Should I fly Zoom?
April 21, 2008 2:12 PM   Subscribe

Has anyone ever flown Zoom Airlines for a transatlantic (or other long) flight? I had never heard of them until recently, and the reviews online aren't very good. This is probably due to the fact that disgruntled people take it to the Internet, so I'd like to know of your experiences, good or bad.

I'm kind of interested in how no-frills it is. Is it comparable to flying British Airways? They seem to have lots of extra charges for seat selection and water (!) which didn't seem too good to me. But the fares in general are pretty cheap, so those charges might not be too bad. Thanks so much.
posted by bluefly to Travel & Transportation (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My brother flew them Glasgow-Ottawa a couple of years ago. The aircraft developed a technical problem shortly before boarding and the flight was delayed something like 8 hours while they flew in another aircraft (they told everyone to go home and that they'd call them when they were ready to go).
At that time their fleet consisted of something like 3 planes, so they couldn't avoid huge delays if things went wrong on their transatlantic flights. The flight itself he had no complaints about, but their scheduling was more like a charter operation.

I know a guy who was flying for them then too, and he also said they were pretty seat-of-the-pants when it came to scheduling, but didn't have any complaints about safety.
posted by cardboard at 2:23 PM on April 21, 2008

i flew them London to Vancouver - 12 hours - in February.

to be honest, i was expecting the worst.

i was very pleasantly surprised! it was nothing fancy, but the plane seemed fine, the staff were really very nice, the movies were on overhead screens, the food wasn't worth mentioning (though it never is). we left on time, arrived on time both ways.

i would definitely fly them again. no-frills, but a fairly pleasant experience overall.
posted by wayward vagabond at 2:44 PM on April 21, 2008

Is it comparable to flying British Airways?

Ha ha ha ha ha. That was a joke, right? It's a budget airline. That doesn't change because it is a transatlantic flight, although it is less budget than say, Ryan Air. You get a seat on a clean, safe aircraft. Do NOT expect anything more than that. It is a seat. That's it.

Ok, you get a seat and a meal and a movie, but really. You are getting what you pay for - literally, down to water and headphones - and it is no-frills. It is also really, really cheap.

- Bring snacks and whatever the TSA or whomever lets you bring for water.
- The LGW > YYZ flight stops in Ottawa. It adds an hour to the flight time, which you may not have noticed.
- Pay for the seat selection, it is totally worth it and you may (?) get free headphones!

But yeah, it's cheap and it works.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:47 PM on April 21, 2008

I flew Toronto-Gatwick last fall ($198 return!!). Courteous staff, experienced no delays or problems, and was very satisfied with the experience. Would fly again A+++.

Yes, Zoom is No-frills, so expect that their aircraft are a bit older, the food a bit crappier, the leg and elbow room a bit more scarce, the movie screen a bit smaller (actually it may not have been there at all?). Personally, I'm quite prepared to tolerate these inconveniences for fares that can be half as much as other airlines. Depends how many "luxuries" you need, and if the price still makes sense with all the add-ons. I haven't flown British Airways so I can't compare, but I'm pretty sure Zoom is of lower quality. It's worse than Air Canada. But certainly better than EasyJet, if that's of any help!
posted by Kabanos at 2:58 PM on April 21, 2008

Response by poster: Is it comparable to flying British Airways?

Ha ha ha ha ha. That was a joke, right? It's a budget airline.

I meant more in terms of the planes -- i.e. leg room, safety, etc. I consider BA to be an average international carrier in those terms. I'm familiar with what a budget airline is.

Thanks for all of your responses.
posted by bluefly at 2:59 PM on April 21, 2008

It completely depends on how much you care about your comfort on air travel. I've flown Zoom and would never do it again, but it's worth the extra cash to me to fly with more leg room, my own tv screen, in-seat power for my laptop, and on an aircraft that has to be somewhere else worldwide at a specific time so that my own flight is generally on-time. (Caveat: I'm so flight anal that I just booked Air Canada instead of BA from YYZ to LHR because I don't want to deal with the Terminal 5 bullshit - and then, of course they went and delayed the terminal switch. But as a commuter on these flights, I need to feel good when I land.) Zoom is great if you don't care about any of these things and just want to get there cheaply.
posted by meerkatty at 3:26 PM on April 21, 2008

I did Zoom Montreal to London about a month ago. It was a 600$ difference in fare (one way) between them and BA.
My advice is to pay extra for the "first class", which is about 100$ more. It's worth it for longer flights and you get to choose your seat and have an extra 10kg or so of luggage. Their first class is about equivalent to coach on a normal airline in terms of seat space and food, but they did give me a complimentary neck pillow thingy.

Anyways on my flight we taxied out to the runway, waited around awhile and then taxied right back to the gate because of some kind of mechanical problem. All in all we were stuck on the plane for 2 hours before takeoff which is a lot when it's already a transatlantic flight. So to ease the wait they put on a movie, without announcing which movie it was. Imagine our collective delight when the opening credits to Alvin and the Chipmunks rolled up on the screen.
posted by vodkaboots at 3:30 PM on April 21, 2008 [1 favorite]

Just a note of caution. Budget airlines (at least those in the US) have been filing for bankruptcy almost weekly. How well is Zoom doing these days? Anything in the news about them?
posted by exphysicist345 at 4:39 PM on April 21, 2008

My friend flew Toronto-Paris and had no complaints. To quote the great man verbatim, "Zoom is good."
posted by KevCed at 5:33 PM on April 21, 2008

We used Zoom from JFK to London round trip in summer of 2007. The outbound leg was $1.95 (sic!) per person! The inbound leg was $195.00. With taxes for four people, I paid less than $1,000 in the summer peak.

This made the ten hour departure delay bearable kinda. some of the NYC/LON flights vector through Bermuda, and a storm there was blamed for a delay of the incoming aircraft.

Clearly, there are no spare planes.

You also have to buy blankets and pillows, but you get to keep them.

Food is basic.
posted by blue_wardrobe at 7:58 PM on April 21, 2008

I was meant to fly LGW -> YYZ with Zoom last summer. My flight was delayed by 12 hours (mechanical problems, surprise, surprise), and I wound up giving BA an absolute shitload of money to get me to Toronto in time to make my connecting flights.
If you have to arrive for a specific event, or if you have a connecting flight, Zoom just isn't worth the risk. That said, if you can wait a day while they repair your plane, the flight itself isn't all that bad. There's no seat-back entertainment, and the food isn't great, but that's hardly the point. They're dirt cheap, and there's a reasonable amount of leg room.
posted by Kreiger at 2:20 AM on April 22, 2008

My parents have flown Zoom a couple of times (LHR-YYC) and they've had no complaints, but they've also always upgraded to the increased leg room (Dad's got a DVT).
posted by blue_beetle at 6:14 AM on April 22, 2008

And now I see that some of the fares from NYC to London are $148 + taxes of $-73.60 = $74.40.

posted by blue_wardrobe at 1:47 PM on April 22, 2008

For posterity, Zoom went out of business on August 28, 2008.
posted by cardboard at 6:54 AM on August 29, 2008

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