Swoop, Canada’s New Ultra-Low-Cost Carrier, Takes to the Skies

The battle of the budget airlines rages on: Swoop, one of Canada's first ultra-low-cost carriers, begins service today. The airline, an offshoot of WestJet Airlines, has seemingly adopted Norwegian's model of flying into smaller, cheaper airports, and will initially offer flights to and from Halifax, Nova Scotia; Hamilton, Ontario; Winnipeg, Manitoba; Edmonton, Alberta; and Abbotsford, British Columbia before expanding with routes to Las Vegas, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, and Phoenix this fall.

All flights will be on Boeing 737-800 jets, which are decked out in a pink and white livery and will have 189 seats.

Introductory fees on Swoop currently start at $29 USD one way, but will level out to around $75. Much like on other ultra-low-cost carriers like Spirit, that base fare doesn't tell the whole story: Carry-on luggage will run you from between $27 and $69, depending on whether you pay online, at the airport counter, or at the gate.

Seat selection? Anywhere from $3.75 to $19.75. Boarding before everyone else? Around $8 if you're lucky and $15 at the higher end. It will even cost you some $11 if you contact the call center when your issue could have easily been resolved on the website—so complain carefully.

For many fliers, the à la carte approach will undoubtedly be a turn-off—but Swoop isn't necessarily worried about that, said the airline's president, Steven Greenway, who pointed to the success of airlines like Ryanair in the past decade as evidence of the model's success. "It is an education process and I think people will adapt over time," Greenway told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, noting that he believes the pros, (low fares) will outweigh the cons (all those ancillary fees).
Condé Nast Traveler 6/20/2018