All too frequently, people use their blogs to bitch about things. I try very hard not to do that, exclusively. Although I’m about to do a bit of whingeing, ultimately this post was inspired by WestJet’s amazing customer service. The old adage goes something like… Do something nice for someone and they’ll tell a few close friends. Do something bad and they’ll tell anyone who’ll listen. Well – I’m attempting to do the opposite here.
When I flew down to Boston in early November for my citizenship ceremony, I had a flight booked with Air Canada to fly down on Tuesday and return on Friday. After I booked the flights I found out that two friends of mine were driving 9 hours from D.C. to be in Boston for my swearing in and it was meant to be somewhat of a surprise. Not only that but they had made plans to stay the weekend too. Now, if someone drives 9 hours to sit in a boring 3-hour ceremony on your behalf – that’s a friend. I also discovered that my sister had organized a little party on the Friday night. Long story shorter, I absolutely had to change my return flight to Sunday.
Air Canada raked me over the coals. By the time I got off the phone with them I found myself sitting on the couch in shock – having just spent an additional $600 to change the flight having already spent $600 on a round trip ticket a few weeks before. With taxes and all that good stuff two short flights to and from Boston ended up costing me nearly $1500 dollars. I’ll just let that sit with you for a second…
Looking for alternative airlines, my Mother suggested WestJet. She knew from experience that they had a direct flight from Ottawa to Orlando. To get to Orlando on Air Canada (which I did 2 weeks ago for Christmas) not only do you have to sell a kidney but you have to first fly to Toronto, find your baggage, go through customs, go through airport security for a second time and then by the grace of God make your connecting flight. Same deal on the way back a week ago. So when my Mother recently told me her cancer had returned and she needed me down there again by January 15th to take care of my Father while she had her second surgery for this goddamnned fucking bastard of a disease, I sighed audibly. Then I remembered WestJet.
I booked a round-trip flight on WestJet.com back to Florida 6 days ago as soon as I returned from there. The fare was so low that when I CC’d the neighbor who is looking after my cat on the itinerary she called me to ask how I’d managed to get such a low fare. It was almost half of what Air Canada would have charged for a semi-last minute booking. My Mother called me yesterday to tell me that her surgery had been moved from the 15th to the 9th – so immediately I envisioned a good part of my savings flying out of the window like a flock of seagulls. I mean, that’s what I’m used to, right?
Not only did WestJet get me on a flight this coming Monday when I called them an hour ago, they agreed to put my return ticket into a credit because I don’t know when I’ll be able to return. Did the last minute change to Monday have a fare increase? Unfortunately, yes. $20 fucking dollars. Not only that, but when I briefly mentioned the reason for my schedule change, Chantal unflinchingly said she was going to waive the normal fee for that which would have come in at close to $100. I was speechless.
WestJet’s routes are currently limited, I was sad to discover they don’t fly to Boston, for example, but the agent told me they were adding new destinations all the time. Check out their current routes and do yourself a favor – fly WestJet. I’ll update this post with some details from the actual flight experience when I get to FLA.