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Premium meals pulled from some (random?) flights

Premium meals pulled from some (random?) flights

Old Oct 11, 2022, 6:50 pm
  #1  
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Premium meals/full service pulled from some flights

Heads up: Buying Premium no longer always gets you the full Premium product.

I just flew YYC-PHX with my full family in Premium. The 3+ hour flight was scheduled to depart at 6:00pm … and we didn’t eat before the flight since we knew we would enjoy a full meal on board. That’s part of what you get when you buy a Premium fare, after all.

Wrong.

Some flights that do qualify for meal service in Premium (based on flight duration) don’t actually get those meals … apparently based on some new, arbitrary WestJet decision. So, on YYC-PHX (and presumably other routes) some departures get Premium service in the Premium cabin, while some don’t.

In place of the Premium meal, they hand out a cardboard box of what can best be described as gas-station-convenience-store snacks. No meal. Just a box of random garbage. (Note that it’s a different box than the triangular one that’s handed out on flights that get ‘full’ Premium service.)

What’s in the box? Imagine spending $5 on a few random processed food items in a Circle K.

I asked why. The FA told me that, although our flight was long enough for Premium meal service, a decision had recently been made that certain flights departing at certain times would only get the snack box.

Our 6pm (dinner time) departure from YYC was one such flight.

The FA said it was occasional, and her hunch was that it tended to be last flight out to a destination and first flight back — a matter of convenience for WestJet in dealing with catering.

And how might I know for future Premium flights if I’m getting a full meal … or just a bag of crackers? There’s no way to tell for sure, apparently.

I’m furious. I paid for Premium and didn’t get it. Far from it. And apparently from now on it’s just a guess as to whether you get full Premium service, or if it’s just some watered down ‘big seat at the front’ version of Premium.

It’s now a lottery: pay for Premium when you book, and find out if you actually get it after you board.

(Oddly, my return flight PHX to YYC did have a Premium meal and full Premium service. A totally different experience. But we decided to eat before boarding, just to be safe.)

Last edited by FlyerJ; Oct 12, 2022 at 11:13 am
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Old Oct 11, 2022, 7:50 pm
  #2  
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More WS tinkering with the details as it indicates on their website than flights over 2.5-hours enjoy except the asterisk that notes

*Select flights will not receive a hot meal. A selection of retail snacks will be served with your choice of beverage.

Of course it doesn't say which select flights are excluded so how would the paying passenger know?

I priced out an Oct. one-way departure on OP's route and under the inclusions the Premium fare says:

"Food and beverages (incl. wine, beer & spirits)"

So can very easily understand OP's anger. Sorry to hear but thanks for sharing.
tcook052 is offline  
Old Oct 11, 2022, 8:28 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 972
Originally Posted by FlyerJ
Heads up: Buying Premium no longer always gets you the full Premium product.

I just flew YYC-PHX with my full family in Premium. The 3+ hour flight was scheduled to depart at 6:00pm … and we didn’t eat before the flight since we knew we would enjoy a full meal on board. That’s part of what you get when you buy a Premium fare, after all.

Wrong.

Some flights that do qualify for meal service in Premium (based on flight duration) don’t actually get those meals … apparently based on some new, arbitrary WestJet decision. So, on YYC-PHX (and presumably other routes) some departures get Premium service in the Premium cabin, while some don’t.

In place of the Premium meal, they hand out a cardboard box of what can best be described as gas-station-convenience-store snacks. No meal. Just a box of random garbage. (Note that it’s a different box than the triangular one that’s handed out on flights that get ‘full’ Premium service.)

What’s in the box? Imagine spending $5 on a few random processed food items in a Circle K.

I asked why. The FA told me that, although our flight was long enough for Premium meal service, a decision had recently been made that certain flights departing at certain times would only get the snack box.

Our 6pm (dinner time) departure from YYC was one such flight.

The FA said it was occasional, and her hunch was that it tended to be last flight out to a destination and first flight back — a matter of convenience for WestJet in dealing with catering.

And how might I know for future Premium flights if I’m getting a full meal … or just a bag of crackers? There’s no way to tell for sure, apparently.

I’m furious. I paid for Premium and didn’t get it. Far from it. And apparently from now on it’s just a guess as to whether you get full Premium service, or if it’s just some watered down ‘big seat at the front’ version of Premium.

It’s now a lottery: pay for Premium when you book, and find out if you actually get it after you board.

(Oddly, my return flight PHX to YYC did have a Premium meal and full Premium service. A totally different experience. But we decided to eat before boarding, just to be safe.)
Unfortunately, the FA’s hunch was right. Last flight out to a non catering station will get the snack box and first flight out the next morning will get the same, “for consistency sake”. But if you take the flight at a different time other than those, there will be the hot meal. It is infuriating for sure and I highly recommend that you write to westjet and express your concerns. Maybe if enough do, something will change! Trust me, as an FA myself, it is very embarrassing and I feel so badly for the affected guests!
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Old Oct 11, 2022, 8:29 pm
  #4  
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Originally Posted by tcook052
More WS tinkering with the details as it indicates on their website than flights over 2.5-hours enjoy except the asterisk that notes

*Select flights will not receive a hot meal. A selection of retail snacks will be served with your choice of beverage.

The fine print should be updated to say: “Always a Premium fare, but only sometimes the Premium product.”

I mean seriously … why would anyone buy a Premium fare now that you’re not assured of actually getting the product that goes with it?

It makes me rethink buying Premium with WS ever again. And WS’ strong Premium product at a good price is one of my top reasons for my loyalty to WS.

