Embattled airline Swoop is promising action after a damaged plane led to seven cancelled flights this week, forcing some passengers to wait until early September for a new flight.
Travellers expecting to fly from Kelowna, B.C. to Winnipeg on Monday received texts from the low-cost carrier that their flight had been rescheduled — some for Sept. 2, some for Sept. 4, and some for Sept. 6.
Michelle Vanderlip, one of those travellers, told Global News she could not obtain answers after boarding was halted halfway through, and the delay turned from minutes into hours before the flight was cancelled.
“It’s pretty stressful when it seems like they put it on us to find a way home,” she said. “It’s unbelievable to me that they could kind of abandon us.”
Swoop president Steven Greenway said Wednesday that unspecified damage was found on the plane in question, forcing it to be grounded for repairs.
Six other flights were cancelled through Wednesday because of the grounding, he added, affecting service to and from Edmonton, Hamilton, Abbotsford, B.C., Las Vegas and Orlando.
WATCH: Swoop Airline cancels flight, makes passengers wait 11 days for return trip
“On behalf of Swoop, I would like to sincerely apologize for any inconvenience our impacted travellers have experienced due to the unscheduled maintenance to one of our aircraft,” Greenway said.
The plane is expected to return to service on Thursday.
In the meantime, Greenway said Swoop is working to provide the estimated 1,000 impacted travellers with alternative travel arrangements.
“All impacted travellers are rebooked on the next available Swoop flight,” he said.
“If the flight is not satisfactory, travellers are welcome to book alternative travel arrangements” with other airlines that Swoop will cover with reimbursements, provided they’re booked in the same service class.
Greenway also said travellers who are delayed for more than three hours have received meal, hotel and transportation vouchers.
But some passengers have told Global News they have only received one night of hotel accommoda
tion, while others were initially told they wouldn’t be compensated for other travel costs.
WATCH: Passengers wait days for next plane after cancelled Swoop flight
Vanderlip said a customer service agent she spoke with suggested that she ask “family members, boyfriends, girlfriends or people to help out and get you home, which I thought was kind of rude.”
Calgary-based Swoop was launched by WestJet in 2017, as an ultra-low-cost carrier.
Travel expert Claire Newell suggested that smaller airlines like Swoop don’t have the resources to rebook everyone right away.
She recommended that travellers eat the extra cost of arriving at home for now and deal with reimbursement later.
Vanderlip said she’ll never fly with Swoop again.
— With files from Sam Thompson, Elisha Dacey, Aaron McArthur and Jules Knox