Hamilton

'Very disappointed': Swoop cancels more flights following bird strike, maintenance

The low-cost airline says it grounded flights from Hamilton to Abbotsford, B.C. and back again Wednesday and is warning travellers about "unscheduled maintenance" on a plane in Winnipeg which means the Thursday-night round-trip flight from Hamilton to Las Vegas has also been cancelled.

The airline cancelled 30 flights during the first 10 days of July alone

Yet another Swoop flight out of Hamilton has been cancelled, stranding passengers planning to travel to British Columbia. (Chris Squires)

Cancellations and flight delays continue to plague Swoop following a bird strike in London, Ont. and unscheduled maintenance in Winnipeg.

The low-cost airline says it grounded flights from Hamilton to Abbotsford, B.C. and back again Wednesday and is warning travellers about "unscheduled maintenance" on a plane in Winnipeg which means the Thursday-night round-trip flight from Hamilton to Las Vegas has also been cancelled.

"It will take several days to get all impacted travellers to their destinations as there are no current additional aircraft available," stated the airline in an email to CBC News.

"In addition to the cancellation of yesterday's Hamilton-Abbotsford return flight there will be ongoing impacts to the network until maintenance is completed in Winnipeg and that aircraft has returned to service."

News of this latest cancellations follow frustration and confusion sparked by a rash of 30 cancellations the airline made during the first 10 days in July that left some customers paying out-of-pocket to salvage travel plans. 

Chris Squires says it meant a rocky start to vacation for him and his family, who were supposed to take their first trip back to B.C. in four years on Wednesday.

They live in Kingston, but booked a flight out of Hamilton way back in March.

Squires, along with his wife and two kids, was dropped off by friends at the John C. Munro International Airport. They had made it through security when he says they received an email saying the flight had been cancelled due to a "mechanical" issue.

Chris Squires says the cancellation left his family very disappointed. (Chris Squires)

After months of planning and a three-hour drive from Kingston, Squires says notice of the cancellation came just two hours before their plane was supposed to take off, leaving little time to come up with a contingency plan.

"We're going back because my mother-in-law had surgery," he explained. "We chose Swoop because it seemed to be a great deal. We're very disappointed."

Swoop says Squires's flight was grounded because of a bird strike in London that required a complete safety inspection of the aircraft.

The airline says all passengers meant to take that plane have been moved to the soonest available Swoop flight, but added getting them where they're supposed to go will take several days.

Squires says he was initially told he and his family were being moved to another flight that wasn't scheduled to take off for another three days.

That left his kids feeling "pretty torn apart."

But, following some negotiation with Swoop staff at the airport, he says the airline agreed to put his family in a hotel overnight and get them on a flight out Thursday.

Still, he says others weren't as lucky and he's left unimpressed by the whole experience.

"In a customer service business you take care of your customers," he said. "They should have concessions [and] policies in place for when things go wrong."

Swoop said it is working to get the plane in Winnipeg back in service as soon as possible.

"We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience to our impacted travellers."

with files from Sophia Harris

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