WestJet was founded in 1996 by a team of partners with the idea that paying less doesn’t have to mean getting less. The company started with only three planes, five destinations, and 220 employees. They have come quite a long way since then! Today they fly 767 planes to more than 88 destinations. Plus, theirs is one of the youngest fleets of Boeing 737 Next Generation aircraft. They now employ nearly 10,000 “WestJetters” dedicated to providing a great guest experience. WestJet’s vision is to be one of the five most successful international airlines in the world by 2016.
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The Good

  • Awards
  • Rewards program
  • Insurance

Awards and positive recognition are always impressive and important to consumers. That said, WestJet secured a spot in Waterstones’ study of Canada’s 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures for four years and was inducted in to its Hall of Fame in 2010. The next year, in 2011, WestJet was designated a J.D. Power Customer Service Champion; they were one of only two companies in Canada and the only airline to receive this honor. The company ranked 3rd in Aon Hewitt’s best employers in Canada and was selected as the Canadian airline with the best flight attendants by flightnetwork.com. As if that wasn’t enough, WestJet was also chosen as Canada’s preferred airline.

Earn up to 5% back on all WestJet flights when becoming a member of WestJet Rewards. This free-to-join program has three different tiers with benefits dependent on a member’s tier status. Awards and benefits vary and include things from one free companion flight to advance seat selection vouchers to free checked baggage. Points are earned by flying with WestJet or their partner airlines, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines. Points may also be earned when booking a rental car or hotel online through WestJet.

RBC Insurance provides several travel insurance packages when flying with WestJet. Packages range in price depending on destination, age of travelers, and number of travelers being covered. Quotes may be generated online for more specific details, including pricing and exact coverage.

The Bad

  • Flight statistics
  • In-flight services

From May 15, 2015 to July 15, 2015, WestJet was on time with 79% success. Records show that flights were late 6% of the time, very late 3% of the time and excessively late 8% of the time. Additionally, 1% of flights were cancelled altogether. The inconvenience of a late flight, or a cancelled flight, is something no traveler cares to be bothered with. WestJet can certainly improve in this area.

WestJet is in the process of installing WestJet Connect in all of their aircraft, which is their most comprehensive in-flight entertainment offering yet. This system brings the Internet and the best in entertainment straight to passengers’ laptops, tablets or smartphones. The downer with this neat feature is that not all planes have an updated system. Some offer other less-impressive features while others offer no in-flight entertainment whatsoever. For instance, some planes have the option to pay for onboard Wi-Fi for approximately $8; some have the option to rent a tablet with preloaded movies and TV shows for about $7; some kindly invite you to bring books and coloring pages because they have no entertainment options available. This leaves a good chunk of WestJet travelers with comparatively subpar in-flight entertainment options. This will be a fabulous feature for WestJet once the entire fleet has been upgraded, but passengers on a plane with anything but WestJet Connect really are losing out.

The Bottom Line

Although their on-time percentage could use some work and their entertainment options need to be made more equally available, there are many more positives than negatives in regards to flying with this company. Not only are they well enough established to offer a great frequent flyer program and multiple travel insurance packages. Travelers can count on WestJet to provide a great flying experience.

WestJet is a Canadian airline company. All of their checked baggage prices are all shown in Canadian dollar via their website but will be charged using the currency of the reservation. As part of their checked baggage policies, there are several things customers should be aware of before flying through WestJet airline.

• Checked baggage fees

• Excessive luggage charges

• Carry-on allowances and restrictions

Customers who are flying through WestJet can expect to pay for each bag they intend to have checked in. If customers are making a reservation for a WestJet flight and are located in the United States, the cost for the first checked bag will be around 20 dollars. A second checked bag will again cost around 20 dollars. These prices reflect an Economy fare standard ticket. Customers who are flying with WestJet Flex fare or Plus fare as well as flying anywhere outside of the United States or Canada will be allowed one checked bag free of charge. However, a second checked bag will resume the $20 checked bag charge for these fare types.

