Extended Comfort

Old Apr 14, 2024, 11:56 pm
  #46  
 
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Originally Posted by PHXflier
If the Westjet elite rules are too restrictive for access to Extended Comfort seats, one can always consider trying to reach Delta Platinum status instead.
It sounds like the access for WS Platinum and Gold customers remains unchanged -- which is a huge relief.

My bigger concern is that gutting the pitch in the vast majority of every cabin to only 28.5 seat pitch signals that WS is taking a massive leap down-market (this is RyanAir / Spirit / Frontier level stuff) and is substantially slashing their quality.

Sure, there might be a few rows available on each plane that have decent seat pitch and an OK Economy product, but the vast, vast majority of what "new WestJet" sells is going to be an abysmal, low-end product. There's no other way to describe that kind of seating. Even though many of us here on FT are likely to sit in EC and never (trust me ... never) sit in the 28.5 product in the rest of the plane, this devolution is still super concerning - and sad - to see as a WestJet customer.
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Old Apr 15, 2024, 10:29 am
  #47  
 
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Originally Posted by FlyerJ
Air Canada Rouge is 29.

It is appallingly bad, uncomfortable, and - in my humble opinion - jeopardizes passenger safety. (Transport Canada and other regulatory bodies around the world would, clearly, disagree with that.). Its claustrophobic for everyone. Its uncomfortable for anyone over 510. Its dangerous, IMO, for anyone 64 or taller.

I moved my business from Air Canada to WestJet a decade or so ago entirely due to the introduction of Rouge and many of my flights getting Rouged. They deemed a few of my frequent cross-border work destinations ex-YYC as leisure routes, effectively cutting the seat pitch on routes I was flying from a quite comfortable Air Canada standard to the kneecap-crushing 29.

Im tall. I flew Rouge twice. It was awful.

And in the decade since, because of this, Ive gone from an AC frequent flier to barely ever stepping foot on any AC plane.

Mind you, since then AC pulled Rouge out of YYC, and then even pulled most mainline AC out of YYC too. I fired them as my airline when Calgary was still an AC hub. Because of that 29 pitch on just some of their routes here.

Now, WestJets main product is going to become 28.5.
If I don't want to sit in the nose bleed section of the stadium, I take a crow bar to my pocketbook, pay a little more and sit where I prefer to sit.

The Sharks play the Flames on April 17th. I can buy a seat in the nose bleeds at center ice for $17, or I can pay $77 for near ice level, center ice. My choice. Both are a steal of a deal in my books.

No one's forcing you to sit in steerage on a flight, If that's all you can afford, live with it.

You can be assured that those high density seats sold at el cheapo fares will be full each and every sector. And from my recent experience on domestic, transborder and international, so too are the 2x2 Plus seats and lie flats to Europe and Asia.

To each his (or her) own.
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Old Apr 15, 2024, 11:16 am
  #48  
 
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The most profitable airline in Europe is... RyanAir.

WestJet is primarily a LCC airline. They have a bit of stuff for those who care to pay a little more, but they are mostly targeting budget leisure fliers. Those of us in YYC just have to put up with it because we're now a fortress hub. You can avoid the 28.5" pitch by just paying for your extended comfort seat now (or flying premium) each time and picking a new flight if it's full.

Flair will be dead by next winter leaving Canada back to its usual duopoly. And Air Canada knows that the vast majority of its profit comes from international ops, not NA ops.
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Old Apr 15, 2024, 11:25 am
  #49  
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Originally Posted by YXUFlyboy
The most profitable airline in Europe is... RyanAir.

WestJet is primarily a LCC airline. They have a bit of stuff for those who care to pay a little more, but they are mostly targeting budget leisure fliers. Those of us in YYC just have to put up with it because we're now a fortress hub. You can avoid the 28.5" pitch by just paying for your extended comfort seat now (or flying premium) each time and picking a new flight if it's full.

.
They are a Hybrid LCC that serves a diverse client segmentation.
Leisure travellers comprise a significant portion of their customer segment.

They also cater to business travellers who must fly for work-related purposes. WestJet offers business-class services, comfortable seating, and amenities to meet the needs of business travellers. Additionally, they do have a corporate travel program.

They also serve a global customer base, including international travellers worldwide. WestJets extensive network of international destinations, partnerships with other airlines, and codeshare agreements allow them to serve the needs of international travellers.

They certainly do attract budget-conscious travellers who value competitive pricing, promotions, and discounts.

Their customer segment also includes frequent flyers who travel frequently for personal or business reasons. These customers value loyalty programs, rewards, and benefits.

Besides passengers, WestJet serves customers in the cargo shipping industry. This segment includes businesses and individuals who require efficient and reliable air cargo transportation services.

WestJets customer segment also includes clients who book charter flights for special events, group travel, sports teams, or corporate functions.

