WestJet: Good Service and Affordable

Low-cost airlines have been “the thing” over the past few years, selling tickets at a much lower cost than so-called “mainstream” airlines.  In Canada, there have been several low-cost airlines, but most have folded.  Currently, WestJet (TSX: WJA) is the only one still in existence.  Launched in 1990s and based out of Calgary, Alberta, this airline flies to destinations across Canada, the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean. 

Originally operating only in the western part of the country, the company expanded eastward in the 2000s, and had operations from the Pacific to the Atlantic by 2003. Expansion to the US occurred a year later.  In addition to regular flights, WestJet also offers vacation packages.  This means that not only can customers book flights, but entire packages, including hotel stays and even transportation to and from the airport.  One can book a two day trip to Las Vegas for two, for example, for under $1,000.

Service in WestJet flights is generally good. In addition, planes are usually single-class, eliminating different service levels. While like many flights, the food isn’t complimentary (nor are the headsets!), all of its aircrafts are now equipped with televisions at the seats. There is a good selection of channels, although at times, the broadcast isn’t clear – pictures skip, and if it skips enough, viewers get a note indicating that the channel isn’t available.  It isn’t always because of turbulences.  This happens even when flights are quite smooth.  Of course, one shouldn’t be complaining, since it’s considered a privilege to have personal televisions on the plane that charges discounted fares.  WestJet staff (called “owners” because they all have shares of the company) are friendly, and would sometimes even joke with passengers.  In fact, WestJet is known to issue fake news releases on April Fool’s Day.  In the past, the releases have included the introduction of sleeper cabins – in the overhead bins. 

On Tuesday, March 10, WestJet opened at 10.41 and closed at 10.44.  Its 52-week high and low were 8.34 and 19.21.