THE FLIGHT: I was travelling in Premium Economy on Westjet’s flight from Calgary to London Gatwick, departing at 19.55 and operated by one of the airline’s new B787-9 Dreamliners.
PRE-BOARDING: Dropping off my bag was quick and easy at the self-service kiosks. I had checked in online and progressed quickly through security. Westjet built its reputation as a low-cost domestic carrier in Canada but is currently transforming itself into a full-service international carrier. Waiting at the gate it was clear some passengers familiar with the low-cost history were not entirely sure if they would be getting a meal or inflight entertainment, and were busy checking, downloading and stocking up just in case.
THE SEAT: My aisle seat, 7D, offered plenty of leg room, coat hook, two storage areas, charging point, plug and headphones jack. The recline and footrest operated smoothly, and the arm rest included a wood-effect drinks shelf. The seat back IFE screen was also adjustable to enhance viewing. My personal space was roomy and comfortable and was set up with Rocky Mountain Soap company washbag and noise-cancelling headset.
THE SERVICE: The crew was friendly and attentive from the start and clearly engaged. Sparkling wine or juice, and menus, were served as soon as I settled into my seat and my attendant introduced herself and addressed me by name, chatting pleasantly as she took my meal order pre-departure. She highlighted key features of the seat, made dinner recommendations based on her favourites, and asked if I had travelled in a Dreamliner before. I took my attendant’s recommendation and chose the Signature shepherd’s pie. It was great – full of flavour and very filling. Snacks were available in the ‘social’ area of the galley and an hour before landing breakfast was served.
THE VERDICT: I was already a fan of the Dreamliner, with its airy feel and mood lighting, and the Westjet team has done much with the interior design to make it their own. Service was exemplary too – friendly and engaged throughout. The ‘low fare, high care’ philosophy was clearly in action, and staff seemed to take pride in doing a good job throughout the flight.
THE DETAILS: Return fares from Gatwick to Calgary start from around £1,130 in Premium Economy.westjet.com.
Reviewed by Julie Baxter (2020)