Tell us: Do you book flights on discount airlines?

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

Swoop Airlines, Westjet’s discount airline, has been riddled with flight delays and bitter customers over the past few days, leaving passengers with Twitter as their most useful tool for figuring out when they will get to their destination.

Melissa A. was one of the passengers scheduled to travel with Swoop on Saturday. She was booked on Flight 112 with an 8:30 a.m. ET departure from Hamilton, Ont. to Halifax. Due to a “maintenance delay,” the flight left the airport at 1:30 a.m. ET on December 2 “with no compounding issues,” according to a statement from Swoop.

“A lot of people rushed to Toronto to pay $450+ for last-second flights from [Toronto Pearson International Airport],” Melissa A. said in a statement to Yahoo News Canada. “They brought pizza around 2:00 p.m. and bought donuts for the people who had to wait and we were also allowed to grab $10 meal coupons if we wanted but none of that makes up for the inconvenience.”

Swoop began operations earlier this year to provide Canadians with a “no-frills, lower-fare travel option.” The company’s headquarters is in Calgary and currently operates a fleet of six Boeing 737-800 aircrafts, flying to 14 destinations in Canada, the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean.

Melissa A. said the most frustrating thing about the experience was the lack of communication with Swoop throughout the whole process.

“Delays happen, cancellations happen, but this lack of communication was awful,” Melissa A. said. “People were waiting on hold with Swoop for hours, I didn’t even bother calling.

“I messaged on Twitter and they stopped replying, maybe I’ll get a reply later.”

A flight from Halifax to John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport was also delayed on Saturday, leaving passengers stranded at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport for over 30 hours.

“I can confirm that Swoop flight 113 from Halifax to Hamilton on December 1 was cancelled for maintenance and all travellers were rebooked on Flight 2113 Halifax to Hamilton in the early morning of December 2,” Karen McIsaac, a spokesperson for Swoop explained in a statement to Yahoo  News Canada.

“Unfortunately, a cabin crew member for Flight 2113 then fell ill and was unable to operate, causing a subsequent delay for the affected travellers.”

According to McIsaac, a replacement cabin crew arrived later that day, with the flight taking off at 7:21 p.m. AST on December 2. In terms of compensation, Swoop confirmed that accommodation, meal and transportation vouchers were issued during delays and passenger were able to receive “a full refund” if they chose to cancel their flight.

The lack of communication from the airline to customers identified by Melissa A. was also a problem for David Hallett, a Swoop passenger flying to Hamilton from Halifax on December 2 with his pregnant wife and 17-month-old son.

“Any Twitter messages out there from flyers were about communication,” Hallett told Yahoo News Canada.

A message Swoop customer David Hallett received from Swoop via Twitter on December 2, 2018. (Provided by David Hallett)

The Hallett family was booked on Flight 113, schedule to depart at 12:30 p.m. AST but Swoop confirmed that the flight did not depart until until 3:08 a.m. AST on December 3 “due to crew rest.”

“Our flight was cancelled. A staff member had an ear infection as explained by the company,” Hallett said. “We didn’t get an email. We found out as we got to the airport with our son and luggage…my pregnant wife who works and I started to break down.”

While Melissa A. and the Hallett family are still waiting for concrete information from Swoop about any reimbursement for their flight reservations specifically, Swoop passengers outside the Hamilton – Halifax corridor have also taken Twitter to demand answers about additional delays, including flights from Las Vegas, Nev., Abbottsford, B.C. and Edmonton:

Both Melissa A. and Hallett admit that delays can happen with every airline, but both Swoop customers are cautious about booking with the discount airline in the future.

“My wife and I were contemplating a hot destination with Swoop and we don’t know if we can do it,” Hallett said. “Being humiliated, scared and worried for your family is not the kind of vacation anyone deserves.”

“I’ve taken low cost carriers and short haul flights in Asia and I’ve never had this issue,” Melissa A. said. “So it will make me nervous from now on but yes I would feel more comfortable using other airlines.”

So would you fly on a discount airline? Do you think there are risks specific to discount airlines? Vote in the poll above and leave your thoughts in the comments below.