Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > WestJet | WestJet Rewards
Reload this Page >

Seat selection on bid upgrades: Seriously, WestJet?

Seat selection on bid upgrades: Seriously, WestJet?

Old Sep 15, 19, 10:43 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: The World
Posts: 898
Seat selection on bid upgrades: Seriously, WestJet?

First successful bid upgrade today, hooray.

But the system assigned me a bulkhead seat, which I didn’t want. (Rows 2 and 3 are also available.). Both the app and the website show seats available, but won’t respond when I try to select a new seat. The open Premium seats all show a seat selection of “$0”.

I call into the Gold/Plat premium support line via the WS app. After about half an hour on hold (gee, thanks WestJet). And then...

“I’d like to change my seat, please.”

”As per the terms and conditions of the bid upgrade, you are not allowed to select your own seat when you purchase a bid upgrade. You can try to choose another one at time of check-in, should other seats in Premium remain available.”

Seriously, WestJet?

They’re starting to remind me a lot of AC circa about 10 years ago ... when Air Canada went through a big phase of “value creation” by coming up with and vigorously enforcing punitive rules.
FlyerJ is offline  
Old Sep 15, 19, 1:25 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: YVR TLS
Programs: Air France Flying Blue, Altitude SE-100k, AAdvantage, United Mileage Plus, WS rewards, BonVoy Titan
Posts: 758
"rules are made to be broken" and for the high spend premium pax, they probably should..at least occasionally
james dean is offline  
Old Sep 15, 19, 1:42 pm
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: The World
Posts: 898
Or, you know, at some point coming up with (and enforcing) silly rules is just a dumb thing to do — status customer or not.

Perhaps they’re trying to create rules that devalue upgrades to Premium in order to defend the value of buying full Premium? Here’s a suggestion, WestJet: don’t devalue your product. For anyone.
FlyerJ is offline  
Old Sep 15, 19, 1:59 pm
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: The World
Posts: 898
And this is actually my second run-in with the WestJet Rule Cops this week.

(Apologies for taking my own thread on a bit of a tangent here...)

The short story: my cousin passed away. My elderly mother really wanted to go to the funeral, but would struggle to travel on her own.

I thought I may as well check on a bereavement fare. It turned out to be a worthwhile discount.

But here’s where the experience turns: The agent tells me that my mother can have the bereavement fare, but not me. And we can’t be on the same ticket. The reason? Apparently the WestJet Big Book of Rules says “nephew” = bereaved. But “cousin” is not sufficiently bereaved.

I’m told “Your mother can have the discount, but you can’t”. I responded with a pleasant but firm “Come on. You must be joking? I’m taking my elderly mother to my cousin’s funeral?” She put me on hold for a very long period of time — so she could go off and discuss the situation with the Rules Department. When she came back on the line, she insisted they’re holding their ground. Only one of us gets the bereavement fare, and if I want us to be on the same ticket (I did, for simplicity) then my mother couldn’t have the bereavement fare either.

It’s not at all a matter of the money. A bit extra for an important last minute flight — not the issue. It is, as the cliche goes, the principle. The whole experience- with my ‘airline of choice’ - was just kind of pathetic.

Which is exactly what I also felt after today’s simple request to move my reserved Premium seat by one row.

Last edited by FlyerJ; Sep 15, 19 at 2:18 pm
FlyerJ is offline  
Old Sep 15, 19, 2:22 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: YVR TLS
Programs: Air France Flying Blue, Altitude SE-100k, AAdvantage, United Mileage Plus, WS rewards, BonVoy Titan
Posts: 758
Gotta wonder why the "rules department" would not take into consideration loyalty to the brand history especially on bereavement travel...
I'm sure the response here will be "do it one then we have to do it for all"....
james dean is offline  
Old Sep 15, 19, 8:58 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: YVR
Programs: Accidental AC E35K
Posts: 2,387
Originally Posted by FlyerJ View Post
”As per the terms and conditions of the bid upgrade, you are not allowed to select your own seat when you purchase a bid upgrade.
Thanks for pointing this out. It’s a dealbreaker for me, I won’t be bidding on any WS upgrades.
Sopwith is online now  
Old Sep 15, 19, 9:45 pm
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: The World
Posts: 898
This new rule doe not appear in their published terms and conditions on the website. (I checked immediately after the call.)

The agent was quite emphatic, however, that it was WestJet Law and that my request to change rows was a violation of said law. I just couldn’t be bothered to call back to try to argue it — especially given that I had to wait on hold for a full 30 bloody minutes on my first attempt to reach an agent. No doubt the WestJest Department of Punitive Rules has published it in some obscure tariff. (Right next to the definition of whose death in a family is sufficiently “bereaving”, perhaps.)

FWIW, here’s the T&C page for bid upgrades from their website (with absolutely no mention of this seating restriction):

https://www.westjet.com/en-ca/travel...rms-conditions
FlyerJ is offline  
Old Sep 15, 19, 10:53 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: YVR
Programs: Accidental AC E35K
Posts: 2,387
I have successfully bid for upgrades on AC and FI. In all cases I have been able to select or change seats on the website. But since you aren’t notified until 48-72 hours out the pickings could be slim. But it has worked out for me (so far).

