WestJet To Suspend International Flights For 30 Days

In compliance with a decision made by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the national government, WestJet will be suspending international flights for 30 days. This is due to the fact that Canada will be shutting its borders to non-Canadian citizens, with the exception of permanent residents, immediate family members of Canadian citizens, diplomats, aircrews, and US citizens.

WestJet’s international flights are mostly to the United States, Europe, and Mexico. Photo: Getty Images

“On Sunday, March 22 at 11:59 p.m. MDT, we will suspend scheduled commercial operations for all international and transborder flights for a 30 day period. To be clear, this means our final commercially scheduled flights from international and transborder destinations will launch on Sunday night by 11:59 p.m. local time” -WestJet Official Press Release

Suspension of commercial operations

The banning of foreigners and their entry into Canada is effective tomorrow night. However, the announcement gives an additional four days beyond the deadline. This is because Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and other select groups are still allowed entry. Therefore, even though there is a certain level of urgency, the additional four days will allow those groups to return home without feeling the same level of panic as previous announcements by other countries.

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After the 22nd of March, WestJet says that it will be operating “rescue and repatriation flights in partnership with the Canadian government”. Tomorrow night, just before the stroke of midnight, the airline will cease to sell international and transborder tickets. This will last until Sunday March 22nd.

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“…we are no longer sending Canadians out of the country and can instead focus on bringing them home.” -WestJet

WestJet, Halifax, Manchester
WestJet is Canada’s second-largest airline, next to Air Canada. Photo: Getty Images

Additional travel details

In a somewhat rare move, the airline says that in its efforts to assist Canadians in returning home on short notice, it is in the process of lowering prices on its remaining seats into Canada in all cabins.  This follows reports of travelers have to pay around three to five times more for a flight as travel bans are imposed around the world.

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Furthermore, WestJet will be reducing its domestic schedule by approximately 50%. This is perhaps to discourage the virus from being spread within Canadian borders as well as encouraging social distancing.

The majority of WestJet’s fleet consists of older generation Boeing 737s. It is a MAX customer and has a number of the new jets grounded and in storage. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying

Conclusion

WestJet, along with many other airlines, has been inundated with shifting travel policies and the onslaught of customer service inquiries and demands that naturally follow.

In fact, we reported last week that the airline’s customer service had a 10-hour wait. Since then we have heard reports that the number has grown. Likely facing even more customer service requests and inquiries, WestJet has since removed the estimated-wait-time from its website in recent days. It now simply has an option to request a callback or chat with a “digital travel assistant”.

The airline’s latest press release and its messaging is clear: its main goal is to bring Canadians home. We hope that they can achieve this goal swiftly in the next few days.

Have you had to deal with WestJet in the last few days? Are you trying to get back to Canada? Let us know in the comments.

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Kathy

We have a flight booked withWest jet for March 23 from Cabo Mexico to Vancouver bc, will this flight happen even though of the recent announcement that all flights are canceled as of March 22?

Kathy

Will West jet still have flights booked home to Canada for March 23 or is it a wait and see

Janet Carroll

We had rebooked a return trip one day before your announcement for March 23, 2020, and now reading your messages. Will we be contacted with regard to a return flight.

Catherine Bond

I am in puerto Vallarta and paid for a ticket to Van yesterday to depart March 29. In lieu of this announcement by WestJet I no longer know whether this flight will actually go. None of the WestJet agents at pv airport were able to answer this. This needs to be clarified ASAP.

Gary Temoin

We were scheduled to return to Calgary from Maui on Apr. 1. No updates or contact from Westjet. Tried for two days to reach someone without any luck. We feel like we have been thrown under the bus.

Janet

We also have a flight from Puerto Vallarta on March 23rd, rebooked from April 1st in attempt to get home. Are we still going to be able to take this flight home to Winnipeg

Patricia Frederick

I am desperately trying to get home in Canada. I was advised that I have to contact the travel agency that booked my flight and the agency cannot get ahold of Intair. Please help me
I came for my mother’s funeral and is anxious to get back to my family.

Gail komm

We are in Mexico and have not heard a thing from WestJet. When are the repatriation flights starting and why is Swoop Airlines still flying.? WestJet’s flights from Mazatlan to Canada were still full after march 22 . We have been left with no explanation of what is happening to us and how we can back home.

Phyllis Beckett

We have a return flight on May 3 direct from Tampa to St. John’s NL. We can’t even get in touch with WestJet. If we get home before that will we loose our ticket money (book with another airline will WestJet really be back after 30 days. We don’t want to wait until May 3 because our Health Insurance runs out May 5th. How is Canada going to help us get home if all WestJet flights are now filled.

Claude Michaud

We have a flight BOOKED on April the 17th. Wath hapen for our return to Montreal

Charles Dunn

Flight booked for April 11 to fly from Phoenix to Saskatoon with dog. Can this be changed to meet March 22 deadline. I am a Canadian citizen. Please advise as soon as possible

Elizabeth

I have a flight booked home for Mar 25 from Cabo. I looked at changing my flight but the cost for a one way had increased to almost $600 with 1 stop or $975 direct. This was for flights leaving before their deadline of March 22. Not sure how that is reducing the fares. My question is how do I change my flight and although there is no change/cancellation fee will I still be charged any increased amount in the cost of the ticket? There is talk of repatriation flights but no details as to how that will work.

J.D. FORD

Thrown under the bus, an understatment. We are in
Portugal with return tickets for April 21, trying to rebook earlier flights.
They should be contacting customers to let them know their status. Nothing so far.
Trying to navigate West Jet website a nightmare. All loyal customers hung out to dry. They say that they are trying to get everyone back, why then cancel all flights

Mr Robert D Skuce

Is the West jet Flight 2793 out of Merida, Mexico on Tuesday, March 24th @ 13:35 still on schedule?

Peter

yes called Westjet told us to register on line with Canadian Govy as they will make arrangements to get us home. Called Canadian embassy in Puerto Vallarta and was told they know nothing about getting us home. Said to try rebooking our flights. There are none to get The Canadian Government has abandoned us as well as Westjet!

Jack ware

I have a booked ticket from Mexico to Canada for April 12 , emailed WestJet but have heard nothing back ?

Catherine D Sarginson

read the article. It says they are concentrating on bringing Canadians BACK to Canada not flying them out.

Laurie Jones

I am booked from PV to Kelowna via calgary April 10th. WS 2259 and WS399. Understanding that flight will be cancelled now. How do I book for beyond the 30 no fly time of April 22?

Don Young

Yes we called our travel agent to reschedule a flight home that was booked for Apr 20th. We where informed that the April 20th flight had been cancelled and that there where no other flight available. We where also told that we would not receive a refund and that we would get a credit for cash value only that we would need to use before Dec 31st 2000

Joan feser

We are a group of 30 stranded in Spain. Looking for a flight from Malaga to Toronto. We are booked to leave March 25th but are desperate to leave earlier.

Valerie

We had a flight April 2nd from puerto Vallarta tried to change without success. Then rebooked on Swoop for the 28th. Tried to get ahold of both with no success.

Sue Me

Re WestJet. We have firmed flights end of April 24 from Mexico..
We have tried to access the customer service via Phone….recording says experiencing technical difficulties……

Sue Me

We have confirmed seats WITH a cat..on April 24 from Playa…..we cannot get through via phone to WestJet they site technical difficulties, ya think? Does anyone think they will fly us home, and how? Thanks.