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Preferred seating on 737s - Change to Preferred seats?

Preferred seating on 737s - Change to Preferred seats?

Old Sep 5, 2023, 10:45 am
  #1  
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Preferred seating on 737s - Change to Preferred seats?

Has something changed?

The 737s used to designate the first few rows of Y as being "Preferred" seating ... still a 3x3 configuration, but with a little bit of extra legroom in the first few rows of the Y cabin. (Exit row seats were designated as, well, "Exit row". Not "Premium".)

Now, the WestJet website shows:

737 Max: "Preferred" seating = the two exit rows, and nothing else. Rows 4, 5, 6 now show as standard Y seating.
737-800 version 73H Ditto. Only the two exit rows are classified as "Preferred".
737-800 version 7S8 aka the Flying Yellow Schoolbus. Lots of "Preferred" seating on the D/E/F side of the cabin in this new and concerning all-Y layout (heck, fewer Premium seats than a Q400). Only this aircraft uses the different "Exit row" designation for exit row seats.
737-700 Preferred seating = the single exit row only .. a measly 6 seats.

Is "Preferred" seating now gonzo, other than on the new single class flying schoolbus? Is it now just the exit rows, a la Allegiant, on all of the other 737s?

What happened to the separate "Exit row" seat designation on the Max, 73H, and 700??

Or are the seatmaps on westjet.com not accurate?
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Old Sep 5, 2023, 1:01 pm
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Originally Posted by FlyerJ
Has something changed?

The 737s used to designate the first few rows of Y as being "Preferred" seating ... still a 3x3 configuration, but with a little bit of extra legroom in the first few rows of the Y cabin. (Exit row seats were designated as, well, "Exit row". Not "Premium".)

Now, the WestJet website shows:

737 Max: "Preferred" seating = the two exit rows, and nothing else. Rows 4, 5, 6 now show as standard Y seating.
737-800 version 73H Ditto. Only the two exit rows are classified as "Preferred".
737-800 version 7S8 aka the Flying Yellow Schoolbus. Lots of "Preferred" seating on the D/E/F side of the cabin in this new and concerning all-Y layout (heck, fewer Premium seats than a Q400). Only this aircraft uses the different "Exit row" designation for exit row seats.
737-700 Preferred seating = the single exit row only .. a measly 6 seats.

Is "Preferred" seating now gonzo, other than on the new single class flying schoolbus? Is it now just the exit rows, a la Allegiant, on all of the other 737s?

What happened to the separate "Exit row" seat designation on the Max, 73H, and 700??

Or are the seatmaps on westjet.com not accurate?
I think as the aircraft are in transition to the new 180 seat layout on the -800 and MAX 8, they may have removed the preferred / extra legroom seat designation as some aircraft will have different seat pitches in different rows, until the changes are complete. They should still have a similar preferred seating in front of the over-wing exits (same number of seats there as in the old 12/162 seat layout), but the rows may vary a bit from new to old config. Behind the over-wing exits will become 28 or 28.5" pitch with an extra row added. It is not clear whether -700s will be reconfigured, but they may exit the fleet as MAX 10s start arriving in volume.


Some more new config info here: https://news.paxeditions.com/news/ai...aft-memo-shows
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Old Sep 5, 2023, 1:24 pm
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The MAX 10s won't begin arriving until 2024 at the earliest; not even the 737 MAX 7 is certified yet. And 28" pitch is body crushing, I can't imagine they're going to try that?
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Old Sep 5, 2023, 1:54 pm
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Originally Posted by YXUFlyboy
The MAX 10s won't begin arriving until 2024 at the earliest; not even the 737 MAX 7 is certified yet. And 28" pitch is body crushing, I can't imagine they're going to try that?
They can't get 17 rows behind the over-wing exits without going to 28.5" at the most, even if they use the most compact bathrooms available and lock-out recline on the seats. Ryanair is using 28" pitch on most of the 17 rows of seats behind the over-wing exits on their 737-8-200 aircraft, together with the rear bathrooms switched position with galleys: https://www.aerolopa.com/fr-7m8.

