Tag Archives: WestJet

WestJet releases its December schedule

WestJet today released its updated December schedule featuring up to 55 daily flights to sun destinations in the Caribbean, the United States (including Hawaii) and Mexico. The schedule also highlights increased domestic frequencies for travel starting December 5, 2020 through to January 4, 2021.

For sun seekers the airline is adding December flights to Liberia (Costa Rica), Punta Cana, Puerto Plata (Dominican Republic), Bridgetown (Barbados), Mazatlán (Mexico), Huatulco (Mexico), Orlando, Las Vegas, Honolulu (Oahu) and Kahului (Maui).

WestJet continues to operate at a reduced schedule and has removed over 63 per cent capacity year over year, including approximately 73 percent capacity from the December schedule alone. During the holiday season, the airline will offer flights to 54 destinations including 33 in Canada, nine in the U.S. including Hawaii, five in Mexico, five in the Caribbean, one in Europe and one in Central America. Frequencies will increase throughout the month of December, full details at bottom of the release.

Canadians travelling back through Calgary see benefits of post-travel testing trial

On November 2, YYC Calgary International Airport began the COVID-19 testing trial supported by the Governments of Canada and Alberta, trialing a reduced quarantine period in Alberta, while protecting Canadians from COVID-19.

Canadians travelling abroad are still subject to a 14-day quarantine upon their return to the country if not eligible for Alberta’s COVID-19 testing trial program.

WestJet is planning to operate the following transborder and international routes from December 5, 2020 to January 4, 2021:

Hawaii and U.S. transborder

Market Frequency (05DEC
– 15DEC)
Frequency
(16DEC – 04JAN)
Vancouver – Maui 3x weekly
Vancouver – Honolulu 3x weekly
Vancouver – Palm Springs 2x weekly 2x weekly
 Vancouver – Los Angeles 2x weekly
Vancouver – Phoenix 2x weekly
Calgary – Maui 2x weekly
Calgary – Honolulu 1x weekly
Calgary – Los Angeles 3x weekly 4x weekly
Calgary – Palm Springs 6x weekly 8x weekly
Calgary – Las Vegas 2x weekly
Calgary – Phoenix 7x weekly 11x weekly
Calgary – Orlando 1x weekly
Edmonton – Phoenix 2x weekly
Toronto – Orlando 1x weekly 1x weekly
Toronto – Fort Myers 1x weekly 3x weekly
Toronto – Fort Lauderdale 1x weekly 2x weekly

Caribbean, Mexico and Europe

Market Frequency (05DEC
– 15DEC)
Frequency

(16DEC – 04JAN)

Vancouver – San Jose del Cabo 2x weekly
Vancouver – Puerto Vallarta 1x weekly 2x weekly
Vancouver – Cancun 1x weekly
Calgary – San Jose del Cabo 2x weekly 3x weekly
Calgary – Mazatlán 1x weekly
Calgary – Puerto Vallarta 5x weekly 1x daily
Calgary – Huatulco 1x weekly
Calgary – Cancun 6x weekly 6x weekly
Edmonton – Puerto Vallarta 1x weekly
Edmonton – Cancun 1x weekly
Winnipeg – Puerto Vallarta 1x weekly
Winnipeg – Cancun 1x weekly
Toronto – Cancun 2x weekly 3x weekly
Toronto – Liberia 1x weekly 1x weekly
Toronto – Kingston 1x weekly 2x weekly
Toronto – Montego Bay 2x weekly 4x weekly
Toronto – Puerto Plata 1x weekly 1x weekly
Toronto – Punta Cana 1x weekly 1x weekly
Toronto – Barbados 1x weekly
Toronto – London Gatwick 2x weekly 2x weekly

WestJet aircraft photo gallery:

WestJet welcomes start of Alberta-based quarantine trial

WestJet welcomed WS1511 from Los Angeles (LAX) to Calgary International Airport (YYC) as the first of its international flights eligible to participate in a new Government of Alberta testing pilot program. The program is trialing a reduced quarantine period in Alberta, while protecting Canadians from COVID-19.

“The start of this unique trial is a significant first step in giving peace of mind to those who need to travel and were apprehensive due to the rigorous quarantine requirements and testing restrictions,” said Arved von zur Muehlen, WestJet Chief Commercial Officer. “This pilot is the health and science-based approach that WestJet and our industry has been seeking.  We encourage our guests to adhere to all of the health guidelines in place as part of this program.”

