Extended Comfort

Old Apr 16, 2024, 11:43 am
  #61  
 
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Originally Posted by gcashin
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).
If I fly Y, I'm always booking WS via Delta so I can cancel with no penalty and get a refund, or I use cancel for any reason insurance so I can get out of the fare with only a 20% loss. And any critical trips I fly on WS I double book with a refundable ticket on a second airline so I have options. You need to book flights assuming they are going to be late or cancelled, IRROPS, or you get bumped. Because our regulators sure aren't going to help you.
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Old Apr 16, 2024, 2:41 pm
  #62  
 
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Originally Posted by gcashin

...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.
emphasis mine
Does this reference aircraft without the 'premium' front cabin? or something else like faux premium on a Dash?
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Old Apr 16, 2024, 4:26 pm
  #63  
 
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Originally Posted by canolakid
emphasis mine
Does this reference aircraft without the 'premium' front cabin? or something else like faux premium on a Dash?
The specific downgrade of Premium to economy minus was booked as Premium on a 787 and downgaged to a 737. The business pax got bumped to Premium, the Premium pax got bumped to economy. WS is abysmal at handling those types of IRROPS. I've had friends downgraded from 737 Premium to a swoop all economy 737 recently too. The other 3 instances where I'd booked a Preferred seat (aka new Economy Comfort) was IRROPS or configuration changes with 737's.
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Old Apr 16, 2024, 5:17 pm
  #64  
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Originally Posted by gcashin
The specific downgrade of Premium to economy minus was booked as Premium on a 787 and downgaged to a 737. The business pax got bumped to Premium, the Premium pax got bumped to economy. WS is abysmal at handling those types of IRROPS. I've had friends downgraded from 737 Premium to a swoop all economy 737 recently too. The other 3 instances where I'd booked a Preferred seat (aka new Economy Comfort) was IRROPS or configuration changes with 737's.
I 100% get the frustration and being upset; however what would you propose as the solution? I literally cant think of one besides cancel the flight in its entirety.

I will say; the reconfiguration program has yet to even begin; so I agree that is a fair point that nothing is being done on that front - but in a day-of scenario today; what solution is there that comes to mind for you?
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Old Apr 16, 2024, 8:35 pm
  #65  
 
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Originally Posted by Fisch
I 100% get the frustration and being upset; however what would you propose as the solution? I literally cant think of one besides cancel the flight in its entirety.

I will say; the reconfiguration program has yet to even begin; so I agree that is a fair point that nothing is being done on that front - but in a day-of scenario today; what solution is there that comes to mind for you?
A lot of it is inherent risk as the carrier continues to drive wider gaps between the products, the number of instances of people being disappointed by paying for X and receiving Y is going to increase.

But a few things to do better:
  • Better IRROPS rebooking, prioritizing premium pax for preferred seats. When my flight was swapped from a 787 to a 737, there are enough preferred seats that at least pax who got booted out of Premium should get a preferred seat. WS seems to handle it as a free-for-all
  • Agents should be able to rebook pax into the same product. Even Platinum line says "too bad, you've been reaccomodated" even if it's a lower class, nothing they can do except write in for a refund after
  • Better/quicker handling of refunds when pax don't get the product they paid for, and actually provide a fair refund if it's a true class of service downgrade
  • Better service recovery when someone is downgraded. If it's Premium > Econ, give them a meal voucher or something from inflight BOB
AC is by no means a great airline at dealing with IRROPS, but they are 100x better than WS at recovering from these types of situations.

Back to the Extended Comfort concept, it's easy for people to say don't book it, but when the airline has the worst on-time performance in NA and this type of IRROPS handling, plenty of people are going to extend up in the new economy minus involuntarily.
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Old Apr 16, 2024, 8:42 pm
  #66  
 
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This is new.

Checking in today, I see that Extended Comfort is now an option for a Platinum last minute upgrade at the gate. Including a middle seat in EC!?!

Im confused. If Platinum benefits still include complimentary seat selection - including in EC - then why the h@ is this now showing as a last minute upgrade option for me as a Platinum?!?

Does this signal that the seating benefit is changing and we will no longer have complimentary access to EC rows when selecting seats at time of booking?!? (Also. I would have to have a pretty horrible seat in the back of the bus for a middle in the Y cabin to ever be considered an upgrade. Wow.)

Im perplexed as to why I was given this option for an, ahem, upgrade because Im already seated in row 6 (on a 737-800) which is supposed to be an EC row! Or, if its asking me if I want to be eligible for an upgrade to EC is row 6 something different ?!?

I looked at the seat map for my flight during mobile check-in. Damned if I could tell which rows were EC versus not. Its not at all clear in the map shown during check-in, especially with most seats already assigned.


