs
It’s important to calculate the complete cost of traveling, especially in markets like North America where the pricing of internal services can differ drastically.
Impact of Delays
Unlike Air Canada who might operate multiple flights a day between Vancouver and Toronto across the entire day, Swoop might only fly 1 or 2 times a day. When flights are operating on time, everything is normal, but if poor weather or maintenance causes delays on your Swoop flight, they do not maintain a sufficient buffer zone to prevent your travel plans from being a disaster.
In addition to that, unlike Air Canada or WestJet, Swoop cannot accommodate you on their other flights, since occasionally that might be the only flight for the day, even between two large cities!
This is rather simple, if you enjoy traveling in Premium Economy or Business Class, Swoop is not for you. Air Canada and WestJet are the only Canadian Airlines offering that service.
If you travel frequently and enjoy the perks a frequent flyer receives, Swoop is definitely an airline to avoid. Everyone is treated equally, irrespective of your past travel history on Swoop.
How does Arete Travel Hub Help?
We provide a comprehensive evaluation of your travel needs and help you determine which flight is better based on multiple factors:
- Complete travel cost, including checked baggage, hand carry baggage, meals, transportation to the airport and any other services that might be of your interest
- Evaluate the purpose of your trip
- Pre-book services based on pricing, savings and any other material decisions that might impact your trip
- Recommend based on your preferences, and current trip preferences or information
- Complete monitoring of your journey acting as an additional pair of eyes making sure you complete your journey as comfortable as possible. When things go wrong, we are there immediately to assist with any airline communications and any travel re-bookings
Reach out to one of our travel concierge today, starting as low as C$35 for domestic flights in Canada, for a full comprehensive evaluation of your trips and a recommendation by us.
Swoop can make sense for many use cases, however, be warned of the implications of your decisions!
Picture Credits: Pooja Relekar