WestJet – Calgary to Los Angeles – Economy Plus

My mum always says “You attract more bees with honey than what you do with vinegar”.  This is so true in any service industry.

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I’m leaving Calgary after 3.5 weeks and heading to San Francisco (via Los Angeles) on my new favourite airline, WestJet. I’ve been travelling for almost 3 months and my bags are splitting at the seams. When I arrive at Calgary International Airport they are weighting 27 kilograms, 4 kilos over the limit. The check in agent advises it will cost me CAD$104!! I’m a bit stunned but friendly and ask if there is anything I can do, she suggests taking some of the contents out of the bag so here I am trying to lighten my contents by wearing them. With Camera over my shoulder, jacket over my arm and a hoodie tied around my waist and stuffing whatever I can in my backpack I get the contents to 23.5 kilograms and I am just charged the standard CAD$26.25. While thanking the check in agent I get chatting about my travels I tell her this is almost the last leg of my trip and how much I love Canada.

My departure gate at Calgary International Airport.

The check-in agent then stares at the screen for a while, looks at me and stares back. It’s a little disconcerting but after a few minutes she hands me a boarding pass and we say our goodbyes. I head off to the U.S. Immigration which operates on the Canadian side of the border. It’s here I start thinking about my seat assignment through to LAX, I’ve been given seat 2F, thats not a standard Economy seat, I confirm this by bringing up a seat map, I’m seated in Economy Plus, the airlines version of Business Class. I have one last quick drink at a bar near the departure gate and board the aircraft on time.

Economy Plus seats on board WestJet.

The Economy Plus seats are located in the first 3 rows of the cabin in a 2-2 configuration. They’re not really a business class seat, but like many North American or European short-haul carriers they have the middle seat blocked off making each seat the standard 17″ of width. There is however reasonable seat pitch of 36″.

Centre console and water on board WestJet in Economy Plus.

On the centre seat table comes 2 bottles of water, a nice touch for the Economy Plus passengers. The extra leg room, extra shoulder room with the side table and a bottle of water, I’m thinking this Economy Plus thing is pretty darn good but it gets better.

Taking off over Calgary.

We take off over the sprawling city of Calgary, the city has grown so much since my previous visit in 2008 and almost doubling the population since my 1996 visit.

I flick through the onboard menu and check out a few combos. I’m thinking about the cheese tray when the flight attendant serving the Economy Plus cabin comes to my row and asks to take my order. She sees I have my credit card out and tells me all meals and drinks are included with Economy Plus and proceeds to explain what she has available. A chicken cobb salad, a turkey and brie sandwich or anything from the menu. I opt for the salad. For a drink I have a Crystal Ridge Californian white wine. Winning!

The salad comes in a box and it is a full meal. On the side there is a bag of apple slices and a crispy rice and marshmallow chocolate bar and whoa, what a salad! I don’t think I’ve seen such an impressively sized and fresh salad on a plane ever. There is all manner of goodness inside the plastic container including huge chunks of moist chicken, crisp kale and purple cabbage plus sweet corn kernels. I dress it with some tangy ranch dressing and woof it all down.  When I have finished – I must have looked hungry – the lovely flight attendant asks if there is anything else I would like from the menu….. I can’t resist.

I go for the cheese tray, again it’s pretty spectacular from what I’ve had on other airlines, sure not the presentation but size and freshness. Inside are 4 large slices of cheese, a smoked, a swiss, a cheddar and a jalepeno cheese along with 4 large toasted bread slices.

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Internet for only CAD$4.99 for 30 mins on board WestJet.

While pretty much everything is included with Economy Plus, WiFi is available for a cost. If you’re an avid reader of my blog you would know I don’t like to connect in the air as I like the me time, but on this flight I give it a go. For CAD$4.99 for 30 mins, its a fun way to pass half an hour sending messages to friends around the world from the air.

I check the inflight map and we still have a way to go.  decide to watch some inflight entertainment on my iPhone – I’d downloaded the app before my previous flight. My headphones are somewhere in the bottom of my overstuffed bag, so the lovely flight attendant gives me a pair. I watch some news and flick the channels but I feel more interested in watching the sunset over California.

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Sunset over California.
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Turkey, Brie and Cranberry sandwich.

Just prior to landing the flight attendant comes through the Plus cabin and asks if we would like to take any of the leftover meals with us. She explains that as the aircraft is overnighting in LAX, it will all get thrown out so we are welcome to take what we want. She has a couple of salads left and a few Turkey and Brie sandwiches. Of course I can’t help myself, I mean I’ve got to try almost everything on the menu in the name of research right? I ask for the Turkey Brie sandwich which will come in handy later…. (secretly though I’m dreaming of that chicken cobb salad)

Landing at LAX.

It’s time to land at LAX, we’re coming in early meaning I should easily make my 1hr 30min connection to San Francisco. Once we are on the ground we taxi to our gate, we are a 20 minutes ahead of schedule but due to congestion, the departing aircraft at our gate hasn’t left yet. We wait a full 40 minutes. It’s not the airlines fault of course, I just have to make the best of the situation and make my way to my connecting flight to San Francisco as quick as I can, it’s the last flight to San Fran and I don’t want to be stuck at the airport overnight! I don’t scream or yell or get angry, I politely tell the flight attendant about my connection and she asks those few in front if I can disembark first. What a great flight, what a wonderful airline, what a fabulous upgrade and I am first to leave the plane. Mum is right, you get more bees with honey than with vinegar.

Have you flown WestJet? What do you make of the onboard meals? Do you think you get more being nice or being tough and complaining when it comes to service?

FreakyFlier paid for his flights independently.

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. Hyfee says:

    What a really pleasant flight and the food sounds great! Wish all flights could be so good.

  2. Aww that is so nice of her! And agreed, you do catch more with honey 😀

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