Last edited by cirrusdragoon; Apr 15, 2024 at 11:39 am
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Old Apr 15, 2024, 12:20 pm
  #50  
 
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Originally Posted by cirrusdragoon
They also cater to business travellers who must fly for work-related purposes. WestJet offers business-class services, comfortable seating, and amenities to meet the needs of business travellers. Additionally, they do have a corporate travel program.

Their customer segment also includes frequent flyers who travel frequently for personal or business reasons. These customers value loyalty programs, rewards, and benefits.
Thanks for that infomercial. WestJet's loyalty program is not competitive - the best loyalty program for WestJet fliers is in fact, Delta Skymiles. WestJet has some business services, but no access to premium or business seats thru loyalty programs (unlike every other airline), and it's lounge network is limited to YYC. For business travelers in YYC, the primary value is not loyalty nor business services, which are not a focus for the airline, but rather their extensive network. This advantage is negated in YYZ and YVR.
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Old Apr 15, 2024, 1:24 pm
  #51  
 
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Originally Posted by YXUFlyboy
The most profitable airline in Europe is... RyanAir
My comments are as a customer, and as a Calgary-based frequent flier. Not as an investor.
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Old Apr 15, 2024, 1:35 pm
  #52  
 
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Originally Posted by HangTen
If I don't want to sit in the nose bleed section of the stadium, I take a crow bar to my pocketbook, pay a little more and sit where I prefer to sit.

The Sharks play the Flames on April 17th. I can buy a seat in the nose bleeds at center ice for $17, or I can pay $77 for near ice level, center ice. My choice. Both are a steal of a deal in my books.

No one's forcing you to sit in steerage on a flight, If that's all you can afford, live with it.
Agreed. Youll note that I made that choice before. When AC said you got Rouged, I chose to fire them as my airline. Thats how I ended up here, as a WS customer. And, Im sure that AC neither noticed nor cared. But as you suggest, I voted with my wallet.

What angers me is that, to use your analogy, WS is building a hockey arena where 90% of the seats are nosebleed seats with obstructed views. The remaining few seats are split between some lower bowl seats (aka EC) and a few suites (aka PY).

If their biggest target is the nosebleed seat traveller, their call obviously. Thats just not me. And I realize I will be able to still fly WS and buy EC or PY if and when I book early enough. And Im sure my opinion is as irrelevant to WS as it was to AC and Rouge.

Its just not the kind of arena that Im fond of. And I fear it signals a bigger, broader devolution in their quality.

But hey, Im just a customer.

Last edited by FlyerJ; Apr 15, 2024 at 2:09 pm
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Old Apr 15, 2024, 3:58 pm
  #53  
 
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Originally Posted by HangTen

No one's forcing you to sit in steerage on a flight, If that's all you can afford, live with it.
I think we've just found Westjet's new marketing campaign.
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Old Apr 15, 2024, 4:15 pm
  #54  
 
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I absolutely will not fly in a seat with a 28" pitch. I'm tall, and my legs extend 27" out to my knees. Even with the new thin seat backs, the seat hinge and fabric take up more than an inch. However, I can squeeze into a seat with a 30" pitch and sit straight.

If I can purchase an extra legroom seat for a reasonable price relative to the competition, or if WestJet's flight times are significantly better than the competition, then I will continue to fly on WestJet. Sadly, it doesn't look like that is going to happen. I guess it depends on how AC responds.
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Old Apr 15, 2024, 4:30 pm
  #55  
 
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Originally Posted by FlyerJ
My comments are as a customer, and as a Calgary-based frequent flier. Not as an investor.
Ah, but the WestJet board cares about - investors. They are not improving in their FF program to be competitive - it's not a big revenue generator for them. They have "something" because they have to have something.
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Old Apr 15, 2024, 6:10 pm
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It is interesting (but not at all surprising) that only half of the story has gotten out to the public through the news, fuelled by PR.

Everyone has now heard of the launch of Extended Comfort.

Meanwhile nobody (other a few of us FT regulars) has any idea that the rest of the cabin (and knees, and backs) are being compressed to a worst-seat-pitch-in-North-America level.

Once this reconfig happens, there are going to be some very surprised and disappointed people - ie Bill and Sally Leisureflyer, WS new target customer, taking their once-a-year vacation flight. Theyll buy regular old WestJet Economy because they like WestJet, have had decent experiences in the past, and will quickly discover a nasty surprise if theyre over 54.

Sure, some uber-ultra-basic cheap flyers only care about price and wont notice. But lots of people will.
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Old Apr 15, 2024, 7:16 pm
  #57  
 
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Originally Posted by FlyerJ
Sure, some uber-ultra-basic cheap flyers only care about price and won’t notice. But lots of people will.
They will notice, and they will complain. But they won't pay the extra fee to sit in Extended Comfort. Because to most Canadians, airlines should be busses with $49 fares. But the tax and fee structure in Canada makes that impossible. That's why every ULCC fails in Canada.

