Swoop, here it is! WestJet has rolled out their own Ultra-Low-Cost Carrier to bring Canadians a cheaper way to fly.


Travelling isn’t cheap in Canada. It’s especially frustrating if you’ve ever travelled overseas and found out that it’s just as expensive, if not cheaper, to fly to places like London, England vs London, Ontario.

Speaking of Europe, a number of discount airlines exist like Ryanair that make it so you can travel to a different country for the same price as a Tim Horton’s double-double and a doughnut. These are considered Ultra Low-Cost Carriers (ULCC’s for short) and a relatively new concept to North America, that hasn’t had the greatest of successes yet in Canada.

 

Looking at you NewLeaf.

 

Well, WestJet is throwing its hat into the ULCC ring with their own company.

 

Introducing: Swoop.

“The name Swoop denotes exactly what we plan to do,” said Bob Cummings WestJet Executive Vice-President, Strategy and the executive member responsible for the launch of Swoop. “It’s a powerful verb that demonstrates we plan to swoop into the Canadian market with a new business model that will provide lower fares and greater opportunity for more Canadians to travel.”

“If you’ve travelled, you know the drill. You plan your trip, book your flights, question the fare and wish there were more affordable options. Airlines are bundlers, which is great for convenience, but not so great for low fares.

Well, you can consider Ultra Low Cost Carriers like Swoop unbundlers. “

So how are they going to keep the prices down? By making it a pretty ‘minimal’ experience. Swoop’s website describes it as a sort of a la carte style service that puts you, the traveller, in the driver seat. When you go to book a flight, all that will be included in the base price is what it costs to put your butt in the seat. You can add a snack, checked baggage or in-flight entertainment at an additional cost – your choice.

 

The fare is lower while flying a safe, comfortable fleet. To make the ULCC model work, we’ve standardized plane sizes, seating configurations and flight patterns, and kept the bells and whistles at airports to a minimum. It’s not going to replace other airlines – just complement the options available.

The website now shows that Swoop will be operating in Abbotsford, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Halifax and Hamilton. With more cities and routes to be announced.

*keeping my fingers crossed for Victoria**

Flights start as low as $7.50 from Abby to Edmonton one way up to $41. Not bad.

Now for the fine print, like other ULCC’s, they save money by charging extra for EVERYTHING. Which isn’t a bad thing, it’s the cost of operation this sort of business.

The extra fees are going to pop up for things like checking luggage, seat selection and priority check-in. This is where that ‘a la carte style service’ comes into play.

Luggage

This is where things get pricey. The only free baggage you’re allowed to bring is a personal item. This means a purse, laptop bag, small backpack etc. Carry-ons and full-size luggage will cost you, with the price being on a sliding scale.

Another thing to keep in mind is that pets are not allowed on Swoop flights.

Seat Selection

Seat selection will give you the option to keep everyone together if you’re travelling in a group, or to give you extra legroom, also if you’re the sort of person who NEEDS a window seat when you fly.

Swoop offers seat selections starting from only $6, it’s easy to create your journey exactly the way you want it.

Priority Check-In

Like other airlines, families with small children and elderly passengers will board the plan first. But everything after that is free for all. If you want to board early to get a prime spot for your carry-on bag, you’ll have to pay extra.

Screen-cap from Swoop website

 

Now you’ve gotten all the facts, you’re ready to fly!

 

Filed under: Airplane, bailey parker, Flying, Swoop, travel, westjet