Swoop Airlines Review

You’ve seen the low fares on Canada’s new discount airline and you’ve probably wondered what it is like to fly on a budget carrier. This Swoop Airlines review is the result of a quick trip my husband and I took with Swoop Airlines from Edmonton to Abbotsford and back. It wasn’t flawless service, but it was cheap. Read on if you want to find out what went wrong.

Related: I travel a lot and Swoop Airlines wasn’t my first uncomfortable budget flight. Here’s one thing I always take in my carry-on bag to make any flight more comfortable.

An image of an airport departures board showing Swoop airlines delayed - Swoop Airlines review

Swoop had the only delayed flight out of Edmonton International Airport. This negatively affected our travel and our Swoop Airlines review. Photo by DEBBIE OLSEN

Delays Happen – and it’s a Bummer When They Do

Conversations turned grim in the departures area at Edmonton International airport. We were delayed on our Swoop flight by nearly three hours at that point. To pass the time, fellow passengers were talking about the worst flights they had ever been on. That’s never a good sign. Apparently some guy lucked out on one of his trips. He was on a plane that crashed, but he wasn’t injured. Insurance paid him $80,000 for that one. He considered himself lucky. He used the money to buy a new truck. I was really hoping he wouldn’t be lucky like that again. I’d rather make money without the imminent risk of death thank you very much.

An image of a man sleeping at the airport - Swoop Airlines review

Wish Swoop would have contacted passengers to let them know about the flight delay. This definitely affected our Swoop Airlines review. We could have slept in. To make matters worse, I was randomly selected for extra screening when we went through security. Greg fell asleep. Photo by DEBBIE OLSEN

Wish They’d Sent an Email – Swoop Airlines Review

We found out about the 3-hour flight delay when we checked in for our early morning flight. Truth be told, we got up at 5:30 am to make the drive to the Edmonton airport and be there 90-minutes prior to the flight departure time. When we checked in, the Swoop Agent asked if we had received an email about the flight delay. The plane we were supposed to fly to Abbotsford on had a cracked windshield and the airline was bringing in another plane, but it wouldn’t arrive until at least three hours after the scheduled departure time. The gate agent said the airline knew about this flight delay the previous night, but never sent an email to us or any of the other passengers. I really wish they would have. I like sleep. The failure to send an email notification was my biggest frustration in this Swoop Airlines Review.

An image of the Swoop check-in counter - Swoop Airlines review

We didn’t get a smile from anyone at Swoop until we boarded the aircraft. Then again, it is hard to tell someone who got up at 530 am that their flight is delayed by three hours. Photo by DEBBIE OLSEN

What You Should Know When Booking

Swoop is a discount airline and they charge for everything – including things that come complimentary with other airlines. Each passenger can bring one small personal item for free. Checked bags and carry-on bags cost extra and it’s substantially cheaper to purchase baggage online before you get to the airport. Interestingly, carry-on bags cost more than checked bags. They serve drinks and snacks for a charge, but you won’t even get a glass of water for free, so bring a water bottle. Expect to be on hold a long time if you call the Swoop toll free number (about an hour when I tried). If you reserve over the phone, you’ll pay an additional fee. Hot Tip: Make sure you factor in the add-ons (phone booking fees, seat assignments, luggage, snacks and more) when you’re considering flying Swoop.

An image of a woman standing beside a Swoop Airlines sign - Swoop Airlines review

A look at the cute signage and marketing for Swoop. Photo by DEBBIE OLSEN

A Little Snag with my Online Purchase

Since it was cheaper to purchase checked baggage in advance online, I did that the night before. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize I was purchasing a checked bag for the return flight instead of the outbound flight. When I got to the airport, I was unable to purchase a bag online for the outbound flight and it took the check-in agents some time to be able to sort out the issue. They were on hold for a long time when they tried to call the airline. I guess there’s no discrimination when it comes to hold times.

An image of people boarding a Swoop Airlines aircraft - Swoop Airlines review

If you don’t pay for seat selection, the airline will randomly seat you when you print your boarding pass. We got the seats on the very back row. Photo by DEBBIE OLSEN

The Worst Seats on the Airplane

If you don’t choose your seats in advance for a fee, the airline will randomly assign you a seat when you print your boarding pass. If you want to change the seat, you will have to pay a fee. I did the online check-in on the outbound flight as early as possible, hoping that might result in a better seat assignment. It didn’t. My husband and I were sitting together, but we were on the very last row of the plane. On the return flight, I checked in later and we ended up seating next to each other in the middle section of the aircraft. It really is random.

An image of a Swoop Airlines aircraft wing in the air - Swoop Airlines review

Once we got in the air, the flight went smoothly. Photo by GREG OLSEN

Flight Went Smoothly – Swoop Airlines Review

We found the airplane to be comfortable and the service to be professional. Swoop is Westjet Airlines’ discount airline and the planes are similar to others in the Westjet fleet – except for the pink accents. There are plugins at every seat and you can watch in-flight entertainment on your own device. Normally there is a charge for entertainment, but it was free as part of an introductory offer on our particular flight.

An image of people coming off a Swoop aircraft - Swoop Airlines review

We arrived safe and sound in the pouring rain. Photo by DEBBIE OLSEN

Arrival

It was pouring rain and we had trouble finding our rental car in the airport parking lot when we arrived, but we can’t really let that affect our Swoop Airlines Review – no matter how much we want to.

An image of a wet bag - Swoop Airlines review

My bag was on the top of the baggage cart, so it got very wet. Lucky me. Photo by DEBBIE OLSEN

Note: Yes I do need new luggage and this is not Swoop’s fault. This new bag should fare better when it gets wet.