Last edited by FlyerJ; Apr 16, 2024 at 8:55 pm
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Old Apr 17, 2024, 6:20 am
  #67  
 
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Below is the seat map shown during my online check-in.

As mentioned above, WestJet asked me if I would consider an upgrade from my current seat to Extended Comfort.

1. I thought my seat, in row 6 on an -800, already was EC??

2. From this map, its super tough to tell what is/isnt EC. Are the dark grey little bars EC, and the light grey little bars regular Economy? The difference, as you can see here, is subtle to say the least. (At least with my eyes, on my little iPhone screen). And there is no legend to explain it.

If the only differentiator is the shade of that little bar on each seat, wow, not all that clear and a pretty meh UX.

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Old Apr 17, 2024, 7:15 am
  #68  
 
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Originally Posted by FlyerJ
This is new.

Checking in today, I see that Extended Comfort is now an option for a Platinum last minute upgrade at the gate. Including a middle seat in EC!?!

Im confused. If Platinum benefits still include complimentary seat selection - including in EC - then why the h@ is this now showing as a last minute upgrade option for me as a Platinum?!?
My guess is that it's just a poorly implemented IT logic because of the transition. Like you were originally not booked in EC, so as platinum, they've offered you a free "upgrade" to.. the same seat. I wouldn't be too concerned.
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Old Apr 17, 2024, 8:24 am
  #69  
 
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But why suggest complimentary last minute upgrades to "EC" for members at all ... if complimentary seat selection is to remain a benefit for Platinum and Gold members? It's pretty unlikely that any elite level member - with complimentary seat selection at time of purchase - would choose anything other than EC (or Exit Row) when booking!

That's very different than an upgrade to PY -- a different product in a different cabin.
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Old Apr 17, 2024, 9:03 am
  #70  
 
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Originally Posted by FlyerJ
But why suggest complimentary last minute upgrades to "EC" for members at all ... if complimentary seat selection is to remain a benefit for Platinum and Gold members? It's pretty unlikely that any elite level member - with complimentary seat selection at time of purchase - would choose anything other than EC (or Exit Row) when booking!

That's very different than an upgrade to PY -- a different product in a different cabin.
While booking seat selection has been updated to show which seats are EC, it looks like the check-in system hasn't been updated to differentiate graphically (FWIW, it didn't show Preferred Seats before).

I can see the EC "upgrade" option being useful if one was unable to select an EC seat before (ie. they were all taken) but, if one becomes available it'd be better than staying down the back. As per gcashin's IRROPS / late booking comments, there are several circumstances where status pax could find themselves not in EC prior to check-in.
However, with WS now charging for EC/exit row during check-in (unless the flight is full), the benefit of being more likely to have empty adjacent seats in EC will be reduced if status pax are upgraded into it (just like Premium rarely goes out with spare seats because of upgrades).
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Old Apr 17, 2024, 10:04 am
  #71  
 
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Originally Posted by V1213
I can see the EC "upgrade" option being useful if one was unable to select an EC seat before (ie. they were all taken) but, if one becomes available it'd be better than staying down the back.
I suppose, yes. But for me, if a seat with adequate legroom isn't available when I'm booking, I don't book the flight. I'll choose a different flight (or a different airline) instead. (The only time this might be useful would be during IRROPS, when you're given whatever is available.)

On other airlines, I will often take the best standard economy seat that I can get. On WestJet, with 28.5" pitch, my seating options are becoming much more limited. Their 737s, for me, are now effectively only 5 or 6 rows long. Seats with 28.5" pitch will not be an option.

Originally Posted by V1213
However, with WS now charging for EC/exit row during check-in (unless the flight is full), the benefit of being more likely to have empty adjacent seats in EC will be reduced if status pax are upgraded into it (just like Premium rarely goes out with spare seats because of upgrades).
Interesting. As I mentioned in a previous post, I know that both UA and DL are protective of their economy cabin 'plus' products -- only making them available to customers with FF status for free (or as a sort-of mini 'upgrade') to top tier members. For example, I don't think either ever seat Basic customers there simply because they need to put butts-in-seats at the gate. I like both UA E+ and DL C+ partially because that policy often means there are middle empty seats.

When it comes to upgrades, Delta allows their members to specify which of aisle/middle/window seat they would (and would not) want for Comfort+ in their Y cabin. If you have an exit row aisle seat and would only ever move forward to C+ if it's an aisle seat, you can make that choice. They won't 'upgrade' you into a seat that you wouldn't want.

