WestJet Schedule Change Policy

Old Dec 9, 22, 9:54 pm
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WestJet Schedule Change Policy

Just a warning for those of you who like to fly WestJet... you may wish to reconsider if using for routes that don't have flights every few hours.

Had a direct flight that was YVR to OGG, departing at 1900 hrs. Schedule change hits, and now I'm travelling YVR to OGG at 1000 hrs, 9 hours earlier. Sucks, I can't make that since I was planning to work in the morning. Called in a few weeks ago, and was told I could switch +/- 2 days for inbound & outbound, as this was a major schedule change (>3 hours), as outlined here: https://www.westjettravelagents.com/wes ... e-changes/. I said I'd see if I could move some things around with work, and I'd call back. FYI, the policy used to be +/- 7 days for international flights, and was then moved to +/- 3 days prior.

Well, work wasn't so happy, as understandably it's the holiday season and they are already short. Just called WestJet back tonight to say I needed to bump +1 day on inbound/outbound, and am now told that they are only offering accommodation options for +/- 9 hours of the original flight time. But no worries, the ever so diligent agent found me a suitable option. They generously offered they switch me to YVR-YYC-OGG, departing at 1200 hrs, and increases my travel time by over 1.5x. No other options provided unless I want to pay about $1400 more.

This was literally mirrored by a completely separate agent after I HUCA'd, who also so gleefully told me about the YVR-YYC-OGG option.

I had booked direct too. When I mentioned that the policy on the Travel Agent website says +/- 2 days is the policy, I was told verbatim, on recording, "booking with travel agents can actually offer MORE flexibility than booking direct". Fortunately, this wasn't a video call, as my facial expression must've been something spectacular.

... So I guess I have to beg work for an extra day off that they've already denied, and that I was like, "no big deal!" in response, given what I was told earlier.


TL;DR, Be warned - WestJet's new schedule change policy for a major, involuntary change is to only provide you with re-accommodation options that exist within 9 hours of your flight's original time. Even if it adds connections, travel time, or you simply can't make it... too bad, so sad.

See below for resolution.

Last edited by Denguin; Dec 12, 22 at 6:07 pm
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Old Dec 10, 22, 6:09 pm
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Originally Posted by Denguin View Post
TL;DR, Be warned - WestJet's new schedule change policy for a major, involuntary change is to only provide you with re-accommodation options that exist within 9 hours of your flight original time. Even if it adds connections, travel time, or you simply can't make it... too bad, so sad.
Massive yikes.

Between this and the Plus meals thread, it's hard to ignore the fact that in terms of policy and procedures the airline is being shifted into a low cost operation. How that jives with the long haul operation, Plus seating, and high fares.. definitely some level of an identity crisis happening.

The unfortunate part is the shadiness towards customers in being unable to be upfront about the changes they've been pushing out.
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Old Dec 11, 22, 4:57 am
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This is perplexing. I struggle to see what the possible gain to Westjet is by being so punitive. I hope the OP pushes back on this as it seems entirely unreasonable.
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Old Dec 11, 22, 10:02 am
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These changes all seem to be designed to align with the APPR requirements - 3hrs within original arrival time being considered significant; 48hrs arrival at destination required for a schedule change in any case, irrespective of any compensation or cancellation rights; 9hrs as the point where the top level compensation kicks in for changes made less than 14 days before departure.

I'm sure that they will be totally rigid relative to APPR requirements and any obligation they perceive they need to comply with, using the courts to provide rulings on ambiguous areas, as I think all other airlines required to comply with APPR will also do as the regulations become more vigorously enforced..
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Old Dec 12, 22, 2:26 pm
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Interesting how companies no longer consider happy customers important.
I am caught in a change as well. They appear to have abandoned LGW to YVR starting in May. We now have to change in Calgary. We lost our outside 2 seats so are in the middle on the 787 and arrive too late to practically get a ferry back to the island. Flying us Calgary Victoria in economy vs Calgary Vancouver in Premium would be a good solution but apparently out of reach unless we pay $1500. The modern world of business. I do understand this is a routing change but very minor compared to the routing change they have inflicted on us.
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Old Dec 12, 22, 5:37 pm
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Originally Posted by arf04 View Post
This is perplexing. I struggle to see what the possible gain to Westjet is by being so punitive. I hope the OP pushes back on this as it seems entirely unreasonable.
I ended up escalating to their Guest Support team, who indeed confirmed their new policy to that they are only willing to re-protect passengers on flights +/- 9 hours, even if there is minimal frequency on that route. This is the case regardless of whether this adds any connections, adds an infinite amount of travel time, you can't make it, etc. Any changes you request outside of +/- 9 hours is considered a voluntary change that you must pay out-of-pocket for, unless there just isn't any other flight within that timeframe, in which case THEN it moves to +/- 2 days.