Any customers who are wanting to have 3 or more additional bags checked in will pay an excessive baggage charge of around $55 per bag. Bags that are overweight or oversized will also be subject to this excessive baggage charge. This fee can be raised depending on the destination intended for a flight and when a travel ticket is purchased.

Like many other airlines, WestJet allows each passenger in a confirmed seat to bring one bag and one personal item as carry-on luggage onto a flight. A personal item can be a purse, laptop, briefcase or backpack type item. A carry-on bag must be limited to 21 inches in height and must be able to be lifted into the overhead compartment by the passenger.

The type of insurance an airline provides their passengers is important information for all customers to know prior to travel. Some of the most common and essential insurance types are listed here to be further discussed, what WestJet specifically has to offer:

• Trip Cancellations and refunds

• Airline delay or flight cancelation

• Baggage damage or loss

• Customer assistance

Changes to any travel plans or canceling plans completely is extremely easy through WestJet. Compare to other airline companies their policy regarding ticket changes is easy to follow and very affordable. Ticket cancellations made within the first 24-hours from booking are eligible for a full refund with no service fees charged to the customer. Refunds will be processed within the first 7 business days from when request was made. If a customer wishes to change travel plans after this 24-hour period, such as to an earlier flight, a ticket holder name change, or accommodations for a missed flight, a service fee anywhere from $30 to $60 will be charged depending on a passenger’s ticket class. An entire trip cancellation after the 24-hour grace period will also be charged similar service fees ranging anywhere from around $30 to $60.

In the event that a flight is delayed or cancelled by WestJet airline, accommodations will be made to all passengers who are inconvenienced. If a delay is longer than 3 hours at the airport, WestJet will provide food vouchers as well as hotel vouchers, airport transportations and any other necessary reimbursement for additional expenses that occur during an airport delay. If a flight is canceled, WestJet will do their best to provide alternate flight options as well as seating changes and refunds if necessary.

Any baggage that is cannot be found immediately following a flight landing must be reported to WestJet staff. Delayed baggage must be reported within 30 days of flight’s arrival, damaged baggage within 7 days and missing items from luggage must be reported within 21 days of arrival. Once these claims have been made, WestJet will do everything they can to recover missing bags. However, the only liability insurance offered for missing baggage without additionally purchased travel insurance is around $1,000 US per customer. This limits WestJet’s ability to fully refund any baggage loss expenses. WestJet strongly encourages passengers to purchase additional travel insurance to cover all luggage expenses in case of loss, damage or missing items.

WestJet’s customer service team is available 24/7 through phone centers located across the world. In addition to best help serve their passengers, any customer who requires additional assistance while flying with WestJet can make such requests prior to any travel. WestJet promises to do their best to provide accommodations to any such customers and to make their travel experience as comfortable and easy as possible.

The rewards program through WestJet airlines is called WestJet Rewards. This program allows members to join for free and then begin earning points towards future purchases through WestJet airlines and partnering companies. There are three tiers in the WestJet Rewards program. Starting at teal, members can then move to silver and finally gold. Each tier has a list of benefits that come as being a part of that level. Some of the common benefits include free checked baggage, priority boarding, and discounts on travel fares. Additionally, the tier levels also offer money back in the form of WestJet Dollars on WestJet airline ticket purchases. The teal tier will allow up 3% and silver and gold both at 5%. These saved dollars can then be used as currency to purchase WestJet airfare or partnering company’s products through MasterCard purchases. However, it should be noted that although a WestJet Dollar is the equivalent to a Canadian dollar, they expire in five years’ time and are subject to blackout dates as well as specific flight routes and availability. Members who are inquiring about when and how they can purchase future airfare through WestJet using WestJet Dollars, they can search on their website for available flights and routes. A customer service contact center can also be called to receive the same information. Compared to other airline companies, the WestJet Rewards program is standard as far as what customers can receive as benefits and how many points or dollars are needed to redeem for purchases. However, the blackout dates and limited flight fare availability to be redeemed through WestJet Dollars make the program not as beneficial as some other airline companies rewards programs.

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