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Monday,  June 24, 2024 11:52 AM 

Increased capacity & self-serve tools: WestJet outlines winter readiness plan

  • Air
  •   12-12-2023  6:42 am
  •   Pax Global Media

Increased capacity & self-serve tools: WestJet outlines winter readiness plan
Pax Global Media

“We can‘t control the weather but we can control how we deal with disruption,” wrote the WestJet Group’s CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech on LinkedIn on Monday (Dec. 12)

Ahead of what should be an historically busy winter season, WestJet, over the past year, has made several improvements to its operations aimed at delivering a smoother travel experience during peak travel times. 

“Last year’s holiday season highlighted several weak spots across Canada’s aviation ecosystem as we faced unforeseen, compounding weather events across the country that exposed vulnerabilities within our operation and significantly impacted our guests travel experience,” said Diederik Pen, WestJet Group’ s chief operating officer in a statement Monday (Dec. 12).

“On the heels of a very successful summer, we are confident in the robust improvements we’ve made across all touchpoints of the travel journey. As we look towards the holiday season ahead, our focus remains on rebuilding trust and delivering an efficient and enjoyable travel experience to our valued guests.”

What to expect

Leveraging lessons learned from 2022 – when a snowstorm slammed into Vancouver and Toronto airports during the Christmastime rush, crippling networks – and by investing in an “operational excellence program,” WestJet says it has been diligently preparing to meet the demand of the more than 1.5 million guests it plans to serve this holiday season.

In preparation for peak winter travel, the WestJet Group (which includes the newly-acquired Sunwing Airlines) has proactively positioned its fleet and staff to best serve Canadians by:

  • Working closely with Sunwing to bolster flying capacity through the peak winter season.
  • Leveraging aircraft from WestJet’s former ultra-low-cost-carrier, Swoop to aid in flight disruption recovery across its networks.
  • Transitioned to a new ground handling partnership at Calgary International Airport, WestJet’s largest hub and worked closely with service partners across its Canadian network to bolster and ensure improved on-time performance and baggage handling.

Self-serve & communication enhancements

In the event of flight disruptions or delays this holiday season, WestJet says it has invested in enabling self-serve options for its guests, improved upon its guest and crew communication and proactively implemented contingency planning across its operation.

  • This season, the airline is unrolling the following updates: 
  • SMS text notifications providing guests with timely updates on flight changes as information becomes available.
  • The ability for most guests to self-serve during a flight disruption by either changing travel plans or cancelling their trip and requesting a refund.
  • Implementing new crew management software to assist the streamlined execution of crew scheduling to best support WestJet’s network and evolving schedule in the face of disruptions.
  • Improved crew communication tools, arming WestJetters with the most up to date information to best support guests.

“While we can’t control the weather, it is our responsibility and commitment to deliver a safe, seamless and reliable experience to our guests and ensure that when faced with obstacles, our operation is resilient and equipped to quickly respond and recover,” said Pen.


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