I did recently look into bidding for a WS upgrade YVR-OGG. Their minimum bid of ~$400 each wasn’t worth it for their so-called premium since we already had exit row seats.
Sopwith is online now  
Old Sep 16, 19, 7:33 am
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: YYC, Canada
Programs: Former AC*E, WorldPerks, Air Miles
Posts: 1,446
Good grief. I can bid for a seat but can't choose it? Pass.
YXUFlyboy is offline  
Old Sep 16, 19, 9:44 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: YYZ/MGA
Programs: AA 1MM Lifetime Gold, WS Gold, Marriott Silver
Posts: 7,286
Originally Posted by YXUFlyboy View Post
Good grief. I can bid for a seat but can't choose it? Pass.
This is quite a cut off your nose to spite your face approach to flying. Won't buy a premium ticket, then given an opportunity to upgrade for much less than buying one, then refusing to sit in it and suffer in a no-pitch, no service, middle seat. Pure genius, but you'll show them.

If people want a chosen seat in J or PE whatever they call it now - simple - buy a ticket and choose that paid seat. If you can't or won't, then take your paid or free or coupon upgrade where you get it which anyone would realize is better than coach.
nancypants likes this.
ricktoronto is online now  
Old Sep 16, 19, 10:10 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: YVR
Programs: Accidental AC E35K
Posts: 2,387
On most WS aircraft I have flown (all 73x) their so-called Premium isn’t much of a premium. An exit row aisle seat, which I can get most of the time, is just as good, at least for me. I’d rather be there than in a window Premium seat.
Sopwith is online now  
Old Sep 17, 19, 1:11 am
  #12  
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 766
Originally Posted by ricktoronto View Post
This is quite a cut off your nose to spite your face approach to flying. Won't buy a premium ticket, then given an opportunity to upgrade for much less than buying one, then refusing to sit in it and suffer in a no-pitch, no service, middle seat. Pure genius, but you'll show them.

If people want a chosen seat in J or PE whatever they call it now - simple - buy a ticket and choose that paid seat. If you can't or won't, then take your paid or free or coupon upgrade where you get it which anyone would realize is better than coach.
Agreed. Lots of champagne tastes and beer budgets on display here.

I flew the Dreamliner to LGW last week. The LM upgrade was $1,399, a huge discount to the $$6000 Reg price on display 2hrs before departure.

I snaapped it up, resulting in my seating in a state of the art pod across the Atlantic for under $2,000.

No brainer.

As for LGW, it is easy to get around and egress. I had no bags, landed a little before 11am and I was at my hotel in Kensington by noon, via Gatwick Express and District Line.

I don’t understand the LHR superiority complex.
HangTen is offline  
Old Sep 17, 19, 5:59 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Calgary
Posts: 865
Originally Posted by HangTen View Post
As for LGW, it is easy to get around and egress. I had no bags, landed a little before 11am and I was at my hotel in Kensington by noon, via Gatwick Express and District Line.

I don’t understand the LHR superiority complex.
Now that Canadian passport holders can use the eGates, I think LGW may actually save a few minutes over LHR to most central London locations, as the walk from the gates is a bit less and the Underground from Victoria has better connections, recovering the slightly longer travel time on the Gatwick vs Heathrow Express.
aerobod is offline  
Old Sep 17, 19, 8:14 am
  #14  
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: YYT
Programs: AC E35k, HHonors Silver
Posts: 692
Originally Posted by aerobod View Post
Now that Canadian passport holders can use the eGates, I think LGW may actually save a few minutes over LHR to most central London locations, as the walk from the gates is a bit less and the Underground from Victoria has better connections, recovering the slightly longer travel time on the Gatwick vs Heathrow Express.
If you are travelling to East or South London or the City, then taking a fast train to London Bridge is a better option than Gatwick Express & Victoria. Short cab/tube ride to your destination then.
AtlanticXpat is offline  
Old Sep 17, 19, 8:04 pm
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: The World
Posts: 898
Originally Posted by HangTen View Post
Agreed. Lots of champagne tastes and beer budgets on display here.
To be clear - if you read my original post - I was at no time complaining about the value of an upgrade. They’re typically great value.

My issue was essentially that the purchase was a bait and switch.

Nowhere, absolutely nowhere on the bid upgrade site or on the Terms and Conditions page does it say that you’re purchasing anything other than a regular Premium ticket (with the same rules as your original ticket) when you buy Premium via an upgrade. I therefore - quite rationally - expected I’d get all of the features that come with a Premium seat. The bigger seat, food, beverage, elite check-in, zone 1 boarding ... and, yes, the ability to select my seat.

Never once - until I called in to the elite line after purchasing - was there any mention of a Basic-fare-style seating restriction on those Premium tickets. Nowhere.

That is is the issue. Not that I expected something for nothing.

Similarly, if I get a good deal on buying a specific model/make/year of car and then - after completing the purchase - I’m given the keys to a damaged car or an older car ... I don’t expect to be lectured: “Oh, we made a rule about what happens when you buy from us at a discounted price. We just don’t make it known to you before you buy.” And if that were to happen, it certainly would not be a case of the consumer having unrealistic expectations or the dreaded “champagne taste beer budget”.

Beyond all that, the airline industry’s practice of creating different “products” - which are actually identical hard products but with different “rules” constructed to make some undesirable - is goofy. When the hard product is the same, don’t try to devalue it for some customers based on some hidden, artificial rules. It’s just as stupid, in my opinion, as having an FA on board a flight tell one Premium pax that he can only be served water to drink — because he paid too little. Then telling another that he gets only water, no food, and has to use the back lav because he paid even less. Devaluing your “Premium” product is just stupid.
FlyerJ is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread