Review of Swoop flight Hamilton Orlando in Economy

Airline Swoop
Flight WO810
Class Economy
Seat 3A
Aircraft Boeing 737-800
Flight time 02:30
Take-off 19 Dec 18, 08:15
Arrival at 19 Dec 18, 10:45
WO 1 reviews
By GOLD 1387
Published on 10th January 2019

SWOOPING DOWN TO the sunshine state


  • Hamilton, ON YHM - Orlando International MCO - SWOOP You are here
  • Orlando International MCO - Toronto Pearson - Air Canada Rouge Coming soon

Welcome to SWOOP and YHM's first report on this site!

In June 2018, Canada welcomed its newest Ultra Low Cost Carrier (ULCC), SWOOP. Owned by parent company Westjet, the airline based its Hub at John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport (YHM). Its first route flown was between Hamilton, Ontario and Abbotsford, British Columbia. With a fleet of now 6 Boeing 737-800 aircraft, SWOOP has rapidly grown throughout Canada and has now tapped into the USA, Mexico and the Caribbean. 

As the foundation of SWOOP's network, Hamilton airport has seen rapid growth within the past year. Its location is key as the airport captures passenger traffic from the Greater Toronto Area, Southwestern Ontario and the Niagara/New York region. Along with it's major cargo operations YHM, has become a source of great fares. The airport has further expanded its reach by announcing Norwegian Air Shuttle to Dublin, Ireland which begins in spring of 2019. YHM's linear terminal layout, plays a major role in efficiency from checkin to takeoff. 

In December of 2018, SWOOP inaugurated US service to the sunshine state with routes to Tampa, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando. The entrance of the airline to this market posed strategic as it offered traveller an affordable option to enjoy sun destinations during the cold winter. Having witnessed the airline's summer launch I was inclined to get an opportunity jet down to Florida for a quick winter's break.  

  This would be my first time flying on an ULCC. Kindly take a read and let me know what you think. Thank you.  

Aircraft Registration: C-FONK  
Aircraft Type: Boeing 737-8CT
Aircraft Name: Jon
Operator: SWOOP
Delivered: 2018
MSN: 40835 
STD: 7:15AM
ATD: 8:17AM
ETA: 9:55 AM
ATA: 10:45 AM
Flight Time: 2:27


I arrived at YHM around 4:30AM just before check-in had opened. The airport was already bustling as passengers were eager to get to their respective destinations. Having not seen YHM for a couple months, I realized that it had gone through a beautiful revamp of the terminal appearance. The new wall decor was a huge upgrade which gave the terminal a lively feel!

DEPARTURE & Boarding

SWOOP has their own branded wall which runs adjacent to the check-in desks

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Wall branding "Hamilton"

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Norwegian to Dublin advert

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The departure hall just before passengers filled in

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Before flight WO810 to MCO, SWOOP had another departing flight to Winnipeg which began checkin about 40 minutes prior to that of the Orlando departure. This confused some passengers at first. As I had prepaid for all the necessary amenities I spent about 3 minutes at the desk with the agent. 

During winter months the sun rises closer to 8am in Southern Ontario. Here you can see 2 of the 4 SWOOP aircraft prior to boarding. To the very far left of the photo were an Air Canada Jazz Crj-200 and an Air Transat 738. 

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As an ULCC, those passengers that purchased pre boarding were the first on the aircraft along with children and those in wheel chairs. YHM boards aircraft through air stairs and their paths to the aircrafts are well guided with bright colored barriers.  The sun was beginning to rise when we made our way to C-FONK. To the far right AC's crj began to taxi as a UPS A300 had just arrived, a few hours late. 

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C-GDMP as WO808 to Tampa &  C-FPLS as WO701 to Abbotsford were loading up for departure. YHM operations personnel were busy throughout the boarding and servicing period. 

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View from the boarding stairs

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Boarding took about 20 minutes maximum. Passengers took some time to get in the aircraft as many snapped pictures of the beautiful sunrise. 
The view from Seat 3A was stunning! 

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As expected here is the seat pitch between the seats of an unpurchased extra space seating.

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This can be contrasted to seats 3 D-F on the opposite side of the cabin.

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Despite boarding being finished, there was a lengthly delay which I assume was due to de-icing. I missed the crew's explanation as I dosed off. The stairs was removed right after the cabin door closed and remained like that for around 45 minutes. 

Between checkin and departure, YHM's massive cargo operation was in full swing. One of Cargojet's 767s rested on the apron after arrival.

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At the de-icing bay.

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Momentarily, we began our taxi to the active. On taxiing on Taxiway C, we passed a stored Qatari Amari 747SP which had been at the airport for the past few months. Along with the 747 a stored 727 de-engined was also spotted.

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We made a swift back track of RWY 10/30 and were on our way!

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We cruised at 38,000 ft where the majority of the flight was overcast. The hot pink gave a nice contrast on the fluffy white clouds. 

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SWOOP offered inflight wifi service through their mobile app and snacks were for purchase. Quite a good choice for a short flight. 

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Food and drinks were available for purchase


Descent began over southern GA and continued into MCO. As we got below 12,000 feet skies began to clear. 

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MCO tower

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Upon arrival to our concourse, the aircraft began taxiing into a wrong gate. This was corrected immediately and we pulled in next to EK220 bound for DXB. 

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Took a snap of the central area before headed for my transportation.