Eligible participants include Canadians and permanent residents arriving at Calgary International Airport on non-stop international flights who will remain in the Province of Alberta for a minimum of 14-days or exempt travellers who will remain for less than 14-days. Participants will be able to access the testing pilot, if determined eligible and opting-in when clearing customs. Testing wait times may vary based on the volume of international arrivals. For eligible travellers, quarantine will only be required until a negative test result is received, potentially reducing the quarantine from 14-days to as few as two. Details can be found here: https://www.westjet.com/en-ca/travel-info/covid-testing

WestJet becomes first national carrier in Canada to voluntarily provide refunds to original form of payment

The WestJet Group of Companies has announced it will begin providing refunds to original form of payment for those guests with flights cancelled by WestJet and Swoop, from any time period, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Starting Monday, November 2, 2020, WestJet will systematically contact eligible guests, beginning with those with flights cancelled at the onset of the pandemic. The refund process is expected to take six to nine months to work through eligible requests. Further information is provided at the bottom of this release.

Effective Monday, November 2, 2020 guests eligible for a refund to original form of payment will be proactively contacted by WestJet, beginning with those flights cancelled by the airline at the start of the pandemic. WestJet expects there will be an administrative backlog and asks for guests to wait to be contacted as we work through requests as quickly as possible.

Additional Information:

  • Further information can be found on westjet.com/refund.
  • Eligible guests will be contacted by WestJet beginning Monday, November 2, 2020.
  • Eligible guests will be contacted in chronological order of cancellation, beginning with those flights cancelled in March 2020 at the outset of the pandemic.
  • We ask guests to wait until they are contacted by WestJet in order to not overload the Contact Centre.
  • WestJet Vacations guests will continue to follow the process already established.

All photos by the airline.

WestJet pulls back from Atlantic Canada

WestJet today announced it will be indefinitely suspending operations to Moncton, Fredericton, Sydney and Charlottetown, while significantly reducing service to Halifax and St. John’s. The suspension eliminates more than 100 flights weekly or almost 80 percent of seat capacity from the Atlantic region starting November 2 and also suspends operations to Quebec City, with the removal of Toronto service.

“It has become increasingly unviable to serve these markets,” said Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO. “Since the pandemic’s beginning, we have worked to keep essential air service to all of our domestic airports, however, demand for travel is being severely limited by restrictive policies and third-party fee increases that have left us out of runway without sector-specific support.”

With today’s announcement, all flights to and from Moncton, Fredericton, Sydney, Charlottetown and Quebec City will be discontinued as of November 2. A return to service date is unknown at this time. Guests impacted will be contacted directly regarding their options for travel to and from the region.

Since 2003, WestJet has successfully brought competition and lower fares to the Atlantic region through new service and routes, while driving tourism and business investments. As of 2019, the airline had added more than 700,000 annual seats to the region since 2015, while creating the opportunity for travel to, from and within the region on 28 routes. The airline has also worked to grow Halifax as the Atlantic gateway to Europe through the introduction of successful nonstop transatlantic service to London-Gatwick, Paris, Glasgow and Dublin since 2016, providing key economic and tourism links between the regions. Up until this announcement, WestJet was the only Canadian airline that maintained 100 per cent of its pre-COVID domestic network.

In addition to the Atlantic Canada service changes, WestJet today also announced the airline will be laying off an additional 100 corporate and operational support employees as prospects for any near-term recovery continue to fade and demand remains weak across its operations. These permanent layoffs do not include airport staff from affected Atlantic airports due to WestJet’s previous airport transformation announcement.

Temporary Route Suspensions:

Route Planned 2020
Frequency

(Pre-COVID)

Current Frequency Frequency Effective
Nov. 2, 2020
Halifax – Sydney 1x daily 2x weekly Suspended
Halifax – Ottawa 1x daily 2x weekly Suspended
Moncton – Toronto 3x daily 4x weekly Suspended
Fredericton – Toronto 13x weekly 4x weekly Suspended
Charlottetown – Toronto 3x weekly 2x weekly Suspended
St. John’s – Toronto 1x daily 5x weekly Suspended
Quebec City – Toronto 3x daily 4x weekly Suspended

Planned service in Atlantic Canada as of Nov. 2, 2020:

Route Frequency Effective Nov. 2, 2020
Halifax – Toronto 2x daily
Halifax – Calgary 9x weekly
Halifax – St. John’s 11x weekly

WestJet introduces its Boeing 787 Dreamliner to Vancouver

WestJet and the Vancouver International Airport (YVR) today announced WestJet’s newest aircraft, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, is now operating five-times weekly between Vancouver and Toronto. Vancouver joins Calgary and Toronto as another domestic 787 destination.

WestJet is also operating Boeing 737 aircraft on three other nonstop daily flights between Vancouver and Toronto for a total of four daily flights, with the exception of Saturdays. On November 5, the WestJet Dreamliner increases operations between Vancouver and Toronto to daily service. Flights are scheduled to provide convenient departure and landing times for business and leisure travelers.

WestJet 787 Dreamliner schedule between Vancouver and Toronto:

Flight # Departure City Depart Arrive Date Days of week
706 Vancouver – Toronto 9 a.m. 4:10 p.m. October 5 Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Sunday
711 Toronto – Vancouver 5:15 p.m. 6:55 p.m. October 5 Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Sunday

The WestJet Dreamliner features 320 seats in three cabins: Business, Premium and Economy, all of which contain a high-level of comfort.

WestJet aircraft photo gallery:

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WestJet enhances no-charge COVID-19 travel insurance offering with U.S. coverage

WestJet has made this announcement:

WestJet has announced guests traveling to, through or from the United States are now eligible for the airline’s enhanced $200,000 CAD COVID-19 travel insurance coverage for air-only and vacation reservations.

The enhanced coverage will retroactively include all bookings made as of September 18, 2020 and will increase by $100,000 CAD to include up to a maximum of $200,000 CAD at no additional charge to eligible guests.

Any WestJet air-only reservation including WestJet Vacations bookings for travel to and from the U.S., Mexico, the Caribbean, Europe (including U.K.) and inbound to Canada will be eligible for the coverage for up to 21 days for travel into and including August 31, 2021 through new partner TuGo®. For one-way travel reservations, coverage is available for up to seven days.

“Our research shows that a lack of COVID insurance is a considerable barrier to travel and our guests were seeking the inclusion of U.S. destinations to our travel insurance offering,” said Arved von zur Muehlen, WestJet Chief Commercial Officer. “Eligible guests travelling to and from the destinations we serve can now have an added layer of confidence knowing they are covered for up to $200,000 CAD against unforeseen medical costs related to COVID-19 when booking with WestJet.”

TuGo’s COVID-19  coverage for WestJet guests includes*:   

  • COVID-19 coverage for emergency medical related expenses for eligible guests with COVID-19 while outside of Canada (or for visitors travelling to Canada) for up to a maximum limit of $200,000 CAD per insured person if they have tested positive or have been diagnosed for COVID-19 while on a trip.
  • Trip interruption coverage if the Canadian Government’s travel advisory changes to “Avoid all travel” (level 4) while at any of the travel destinations.

Inclusions:

    • Medical and related expenses, such as medical treatment in hospital if a guest tests positive for and is diagnosed with COVID-19 during their trip.
    • Emergency transportation back to Canada or home country (including up to $5,000 for repatriation in case of death).
    • Quarantine meals and commercial accommodation expenses up to $150/day (or up to $300/day per family) to a maximum of 14 days.
    • Up to $500 combined for a one-way economy flight home, unexpected meals and commercial accommodation expenses.
    • Travel insurance is automatically included at time of purchase on WestJet flights or vacation packages on or after September 18, 2020, for travel between September 18, 2020 and August 31, 2021.
    • Certain exclusions, limitations and conditions apply. Learn more from the Certificate of Insurance.

WestJet has built a framework to ensure Canadians can continue to travel safely and responsibly. From the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the airline invested quickly in hygiene and safety measures to mitigate the risk throughout the entire travel journey, investing millions of dollars’ worth of equipment, cleaning and additional measures to protect those who had to fly. The airline continues to invest, test and trial multiple additional safety measures to ensure safety above all.

*Exclusions apply. Not available for travel including cruises.

WestJet aircraft photo gallery:

WestJet updates schedule with key sun markets

WestJet has released an updated schedule designed to get Canadians to and from key destinations while supporting the economic recovery of Canada through continued domestic flying. Starting October 4, 2020 WestJet will offer operations to and from 48 destinations including 39 in Canada, three in the U.S. and three in Mexico, two in Jamaica and one in the U.K.

While the schedule is significantly reduced compared to 2019, several major routes have returned including nonstop service between Calgary and Palm Springs, Phoenix, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas along with the return of nonstop service between Toronto and Kingston and Montego Bay, Jamaica and Cancun. The airline is also reintroducing non-stop Dreamliner service from Toronto to London (Gatwick).

