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April 21, 2005

Flying on WestJet

To get to Montreal last week, we decided to drive to Vancouver and then fly to Montreal. The advantage of doing this is that you can fly direct. Plus, you don't have to worry about customs at the airport.

Air Canada's flights were a bit expensive, so I decided to take a chance and fly on WestJet, a discount airline. Turns out it was a great decision.

For one thing, many of WestJet's planes have live satellite TV in every seatbacks. The channel selection isn't bad; they don't have any child-specific channels, but CBC shows kids programs until noon. This wasn't too helpful on our flight east, which left Vancouver at 11:15 am (so we only had kids programs on CBC-West for 45 minutes), but on the way back, our flight left at 7:45 am from Montreal, so we had kids programs on CBC-East for most of the flight, and then on CBC-West for the rest. I got to watch "Pop-Up Video" on MuchMoreMusic while cruising at 40,000 feet over Thunder Bay.

WestJet also just started web checkin, about a month ago. I was a bit worried about our 7:45 am flight because WestJet has no pre-assigned seats and does them first-come-first-served at checkin, so we would need to get their early to get 6 seats together. But now they allow web checkin (and seat selection) 12 hours before departure, so at 7:45 pm the previous evening we got our seats and boarding passes and were all set. All the people at the airport were oohing and aahing at our home-printed boarding passes, so it must still be rare.

But it actually turned out that checking in early wasn't that crucial, because the flight was less than half full. Most people had a full three seats to themselves to take a nap on. It made me realize that it has been longer than I can remember since I was on a flight that wasn't full, and usually overbooked.

Posted by AdamBa at April 21, 2005 09:44 PM

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