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Westjet is absolutely failing its customers

Westjet is absolutely failing its customers

Old Nov 30, 20, 12:40 pm
  #1  
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Westjet is absolutely failing its customers

Over ten months ago I booked two Premium seats on a flight from YEG to PHX. Because I travel with cabin pets if you don't book cabin pets early they don't get on a popular flight as Westjet limits the number of animals in the cabin.
Well a couple of weeks ago Westjet cancelled our flight and rebooked us thru Calgary which adds a plane change, a second airport and hours to the flight and with animals we dont want that.
So I tried to call Westjet and was on hold three hours and forty five minutes before I gave up because my cell phone is going dead.
Later that night I called back and after another three hours and fifteen minutes on-hold Westjet answers and I change the date of departure and get a direct flight on another date.
Well today which is now only three weeks from my departure Westjet again cancels my new booking and now wants to send us thru Vancouver.
I call and the automated voice answer system states on-hold wait time is now between four and six hours!! Booking a flight has now become a lottery, you buy a ticket but you can only hope you get to fly.
I have no choice because you can't change your flight on-line when you have cabin pets booked.
Westjet management must be aware of the wait times on-hold and are doing nothing about it. Why they don't bring back more of the employees that they laid off to answer their phones is beyond me.
Rest assured I will remember this fiasco and Westjet has become my airline of last resort.
I thought I had read somewhere in the past that Westjet did not cancel flights within 30 days of a departure.
Clifford Paulson is offline  
Old Nov 30, 20, 12:50 pm
  #2  
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I'm sure you are aware that all airlines around the world have culled their capacity in view of the pandemic. They have very little revenue and for most of the staff there is nothing to do. There's also little money to pay them. I don't know how heavy the route Edmonton to Phoenix is, but it doesn't feel like much of a trunk route to me, which means that it is to be expected these days that you are rebooked or re-routed. I suspect you are in the tiny minority of people who travel with several pets in the cabin so I don't see this as being some major factor the WestJet's decision-making. I'm wondering why a plane change is such a big deal. Surely it would give the animals an opportunity to be let out of their bags and have a pee or a drink or something.
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Old Nov 30, 20, 1:55 pm
  #3  
 
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Originally Posted by Clifford Paulson View Post
Why they don't bring back more of the employees that they laid off to answer their phones is beyond me.
Ummm, because there's a global pandemic going on that has almost entirely shuttered all air travel in Canada?

Because WestJet (and most others) have virtually zero revenue now since they're operating virtually no flights?

Becaue they are in a net negative cash situation -- paying out gobs of money to refund customers for flights from March onwards that never operated, for reasons that were totally beyond WestJet's control? (And because I'd expect most calls into their call centres are lengthy and complicated ones regarding getting WestJet to give out refunds, not people actually spending money with WestJet.)

As for why they are changing/cancelling/rerouting frequently and sometimes with minimal advance notice (just like most other airlines) ... because, again, there's a global pandemic going on that's having a devasting impact on air travel? And because that means that rules/restrictions and customer willingness to travel changes daily? Which means that some flights simply are not viable?

These are insane times. We can't expect business as usual. They're doing their best to stay alive right now.

Last edited by FlyerJ; Nov 30, 20 at 2:01 pm
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Old Nov 30, 20, 2:02 pm
  #4  
 
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Originally Posted by Clifford Paulson View Post
I call and the automated voice answer system states on-hold wait time is now between four and six hours!!
In March and April, wait times on some days were over 30 hours long!
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Old Nov 30, 20, 2:05 pm
  #5  
 
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Message them on Facebook and asked to be rebooked on December 19/26/27. These days have direct YEG-PHX flights. Since the schedule change for December already occurred, you should be as confident as you can be that they will operate.
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Old Nov 30, 20, 2:35 pm
  #6  
 
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It sucks, but expecting YEG-PHX direct flights to continue while the country is essentially on lockdown and then getting upset that they get canceled isn't really realistic. That said, I agree with you that having call center wait times at 4 hours when they clearly have an abundance of available staff that they just won't pay/schedule is disappointing/infuriating.
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Old Nov 30, 20, 2:44 pm
  #7  
 