The updated schedule is supported by the layered framework WestJet has built to ensure Canadians can continue to travel safely and responsibly, through the airline’s Safety Above All hygiene program. The airline continues to provide flexibility in booking, change and cancellation policies for guests.

To provide piece of mind for those booking international travel (excluding the U.S.) WestJet also recently announced the availability of no-charge COVID-19 travel insurance coverage for eligible guests for reservations made on or after September 18, 2020, for WestJet air-only and WestJet Vacations bookings.

WestJet to offer guests no-charge COVID-19 travel insurance for air and vacation reservations

WestJet has made this announcement:

WestJet has announced no-charge COVID-19 travel insurance coverage for eligible guests booking travel to Mexico, the Caribbean and European destinations including the United Kingdom.

For reservations made on or after September 18, 2020, any WestJet air-only reservation including WestJet Vacations bookings for travel to and from Mexico, the Caribbean (excluding the U.S.), Europe (including U.K.) and inbound to Canada will provide eligible guests no-charge COVID-19 travel insurance through new partner TuGo®. Coverage will be automatically applied at no additional charge to eligible guests at the time of purchase for travel until August 31, 2021 for up to 21 days. One-way travel reservations will also be eligible for coverage for up to seven days.

“We know Canadians are seeking reassurance and our guests can now have confidence knowing they are protected against unforeseen medical costs related to the pandemic when choosing to book with WestJet,” said Arved von zur Muehlen, WestJet Chief Commercial Officer. “Safety measures have been implemented across our entire travel journey and providing our guests peace of mind during their travels is worth the investment we are making to ensure the safest travel experience for our guests.”

TuGo® Travel Insurance COVID-19 coverage for WestJet guests includes*:

  • Emergency medical and hospital costs for outbound travellers if diagnosed with COVID-19 while outside of Canada(excluding U.S) for up to a maximum limit of $100,000 CAD per insured person.
  • Emergency medical and hospital costs for inbound travellers visiting Canada diagnosed with COVID-19 while in Canada up to the maximum limit of $100,000 CAD per insured person.
  • Quarantine accommodation costs when the traveller tests positive for COVID-19 on the trip up to $150 CAD per insured person, per day to a maximum of 14 days for inbound and outbound reservations.
  • Ambulance transportation and air evacuation costs related to COVID-19, up to the maximum limit of $100,000 CAD per insured person for inbound and outbound guests.
  • COVID-19 repatriation costs in case of death of up to $5,000 CAD per insured person for inbound and outbound guests.
  • One-way economy airfare for the return of one travelling companion and dependent children when air evacuated back home for treatment.

“TuGo is excited to partner with WestJet to offer Canadians an opportunity to travel again,” said Patrick Robinson, TuGo’s CEO. “With our shared focus on the health, wellness and safety of travellers, it’s a natural fit for our two Canadian-owned and operated companies to come together to equip and support Canadians in this ‘next normal’.”

WestJet has built a framework to ensure Canadians can continue to travel safely and responsibly. From the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the airline invested quickly in hygiene and safety measures to mitigate the risk throughout the entire travel journey, investing millions of dollars’ worth of equipment, cleaning and additional measures to protect those who had to fly. The airline continues to invest, test and trial multiple additional safety measures to ensure safety above all.

*Exclusions apply. Not available to residents of Saskatchewan or for travel including cruises.

WestJet concerned third-party charges undermining Canada’s economic recovery

WestJet today announced an increase to domestic traveller surcharges to account for NAV CANADA rate increases of almost 30 per cent starting September 1.

WestJet is increasing the surcharge it charges for air traffic control services between $4 and $7 per guest depending on flight duration. NAV CANADA is Canada’s air traffic control operator, responsible for Canada’s civil air navigation system. WestJet is investigating an appeal of the rate increase and will remove the additional surcharge if the appeal is successful.

“We are deeply concerned the NAV CANADA rate increase will lead to a further reduction in the number of travellers,” said Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO. “We are sympathetic to their situation, like ours, where a lack of sector-specific federal support has hindered their ability to recover. Burdening travellers who have been severely impacted by this pandemic with incremental costs will only serve to undermine Canada’s economic recovery.”

Effective today, NAV CANADA rates will increase by an average of 29.5 percent.  Due to the increase, WestJet will increase the surcharge on all domestic tickets from September 5, 2020 onward to partially recover the airline’s costs. The estimated NAV CANADA rate increase will range from $6 to $9 per guest paid by the airline, while WestJet’s surcharge increase will range from $4 to $7 per guest.

