Introduction: WestJetting To Gatwick

Introduction: WestJetting To Gatwick

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Welcome to my next trip report, covering travel in WestJet’s new 787 business class, Air Europa’s 787 business class, and more.

Planning the trip

The motivation for this trip was really simple. This spring WestJet started service with the 787-9, which represents an exciting development for the airline.

Previously the airline never really tried to compete in the premium market, while WestJet’s 787s feature a competitive product. Long haul service with WestJet’s 787-9 began between Calgary and London Gatwick as of April 28, 2019, so my goal was to review it as soon as possible after the service launched (while also avoiding the inaugural, so I’d get a better sense of the “real” service).

This was purely a review trip, and the goal was to minimize my time away from home. After all, I took this trip only shortly after another 10 day trip.

Booking flights

While WestJet does have some airline partnerships, to my knowledge there’s no practical way to use transferrable points to book their business class. Fortunately WestJet sometimes has reasonable paid business class fares when originating in the US.

At the time I was booking, WestJet had good one-way business class fares from Denver to London Gatwick, so I booked the following for ~$1,100:

04/30 WS1571 Denver to Calgary departing 1:25PM arriving 3:49PM
04/30 WS1 Calgary to London Gatwick departing 7:20PM arriving 10:50AM (+1 day)

The first flight was in WestJet Plus, which is WestJet’s premium economy product on 737s (they’re eventually going to install a proper business class on some 737s, though that hasn’t happened yet).

Then the long haul flight was on the 787-9 in WestJet’s business class.

I positioned from Miami to Denver that same morning on American. I booked an economy ticket and received an upgrade to first class on account of my status, though I won’t be reviewing that flight. Instead the trip report will start off in Denver.

Then on the return flight my goal was to try a new airline to get home to Miami. Air Europa is an airline that has been on my radar for quite a while, and they happened to have availability to get back to Miami for the day after I got to London.

So I redeemed 72,000 Air France-KLM Flying Blue miles for the following itinerary in business class:

05/02 UX1014 London Gatwick to Madrid departing 9:55AM arriving 1:25PM
05/02 UX97 Madrid to Miami departing 3:25PM arriving 6:45PM

Flying Blue is transfer partners with Amex Membership RewardsCapital OneChase Ultimate Rewards, and Citi ThankYou, meaning you can transfer points earned from a variety of cards:

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Learn More Terms Apply. | See Rates & Fees
  • 5x total points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 3x points on dining
  • 2x points on travel purchases
  • $95
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Learn More Terms Apply. | See Rates & Fees
  • 3x points on Travel after the $300 Annual Travel Credit
  • 3x points on Dining
  • $300 Travel Credit
  • $550
Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Learn More Terms Apply. | See Rates & Fees
  • Earn 3x points on travel
  • Earn 3x points on shipping purchases
  • Cell Phone Protection
  • $95
American Express® Gold Card
Learn More Terms Apply. | See Rates & Fees
  • 4x points at restaurants
  • 4x points at U.S. supermarkets, on up to $25,000 in purchases annually
  • 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com
  • $250
The Platinum Card® from American Express
Learn More Terms Apply. | See Rates & Fees
  • Earn 5x points on flights purchased directly from airlines or through Amex Travel (up to $500k/year)
  • $200 Annual Uber Credit
  • Amex Centurion Lounge Access
  • $695
Citi Premier® Card
Learn More Terms Apply. | See Rates & Fees
  • Earn 3x Points on Airfare
  • Earn 3x Points on Hotels
  • Earn 3x Points at Restaurants
  • $95
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Learn More Terms Apply. | See Rates & Fees
  • Earn 2x Venture miles on every purchase
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • Global Entry/TSA Pre-Check Credit
  • $95
Capital One Spark Miles for Business
Learn More Terms Apply. | See Rates & Fees
  • Unlimited 2x miles per dollar
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • Primary Car Rental Coverage
  • $0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card
Learn More Terms Apply. | See Rates & Fees
  • Earn 6x points at Marriott
  • Free Night Award Annually
  • 15 Elite Nights Towards Status Annually
  • $95

The taxes and fees were $295. There were no carried imposed surcharges, but rather those taxes are so high due to the UK Air Passenger Duty, which adds $200+ to the cost of UK departures.

