Thursday, March 06, 2008

WestJet -- not as great as you thought it might be

When the SJ airport secured WestJet as a tenant, it was lauded as the "next big thing". Competition is wonderful, now you have two choices, Saint Johners! Um, no, we really don't.

Let's say I want to go to Montreal to attend a baby shower for my nephew-to-be. Here are the inherent problems with that plan:
  • WestJet only flies to Toronto from Saint John, so your flight will involve going way out of your way, changing planes, and then backtracking. More flights = more chance of delays and getting stuck somewhere.
  • WestJet only operates on Monday/Wednesday/Friday from Saint John. So much for any weekend getaway plans. [They are adding flights starting on the Victoria Day long weekend, so they will fly every day except Saturday.]
  • WestJet only operates one flight per day between Saint John and Toronto.
  • WestJet's regular fares (ignoring taxes & fees) are consistently more expensive than Air Canada. Seat sales, if you can get them, are better unless Air Canada gets wind of it and matches the price.
I have done more than my share of complaining when it comes to Air Canada, but I just don't see the WestJet advantage when living in SJ. With Air Canada, I can choose between 4 flights per day to Toronto and 3 to Montreal. Flights are scheduled for every day of the week. Prices are still cheaper the majority of the time.

I have heard lots of great things about WestJet -- their have a better record for being on-time and their service is much friendlier. I haven't yet tried them out, though, because of their limitations. I hope as time goes on, and SJ begins more of the energy projects that are in the works, that WestJet will be a better option, more competition, and able to lower their regular fares. Until then, I'm sticking with Air Canada.


Cyn said...

Wow this is crazy! I only just heard a few days ago that WestJet is in SJ now and was happy to hear it. I didn't realize it was only limited service to Toronto. Geez with that it's easier to just deal with the change in Moncton. Cripes!

I have flown with WestJet at least a half dozen times and found them to be absolutely wonderful, helpful, courteous, kind, and just a lot of fun. I'm also surprised to hear that their prices are higher than AC. I can only think of one time that their price was higher - by about $30 - and I booked with WestJet anyway because their service is so amazing. They're definitely a different breed of airline. I hope that service to/from SJ ramps up especially since I'm headed back there. I'd like to have options to visit people!

Lisa said...

I was made aware of this when I booked my first flight to Montreal. WestJet has great deals if you're flying to Toronto and then somewhere from TO.