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Swoop cancels dozens of U.S.-bound flights due to lack of approval

Last Updated Oct 19, 2018 at 5:49 am EDT

Hundreds of travellers were left scrambling after discount airline Swoop cancelled dozens of U.S.-bound flights just days before they were supposed to depart.

Raj Singh says he and his girlfriend had booked two seats on Swoop airlines from Hamilton, Ont., to Orlando, Fla. for a total of $585. The young couple had planned a trip to Walt Disney World two months ago, but a week before they were set take off, they suddenly learned their Oct. 24 flight was cancelled.

“It went from excitement to nerve-wracking,” Singh told CityNews. “Now we’re being rushed into making a decisions on high prices and trying to figure out what to do because now you’re left hanging.”

Theirs was one of 56 Swoop flights to the U.S. affected, and the reason cited by the airline has Singh questioning why he was sold the seats in the first place.

The airline’s website lists advisories for flights to Las Vegas, Orlando, Tampa, and Fort Lauderdale all  before Oct. 27, explaining, “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.”

“Why would you not have the approval beforehand, before marketing yourself?” Singh asked. “They would have had this information for some time and should have given an asterisk or warning that this flight is subject to approval.”

In a statement to CityNews, Swoop spokeswoman Karen McIsaac wrote, “We apologize to our travellers for this inconvenience and for the disappointment they have expressed. We are focused on doing what is right and are working directly with affected travellers to provide options including rebooking on an alternate flight or providing full refunds and compensation.”

McIsaac added that Swoop, which is owned by WestJet, leased an aircraft from their parent company and rebooked 32 of the impacted flights

Singh said he was unable to book seats on a WestJet flight that matched the dates for his hotel booking, car rental and DisneyWorld park passes, which he said in total cost about $2000 on top of his flight. Swoop has offered him a refund, plus $200 but he said its not enough to cover a last minute flight with another airline.

“The costs skyrocketed more than double, triple almost,” Singh said.