Hi-jinks Getting Back to the Airport

Google Maps took us down every back road to get to the Abbotsford Airport. On a gravel road at the back of a runway, it said we had arrived.  At that point, we needed to refuel the rental car, so I plugged “gas” into Google Maps. We headed to the first one on the list and ended up at the Shell Corporate offices. Then we headed to Esso only to discover it was a card lock for semi-trucks. When we finally found a Chevron station, we couldn’t figure out how to unlock the gas tank to fill the tank. We spent several minutes reading the owner’s manual. There was no time left for dinner, so we purchased some beef jerky and potato chips at the gas station. HOT TIP: Never type in “gas” into google maps. Type in “Petrol Station” instead.

An image of a man sitting on a Swoop aircraft - Swoop Airlines review

Doesn’t Greg look happy stretching out in the empty seat our drunken seat mate left behind? Those gas station chips were yummy. Photo by DEBBIE OLSEN

The Drunk Guy on Our Return Flight

Our return flight was only ten minutes delayed – mostly because a drunken man had to be escorted off the aircraft by TSA officers. On the upside, he would have been sitting next to us, so my husband and I had an empty seat on which to spread our gas station snack buffet. We’re not sure if the drunk guy made our Swoop Airlines review better or worse.

Related: Interested in more articles about how NOT to travel? Check out our post about How Not to Get on an Aircraft.

n image of people boarding a Swoop aircraft at Abbotsford airport - Swoop Airlines review

It was not raining when we boarded the flight to go home. Things were looking up. Photo by DEBBIE OLSEN

Swoop Airlines Review – Final Report Card

Swoop got off to a rough start – in our personal experience and in general. In October, the airline made headlines for having to cancel all of its US flights, because it didn’t get the necessary approvals to operate in the United States in time for the flights it had already scheduled and sold tickets for. In our personal experience, both of our Swoop flights were delayed – though the return flight was only slightly delayed. Once we were in the air, the flight was fine, the staff was professional and the pilots got us to our destination safely. Everything wasn’t perfect, but we paid a low price. Ultimately, it is a budget carrier and you get what you pay for.

4 thoughts on “Swoop Airlines Review

  1. Paula Da Silva Reply

    My experience with Swoop was the worst possible.
    It began bad and ended even worse.
    Try to check in online 24 hours prior and had a message saying go to the booth to get your boarding pass.I Am not a Canadian citizen, but a permanent resident, get to the airport to check in to be denied entry on the plane, no info was provided that we now need an ESTA 72 hours prior to fly, not only this information wasn’t given to us, also we had the most rude check in Stuff.
    Decided to travel to Buffalo , within 5 minutes at the border we had our visas to fly.
    On the way back my luggage got lost in transaction.
    Been on the phone for 1hour and 39 minutes before got connected to a live operator, to let me know i need to be transfer to another department, spend total amount of 2.13 hours on the phone, to be told we still have not locate your suitcase and you will be contacted once we have more info. This has been almost a week later and still no word from them.
    If i could rate this company a 0 i would. Will never fly Swoop again and don’t recommended at all to anyone

    1. wanderwoman Reply

      Sorry to hear you had a bad experience on Swoop. There are certainly a lot of growing pains with these new discount airlines. My experience wasn’t perfect either, but my daughter just flew with them this past weekend and her flight went well. I think it’s hit and miss.

  2. Jayshree Reply

    I am traveller, and thereby flight is the most important aspect of my life. Have travelled via many airlines (Contnental, Air canada, Delta, United, Air france, Eithad, Emirates, Cathay pacific, Indigo, etc) before and always had a good experience.
    However this was to change with my experience with the Swoop airlines. The 6 of us (My girl friends and I) planned for a Vegas trip March 2019 & decided on this Swoop airlines. Why? coz they claimed good service and reasonable price. What a mistake!!!! They charged us 80$ right upfront while purchasing the ticket for the carry-on. Shouldn’t carry-on be free??
    Anyways, we let that go. And here came the 2nd blow. On our return at Las Vegas airport, we were asked to check-in our bags. We mentioned, that we came with the same bag on our way from Hamilton to Las Vegas, and our bags still weighed less than 10 kgs. But no the customer service manager won’t agree. He demanded we checked in our bags. This wasn’t the end. He demanded we pay 52 $ USD per bag. We were shocked. Why? Even if we checked-in our bags, the cost would be 25$ per bag or 30 $ at the max with a cumulative increase if the bags were real heavy (which wasn’t the case with our bags, each of our bags were <=10kgs) But No the customer service manager wont agree. He even threatened us saying "Do you want to go home or not?" this was heights.
    Basically they surreptitiously charged us.. TWICE.. and also in-courteous behavior.
    And by the way, I should mention, the flight didn't even provide water for free on a ~6 hours flight!!!
    Ripped us off our hard-earned money. Swoop airlines is a perfect example of "how to get rich by cheating and ripping off common citizens"
    If you want to have a good vacation, DO NOT EVER EVEN THINK OF TAKING SWOOP AIRLINES!

    1. wanderwoman Reply

      Thanks so much for sharing your Swoop Airlines experience, Jayshree. I’m sure it will help other travelers. It is a real disappointment to get charged twice for luggage and it’s unfortunate that they were rude about it. I agree with you about the water. I’d like to see them serve water free of charge – especially on a long flight like yours. Travelers should definitely bring a water bottle and watch out for luggage charges if they are flying Swoop.

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