The MAX 10s are scheduled for 2024-2028 delivery (assuming they ever get through certification) and it is not clear if WS will take MAX 7s anymore. I can see the 737-700s just fizzling out of the fleet as they become ready for lease return or just ready for scrap, without any changes to the current config.
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Old Sep 5, 2023, 3:09 pm
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Originally Posted by aerobod
Ryanair is using 28" pitch on most of the 17 rows of seats behind the over-wing exits on their 737-8-200 aircraft, together with the rear bathrooms switched position with galleys: https://www.aerolopa.com/fr-7m8.
You'll excuse me if I vomit a little if Ryanair is the comparison here. Especially since it's not Ryanair pricing. That's worse than AC Rouge.
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Old Sep 5, 2023, 4:14 pm
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Originally Posted by YXUFlyboy
You'll excuse me if I vomit a little if Ryanair is the comparison here. Especially since it's not Ryanair pricing. That's worse than AC Rouge.
100%.

Rouge is a 29" seat pitch. It's an utterly awful experience. But that's still better than WestJet's 28".

WestJet's new seat pitch, if this is accurate, will be worse than Rouge, worse than Allegiant, and equal to Spirit and Frontier and some (but not all) Ryanair aircraft.

Spirit, Frontier, Ryanair, Rouge ... all awful, bottom-feeder airline experiences ... soon to be on par with mainline WestJet.

So this is the new WestJet?!??!?

Holy @$!%.

As a Calgary-based (tall) frequent flier ... how do we start campaigning to get Air Canada to come back to YYC??? (Without Rouge, though.)
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Old Sep 5, 2023, 6:26 pm
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Originally Posted by FlyerJ
As a Calgary-based (tall) frequent flier ... how do we start campaigning to get Air Canada to come back to YYC??? (Without Rouge, though.)
You fly Porter at every practical opportunity (admittedly very limited) to promote paxex-based (rather than just price-based) competition?
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Old Sep 5, 2023, 7:25 pm
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Originally Posted by FlyerJ
100%.

Rouge is a 29" seat pitch. It's an utterly awful experience. But that's still better than WestJet's 28".

WestJet's new seat pitch, if this is accurate, will be worse than Rouge, worse than Allegiant, and equal to Spirit and Frontier and some (but not all) Ryanair aircraft.

Spirit, Frontier, Ryanair, Rouge ... all awful, bottom-feeder airline experiences ... soon to be on par with mainline WestJet.

So this is the new WestJet?!??!?

Holy @$!%.

As a Calgary-based (tall) frequent flier ... how do we start campaigning to get Air Canada to come back to YYC??? (Without Rouge, though.)
With AC we got Rouged. So does this mean were getting Winged on WS?
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Old Sep 5, 2023, 7:29 pm
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I don’t know what everyone expected when WS, WO and WG were announced as being a single entity and still have ULCC competition in their market. In the 737-8 or -800, just pay the extra for one of the 48 extra legroom or 12 premium seats if you don’t want a ULCC 28 or 28.5” seat pitch. If you do it at booking time there generally shouldn’t be an availability issue, as most people don’t want to pay the seat reservation fee.
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Old Sep 5, 2023, 7:46 pm
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Originally Posted by aerobod
I dont know what everyone expected when WS, WO and WG were announced as being a single entity and still have ULCC competition in their market. In the 737-8 or -800, just pay the extra for one of the 48 extra legroom or 12 premium seats if you dont want a ULCC 28 or 28.5 seat pitch. If you do it at booking time there generally shouldnt be an availability issue, as most people dont want to pay the seat reservation fee.
Actually this is more or less what I expected after they did the WG deal. Thats why my next four trips are booked on AC.
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Old Sep 5, 2023, 8:15 pm
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Originally Posted by YXUFlyboy
You'll excuse me if I vomit a little if Ryanair is the comparison here. Especially since it's not Ryanair pricing. That's worse than AC Rouge.
Actually Ryanair is a bit cheaper than Aer Lingus in comparable markets since Aer Lingus moved towards being a ULCC, but not much.. The Ryanair base ticket price is further from their revenue per passenger than pretty well every other airline due to their high ancillary revenue per passenger. As I looked at here a few months ago - https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/35175371-post11.html - WestJet is likely more competitive than Aer Lingus when airport and government related taxes are removed. Revenue vs advertised ticket price is a much better measure of what people are really paying in a given market.

The WS strategy seems to be 2/3 ULCC and 1/3 Legacy carrier in their new 737 cabin configurations, probably the only way they can compete effectively with both with AC and the main ULCCs in their domestic and sun markets.
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Old Sep 6, 2023, 10:14 am
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Originally Posted by aerobod
I don’t know what everyone expected when WS, WO and WG were announced as being a single entity and still have ULCC competition in their market. In the 737-8 or -800, just pay the extra for one of the 48 extra legroom or 12 premium seats if you don’t want a ULCC 28 or 28.5” seat pitch. If you do it at booking time there generally shouldn’t be an availability issue, as most people don’t want to pay the seat reservation fee.
Makes sense for WestJet's new target market ... i.e. Johnny and Sally on their annual trip to Vegas who book a few months in advance. Their transition from mainstream to some weird ULCC hybrid won't impact the occasional vacation flyer -- which is who "new WestJet" seems to focus on now.

