Affordable Travel Guide to Westjet

An Affordable Alternative Canadian Airline

Westjet

Based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada’s WestJet was regarded as a western upstart when it opened its doors for business in 1996 with three planes and five destinations. Today it is one of North America’s most profitable airlines with 98 Boeing Next-Generation 737s and 88 destinations, operating 425 flights per day. It is Canada’s leading “high-value low-fare” airline.

How does WestJet do it? With a positive corporate culture, and roughly 85% of its 8,600 employees owning shares in the company, and a very different approach than its main rivals, Air Canada and Porter Airlines, WestJet serves different routes and needs, by and large, than Porter Airlines, and simply out-serves Air Canada with its weak customer service.

One of the founders of WestJet, Clive Beddoes, still serves as the company CEO. His leadership is regarded as fair and forward-thinking, so it’s no surprise that over the last 18 years the company had increased its destination scope from a few places in western Canada to include Europe, the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America and the United States. Fans of WestJet earn WestJet Rewards, and are now able to book holidays through WestJet Vacations (visit www.westjetvacations,com).

Our writers love WestJet and Porter Airlines, favouring both over Air Canada for great service and friendly staff, although Porter is newer and has fewer destinations (see our article on this website) this far. It is hoping to expand its service vastly in the next few years. WestJet has won numerous service awards, as well as corporate citizen accolades, and it was named 2011 “Customer Service Champion” by J.D. Power & Associates.

This writer’s sole experience with WestJet to date was the transportation of a puppy from Ontario to Nova Scotia. At the time of booking, the staff was informative and friendly, but different staffers said different things, resulting in some confusion. Nonetheless, the puppy flew effortlessly and arrived in excellent condition over about 1,800 kms (1,200 miles) in the winter. In fact, most dog breeders in Canada swear by WestJet for the smooth transportation of pets.

WestJet’s user-friendly website at www.westjet.com is simple and clean, and gives as much or as little information as travelers require. Here you can directly book flights, cheap flights, find special deals on airfare, and learn about all of WestJet’s destinations.

Our other experience with WestJet? Unlike Air Canada, they are almost always on time at the arrivals gate. WestJet is committed to what they call community funding, but we noticed that there is a big hole in the Arts department; they fund things like the Calgary Stampede and amateur sports, but nothing in the arts, outside of a wine festival. WestJet has come a long way from modest beginnings and in a relatively short time. They were the first airline in Canada to issue e-tickets, and to give Air Canada a little competition!

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