Passengers stranded as Swoop airlines fails to get US regulatory approvals

by Anshul
a white and pink airplane on a runway

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Canadian ultra-low cost carrier, Swoop airlines (owned by WestJet) has been making waves in the Canadian market since starting operations in June 2018. While flights within Canada have garnered a fanfare, their US operations that were scheduled to begin today (Oct 18th, 2018) have hit a serious snag.

Swoop airlines

Swoop airlines – Route Map (Image Credit: Swoop)

Turns out Swoop sold tickets to several US destinations with hopes to secure all approvals before taking flight. Unfortunately, that has not been the case and customers were notified last week about flight cancellations. According to this report, an Orlando bound customer was given an option to fly on WestJet instead, but did not find seats on preferred dates.

Here is an excerpt from the official statement on Swoop’s website, for flights to Las Vegas;

Unfortunately, our flights between Abbotsford and Las Vegas on October 21 and 25 (WO 802 and WO 705) and flights between Hamilton and Las Vegas on October 26 (WO 800 and WO 701) have been cancelled, as we have not yet received one final approval required to operate to the U.S. We anticipated having all regulatory approvals in place well in advance of our U.S. first flights, unfortunately this is not the case.

First and foremost, we’d like to apologize. We know how disruptive it is when travel doesn’t go as planned, and we’re sorry for the inconvenience and disappointment this has caused. We have set up a dedicated Travel Interruption support team who are reaching out directly to impacted travellers to offer rebooking options or full refunds.

Travellers on flights between Edmonton and Las Vegas from October 18 to 26 will be minimally impacted as we have leased an aircraft to operate the flights, departing as close to the original scheduled time as possible.

We continue to work to expedite our U.S. operations approvals and will provide regular updates directly to impacted travellers.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Its standard practice for airlines to sell tickets to a destination without all approvals, but it does leave passengers in a precarious situation if things don’t go as planned. As is the case here, Swoop is working with affected customers to find a resolution as they continue to work towards obtaining US operations approvals. Interestingly, as of now they continue to sell tickets to all US destinations.


Hat-tip @AirPassRightsCA  for bringing it to my notice.

Title Image: Swoop media library


Barry October 18, 2018 - 7:58 pm

This sounds incredibly irresponsible of Swoop. I wonder if they will really look after passengers affected (buying tickets one week or less before the travel date can be very expensive) or just offer refunds and go “Oops! My bad!”. If the latter, that would be a good reason never to trust Swoop with your travel dollars. I’d suggest suing, but there is a probably some clause in the terms of carriage that limit damages to the cost of the ticket instead of the actual damages incurred.

Points Miles and Bling October 19, 2018 - 4:03 am

Agreed. Am sure small claims court will be more than willing to hear from passengers that may have incured additional expenses due to swoop canceling flights one week out..


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