That said, they did begrudgingly make an "exception" (and sure as heck let me know it), and re-protected me on a more suitable flight +1 day on inbound/outbound, so I am relatively satisfied, aside from wasting hours of my time trying to resolve this.

The other interesting part disclosed on that call, is that they are only willing to re-protect you on the same fare class (not cabin class). So, for example, they refused to re-protect me on my desired return flight because we had booked "Econo" fares, and the only remaining fares were designated as "EconoFlex" fares, even though they are both in the economy cabin. Had I booked a "Basic" fare, I would've been completely SOL, and no options would've existed on pretty much any flight, as there are pretty much no basic fares left around my dates of travel.

Originally Posted by Speedbird84 View Post
Massive yikes.

Between this and the Plus meals thread, it's hard to ignore the fact that in terms of policy and procedures the airline is being shifted into a low cost operation. How that jives with the long haul operation, Plus seating, and high fares.. definitely some level of an identity crisis happening.

The unfortunate part is the shadiness towards customers in being unable to be upfront about the changes they've been pushing out.
I agree. WestJet over the past few years has really been in an identity crisis. They are, at heart, a LCC carrier, but they seem to try to compete solely with AC, a full service carrier. AC offers much better routes, schedules, on-board hard/soft products, and now clearly better policies (who would've ever thought one would say that). If you want to have LCC policies, then you'd better charge LCC prices, which they simply don't do.

It drives me nuts how they think it's okay to change their policies at whim, without any understanding of how this affects passengers. A "major" change used to be considered 2 hours, now it's 3 hours. Further, they used to re-protect +/- 7 days for international flights, then moved it to +/- 3 days early in 2022, then to +/- 2 days in the summer of 2022, and now +/- 9 hours. Not as big of a deal if you're flying YVR to YYZ and there are several flights a day, but potentially catastrophic for customers when they're running only 1 direct flight on a route per day, like YVR-OGG.
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Old Dec 12, 22, 6:20 pm
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It just doesnít seem to make any business sense.

Last edited by john2003; Dec 12, 22 at 9:38 pm
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Old Dec 13, 22, 3:15 pm
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Originally Posted by john2003 View Post
It just doesnít seem to make any business sense.
Why not? They re-route you on flights that work best for them. If you refuse to take their crappy option, they give you a refund and sell your seat to someone else for a higher price.
​​​​​​
Some people won't like that and won't do business with them in the future, but if they assume their passengers are cattle and will keep coming back for the slaughter if WS is $20 cheaper on their next trip, or that it will take years before they've pissed off enough customers to make a material dent in their business (by which time Onex will have sold the company and the execs will have all gotten big payouts), it makes terrific business sense.

But AC is now officially the most customer-friendly airline in the country, something I never thought I'd say.
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Old Dec 13, 22, 4:29 pm
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Originally Posted by Adam Smith View Post
...but if they assume their passengers are cattle and will keep coming back for the slaughter if WS is $20 cheaper on their next trip...

But AC is now officially the most customer-friendly airline in the country, something I never thought I'd say.
The cattle ad from just a couple of years ago has aged well...
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Old Dec 13, 22, 4:35 pm
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Originally Posted by Adam Smith View Post
Why not? They re-route you on flights that work best for them. If you refuse to take their crappy option, they give you a refund and sell your seat to someone else for a higher price.
​​​​​​
Some people won't like that and won't do business with them in the future, but if they assume their passengers are cattle and will keep coming back for the slaughter if WS is $20 cheaper on their next trip, or that it will take years before they've pissed off enough customers to make a material dent in their business (by which time Onex will have sold the company and the execs will have all gotten big payouts), it makes terrific business sense.

But AC is now officially the most customer-friendly airline in the country, something I never thought I'd say.
Kind of sad, isn't it that AC is now #1? I've been spoiled of late with KL/AF's willingness to reroute and change dates, etc., for even the slightest of schedule changes. Sometimes, these are simply flight number changes on WS connections where the WS segment gets dropped from the reservation: every KL/AF agent I have talked to about these changes wants to put me on AC anyhow as they say there are less problems overall.

