A Guelph, Ont., man says Swoop airlines refused to give him free water during a nearly five-hour flight. But, he says, he was given a cup of ice.
Wayne Fernandes told Global News he was on a flight from Hamilton to Las Vegas earlier this month when he asked a flight attendant for water and was told he would have to pay for it.
“As a matter of principle, I said: ‘I’m not going to pay for my water, can you give me a cup of ice?’ I waited for it to melt, and that’s how I got my water,” he said.
Fernandes said he knows and understands how budget airlines work and that you have to pay for things like food and luggage. But he said he believes water, like other essentials such as toilet paper, should be free.
“It’s just human decency at this point,” he said.
In an email statement to Global News, Swoop said paid water is an example of its “completely unbundled products and services,” which allow travellers to choose what they spend money on.
“Swoop offers completely unbundled products and services, allowing travellers to control their costs and customize their experience by purchasing only the extras they desire. Examples of extras include onboard food, snacks and alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages,” the statement read.
“Bottles of water are available for purchase onboard, and we encourage guests to bring their own empty water bottle and to fill it up once through security, putting guests in control of where they decide to spend and where they save.”
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The Canadian Transportation Agency explained in an email to Global News that airlines must provide free food and drinks in prolonged cases of tarmac and flight delays, cancellations and when passengers are denied boarding. However, there are no specific rules about whether they need to provide free drinking water in regular circumstances.
The rules for tarmac delays and boarding denials have been in effect since July 15 this year, while delay and cancellation food and drink requirements will come into force in December.
Similarly, in the U.S., food and water is only required when flights are delayed.
That doesn’t mean there hasn’t been controversy over this issue.
Years earlier in 2013, another budget carrier called Norwegian Air Shuttle changed its policy about paid water after facing criticism.
Fernandes said he decided not to make a formal complaint to the airline. However, he explained he wanted to speak out in hopes the airline would change the policy.
“I don’t understand how they can get away with that on an almost five-hour flight,” he said.