WestJet adds U.S. routes to Edmonton and Vancouver while hiking some baggage, seat fees

Click to play video: 'WestJet hikes up baggage and seat selection fees at check-in'
WestJet hikes up baggage and seat selection fees at check-in
WATCH: WestJet's new hiked-up baggage and seat selection fees come into effect Tuesday, just at the start of the holiday travel season. Emily Lazatin has the details of the extra charges. – Nov 7, 2023

On the same day WestJet hiked some of its baggage and seat selection fees, it announced four new routes connecting Edmonton and Vancouver to cities in the United States.

The airline’s summer schedule will feature new routes between Edmonton International Airport and Atlanta, Nashville and San Francisco, along with a new flight connecting Vancouver International Airport and Detroit.

Flights between Edmonton and San Francisco (five times weekly starting June 20), Edmonton and Nashville (two times weekly starting May 2), and Vancouver and Detroit (daily starting April 28) will operate on a seasonal basis, while the daily flight between Edmonton and Atlanta will operate year-round when it launches April 29.

“We are thrilled to be expanding transborder connectivity from Edmonton and Vancouver, providing Western Canadians with an abundance of opportunity to fulfill their diverse travel needs,” John Weatherill, WestJet Group executive vice-president and chief commercial officer, said in a statement Tuesday.

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“Strong connections fostered between Canada and the United States are essential to WestJet’s growth plan.”

The Calgary-based airline said through its partnership with Delta Air Lines, customers connecting through Atlanta and Detroit are accessing two of the U.S. airline’s major hubs.

Through WestJet’s codesharing partnerships, travellers flying through Detroit will have access to more than 70 trans-border locations such as New York, Washington D.C., and Boston, while those connecting through Atlanta — the world’s busiest airport — will have access to more than 100 U.S. destinations.

WestJet guests have access to Delta’s U.S. network on a single purchased ticket with check-in for all flights at the first departure, baggage tagged to their final destination and lounge access for select guests, the airline said.

Frequent flyers of both airlines will have access to reciprocal benefits anytime they fly with either carrier, including earning and redeeming in their preferred program, WestJet said.

Changes to seat selection and baggage fees

On Tuesday, WestJet also announced it was making the following changes to its checked baggage and seat selection fees, all effective Nov. 7.

Changes to checked bag fees when checking-in with an airport agent:

First, second and excess bags paid via an airport agent will be an additional $10. The fee applies to tickets purchased on or after Tuesday.

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Any passengers with tickets purchased before Tuesday can self-identify with an agent to avoid the fee. The $10 will not apply to guests with bookings that are inhibited from self-serve check-in.

Changes to seat selection at check-in:

Passengers with econo or econoflex fares will now pay a fee for seat selection during check-in if they choose a preferred or emergency exit row seat.

Preferred seats have extra leg room and are at the front of the economy cabin, allowing for a quicker exit of the plane upon arrival. Exit row seats also have more leg room and allow passengers the chance to board the plane earlier.

There will be no change to standard seats, which are still available to econo and econoflex guests for no charge at check-in.

There will also be no updates to basic fares. Westjet said passengers with a Basic fare will be assigned a seat at check-in and if they choose to change their seat, a fee will be applied.

Impacts to top-tier WestJet Reward members:

Those with gold and silver status will be required to redeem their advance seat selection vouchers prior to check-in, if they wish to reserve a preferred or exit row seat for no fee.

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Platinum members will continue to be able to select those premium-level seats for no charge at or before check-in, however, their guest vouchers will still need to be redeemed prior to check-in to secure a preferred or exit row seat for no fee.

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