To stay OT: I am seeing few reasons to book WS myself if other options are there given the restrictions on changes due to scheduling, but I imagine that I am in a minority on this as lowest price economy is not anything I ever consider. I do like their 787 business cabin quite a bit, and think the PE cabin is much better than AC's by a good stretch, but it's also nice to know that one won't be forced to take a 5 or 6 a.m. flight when one was actually planning on taking an afternoon flight if a sched change occurs. For us, avoiding the early flight might involve overnighting in Calgary, say, and using the morning in the hotel to get work done.

And yeah, I am with you (if I interpret you accurately) that ONEX seems to be setting WS up for a future sale. I am seeing and hearing--and this is anecdotal, of course--much more complaining about WS than ever before, and this is from people who never, ever, considered flying AC until recently. Mind, you those of us who fly with some regularity out of YQR are quite sour in general these days!
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Old Dec 13, 22, 7:59 pm
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This has certainly been a learning experience. I had no idea about the trajectory that Westjet is now on.
I returned primarily because when I booked the PE was $1000 whereas AC was $2000+. Also LGW has lower taxes and is much more convenient for me than LHR. I will probably stick with them on this flight for these reasons.
They sound rather like Ryanair in their attitude to customers. Reading the reviews when ONEX took over, the future was supposed to be positive. Ryanair being an exception but I always hope that companies that mistreat their customers will eventually pay an appropriate price. Also the reverse so good for AC.
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Old Mar 8, 23, 9:42 pm
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More of the same

The feedback from my earlier encounter is still ringing in my ears. WJ just changed our Calgary Victoria flight by adding 2 more hours in Calgary. So we arrive at 1 pm from LGW and fly out at 550 pm. They refuse to fly us though YVR which would get us home about 90 mins earlier as this would be a multi city itinerary so not allowed without a fee. By that definition we are already in a multi city itinerary! I tried to escalate, spent an hour doing my taxes while on hold and eventually gave up.
I think the solution is a dayroom. Seems the Holiday Inn offers these. Anyone know of any other options!!
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Old Mar 8, 23, 10:06 pm
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Originally Posted by john2003 View Post
The feedback from my earlier encounter is still ringing in my ears. WJ just changed our Calgary Victoria flight by adding 2 more hours in Calgary. So we arrive at 1 pm from LGW and fly out at 550 pm. They refuse to fly us though YVR which would get us home about 90 mins earlier as this would be a multi city itinerary so not allowed without a fee. By that definition we are already in a multi city itinerary! I tried to escalate, spent an hour doing my taxes while on hold and eventually gave up.
I think the solution is a dayroom. Seems the Holiday Inn offers these. Anyone know of any other options!!
Yup, unfortunately under their new policy, this would be considered a "minor" schedule change, as it adds less than NINE (lol...) hours to your initial itinerary. Not sure if they've further amended it lately, but really seems like they can just do whatever they want and tell you to f-off. As stated previous, they used to re-accommodate you at the 2-hour threshold. If you have time, calling Guest Support first thing in the AM (I think 8 AM MST?) can sometimes help, but I'm doubtful they will help you for a 2-hour delay. Admittedly, I am pessimistic with anything WestJet these days, so might still be worth a shot.

Not sure of hotels that have day rooms, but YYC has an in-airport Marriott that you could inquire with, though likely to be pricey. If you are intent on staying near/at the airport, I would maybe consider a lounge rather than a hotel. The WestJet Elevation lounge (you can access for free with a few lounge programs) is pretty nice, and does have some areas to recline and relax a bit... though it can get busy. The food is nothing amazing, but still miles better than majority of Canadian lounges. There are even showers if you'd like. Otherwise, you could likely zoom into Calgary for a few hours if you are up for it.
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Old Mar 8, 23, 10:50 pm
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Thanks for the suggestions. I canít find a number for Guest Support.
Had thought about the lounge option but was looking elsewhere as I donít expect I have the status to buy our way in!! I will check.
It is about $65 US to get a day room at the Holiday Inn which has a shuttle, according to the site I was accessing. Going into Calgary is too much work! At least I can avoid WJ for future trips which appears to be their preferred option!
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Old Mar 9, 23, 6:35 am
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Wow! This compared to my 15 min call with AC where a sched change had moved our flights to South America forward one day and they cheerfully moved us to flights 2 days back from our original day and saved me 3 days of vacation. Very happy now and good to know this would not have happened with Westjet.
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