In February 2020, Swoop Airlines had a great sale for flights from London Ontario (YXU) to Winnipeg, Manitoba (YWG). All in the cost was about $150, including baggage. I booked a flight for late May.
I have flown with Swoop twice before without issue. It’s a budget airline. I have flown to both Winnipeg and Edmonton, Alberta.
So…in April I’m sent an email – they are offering free rebooking. This actually worked in my favour, as changing dates a few days in advance would free up time for something else. I did, in fact, make a change.
Two weeks later I receive a second email. My flight has been cancelled. No explanation. I can rebook (again, without charge) or take a credit. I tried to rebook, except now the flight would cost 2.5 times more than I’ve already paid. Under current Canadian law, if an airline cancels your flight, the consumer is entitled to a full refund.
Unfortunately, the Canadian government doesn’t see it that way, allowing all of our major airlines to sit on millions of dollars in money owned to consumers.
Three months later, I still have my credit. Swoop no longer flies out of YXU. They have repeatedly refused a refund. Will I be flying with them again? Very likely not.
The airlines (all of them) turn these canceled flights in “credits”. These expire after two years. What’s lost in this scenario is the fact that we have paid good money for services that were never provided, and probably never will be. I’m unlikely to get the same flight at the same rate in the future. These “credits”, which expire, are consumers money.
Airlines are notorious for treating their non-status customers like dirt. This is something that will never change.
After the Covid19 pandemic is behind us, consumers would be wise to remember those companies that did not treat us well.
In addition to Swoop – I am owed a refund by Iceland Air. It has been promised since March, but has yet to arrive. Condor Air cancelled my flight for October – one phone call and one week later I was refunded in full.
UPDATE 1 September 2020 – Full refund received from Iceland Air after five months.
Swoop has released their schedule to April 2021 – flights from Hamilton have been cut in favour of Toronto. Service to London Ontario non-existent. My credit, good for two years, is unusable for the first year.
Also, Swoop cancelled all service to/from Newfoundland, leaving those with a credit stranded.