WestJet has announced some upcoming changes to the fees charged for baggage and Preferred seats, which are set to come into effect as of November 7, 2023.
Furthermore, WestJet Silver and Gold members will soon be required to redeem advance seat selection vouchers prior to check-in if they wish to reserve a Preferred or exit row seat at no cost.
Upcoming Changes to WestJet Checked Baggage Fees
On November 7, 2023, it will be more expensive to pay for a checked bag at the airport than it currently is.
WestJet uses a tiered structure for baggage fees, by which you pay less for prepaid checked bag than you would during check-in. The amount you pay at the airport is $10 (all figures in CAD) more than if you prepay, and the cost per bag depends on the fare type purchased and the destination to which you’re flying.
However, as of November 7, 2023, WestJet is adding a third tier to its baggage fee structure, whereby if you don’t prepay for a bag or pay for it using self-serve check-in, you’ll have to pay even more.
For example, on a Basic fare in Canada or the US, you’ll pay $30–36 if you prepay for a checked bag, or $40–48 if you pay for it during self-serve check-in. However, you’ll need to pay $50–59 if you check-in with an agent.
The extra $10 charge only applies to tickets bought on or after November 7, 2023, and only if you check-in with an agent at the airport.
If you’ve purchased a ticket on or before November 6, 2023, WestJet asks you to self-identify with an agent to avoid the additional charge.
Furthermore, guests who aren’t able to use self-serve check-in will be exempt from the extra $10 fee.
Upcoming Changes to WestJet Seat Selection Fees
WestJet has also announced changes to seat selection fees for some guests.
As of November 7, 2023, passengers who book an Econo or EconoFlex fare will no longer be able to select a Preferred or exit row seat free of charge at check-in. Rather, a fee will always apply for Preferred or exit row seats on these fares.
Currently, passengers on Econo and EconoFlex fares may choose a Preferred or exit row seat at no cost upon check-in.
Passengers on Econo and EconoFlex may continue to select a Standard seat upon check-in at no extra cost, as is currently the case, while anyone on a Basic fare will be assigned a seat upon check-in.
WestJet justifies implementing these fees since Preferred seats provide additional legroom and are located at the front of the economy cabin, which allows for a faster exit upon arrival. Likewise, WestJet justifies fees for exit row seats since they provide additional legroom, and allow guests to board the aircraft earlier.
The fee to select a Preferred or exit row seat varies, depending your fare and flight destination. Passengers booked on a Premium or Business fare may select Preferred and exit row seats at no fee.
Upcoming Changes to WestJet Silver & Gold Preferred Seat Selection
If you have WestJet Rewards Silver or Gold status, there are some upcoming changes to how you’re required to use advance seat selection vouchers.
As of November 7, 2023, travellers with WestJet Rewards Silver and Gold status will need to use advance seat selection vouchers prior to check-in in order to reserve a Preferred or exit row seat at no cost.
Currently, Silver and Gold members may redeem advance seat selection vouchers for Preferred and exit row seats at check-in. Therefore, if you’d like to enjoy some extra space, you’ll just need to plan in advance going forward.
Platinum members will still have the option to select Preferred and exit row seats at no charge prior to and during check-in; however, if they’re using a guest seat selection voucher, they’ll need to redeem it prior to check-in if they’re treating a guest to a Preferred or exit row seat at no cost.
WestJet Aims for Ancillary Revenue
In WestJet’s announcement of the upcoming changes listed above, the airline mentions that the new fee structure is put in place to help guests prepare for a smooth travel experience.
If you plan on checking a bag for your flight, there’s certainly no reason to pay for bags at check-in or with an agent at the airport, since you’ll have to pay more.
However, if you travel with WestJet with any sort of frequency, you can avoid paying fees for your first checked bag by simply holding the WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard. Even with an annual fee of $119, you get a free checked bag for yourself and up to eight guests travelling on the same reservation, and the card can essentially pay for itself through waived baggage fees on one booking.
- Earn 250 WestJet Dollars upon making your first purchase
- Plus, earn 200 WestJet Dollars upon spending $5,000 in the first three months
- Plus, receive an Annual Companion Voucher for discounted travel on WestJet flights, with a co-pay starting at $119 plus taxes and fees
- Minimum income: $80,000 personal or $150,000 household
- Annual fee: $119
As for passengers on Econo and EconoFlex fares having to pay for a Preferred or exit row seat at check-in, it’s clear that WestJet is looking to generate ancillary revenue by charging for these seats in most situations.
If you’re a keener who has checked in diligently at 24 hours prior to departure to score one of these seats for free, unfortunately, you’ll now have to pay as much as everyone else.
When it comes to Silver and Gold members needing to use advance seat selection certificates prior to check-in to score Preferred and exit row seats at no cost, I don’t see why anyone wouldn’t do this to begin with, ideally immediately after booking.
On the other hand, if you’re someone who used to use advance seat selection vouchers at check-in to score Preferred or exit row seats, just be mindful that you’ll need to change your habits.
WestJet has announced some changes to the fees it charges for checked baggage paid for at the airport, as well as seat selection fees for Preferred and exit row seats.
These changes come into effect as of November 7, 2023, and when it comes to baggage fees, you’ll be subject to the current charges if your booking is made on or prior to November 6, 2023.
If you travel with WestJet with any frequency, be sure to pick up the WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard to save on baggage fees on an ongoing basis.
This story originally appeared on PrinceofTravel