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Swoop cancels dozens of flights to U.S., leaving passengers scrambling

A Swoop Airlines Boeing 737-800 is on display during a media event, June 19, 2018 at John C. Munro International Airport in Hamilton, Ont. .
A Swoop Airlines Boeing 737-800 is on display during a media event, June 19, 2018 at John C. Munro International Airport in Hamilton, Ont. . THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tara Walton

Discount airline Swoop has cancelled 24 flights to the U.S. as it waits for regulatory approval from the country.

The airline’s first flights to the States were supposed to start taking off this week, but were cancelled at the last minute as Swoop awaits “one final regulatory approval required to operate to the U.S.,” Swoop spokesperson Karen McIsaac told Global News.

READ MORE: Swoop to add flights from Hamilton to Jamaica

Swoop – a subsidiary of WestJet – offers cheap airline tickets across Canada and to some international destinations.

While all of the airline’s U.S. flights this week are cancelled, the ones scheduled after Oct. 27 are still on the calendar – and Swoop is still selling tickets for them.

WATCH: Airline passenger group launches complaint against Swoop 

Airline passenger group launches complaint against Swoop
Airline passenger group launches complaint against Swoop

“We remain optimistic that we will receive the outstanding approval in short order with indicators showing it will arrive prior to October 27, at which time Swoop will resume its scheduled flights,” McIsaac said.

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Swoop will be refunding the cost – and offering some compensation.

But those who were expecting to take a vacation say the compensation doesn’t go far enough.

Kyle Wood and his wife planned to fly from Hamilton, Ont., to Tampa Bay, Fla., for a week leaving on Saturday, Oct. 20. A pair of tickets cost them over $700 for the return trip.

That will be refunded. The airline is also promising to give them $100 in compensation for each leg of the flight per person (which worked out to $400 total). Wood says that doesn’t come close to the cost of booking a last-minute flight – well over $2,000.

WATCH: Compensation for delayed or cancelled flights

Compensation for delayed or canceled flights
Compensation for delayed or canceled flights

He says he was told the refund for the tickets won’t be in his bank account for three to five business days, and that Swoop would send the compensation cheque in the mail.

“We had to cancel everything because we weren’t going to pay three times as much just because someone didn’t make the regulatory paperwork available,” Wood said.

“It makes no sense because who can book a flight for two people for $700 a week before they go away?”

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READ MORE: After 60-hour delay, WestJet passengers might get $1,800 each in compensation

He also said he was upset because they were selling something they didn’t have confirmed – likening it to “selling a Luke Bryan concert ticket, but you haven’t booked Luke Bryan yet.”

“We put our faith in a Canadian airline,” Wood said, “and I want to say ‘I want you to succeed,’ but it leaves a bad taste in your mouth.”