And they won't fly an alternative because - well, it won't exist. Flair will be gone before the reconfig is done, and AC won't be able to lower fares to the ULCC level for that segment of the plane - the economics won't work. They COULD fly AC and pay a bit more, but they won't, because - see above - flying should be free. So they'll pay as little as possible, complain, and fly anyway.
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Old Apr 15, 2024, 7:35 pm
  #58  
 
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Originally Posted by YXUFlyboy
That's why every ULCC fails in Canada.
...
And they won't fly an alternative because - well, it won't exist.
So, if I'm following...

WestJet's new strategy is to pursue highly price sensitive, low margin customers who have little to no brand loyalty and really don't care about the product ...requiring WS to, in most of their cabins, downgrade comfort and service so that they're able to match the prices of carriers who have (or will have) gone out of business soon? When every other airline catering to that market segment has gone (or will go) belly up because it's not a viable market to pursue?

You're saying there will be no better options for those flyers, because the competitors for this segment, will all have failed. So WS needs to offer a product and price like those failed airlines?

That would mean that instead of encouraging those potential customers to come to an LCC like WestJet is today, WestJet (without any viable ULCC competition) instead needs to devolve most of its on-board product to become a ULCC. Without any competition for those customers. Fickle customers, who offer margins that are razor thin.

I do understand WS needs to be different from AC (and other mainstream carriers in N America) to survive. In a tough business and a competitive market, that's clear. Looking and behaving like every other mainline airline would absolutely be just as bad a strategy. But I'm pretty skeptical about the direction that they chose...
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Old Apr 15, 2024, 9:34 pm
  #59  
 
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Originally Posted by FlyerJ
It sounds like the access for WS Platinum and Gold customers remains unchanged -- which is a huge relief.

My bigger concern is that gutting the pitch in the vast majority of every cabin to only 28.5 seat pitch signals that WS is taking a massive leap down-market (this is RyanAir / Spirit / Frontier level stuff) and is substantially slashing their quality.

Sure, there might be a few rows available on each plane that have decent seat pitch and an OK Economy product, but the vast, vast majority of what "new WestJet" sells is going to be an abysmal, low-end product. There's no other way to describe that kind of seating. Even though many of us here on FT are likely to sit in EC and never (trust me ... never) sit in the 28.5 product in the rest of the plane, this devolution is still super concerning - and sad - to see as a WestJet customer.
Completely agreed that the new economy product is awful and heading in a direction that I don't like. This gets compounded by WestJet's poor reliability (~64% on-time in March) and awful IRROPS handling.

I've booked either a preferred seat or Premium for my recent WS flights. Out of the past 8 flights, my preferred or premium seat was switched to a regular economy seat on 4 of the past 8 flights. 3 were outright IRROPS where I was rebooked into economy minus, while another one they swapped a 737-8 for a -700 and my exit row became a normal economy minus seat. WestJet's response? Either suck it up and fly in economy minus, or take a refund (on the day of departure and cancel your trip).

Originally Posted by HangTen
If I don't want to sit in the nose bleed section of the stadium, I take a crow bar to my pocketbook, pay a little more and sit where I prefer to sit.

The Sharks play the Flames on April 17th. I can buy a seat in the nose bleeds at center ice for $17, or I can pay $77 for near ice level, center ice. My choice. Both are a steal of a deal in my books.

No one's forcing you to sit in steerage on a flight, If that's all you can afford, live with it.

To each his (or her) own.
And if passengers book those Extended comfort seats and WestJet downgrades you to economy minus 28.5" pitch on the day of departure? Sadly, that's not a rare occurrence with the on-time performance and IRROPS handling.
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Old Apr 16, 2024, 11:40 am
  #60  
 
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Originally Posted by FlyerJ
So, if I'm following...

WestJet's new strategy is to pursue highly price sensitive, low margin customers who have little to no brand loyalty and really don't care about the product ...requiring WS to, in most of their cabins, downgrade comfort and service so that they're able to match the prices of carriers who have (or will have) gone out of business soon? When every other airline catering to that market segment has gone (or will go) belly up because it's not a viable market to pursue?

You're saying there will be no better options for those flyers, because the competitors for this segment, will all have failed. So WS needs to offer a product and price like those failed airlines?
There's an important nuance. ULCCs literally lose money on most tickets they sell because their revenue is lower than costs - most of what they collect in revenue is taxes. They go out of business once they burn through their venture capital.

WestJet is aiming to have the lowest CASM in Canada - although Boeing is making this harder for them with the delay of the MAX 10. So no, the pricing won't be ULCC low - it will just be lower than everyone else who is still flying in specific routes (particularly sun and leisure). The fickle I'll only pay the lowest price people will migrate to the lowest cost option, which will be WestJet. It will be a couple of years before the ULCCs manage to bamboozle some poor VC into trying again when the structural problems of the Canadian aviation market make it impossible.
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