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!