Review: WestJet Plus 737 Denver To Calgary

Filed Under: Airline Reviews, Other Airlines

Since I had flown in from Miami the same day and wanted to leave a buffer in Denver (given American’s on-time performance) I had quite a long layover. I spent my time in the American Admirals Club getting caught up on work, and also walked around the terminal. This concourse sure has a lot of Frontier planes!

Frontier planes in Denver


Frontier planes in Denver

My flight was departing from gate A39 at 1:25PM, so I headed to the gate about 45 minutes before departure. While boarding was scheduled to start at 12:45PM, in reality the plane only arrived from Calgary at 12:50PM, so it was delayed a bit.

They sure turned the plane around quickly, though, and by 1PM they started boarding. On WestJet boarding starts with families, followed by Zone 1, which includes those traveling in WestJet Plus.

WestJet departure gate Denver

WestJet 1571
Denver (DEN) – Calgary (YYC)
Tuesday, April 30
Depart: 1:25PM
Arrive: 3:49PM
Duration: 2hr24min
Aircraft: Boeing 737-700
Seat: 3A (WestJet Plus)

While WestJet doesn’t currently have business class on their 737s, they do have WestJet Plus, which is like a slightly better version of intra-Europe business class. There are 12 WestJet Plus seats in the first three rows of the plane — the middle seats are blocked, and there’s 36″ of pitch, which is excellent (probably an average of 5-6″ more pitch than you’ll find in intra-Europe business class).

Note that in 2018 WestJet announced they’d start installing proper business class seats on their 737s, though to my knowledge no planes feature these seats as of now. That might largely be because the 737 MAXs have been grounded, and those were supposed to be the first planes to get those seats.

WestJet Plus cabin 737

The legroom in WestJet Plus really is excellent, better than what you’ll find in the extra legroom economy sections on most US carriers.


WestJet Plus seats 737


WestJet Plus seats 737

Even the row immediately behind WestJet Plus had excellent legroom. Economy legroom is apparently 31-33″, so this was definitely on the upper end of that.


WestJet 737 economy seats

The WestJet Plus seats had a tray on the center seat, and there was a bottle of water waiting there for me.

WestJet Plus center seat tray table


WestJet Plus bottled water

Each of the seats had a power outlet, with both a 110v and USB plug.


WestJet Plus legroom

WestJet Plus power outlet

The tray table was pretty standard, and as is the case with many “slim” seats nowadays, the literature pocket wasn’t really a pocket, but just had a “bar” in the middle to keep everything in place.


WestJet Plus tray table

Boarding was extremely efficient, and shortly after 1:20PM boarding was complete. The flight was mostly full, and in the WestJet Plus cabin 10 of the 12 seats were taken.

While my business class ticket included WestJet Plus, WestJet also consistently sells upgrades to the cabin at a reasonable cost at check-in, which seems to usually be how these seats get filled.

The door closed by 1:30PM, and at that point the lead flight attendant, Jamie, made her welcome aboard announcement. Shortly thereafter the manual safety demonstration started, which was first performed in English, and then in French.

By 1:35PM we began our pushback, and by 1:40PM we began our taxi.

Pushing back Denver Airport

We had a short taxi, though while taxiing out the captain made his welcome aboard announcement, informing us that our flight time was two hours, and that we’d be cruising at 40,000 feet.

At 1:45PM we were cleared for takeoff on runway 34L

Taking off from Denver

There was quite a bit of chop on the initial climb out, as is often the case when departing Denver.


View after takeoff from Denver

The seatbelt sign was turned off about 15 minutes after takeoff, at which point landing cards were distributed for Canada. Even though I was connecting internationally, I still had to fill this out.

Immigration cards for Canada

10 minutes later the flight attendant came through the WestJet Plus cabin to take drink orders. While I really only wanted water, I figured I had to order something more interesting for the sake of the review. 😉

So I ordered champagne, since I was curious what they had. Well, suffice to say that was a mistake. WestJet offers Bottega Gold prosecco in Plus, which is… not amazing. On the plus side, at least they offer proper glassware.

There was also a snack basket with a few options — I selected some roasted almonds and a granola bar.

WestJet Plus drink & snack service

On longer flights WestJet offers meals in Plus, though I guess this one was just under that limit, because I’ve had meals on slightly longer flights. When they do have meals and more substantial snacks, they’re typically served in snack boxes. Think things like cheese plates, salads, and sandwiches.

