A new airline is causing an uproar in Canadian airspace by offering cross-country fares as low as $29 each way. Swoop, an offshoot of WestJet, launched service on June 20th and has adopted the model of budget-friendly airlines which upcharge for basic conveniences and shuttle passengers between smaller airports that are easier on the wallet.
At the launch of their service, the airline offers direct flights to Canadian cities such as Halifax, Nova Scotia; Hamilton, Ontario; and Abbotsford, British Columbia. They also fly into two major Canadian cities: Winnipeg, Manitoba and Edmonton, Alberta. Swoop hopes to bring their ultra-cheap fares across the border to the United States this fall with flights from Canada into Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, and Tampa, as well as Las Vegas and Phoenix.
Those comfortable with the model of ultra-cheap airlines will feel right at home on Swoop. Fares may start at $29, but don’t plan on getting across the Great White North for quite that cheap. The airline plans to charge between $27 and $69 for a carry-on, up to $19.75 for seat selection, and up to $15 for priority boarding. If something goes wrong and you impulsively call their customer service line, that’s another $8 — if the issue could have been solved by visiting the airline’s website. Still, these add-ons keep a one-way flight under $100, a major dip from the more expensive carriers in a country notorious for high airfare-related taxes and expensive travel.
The airline is hoping to follow the success of other budget airlines like Frontier and Iceland’s WOW Air, and convince people turned off by the a la carte travel experience that it may still be cheaper to fly with them than an all-inclusive airline. “It is an education process and I think people will adapt over time,” said Swoop President Steven Greenway to the CBC. If you’re a budget traveler, you can finally take in the mountains of Banff or enjoy those famous PEI Mussels on the country’s east coast for less than the cost of a tank of gas — as long as you’re comfortable in the middle seat with a bag on your lap.
H/T: Conde Nast Traveler