Going Global

When asked what misconceptions travellers have about WestJet, Chuck Crowder, Vice President of Sales & Distribution, points to the lingering image of its past as the airline takes off on a transformation towards being a premium global carrier, writes managing editor, Ann Ruppenstein in this week’s issue of Canadian Travel Press.

“We’ve just embarked on our journey to become a global carrier and that’s really building up our three hubs of Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver and rebranding ourselves to this premium carrier,” he told Canadian Travel Press. “I think some people still see us as this low cost leisure carrier and while we’re very proud of that heritage of where we started, we really now are turning into that premium brand that offers quality products and services across multiple disciplines and really focusing on corporate travel as well.”

As part of the evolution, WestJet is taking hold of 10 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, four of which have already been delivered, with the option for an additional 10 aircrafts further down the line.

“This is really laying the foundation that helps change us from a kind of point-to-point low cost carrier that services a lot of cities in Canada and sun destinations,” he said. “Now to take us to the world stage and be a global airline that really is focused on the premium traveller and expansion across the globe.”

New 2×2 seating is being introduced across the premium cabins in WestJet’s 737 fleet, and business class cabins with lie-flat beds, dining on demand, and turndown services, which include lavender mist scented pillows, are featured on the Dreamliners.

“The introduction last year of the 787s allows us now to expand our reach globally as we take on more of the 787 Dreamliners and bring on new destinations around the world,” he said. “We also added the business class cabin, a premium economy cabin, to the 787s so you can now really view us as that global airline, that our brand really stacks up to a lot of other global carriers, especially the Asian carriers as well, I feel our brand and products and services are top notch.”

The company currently has 180 aircraft (and counting) across 110 destinations and over 25 countries.

“We’ve just announced serving Calgary to Rome with the 787 as of May 2,” he said. “Over the years since 2014, we’ve continually added new countries, new destinations and will continue to expand that further and further.”

For the full story, check out this week’s digital edition of Canadian Travel Press.