In the end, my routing looked as follows:

Booking hotels

I just had one night in London, and since I was flying into and out of Gatwick I figured I might as well stay at an airport hotel. I reviewed the Hilton Gatwick a few months ago, so this time around decided to book the Courtyard Gatwick.

The rate for my one night stay at the Courtyard was ~130USD.

This is probably a good time to mention that obviously ideally I’d stay in the city and get to walk around London for a bit, have a nice meal, etc. However, I also try to be practical on these review trips. When I’m spending three days largely flying without Wi-Fi, my priority while on the ground is being able to work and sleep, so staying near an airport allows me to maximize my productivity.

Bottom line

My trip on WestJet and Air Europa was a surprising delight, as both airlines greatly exceeded my expectations. As you can see, this was a trip that was all about the journey, since a night at the Courtyard Gatwick isn’t much to get excited about. 😉

Thanks for reading, and my apologies for the delay on trip reports. I’m doing what I can to get caught up, but the past several weeks have been a bit crazy. I’m taking it easy on trips right now, so that I can get caught up on these reports.

Conversations (13)
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  1. Dennis

    Thanks Lucky. Looking forward to these trip reports!

  2. Fred M

    You would have flown right over my house about 20 mins from LGW. Had I known, I’d have waved...

  3. Theo

    You can use Qantas. They transfer from a few cards

  4. LM

    @Jordan - I guess I'm gonna travel and not go to work! If my boss asks I'll say it's for reducing my carbon footprint :)

  5. Tom

    FYI there are a few LGW hotels that are attached to the two terminals. From memory there is a Sofitel, a Hilton, a Premier Inn and a Yotel capsule hotel right next to Departures.

    But I am sure you knew that.

  6. Jordan

    I'm curious what your carbon footprint is. Have you ever calculated it? Per month, year, and lifetime?. Then trips where you actually had to go somewhere vs trip for reviews?

    Also vs what some people spend in traffic commuting to work since you do not.

    IF you have ever posted this, please add a link.

    Cheers!

  7. A mirrer

    It should be possible for you to request a refund on the APD as you were connecting in England on a less than 24 hour connection as Gary mentions here
    https://viewfromthewing.boardingarea.com/2016/02/26/refund-uk-apd-luxury-departure-tax/

  8. Myro

    Missing your trip report from Slovenia and North Macedonia.

  9. smallmj

    When I saw the headline my first thought was that you were flying out of my home airport, YHZ. Westjet has seasonal YHZ-LGW service but on a lowly 737-700 (since the MAXs are grounded).

    But I guess it a TATL flight in Westjet Plus isn't something that you would want to endure.

  10. Max J

    You can use DL miles on WestJet business!

    1. Ben (Lucky)

      @ Max J -- I figured that should be possible in theory, but do you know how to book? I'm not finding any availability online, can't search on ExpertFlyer, etc. Do you have to book by phone with Delta, or...?

  11. JB

    Can't wait for this one! I'm probably going to visit the Calgary Aspire lounge in the last week of June (but the one in the Trans border terminal). Based on what I've heard, there pretty similar so I hope its good!

    How's the new Calgary international terminal? They opened it in 2017 I believe and I haven't been to it yet.

    1. Ben (Lucky)

      @ JB -- The new Calgary international terminal is BEAUTIFUL. What a nice terminal that's also really easy to use.

Featured Comments Load all 13 comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Dennis

Thanks Lucky. Looking forward to these trip reports!

Fred M

You would have flown right over my house about 20 mins from LGW. Had I known, I’d have waved...

Theo

You can use Qantas. They transfer from a few cards

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