By Bill Fox/Columnist
I have been a big fan of WestJet for many years now. My wife and I have had at least 10 trips out to B.C. with them to visit our eldest son and our grandchildren. I was very disturbed after coming home from our recent trip at 1:30 a.m. on August 23. The flight was supposed to land at 10:44 p.m. on the 22nd. So I had a chance to voice my complaints about being treated like cattle when I got an email from them asking, “Do you have any comments about your gate/boarding experience, or anything else you’d like to share with us?”
I thought I would share my experience and my response to them in this column. It is very possible that Air Canada, Sunday night in Vancouver, had similar problems but they were not as apparent to me at the time. So here is my response to WestJet.
“I have written a weekly column at the oshawaexpress.ca for over 15 years. You could look it up. I used to be a great WestJet fan and booster but not after yesterday’s flight. As per your suggestion we got there over two hours early before our flight and were met with hoards of people waiting in lines. Eventually we stood in line, not spaced out, for over 90 minutes even though I printed our boarding passes and luggage tags. You were so understaffed it was crazy…and just put everyone off WestJet. WS718 was supposed to be off at 3:15 (Pacific Time), and we had people waiting in Toronto to pick us up based on our arrival time. So departure was changed to 3:50 but we never left the gate till well after 4:30. I knew the plane coming in from Regina was to be our plane…arriving at the same gate we were to leave on. For over 10 minutes I saw that plane at the end of the gate entrance…waiting…there was no one in site…not one member of the ground to allow them to get right to the gate…no luggage people, no “flagmen.” Then, eventually, when we were told to board, there was only one attendant at the desk. Zone 1 was called and after that a poor woman in a wheelchair had no one to take her to the plane…so the ONE ATTENDANT, after phoning for help had to take the woman to the plane herself. When returning she then had to process the over 150 people by herself…you think I’m happy, well next week check my column and I would welcome a rebuttal from you and an apology…oh a little thing but, and no cookies on this flight and no food to purchase after many of us had been hoping to get to the airport early and grab a meal once we had gone through security…which was really quiet seeing as hundreds were still in lines…waiting and waiting. I’m 74 and an asthmatic and diabetic but did not use that to get ahead of others who were well ahead of me in lines…
Also for the first time going into Vancouver we were able to successfully bid for two of the 12 Priority seats. There was lots of room for my six-foot frame to stretch my legs and when it came time for a hot meal, roast beef or vegetarian, we were told they had no roast beef left…what? Upon landing in Vancouver we had a one hour wait at the luggage carousel. After being there for 30 minutes, six pieces came down…then it stopped and there was an announcement that there was a luggage jam. Ten minutes later about 12 pieces came down and it stopped again and the same announcement came on…we were waiting for our “PRIORITY” luggage for an hour. Ours was among the last to come down, while one of our sons patiently waited outside to take us home. So, yes, I have lots to share…and would welcome your feedback, WestJet. I won’t be travelling with WestJet again anytime soon. I will try your competitors for a Christmas flight.”
As always if you have horror stories to share, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.