Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Westjet Review

Yesterday I had my first opportunity to travel on the Canadian carrier Westjet (http://www.westjet.com) from Tampa to Montreal via Toronto. I booked my one-way ticket through Expedia (http://www.expedia.com) and it cost only $140 U.S., about $60 less than I had paid for my trip down.
My general impression was favourable, given the rigours of air travel today. Most appealing, there is no additional charge to check a bag. I have become used to having to pay $25 or so on most airlines in North America. Both planes were newer versions of the Boeing 737, and while leg room was close to non-existent, seats were comfortable.
Westjet does charge for almost everything on board, and since the airline has gone cashless you could become a very hungry camper if you did not happen to have a major credit card (Visa, Mastercard, American Express) with you. The only thing available for free is juice or soft drinks and a tiny package of pretzels or a cookie. I sampled one of the sandwiches (turkey and brie) for $6.50 and found it soggy but otherwise OK. I did not try the inflight entertainment (which costs extra,) but was able to catch part of the hockey game on the screen of a guy in front of me.
In Toronto I found the transfer process a little less difficult than it had been last summer with Air Canada. You still need to go through customs in Toronto, then schlep your bag to another area for re-shipping. The area is not very well marked and would be easy to miss.
My flight to Toronto arrived ahead of schedule, and when I got to the boarding area for my Montreal flight another Westjet flight to Montreal was taking on passengers. I asked about getting on it, and was told I could but there would be a $56 charge and I would still have to wait for my bag to arrive on the next flight. I decided to wait for the next flight myself.
Westjet isn't Air Canada's Rapid Air (with almost hourly flights between Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa and easy re-booking,) but it doesn't cost as much either.
For greater savings on Westjet flights, become a Facebook friend or a Twitter follower and look for the special deals offered on Thursdays until they sell out.

16 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad you had a pleasant experience on WestJet. Just a note, the 22 channels of LiveTV are free of charge. There is a charge for prerecorded TV shows and movies. We also sell headsets that work with the inflight entertainment system, however the system supports the standard jack, so if you bring along your iPod headphones they'll work too.

Cheers!
A WestJet Pilot

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