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Originally Posted by YZF_Elite View Post
It sucks, but expecting YEG-PHX direct flights to continue while the country is essentially on lockdown and then getting upset that they get canceled isn't really realistic. That said, I agree with you that having call center wait times at 4 hours when they clearly have an abundance of available staff that they just won't pay/schedule is disappointing/infuriating.
Indeed the wait times are frustrating (also occurring in other business sectors such as banks, insurance companies, etc) but if Iím not mistaken I do believe that the Halifax and Moncton contact centres were completely shut down to save costs, and that much of the staff across the company, including many in the remaining contact centre in Calgary are on furlough at the moment. So I think the remaining staff must be working their knuckles to the bone answering as many calls as they can.
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Old Nov 30, 20, 3:36 pm
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I'm willing to forgive airlines for a lot in the present circumstances, but fictitious schedules in combination with non-refundable fares are too much.
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Old Nov 30, 20, 7:18 pm
  #9  
 
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Originally Posted by YZF_Elite View Post
It sucks, but expecting YEG-PHX direct flights to continue while the country is essentially on lockdown and then getting upset that they get canceled isn't really realistic. That said, I agree with you that having call center wait times at 4 hours when they clearly have an abundance of available staff that they just won't pay/schedule is disappointing/infuriating.
And how many of them have the required skills, or access to the tools needs, knowledge needed? can systems handle more operators, its not as easy as just asking another 100 people to "help out "
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Old Nov 30, 20, 8:18 pm
  #10  
 
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Originally Posted by BRITINJAPAN4 View Post
And how many of them have the required skills, or access to the tools needs, knowledge needed? can systems handle more operators, its not as easy as just asking another 100 people to "help out "
in addition, the call centre agents have to be trained and monitored on PCI compliance for handling credit cards. They canít just use any workstation either, it has to be a controlled workstation that is PCI certified. Although many agents are setup for home use with specific workstations, those in the on site call centre are restricted to a secured area. In principal these days if the agents are handling credit cards, you canít just take any employee and put them on a PC to meet a higher demand level, you need to properly invest in dedicated agents, work areas and equipment.
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Old Nov 30, 20, 8:42 pm
  #11  
 
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Originally Posted by On Time Reports View Post
Message them on Facebook and asked to be rebooked on December 19/26/27. These days have direct YEG-PHX flights. Since the schedule change for December already occurred, you should be as confident as you can be that they will operate.
I wouldn't count on it. Just because the "schedule change" has already happened, it doesn't mean they won't cancel further flights.
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Old Nov 30, 20, 8:50 pm
  #12  
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Originally Posted by Flyer J
they're operating virtually no flights


I assume this is hyperbole meant for effect and not to be taken literally since WS is of course operating flights albeit nowhere near as many as pre-pandemic.


Originally Posted by On Time Reports View Post
In March and April, wait times on some days were over 30 hours long!
I got through in as little as 7 hours one March day so colour me lucky.

I empathize with OP's frustrations but these are extenuating circumstances if there ever were any so some expectations have to be adjusted since things aren't what they were and won't be for some time to come. That isn't a license for companies to abdicate responsibility for current clients but expecting things to be the way they were pre-pandemic ignores the mid-pandemic realities.
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Old Dec 1, 20, 11:33 am
  #13  
 
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Selling speculative flights THEN cancelling the ones that don't stick or meet revenue goals seems to affect all the Canadian airlines. They don't seem to be affecting US carriers who keep their schedules in tact once you are within 60-90 days they will operate flights with marginal loads if they sold tickets.

Perhaps WS and AC could put an icon next to a certain few flights once they are "guaranteed to operate" vs speculative? If there are 4 flights a day and I need to be somewhere, show me the probability of it actually running. Green/yellow/red dot? Small surcharge?
​​
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Last edited by expert7700; Dec 1, 20 at 11:53 am
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Old Dec 1, 20, 1:10 pm
  #14  
 
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I thought this name was familiar. Sure enough, this was posted last year by the same person:

Originally Posted by Clifford Paulson
Westjet has now lost my loyalty.


Indeed.
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Old Dec 1, 20, 2:16 pm
  #15  
 
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Originally Posted by LondonElite View Post
I'm sure you are aware that all airlines around the world have culled their capacity in view of the pandemic. They have very little revenue and for most of the staff there is nothing to do. There's also little money to pay them. I don't know how heavy the route Edmonton to Phoenix is, but it doesn't feel like much of a trunk route to me, which means that it is to be expected these days that you are rebooked or re-routed. I suspect you are in the tiny minority of people who travel with several pets in the cabin so I don't see this as being some major factor the WestJet's decision-making. I'm wondering why a plane change is such a big deal. Surely it would give the animals an opportunity to be let out of their bags and have a pee or a drink or something.
In fairness to the passanger.... WS is benefiting from a government subsidy program that is covering somewhere between 75-100% of their labour bill for front line workers. They should have nearly the same number of call center staff available to handle 1/10 the flying.
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