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See more



Cabin crew9.0
Buy-on-board menu8.5

Hamilton - YHM


Orlando - MCO



I enjoyed my first flight on an Ultra Low Cost Carrier. From departure to arrival, my experience was nice. Despite being delayed in the aircraft for an hour, the crew managed to get to MCO 50 minutes after our initial time of arrival. I've seen for myself how an inexperienced traveller may react when things don't go their way on ULC's and I truly believe they should understand the terms and conditions of which they've booked their flight. YHM is a relatively small airport and passengers use that as a leverage for cutting it tight with respect to closing check-in times. Everything experienced was what was expected. On the downside, since we were late, EK219 landed before us which caused immigration lines to be bad. I spent about 90 minutes waiting to see a customs as there were only 4 working for three international flights; EK220 from DXB and BW482 from POS. All in all, I'd recommend SWOOP to any of my friends wishing for an affordable quick getaway. The airline offers students another option to get back to their sunny homelands by avoiding the fares of the legacy carrier/s. Look out for new routes being launched in the near future.



  • Comment 483380 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 5273 Comments

    Hi JAZ350, thanks for sharing this latest report! TWO Firsts in ONE report with Swoop and YHM, nice!

    Not surprising to see a new Canadian ULCC on a Florida route to cater to the huuuuge community of Canadian Snowbirds.

    $4.99 for spirits and $6.99 for wine isn't bad in CAD! Most US carriers (including Legacy) charge that much in USD in Economy.

    It's too bad YHM doesn't have US CBP pre-clearance facilities like most other Canadian airports! I guess prior to Swoop starting up a small hub at YHM, there weren't many, if any Transborder flights from YHM, but now that Swoop if flying to FLL, MCO, TPA, and LAS a small pre-clearance facility may be warranted if Swoop continues to grow and makes the Transborder flights work.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Comment 483393 by
      JAZ350 GOLD AUTHOR 76 Comments

      Hey Kevin, I was excited to do this report and glad to post first for both airline and airport. I found it key that SWOOP entered the market which would offer something affordable for travelers wishing to experience some warmth during the cold months. I do wish that we had pre-clearance as we would have avoided the immigration lines at MCO; I usually expect long waits at MIA but not MCO! Hopefully as the frequencies increase, and if they keep their high load factors something may be done with respect to pre-clearance.

  • Comment 483441 by
    KL651 TEAM 4481 Comments

    Thanks for this FR.
    Good value for money and it's good to have an option from a smaller airport.
    I like their branding too.

  • Comment 483476 by
    emyrrs SILVER 99 Comments

    Thanks for bringing up Swoop here. Hopefully they'll grow bigger! As in other new LCC like Joon will be deceased their operations...

  • Comment 483537 by
    hometoyyz SILVER 538 Comments

    Hello Jaz350,

    Wow! A double-header of Canadian reviews on the site. Nicely done, fellow flight-reporter!

    Swoop… because the name Rouge was already taken!

    “The airport has further expanded its reach by announcing Norwegian Air Shuttle to Dublin, Ireland which begins in spring of 2019”
    … provided Norweigan remains solvent.

    I didn’t even realize AC worked YHM. With a CRJ. Hmmmm… where does it go, Montreal?

    Ah, the joys of boarding by stairs in a Canadian winter! Nice shots, though, with the sunrise. Both during boarding, and once on-board.

    “Boarding took about 20 minutes maximum.”
    On a North American carrier? How was the load? Seems we struggle on this continent to load anything larger than a Beech in less than half an hour.

    Legroom looks…. very Rouge. Based on how miserable the (wider than the 737) Rouge A319 is in economy, this configuration could get very uncomfortable very fast if the plane was full.

    What’s the story of the Qatari 747SP? Cool thing to spot, though.

    The in-flight experience looks about like what one would expect from a ULCC. Was the service still Westjetty? And the BOB menu doesn’t look too bad. Or too gougy.

    “I spent about 90 minutes waiting to see a customs…”
    Yikes! I didn’t realize no preclearance at YHM. That’s quite a bit of a pain.

    Thanks for a first look at Swoop

    • Comment 483572 by
      JAZ350 GOLD AUTHOR 76 Comments

      Thanks man! Yeah the airport has expanded significantly in the past year. I hope they remain solvent as they're a great way to get to Europe. I remember going to Scandinavia for $480USD round trip from JFK! Norwegian chose YHM also as it captures the west New York traffic whilst still being close to the GTA.
      AC is operated by Jazz Aviation actually, and yes from YUL. The flights are positioned so persons can make connections; during breaks its easy for me to book YHM-YUL-BGI vs going all the way to toronto for the YYZ-BGI as it can be a lot cheaper depending on time of year.
      Boarding was swift and straight forward, the two departing SWOOPs used far opposite doors which divided the passenger traffic.The load was about 75% but TPA seemed almost full at the time when I left the terminal. The seating was similar to Rouge's A319/A321 vs the B767 (you'll see this in my next report). I was often lucky when booking AC from BGI was it was a 77W replacing a ROU763.
      The Qatari 747SP is being stored at YHM until they find a new buyer, it's among some other old royal aircraft at the airport.
      In respect to the service, it was slightly similar to west jet, just that the flight attendants only showed face when needed to. When we arrived into MCO I had seen EK220 and was hoping it had arrived earlier but they've changed their times since I last flew that flight. I can definitely see YHM getting a pre-clearance soon based on the frequency of the transborder flights, even if its seasonal.

  • Comment 483541 by
    Maikeru 3 Comments

    Thanks for the report. I used to fly out of Hamilton many years ago, but now live much closer to Pearson, so no more Hammer flights for me.

    At least they got you there on time, more or less, which is always the issue with the Canadian LCC's.

    • Comment 483573 by
      JAZ350 GOLD AUTHOR 76 Comments

      You're welcome! Now with the new airline I'd have a better reason to use YHM vs YYZ. I've heard of the horror stories with a so-called LCC and I'm glad I avoided having to experience them.

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