Everything you need to know about Swoop, Canada's latest ultra-low cost carrier

The Swoop logo is seen on the side of a plane. (Swoop)

Swoop, WestJet’s discount flying brand, will take to the skies for the first time on Wednesday, June 20. Like the no-frills carriers that have come before it, including Flair Airlines and Jetlines, the airline will offer customers the lowest cost tickets possible, without all the bells and whistles of conventional air travel. We’ve tried to answer everything you may be asking about this new airline, ahead of its inaugural flight.

Where does Swoop fly?

If you want to catch a flight out of Toronto’s Pearson Airport, tough luck. Being a ultra-low cost carrier means flying from the airports with lower fees.

The first flight will be out of Hamilton, Ont. and take passengers to Abbotsford, B.C. Other locations serviced by Swoop also currently include Halifax, Edmonton, and Winnipeg. The airline’s website says it will be adding new destinations in the future.

How much are fares?

The aim is to make fares about 40 per cent lower than traditional WestJet flights. A round-trip flight to Abbotsford from Hamilton costs as little as $286, including your taxes and airport fees, if you book ahead. Prices go up as your travel date approaches, as with any airline. A one-way ticket to Halifax from Hamilton costs as little as $99. For $99 one way, you can also fly Winnipeg to Abbotsford.

What’s included in the fare price?

Not much, as by design. For the fare, you get a seat on the aircraft. Every traveller gets one personal item that can fit under the seat free.

What add-ons can be purchased?

Carry-on luggage and checked bags cost between $26.25 and $132.25, depending on whether you check your bag online, at the airport counter, or at the gate, and how many checked bags you’re bringing. Selecting your seat starts from $5, depending on where you want to sit, if you purchase seat selection at time of booking, and the distance of the flight. Cancellations incur a $50 fee. Priority boarding can be added starting at an additional $10.50. Contacting the call centre costs $15 if the service can be carried out on the website instead.

Food and beverages can be purchased on the plane using major credit cards (cash is not accepted).

What will the flight attendants and pilots wear?

All staff will be wearing black and white or grey attire, and female flight attendants also sport a pink scarf. Both male and female flight attendants get pink buttons on their shirts. Here’s what the uniforms look like:

Swoop staff will wear white, black and grey uniforms, with pink scarves. (Swoop)

“I’d describe the uniform as a modern take on classic styles,” said Senior Leader of Inflight Kellie Farrer in a press release. “The staple uniform pieces have a monochrome palette that is accented with the signature Swoop magenta so you get a little bit of fashion and a lot of function.”

Can you earn loyalty points?

It’s currently unclear if WestJet and RBC’s new loyalty reward program, Ampli, will include tickets purchased for Swoop. Stay tuned.

Is there an app?

Of course there’s an app. It’s available on both Apple and Android devices, and allows users to purchase and access WiFi and in-flight entertainment. It also lets users book flights, view their itinerary, retrieve their boarding pass, and track flights with the real-time flight tracker.

What planes will they use?

The Swoop fleet is currently made up of four Boeing 737-800 aircraft.

Are the pilots unionized? 

As part of the agreement reached between the Air Line Pilots Association and WestJet, Swoop pilots will be unionized, and will have their first contract this month. They’ll be covered by the same contract as their WestJet counterparts. Some analysts have expressed fear that the unionization will result in fees for the carrier to go up.

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