For me, I'm a YYC-based business traveller who typically flies every second week to destinations across the U.S. and Canada, often on short notice. Sometimes on very short notice. And, as mentioned above, I'm tall. When I book last minute, I'm often left with a choice of a middle seat in 'preferred' or an exit row ... or an aisle seat further back in the cabin. On mainstream carriers like DL, AC, UA or the previous version of WS, I'd be ok taking any of those options -- although trying to avoid a middle seat unless no other option existed -- typically on an airline where I either have or am trying to obtain FF status/benefits. (Currently, I have status on WS, DL and UA.) Now that WS is doing this, I don't see myself ever flying in the back half of their aircraft. Ever. There's no doubt that it will impact how I choose a flight and how I select an airline.
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Old Sep 6, 2023, 10:26 am
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Originally Posted by aerobod
The WS strategy seems to be 2/3 ULCC and 1/3 Legacy carrier in their new 737 cabin configurations, probably the only way they can compete effectively with both with AC and the main ULCCs in their domestic and sun markets.
Frankly their (and AC's) primary strategy to "compete" seems to be to vacate each other's hubs and 'focus city' markets -- politely handing each other a major advantage in Canada's four largest markets regardless of the product. AC now effectively owns YYZ, YUL, YHZ and YVR. WS has a lock on YYC. (Heck, it was only hours after AC pulled out of YYC that WS miraculously found spare capacity to replace some of those cancelled AC routes, i.e. LAX and YOW.)

And if this ongoing downgrading of WestJet's product is to be able to capture Lynx and Flair flyers, why? ULCC customers are also ultra low revenue per person, and ultra, ultra low margin -- unless you're able to squeeze lots of ancillary revenue out of them. Is it really worth downgrading everything about your product - from the Premium experience to the seat pitch in most of the Y cabin - to win those customers over?
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Old Sep 6, 2023, 10:27 am
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Originally Posted by FlyerJ
Makes sense for WestJet's new target market ... i.e. Johnny and Sally on their annual trip to Vegas who book a few months in advance. Their transition from mainstream to some weird ULCC hybrid won't impact the occasional vacation flyer -- which is who "new WestJet" seems to focus on now.

For me, I'm a YYC-based business traveller who typically flies every second week to destinations across the U.S. and Canada, often on short notice. Sometimes on very short notice. And, as mentioned above, I'm tall. When I book last minute, I'm often left with a choice of a middle seat in 'preferred' or an exit row ... or an aisle seat further back in the cabin. On mainstream carriers like DL, AC, UA or the previous version of WS, I'd be ok taking any of those options -- although trying to avoid a middle seat unless no other option existed -- typically on an airline where I either have or am trying to obtain FF status/benefits. (Currently, I have status on WS, DL and UA.) Now that WS is doing this, I don't see myself ever flying in the back half of their aircraft. Ever. There's no doubt that it will impact how I choose a flight and how I select an airline.
If you are booking at least 24 hours in advance (i.e. outside the check-in window for the masses) there generally should be preferred seats left, as Johnny and Sally are typically not willing to pay anything to book a specific seat.

Without WestJet doing this change, they will wither in time in the west due to ULCC competition having gained a significant toe-hold compared with the negligible impact in the east so far. The fact AC is reducing frequency and point-to-point routes in the west to better deploy into more profitable eastern routes indicates this, too. it will be interesting to see how Porter fares in their expansion, with a naturally higher cost model than Flair and WestJet (but likely a large cushion left in the remains of their $750m slush fund), as competition gets more intense with the number of scheduled aircraft deliveries.
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Old Sep 6, 2023, 10:39 am
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Originally Posted by aerobod
If you are booking at least 24 hours in advance (i.e. outside the check-in window for the masses) there generally should be preferred seats left, as Johnny and Sally are typically not willing to pay anything to book a specific seat.
Can definitely confirm - nope - that is frequently not the case. At least not on the routes where I'm booking and flying. (Now, I don't fly to Cabo or Vegas for work. Destinations that are 100% leisure might be a different story.)

Middle seats with good legroom? Sure. There will almost always be some middles in preferred or exit rows just prior to T-24, but that's hardly a win. I often find myself in an aisle seat behind the wing when booking last minute.
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