Big fail on the part of whoever at WestJet HQ who said “meh, just drop the Premium meals from a bunch of flights, nobody will notice”. And an extra big fail on the part of whoever came up with the god-awful box of cheap garbage to replace the Premium meals.

Originally Posted by YYCguy
Unfortunately, the FA’s hunch was right. Last flight out to a non catering station will get the snack box and first flight out the next morning will get the same, “for consistency sake”. But if you take the flight at a different time other than those, there will be the hot meal.
Then those flights should NEVER be sold as Premium.

If the Premium product is not offered on those flights, then why are they selling them as “Premium”, and at Premium fares?!?

(And I feel so comforted that me, my wife, and our two teenaged sons went without dinner that night “for consistency sake”. Frig. Thanks WestJet.)

Last edited by NewbieRunner; Oct 14, 2022 at 8:00 am Reason: Merged consecutive posts by same member
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Old Oct 11, 2022, 8:55 pm
  #5  
 
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Originally Posted by FlyerJ
Then those flights should NEVER be sold as Premium.

If the Premium product is not offered on those flights, then why are they selling them as “Premium”, and at Premium fares?!?

(And I feel so comforted that me, my wife, and our two teenaged sons went without dinner that night “for consistency sake”. Frig. Thanks WestJet.)
I am truly sorry you experienced this and as an FA, I feel so utterly embarrassed and I really hope you can get somewhere with a complaint! You spent a lot of money and went hungry and that’s not right at all!
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Old Oct 11, 2022, 10:40 pm
  #6  
 
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Originally Posted by YYCguy
.....non catering station.....
How about a definition of this?
There is a flight kitchen in PHX, so the opportunity to provide a morning meal exists.
Does the morning flight from LAX have this problem too?
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Old Oct 12, 2022, 12:03 am
  #7  
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Imagine this: I worked a YYC-KOA flight last winter with this exact box in Premium for the 7:30+ hour flight. I was mortified as the one required to deliver this service. Same rationale - no catering in KOA. I wrote it up, and encouraged all guests to write in. This has now taken hold on these shorter haul W flights as well where acft overnights at out-station where they don't choose to engage a catering company.

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Old Oct 12, 2022, 8:42 am
  #8  
 
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Sounds like what I experienced on YYZ-YQR in November (late night flight, with the aircraft sitting overnight before returning early morning). I complained to WestJet after that flight. The response was sympathetic, but pointed to the message on the catering page that not all flights would receive a hot meal.
A flight in December then had a free Economy hot meal served in Premium, although I assume that was an FA taking initiative.
When I last flew YYZ-YQR in May the full Premium catering was back, so I was hoping that was the last of it...

Based on this thread, I'm guessing that YQR is a "non-catering station", and this horrendous snack box is back?

I note that pre-COVID full Premium service was on flights over 90 minutes - I'm already unhappy about snacks-only on flights in the 2 hour range.
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Old Oct 12, 2022, 9:16 am
  #9  
 
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Originally Posted by tracon
How about a definition of this?
There is a flight kitchen in PHX, so the opportunity to provide a morning meal exists.
Does the morning flight from LAX have this problem too?
I’m sorry, I should clarify…a station where westjet does not have a catering contract in place.

I 100% agree that if you pay a Premium fare, that one should receive all services commensurate with that fare. A caveat on the website stating an exception does not cut it in my opinion.

Last edited by YYCguy; Oct 12, 2022 at 9:25 am
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Old Oct 12, 2022, 11:08 am
  #10  
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Originally Posted by YYCguy
A caveat on the website stating an exception does not cut it in my opinion.
Of course not. This tiny caveat buried somewhere on their website is essentially WestJet saying "If you purchase and pay for our Premium product, we choose whether or not we will actually give you that product -- and won't even let you know before the flight what you're getting.".

It's utterly RIDICULOUS.

Buyer beware. Until/unless WestJet fixes this issue, DO NOT BUY PREMIUM. It's that simple.

They have decided to turn purchasing Premium into a gamble where only us as their customers can lose.

Last edited by FlyerJ; Oct 12, 2022 at 3:01 pm
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Old Oct 12, 2022, 11:56 am
  #11  
 
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Originally Posted by tracon
How about a definition of this?
There is a flight kitchen in PHX, so the opportunity to provide a morning meal exists.
Does the morning flight from LAX have this problem too?
Tangential to the meal issue, on a morning flight out of YYJ they only had Coffee Mate to serve in coffee. According to the FA, "Victoria doesn't have cream".
I assure you, there is cream in Victoria. WS just couldn't be bothered to get it.
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Old Oct 12, 2022, 12:54 pm
  #12  
 
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If this was their idea of impressing other status passengers during a status challenge, they sure missed the point.

Catering is a required element of a premium service, otherwise it's "big seat up front". Either offer a premium service, or don't, sell your 787-9s and convert your fleet to all economy, or better yet, just make everything Swoop so we at least get for what we pay for. C'mon WestJet, you're better than this. So disappointing.
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Old Oct 12, 2022, 1:51 pm
  #13  
 
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As Fisch has suggested above, everyone please please please write to the CEO and express your displeasure on this topic!
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Old Oct 12, 2022, 6:42 pm
  #14  
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The origin and destination airports, or whether one of those airports is a hub, shouldn’t make a difference (other than the flight duration being long enough to offer a Premium service).

If they sell it as Premium and price it as Premium, the product offered on board should be Premium. Period.
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Old Oct 12, 2022, 7:50 pm
  #15  
 
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I'm sure the issue on the management end is the cost of rolling the catering vendor's big truck to load a small number of perishable meals and doing so at an incredibly low volume at some airports.

Last edited by l etoile; Oct 12, 2022 at 10:33 pm Reason: Removed quote of deleted post
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