“It will not make a big difference for my clients”: Agents react to Swoop rumours

“It will not make a big difference for my clients”: Agents react to Swoop rumours

TORONTO — Travel advisors are weighing in on the possibility that low-cost carrier Swoop could be fully integrated into WestJet by October 2024.

The condition is reportedly included in the newly signed collective bargaining agreement between the WestJet Group and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA). The yet-to-be ratified agreement, reached in the early hours of May 19, staved off strike action by WestJet and Swoop pilots.

WestJet launched Swoop, its low-cost carrier, in 2017, with first flights in 2018, into an ever-growing field of ULCCs and LCCs.

In early 2022 WestJet Vacations announced WestJet Vacations packages with Swoop flights to select sun destinations, with the same commission structure for other WestJet Vacations packages.


Says Saskatoon-based travel consultant Jan Paschinski: “I do not book a lot of Swoop at all. Possibly booked it for a client twice, that is it. So it will not make a big difference for my clients.”

Meanwhile Richmond Hill, ON travel advisor Eric Cohen says the potential folding of Swoop into WestJet won’t likely have any direct impact on his business, “but it could have negative implications for consumers overall. Swoop’s elimination may lead to higher fares overall due to reduced price competition.”

Cohen says his clients generally avoid low-cost airlines, due to perceptions about customer service levels and seat pitch. “They are generally willing to pay more in order to have a more comfortable flight, even on short haul itineraries.”

Cohen adds: “I think most Swoop customers purchase primarily or solely based on the lowest available price. As Swoop does not pay commissions to travel advisors, we would charge service fees in order to book Swoop tickets. Travellers only looking for the lowest airfare would generally book direct to avoid these additional costs – even if they are missing out on the benefits of booking with a travel advisor, such as the time savings in not having to deal directly with the airline and having an advocate if an issue arises.”

Get travel news right to your inbox!