“Countries around the world have taken action to limit or defer costs to the aviation industry, yet our situation remains exacerbated by double-digit increases that are beyond our control. Some airports have indicated they are increasing their Airport Improvement Fees (AIF) by as much as 52 per cent which doesn’t help this challenging situation.”

Air travel is critical to the Canadian economy, supporting 633,000 direct and indirect jobs and contributing $64 billion to the Canadian GDP.

WestJet reinforces commitment to safety with zero-tolerance mask policy

The WestJet Group has announced multiple safety updates including the potential for denied travel and a one-year WestJet Group travel ban for those who fail to comply with the airlines’ mask regulation. The WestJet Group also announced the mandatory input of all guests’ contact information at online and kiosk check-in to help the Public Health Agency of Canada and the provincial public health agencies across Canada with contact tracing in the case of infected individuals on board. The WestJet Group includes WestJet, WestJet Encore, WestJet Link and Swoop.

Zero Tolerance Mask Policy
Effective, September 1, 2020, the WestJet Group will implement a zero-tolerance policy in support of the requirement for all guests, over the age of two, to wear masks and face coverings. Non-compliant guests will face penalties including denied boarding, return of the aircraft to the gate to offload the passenger and the suspension of travel on any WestJet Group aircraft for up to one year.

“Canadian travellers and all of our WestJet Group employees are counting on us to keep them safe and it is our utmost priority to do so,” said Ed Sims, The WestJet Group President and CEO. “Masks are mandated by our regulator and the vast majority of our guests are happy to keep themselves and each other safe by complying. This enhanced policy provides clarity on how we will enforce the regulation for those who don’t. Travellers must understand if they choose to not wear a mask, they are choosing not to fly our airlines.”

Non-compliance on board the aircraft will be managed through a three-step process:

  1. Passengers will first be asked to put the mask on in a discussion with cabin crew.
  2. Passengers will be given a warning that masks are required, and compliance is necessary.
  3. Passengers will receive notice that non-compliance will result in follow up notification that they will be placed on a no-fly list for 12-months.

Since April 20, 2020, it has been mandatory for travellers to wear protective face coverings throughout their travel journey, including at the airport and while in flight and at the airport.  As outlined by Transport Canada, travellers requiring an exemption to the regulation for health reasons must produce a certified medical note or will be subject to the measures as outlined. Complete guidelines on non-medical masks are available here.

Prior to flying, it is important travellers understand the current regulations and modifications to services in response to COVID-19. Travellers that wish to eat or drink while on board remain able to do so if they replace their mask once finished.

Contact Tracing Enhancements
Effective, September 1, 2020, the input of contact information for those travelling on WestJet, WestJet Encore, WestJet Link and Swoop will become mandatory at the 24-hour check-in process online and at kiosks. Mandatory information at WestJet check-in kiosks will be phased into the policy change by the end of September.

Once implemented, guests will no longer be able to bypass the information screen and will be required to input up-to-date information prior to the issuance of a boarding pass. It is the responsibility of the traveller to provide accurate information.

“We continue to work collaboratively with our health partners to adapt our procedures,” added Sims. “A coordinated approach is essential, and we are advocating for contact tracing enhancements along with the introduction of testing.”

Since March, the WestJet Group has been the only Canadian airline to provide full transparency in advising the public of flights affected by COVID-19. Between March 23 and August 25, WestJet has flown more than 725,000 guests on 19,370 flights. Of those, the airline has been notified of just over 230 flights where infected individuals have flown, this accounts for less than one per cent of flights. Swoop has operated 1,070 flights with 103,000 travellers and has been notified of eight flights where infected individuals have flown, accounting for less than one per cent of flights. There have been no reported cases of transmission on board any WestJet Group aircraft.

WestJet (including WestJet Encore and WestJet Link) and Swoop remain the only operators in Canada taking the extra steps to post affected flights to external channels in effort to inform the public at large and to aid the media in assisting public health officials in disseminating information as quickly and as broadly as possible.

WestJet has built a framework to ensure Canadians can continue to travel safely and responsibly. From the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the airline invested quickly in hygiene and safety measures to mitigate the risk throughout the entire travel journey, investing millions of dollars’ worth of equipment, cleaning and additional measures to protect those who had to fly. The airline continues to invest, test and trial multiple additional safety measures to ensure safety above all.

Additional Quotes on masks:
“CUPE is very pleased to see the further steps WestJet is taking to keep our members safe and empowered. We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the airline in reassuring all guests that air travel is truly safe.”

– Chris Rauenbusch, President CUPE Local 4070