So far, it seems like WS isn't doing that (or isn't able to do that). As mentioned, I would not want to be moved to a middle seat -- unless I was somehow stuck in a middle seat at the back. (I really don't know which would be worse: a middle seat in EC or an aisle seat in 28.5" pitch Y. In my humble opinion, both are pretty bad.)
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Old Apr 19, 2024, 7:28 am
  #72  
 
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Apparently the announcements now say that passengers in Extended Comfort can use the front lav, but have to line up behind the curtain at row 4. Yeah, I 'm sure that rule will be adhered to, and no one else from the masses will be traipsing up there either. Talk about cheapening your Premium cabin experience. FA is trying to do meal service, and there is a never ending train of yokels wandering up and down.
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Old Apr 19, 2024, 8:30 am
  #73  
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Originally Posted by VoodooYYC
Apparently the announcements now say that passengers in Extended Comfort can use the front lav, but have to line up behind the curtain at row 4. Yeah, I 'm sure that rule will be adhered to, and no one else from the masses will be traipsing up there either. Talk about cheapening your Premium cabin experience. FA is trying to do meal service, and there is a never ending train of yokels wandering up and down.

It is worth noting that airlines in the United States mostly let you use lavatories in any cabin. American Airlines, JetBlue and United do not have any lavatory class restrictions on U.S. domestic flights.


Globally however, a vast majority of airlines require you to use the lavatory in your cabin, with no exceptions.
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Old Apr 19, 2024, 8:34 am
  #74  
 
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Originally Posted by VoodooYYC
Apparently the announcements now say that passengers in Extended Comfort can use the front lav, but have to line up behind the curtain at row 4. Yeah, I 'm sure that rule will be adhered to, and no one else from the masses will be traipsing up there either. Talk about cheapening your Premium cabin experience. FA is trying to do meal service, and there is a never ending train of yokels wandering up and down.
Interesting.

When the interior reconfig is completed - i.e. the extreme densifying of rows 8 through ?? - will they also be including some visual cues to make the EC section stand out as a truly separate section?? Other airlines use different colours and/or logos on the headrests on the seats, different labeling on the row markers on the overhead bins, etc.

This will be confusing for passengers when people seated in row 7 walk forward to use the lav -- and people seated in row 8 see that, but arent' allowed and are then told to go to the back. Most passengers, once they board, simply don't notice the difference between Y rows and Y+ rows. Even if they were offered something different at time of booking and/or check-in, I think most pax - once onboard - will just think Y is Y.

Adding to the confusion: when the aisle is blocked due to service in Y, passengers in front of the cart are allowed to go to the forward lav. So ... crew need to explain which rows can go forward all the time, which rows have to use the rear lavs only, unless there's a cart, in which case rows in front of the cart can use the forward lav, but people from behind row 3 have to line up for the forward lav starting at row 4. Ya, seems simple enough.
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Old Apr 19, 2024, 8:51 am
  #75  
 
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Originally Posted by cirrusdragoon
It is worth noting that while airlines in the United States mostly let you use lavatories in any cabin, a vast majority of airlines require you to use the lavatory in your cabin, with no exceptions.
Delta and United are generally decent human beings about this. Announcements along the lines of "we ask that you try to use the lavatory in your cabin, unless we're blocking the aisle with our cart".

American, meanwhile, drives me nuts with their standard "thou must comply, resistance is futile" on-board announcements that they've adopted. They're really quite an awful airline -- although I'm sometimes stuck flying them due to destinations or schedule. They consistently claim in their announcements that Economy passengers are forbidden from approaching the lavatory in the front of the aircraft due to mandatory TSA security rules. Which is, well, a blatant lie.

What they all do well - but that WestJet doesn't - is have mid-cabin lavs on their bigger single-aisle planes so that Y customers can go pee when they need to.

Once WS densifies Y seating (more people, same number of Y bathrooms) the situation will get worse. More pax waiting in the aisle in the back of the cabin. Pax constantly blocking the rear galley, because that's the only place most Y passengers can go to 'go'. More difficult for crew to complete their service. Even today, I've heard some frustrated WS crews make announcements telling people to remain in their seats until a service is done -- which really isn't fair to passengers who, well, gotta go. And it's only going to get worse once WS gets the bigger 737s with even more pax in this new super-dense Y configuration -- as I understand they've decided against having additional or mid-cabin lavs.

Have fun on routes like LIR-YYC or KEF-YYC (both over 7 hours, both on 737s) with only the pre-existing rear lavs in what will become a super-dense cabin with even more people than today. Extended Comfort will definitely have some value on those super-long 737 routes - just for the ability to go to the bathroom. And good luck to the cabin crew enforcing the EC vs regular Y bathroom rules on those routes -- where everybody's going to have to go sometime during the flight.
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