WestJet Officially Introduces New “Premium” Branding

WestJet New Livery

Six months ago, Experience The Skies published that WestJet was about to introduce a new type of domestic business class seating with the delivery of newer Boeing 737 MAX aircrafts starting in 2018 (refer to post). The airline used the occasion to also change the cabin’s name from “Plus” to “Premium”.

WestJet Premium Seats

As of January 2019, WestJet has 121 Boeing 737 aircrafts in service. Twelve of these are the new 737 MAX 8 variants configured with 174 seats (12 in Premium and 162 in Economy). Only five out of the twelve deliver after June 2018 are equipped with the new business seats (Tail registration: C-FCTK, C-FNWD, C-GAMQ, CGEHF and C-GZSG).

Current WestJet Boeing 737 Aircraft Mix

While the capacity has not changed in the 737 MAX 8s with the new business class cabin design, the seats themselves have been upgraded to a more spacious 2×2 configuration with 20% more space than the older 3×3 design with the middle seat blocked. They now compare familiarly well to the seats used by Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge.

All new aircrafts (44 in total) delivered moving forward will have these new seats in the Premium cabin and will be used to replace retiring 737s. The airline has not announced a timeline to retrofit 737 MAX 8s with the old configuration.

WestJet Premium Service

The new 737 MAX 8 and select 737-800s have ovens on board. This enables WestJet to enhance its meal service by offering hot options to the menu on select flights over 2.5 hours. For the current meal rotation, hot menu items include vegetable lasagna, chicken pad thai and classic steak sandwich. Passengers will be notified of the options available when presented with a menu on board.

Otherwise all aircrafts continue to have USB power, optional paid WiFi internet access and free streaming entertainment options (movies, tv shows and live tv) using WestJet Connect in the WestJet mobile application (Note: passengers on the 737-600 variants will continue to have in flight entertainment screens on board).

The new elevated service will be comparable to that of new joint venture partner Delta Air Lines and fellow Canadian rival Air Canada within North America.

Where Can You Find The New Seats

With only five aircrafts in the fleet have the newer Premium seats and aircraft substitution is possible, WestJet has chosen not to show which flight has the new configuration. Passengers can use tools such as Flightaware to check by tail registration listed above whether their flight would have the new seats. Based on our research, we noted that there is no specific route or schedule on when a MAX 8 is used.

It would have been great if WestJet decides to utilize the newer 737 MAX 8s with the new cabin on popular business traveller heavy routes such as Vancouver (YVR) to Toronto (YYZ), Calgary (YYC) to Toronto (YYZ) and Vancouver (YVR) to Montréal (YUL) so that they would have the best on board experience possible. Prem

Premium Branding Extended

The Premium branding will also be extended on board its long haul Boeing 787-9 fleet in the premium economy section of the aircraft featuring a similar seat design as the one on the Boeing 737 MAX 8. Passengers travelling between Calgary (YYC) to Toronto (YYZ), Dublin (DUB), Paris (CDG) and London Heathrow (LHR) will also be able to upgrade into Business Class featuring a bigger seat that turns into a lie flat bed and enhanced service.

In our next post, we would compare the new Premium products between Air Canada, Air Canada Rouge and WestJet.

About Larry Leung and Experience The Skies

Larry Leung is the Director of Research and Strategy at Experience The Skies. He is a certified avgeek, a public speaker and a dessert and design enthusiast. Contact him through LinkedIn or Twitter.

Experience The Skies is a consulting company based in Toronto, Canada that specializes in the travel industry with focus on the assessment, competitive analysis and development of loyalty programs, technologies, marketing, ancillary revenue solutions. Follow Experience The Skies on TwitterFacebookFlipboard, and Instagram.