Tickets officially went on sale Thursday for WestJet’s ultra low-cost carrier Swoop, but no Island destinations have made the list – yet.
The airline announced through its website it will be flying to/from Abbotsford, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Hamilton and Halifax. The company noted more destinations will be announced soon.
Initial tickets through the website were selling from Abbotsford to Hamilton one-way for $7.50, with the first flight available on June 20.
The airline said it will provide Canadians will a no-frills, lower-fare travel option; the company has chosen Calgary as the location of its headquarters, the same location as WestJet’s corporate head office.
The concept of ULCCs have taken off in the U.S. and in Europe, and unlike major carriers, many low-cost carriers develop bases to maximize destination coverage. Many do not operate traditional hubs, but often fly to smaller, less congested secondary airports.
To make the ULCC model work, WestJet has standardized plane sizes, seating configurations and flight patterns, and “kept the bells and whistles at airports to a minimum,” explained Comox Airport CEO Fred Bigelow last year following the initial announcement of the airline.
“There is room for this business model (in Canada) … because they try to attract flyers that just aren’t flying. Now the guy who wants to fly home to see his parents at Thanksgiving who couldn’t afford it before can now fly.”
A return ticket purchased Thursday from Abbotsford to Edmonton, departing July 25 to July 31, cost a total of $77.98 without extras. Amenities such as luggage and seat assignments, are extra.
A seat with extra legroom has a one-way price of $21; standard seats up to the exit rows are $11, while seats behind the exit rows to the rear of the plane are $6.
One personal item is included in the base fare price; carry-on luggage is priced (one-way) at $36.75 each, while checked bags are $26.25. Priority boarding is also extra at $10.50 one-way.
The return flight from Abbotsford to Edmonton (base fare of $77.98), purchased with a standard seat selection and one checked bag each way costs $151.48 return, including tax.