Westjet Delays, Pays Happy Traveler

When I flew back to the States a month back on Aer Lingus, they managed to delay my flight by over 12 hours and fly me through two American cities before eventually getting me to Boston on my direct flight. For my inconvenience, I was awarded

7.50 worth of complimentary drinks at the airport bar. That’s the way customer service is handled in Ireland.

Fortunately, the Canadians seem to have a better handle on things. Larry R. wrote us, gushing enthusiastically about Westjet, a company that knows how to treat even its mildly inconvenienced travelers right.

Larry’s email after the jump.

I’ve read about all the horrific stories on Consumerist about airlines abusing customers that I had to pass on a ‘good’ airline story, if for no other reason to highlight how a Canadian carrier does customer service.

A couple months ago I was on my way home to Canada from Palm Springs with Westjet, a regional carrier based out of Calgary. They fly to about 7 or 8 U.S. destinations from Canada and it’s cheap, easy and convenient. Anyway, I was on my way home and I had to change planes in Calgary for the final leg. It was really foggy/rainy out so landing seemed to be a bit problematic when we arrived in Calgary from PS. I had a 3 hour wait in Calgary, things didn’t improve and, of course, about an hour before we were scheduled to depart Calgary Westjet made an announcement that my flight was going to be delayed a couple of hours-the incoming plane I was supposed to be on to go home couldn’t land so they had it wait at its origin until it could. Fair enough – so I cranked up the Ipod, pretended I was at home already, and simply waited. Sure enough, it eventually arrived and we were, in fact, about 2 hours late when we finally took off to go home. As far as I was concerned it was a LONG trip but it was over. No worse than I’ve been subjected to before….

About a week later I picked up my mail and there was a letter from Westjet. Whenever I get unsolicited mail that looks official my first thought is usually something like, ‘Oooooh man, NOW what did I do?!!!’

So, I opened it, expecting some sort of problem with some other Westjet flight I’d booked or something. Instead it was a pleasant letter apologizing profusely for the ‘delay in my travel itinerary’ on the day I was coming home from Palm Springs. It also included a travel voucher for the cost of the entire flight from Palm Springs back home that day, to be used on any flight in the next year. Seriously. I was TOTALLY floored – a 2 hour delay = $204 in flight coupons???

SO, I don’t know if everyone gets these, or what their policy with this sort of thing, but it was an unexpected and welcome surprise – it’s about half the return airfare for me to PS next winter. Of course, I’m totally committed to Westjet now, and have told all my friends. It’s about the best advertising they could have done.

It sure is.

204 in flight coupons buys a thumbs up on the Consumerist! Next time, just send it to us direct, Westjet!


Edit Your Comment

  1. Paul says:

    Please note that as a Canadian he may have meant 204 Canadian dollars. But even if he meant American, which would certainly be quite a bit more, it would not be nearly as much as the €204 you have in your response.

    You were probably distracted by the same thing I was, though, and that’s “Heh. Lingus.”

  2. Paul says:

    Well, I copied the euro symbol from your article, but God knows what it actually posted.

  3. Das Ubergeek says:

    It’s Southwest-type service taken to an extreme, what you have there. Even if it’s CDN$204 (US$162, €125) that’s still significant.

    It couldn’t be less like Air Canada.

  4. Das Ubergeek says:

    Typing the euro symbol in directly doesn’t work either. Bah.

  5. AndyfromIL says:

    I know its geeky, but every time I read Aer Lingus I think of cunni-lingus.

  6. benko29 says:

    Das Ubergeek, the Canadian dollar is actually worth about 89 American cents. By your estimate the $CDN would have to be worth a mere 79 cents USD. It hasn’t been that low since May 2005.

    But either way, $204CDN for a mild inconvenience isn’t bad at all!

  7. Vidiot says:

    That is pretty good…and I doubt any US airline would ever deign to try to win its customers’ goodwill like that.

    I was once very impressed with Vietnam Airlines — my flight from Hue to Hanoi departed half an hour late, and they gave us Cokes and cookies in the gate area, apologizing profusely all the while.

  8. ModerateSnark says:

    Let’s see Paul & Das Ubergeek…

    I know this is a week late, but the most reliable way to get a euro symbol in html is to use & # 8364 ; (but remove the spaces).

    If your computer and browser support unicode, here’s your euro symbol: €

    More fun currency symbols: ¢ ₡ ₢ ₣ ₤ ₥ ₦ ₧ ₨ ₩ ₪ ₫ ₭ ₮ ₯ ₰ ₱

    (Of course, cut and paste should work, but special characters continue to be an internet tough nut.)

  9. NiGHTSSTUDiO says:

    Very nice, WestJet is awesome. But that’s coming from a Calgarian. ;p