Swoop’s unplanned maintenance grounds hundreds


Hundreds of passengers from Canadian ultra low-cost carrier Swoop Airlines had their travel plans disrupted when two of the company’s seven planes went down for “unscheduled maintenance,” right at the height of the busy summer travel season.

First one aircraft went down, then a second needed maintenance in Edmonton. The second aircraft has since been returned to service, though the knock-on effects will be felt well into the week.

The airline announced almost two dozen cancellations between last Friday and next Wednesday. The flights have hit Hamilton, the airline’s busiest airport during the summer, particularly hard.

On Monday, service from Hamilton to Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida were mothballed, and on Tuesday, flights between Southern Ontario and Halifax have already been grounded. The same issue has also affected flights to Edmonton, the airline’s second-largest operation, and Winnipeg.

“First and foremost, we’d like to apologize,” the airline posted on its website.

“We know first-hand how disruptive it is when travel doesn’t go as planned, and we’re deeply sorry for the disruption. Safety must and will always be at the forefront of our decision making and we are working around the clock to reaccommodate [sic] impacted travellers as quickly and safely as possible.”

The disruption has led frustrated passengers to vent their anger on social media.

“So what happens now?” wondered Kim Michelle on Twitter. “I’m losing a full 12 hours of my vacation due to the the flight change. This impacts my hotel, my car rental etc. Also, now it’s not showing my booked and paid for seats. There are accessibility issues as well that now I’m not sure will addressed.”

“Thanks for ruining my daughter and son in laws vacation that’s been booked for months,” wrote Dwayne Schaus, “especially when she took time off without pay.”

“In accordance with our tariff,” said Karen McIsaac, Senior Communications Adviser at Swoop, in an e-mail, “affected travellers will be provided with accommodation, meal and transportation as needed and those that wished to cancel can do so for a full refund. We’ve brought in additional resources to assist with the recovery as quickly as possible.”

The airline says affected travellers are being re-booked on the next available Swoop flight.

“If the alternate flight time provided is not suitable, travellers are able to self-manage bookings at https://www.flyswoop.com/manage-my-bookings/ to try to find a more appropriate flight time (subject to availability) or cancel for a full refund (processed 5 business days).”

The Canadian Transportation Agency is encouraging affected passengers to file a complaint, if Swoop hasn’t respected its tariff.

New regulations on what must be in those tariffs are due to come into effect next week, though as an airline flying less than two million passengers, any compensation Swoop would otherwise have to pay would be smaller than one of the larger carriers.