Based in Calgary, Alberta, WestJet is a Canadian airline that specializes in providing low-cost fares, generally on routes that involve at least one Canadian airport. The company was founded in 1994 and is owned by the Onex investment group. As of 2020, only Air Canada has a larger fleet among Canadian carriers, while WestJet serves about 20 million passengers every year.
The company's motto is currently "Love Where You Are Going", and there are around 108 potential destinations. This includes almost all major Canadian cities such as Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary, and Edmonton. But WestJet also offers connections to Las Vegas, Orlando, Barbados, Antigua, Cuba, various Mexican airports, and New York City.
WestJet services are primarily noted for their affordable fares, and the vast majority of passengers fly Economy. Its services are also famous for the friendliness of the airline's on-board staff, who regularly win industry awards. In fact, the airline as a whole has won Tripadvisor's Best Canadian Airline award three years running. It also scores well with the experts at AirlineRatings, where it enjoys a 7/7 rating for safety.
The company maintains a fleet of over 120 craft, which is based around Boeing 737, 767, and 787 models (with a new generation due to arrive soon). It also runs a very popular frequent flier scheme called Rewards, which enables members to earn "Westjet Dollars" to spend on flights, accommodation, and other products.
Finally, WestJet has signed code-sharing agreements with numerous global airlines, including Air France, China Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Delta, Emirates, Qantas, and KLM. Interline agreements apply to even more airlines, allowing travellers to be flexible about booking multi-leg journeys.
WestJet is a no-frills airline, focusing on delivering low fares. However, this doesn't mean that the in-flight experience will be uncomfortable. Far from it. Most passengers with WestJet fly Economy, although the airline's 787 planes also offer Business Class, which features a 46-inch seat pitch and private relaxation pods. Business Class travellers receive free Champagne upon boarding, while gourmet meals come as part of the experience. These seats tend to be limited to long haul journeys, and won't be available on 737 or 767s.
WestJet Premium Class
Most of the time, travellers will have a choice of Premium or Standard Economy. In Premium classes, passengers enjoy a 38-inch seat pitch (33-36-inches on 737s), and a footrest comes as standard. There are no middle seats, either, providing more space to stretch out. Premium passengers board first, so will also have more time to stash luggage away.
** WestJet Standard Economy**
Standard seats form the majority of all places on the airline's flights and come with less legroom and more packed rows. Passengers in Standard receive a complimentary beverage (including coffee or tea), as well as a sweet or savoury snack. However, meals and alcoholic drinks need to be purchased separately.
** Entertainment and lounges**
All seats include personal power sockets and entertainment options. All passengers can log onto WestJet Connect to access streaming TV, movies and music. Wi-Fi internet is also available when planes reach 10,000 feet. Before flying, passengers may have the option of relaxing in a WestJet lounge. Members of the Rewards scheme can use lounges at Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Toronto and Winnipeg, as well as various Caribbean airports.
A cut off time of 45 minutes applies for flights within Canada, and 1 hour for international journeys. Check-in begins 5 hours before departure, and travellers are advised to arrive at least 1 hour 30 minutes before flying.
Business Class passengers can check-in 2-4 bags, with a maximum weight per bag of 23kg (50lbs).
Business travellers can take one item of personal luggage and one carry-on bag. There are no weight limits for carry-on items.
Economy Class travellers can take 2-3 items of checked baggage when they fly with WestJet. The same weight limits apply - 23kg (50lbs) per item.
Economy Class passengers can take a single carry-on bag and one item of personal luggage. Again, weight limits do not apply.
Checked items must have total dimensions of less than 157cm (62 inches).
Carry-on bags must measure less than 53 x 38 x 23cm (21 x 15 x 9 inches).
Personal items must measure less than 41 x 33 x 15cm (16 x 13 x 6 inches).
Passengers can check-in baggage with dimensions of between 158cm (62 in) and 203cm (80 in), but excess baggage fees apply. Anything larger than that won't be permitted. This applies to musical instruments and sporting equipment as well, so be careful about measuring items before making a booking.
WestJet tries to accommodate children as comfortably as possible, and there is no extra charge for items like car seats and strollers. Families with infants also enjoy priority boarding to help arrange their seating before everyone else arrives. And there's no need to buy extra tickets for infants under 2 years of age.
Finally, Rewards members enjoy some perks when flying. All members can check 2 extra bags, while those above Silver Tier can make advanced seat selections and benefit from priority check-in. So it may be worth signing up before reserving tickets.