WestJet is the Latest Carrier to Introduce Basic Economy Airfares

Only one week after Air Canada announced the rollout of basic economy airfares, WestJet is the latest airline to join the bandwagon as per its introduction yesterday, Tuesday, February 27, 2018.

WestJet is the Latest Carrier to Introduce Basic Economy Airfares

This is how the Econo (Lowest) fare of WestJet is described:

Available on select routes and flights, this basic economy fare is for you if your plans are set in stone and you don’t mind where you sit. We understand that you just want to get to your destination for less than other available fares. If you select this option, please understand that this is our most restrictive fare, and it’s non-refundable. You are not able to make changes, so if cancelled more than 24-hours after booking, no funds will be placed in a Travel Bank account. Your seats will be assigned at the time of check in, but, if needed, your seats can be changed at this time, for a fee. Also, WestJet dollars cannot be earned on this fare.

Compare the five different airfares now offered by WestJet, with Econo (Lowest) highlighted in red — and all fees are in Canadian dollars unless otherwise specified.

BAGGAGE Econo (Lowest) Econo Flex Plus
(Lowest)
Plus (Flexible)
First checked bag $25.00 $25.00
 
 
 
Second checked bag $35.00 $35.00 $35.00
 
 

Fees below are for each guest on a reservation. Same-day travel is defined as a flight departing within 24 hours from time of booking. Bookings made within 24 hours excluding same-day travel can be cancelled for no fee and returned to the original form of payment, otherwise the fare is non-refundable. Aside from fees, based on the fare rules you may have to pay a difference in fare.

FLEXIBILITY When Travelling? Econo (Lowest) Econo Flex Plus
(Lowest)
Plus (Flexible)
Travel within Canada Within 24 hours of booking
 
 
 
 
 
Travel departing in more than 60 days  X $25.00
 
$25.00
Travel departing within 60 days/Same-day flight changes  X $100.00
$100.00
Travel between Canada and all destinations in North America (including Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America) Within 24 hours of booking
 
 
 
 
 
Travel departing in more than 60 days  X $25.00 $25.00 $25.00
 
Travel departing within 60 days/Same-day flight changes  X $100.00 $100.00 $100.00
 √
Travel to or from destinations outside North America Within 24 hours of booking
 
 
 
 
 
Travel departing in more than 60 days  X $50.00
€33.00
£28.00
$50.00
€33.00
£28.00
$50.00
€33.00
£28.00
 
Travel departing within 60 days/Same-day flight changes  X $150.00
€ 99.00
£83.00
$150.00
€ 99.00
£83.00
$150.00
€ 99.00
£83.00
 
Name change for travel to or from all destinations in North America (including Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America)  X $100.00 $100.00 $100.00 $0
Name change for travel to or from destinations outside North America  X $150.00
€ 99.00
£83.00
$150.00
€ 99.00
£83.00
$150.00
€ 99.00
£83.00
$0
Cancellations (balance refunded to original form of payment)8  X   X   X   X $0
 TRAVEL EXPERIENCE Econo (Lowest) Econo Flex Plus
(Lowest)
Plus (Flexible)
Advance seat selection No advance seat assignment $5.00 – 59.00
 
 
 
Seat in Plus  X  X  X
 
 
Priority security screening
(at available airports)
 X  X  X
 
 
Advance boarding  X  X  X
 
 
Extra legroom  X  X  X
 
 
More space  X  X  X
 
 
Premium food and beverages  X  X  X
 
 
Lounge access in London (Gatwick), LGW  X  X  X
 
 
All fares are non-refundable to the original form of payment except for Plus (Flexible). After the cancellation fee has been assessed, the remainder will be placed in a Travel Bank for future use. The exception is Econo (Lowest), which is non-refundable after 24 hours of booking.

An Econo (Lowest) fare will have a seat assigned during check in; guests have the option to move to another seat for an additional fee at time of check in. In the event a seat number is not automatically generated after checking in, a seat will be assigned at the gate before boarding.

Summary

Generally, no changes are permitted at all — not even with a change fee — except within 24 hours of booking the flight reservation; WestJet dollars cannot be earned on this fare; no upgrades to Plus are permitted; no seat will be assigned until the passenger is at the gate, at which a seat will be assigned and not chosen by the passenger; and if you do not like your seat for whatever reason, you must pay in order to change seats.

Once again, the basic economy disease is spreading; and the only way to stop it is for people to stop purchasing these airfares…

…but the possibility of that happening any time in the foreseeable future is virtually zero — especially as more airlines adopt the basic economy fare model.

By the way, I think that Econo (Lowest) is just as insipid of a name as Basic Economy.

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

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