The flight attendant working Plus was great — she constantly checked on passengers to see if they wanted anything else. I couldn’t help but feel like everyone else in the cabin was getting hammered. It sure seemed to me like just about everyone else had at least three drinks — I guess they wanted their money’s worth.

I was really happy to see that my flight had wifi. WestJet’s wifi pricing is as follows, all based on time rather than data usage:

  • 90 minutes cost 10.99CAD
  • Full flight pass cost 21.99CAD
  • 24 hour pass cost 32.99CAD


WestJet 737 wifi

I purchased the 24 hour pass, since it would allow me to use wifi on this flight and my connecting flight to London. The wifi was fast, so I was thrilled to be able to stay productive during the flight. Thanks to the 36″ of seat pitch I also had no problem keeping my laptop screen open even when the person in front of reclined.

WestJet also offers streaming entertainment through the wifi, as they have no other TV screens on the plane.

Shortly before we started our descent I checked out the lavatory at the front of the cabin. WestJet enforces that the forward lavatory is only for Plus passengers, as several people were turned away, despite the lack of a proper partition between cabins.

WestJet 737 lavatory

At around 3:15PM the captain announced we’d be landing at 3:45PM, and a few minutes later we began our descent.

View enroute to Calgary

We hit some significant chop starting about 15 minutes before landing, which lasted for about 10 minutes.


View approaching Calgary

The views on approach were beautiful, including of the Calgary skyline.


View approaching Calgary

I’m not really used to seeing snow in late April!


View approaching Calgary


View approaching Calgary

We touched down on runway 35R at 3:45PM.


Final approach to Calgary

From there we had just a two minute taxi to our arrival gate. The airport was nice and quiet, and we passed an Air Canada 737 MAX which I assume was being stored there for several weeks given the groundings.

Air Canada 737 MAX Calgary Airport

Taxiing Calgary Airport

Arrival gate Calgary Airport

I bid farewell to the crew, and was excited to be one step closer to my WestJet 787 flight.

WestJet Plus bottom line

In general I really like WestJet, and in particular find that they have some of the friendliest crews of any North American airline. While WestJet Plus isn’t quite to the level of business class, it’s still a very nice product that typically comes with a reasonable upgrade cost.

On this particular flight the offerings were limited, though on slightly longer flights I’ve been offered more substantial food options.

If you’ve flown WestJet Plus, what was your experience like?

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Comments
  1. I flew them from Orlando to Calgary about 2 years ago and a one-way economy ticket was $200 while a one-way plus ticket was $700+. I inquired at check in for how much an upgrade is and they quoted $400 more to my ticket. I personally don’t think that’s reasonable for a 5 hour flight. How much do they normally charge for upgrades?

  2. With the blocked out middle seats and 36” of pitch, this sounds like a comfortable way to travel for a medium haul flight. It’s also a good option for Skymile fans. Nice review Lucky.

  3. WestJet has also recently upgraded their food offerings on 737 Plus flights with meals to be more like a typical domestic first meal, served on a tray with real plates and such rather than in a snack box.

  4. The 737s were supposed to be upgraded this year, but with 12-13 frames all out of service, WestJet couldn’t justify it as they are running all aircraft at maximum usage. They just don’t have enough aircraft so they are deferring. The plus side is the MAX aircraft will all be 2×2 once they get can back in the air.

  5. Not sure if this applies to you as an American Lucky, but Canadian NEXUS holders no longer have to fill out the declaration form.

  6. The immigration cards for YYC-bound flights were phased out a couple weeks ago with the activation of new immigration kiosks (PIK).

  7. I believe there are a couple of 737-700s, one 737-600 and one 737-800 that were reconfigured prior to the MAX groundings, so there are a handful of 2×2 planes currently flying.
    These reconfigs apparently also include ovens for hot meals in Premium.

    The seat maps don’t change, except I believe on the 737-600, so there’s basically no way of telling in advance if you’re getting a reconfig bird.

  8. Lucky ordered Champagne, but got a much cheaper version of sparking wine that is not even Champagne. Bottega is okay. Their designs are really nice actually.

  9. I think they’ve rebranded it premium (not plus), I’ve had meals (US domestic first meals) on past few flights, and rules on the lav inconsistent (most common is that all passengers can use front lav, but you have to line up at row 4 so you don’t disrupt the service in premium!!!)

  10. Nice review Ben. I’m currently on WS1571, and WS1 this evening to LGW.
    Interestingly enough, we’ve just received a meal on this flight. I’ll post a pic in the comments section.
    Michael

  11. Typically, you can score an upgrade to Plus during OLCI for about CAD$100 or so from Vancouver to Toronto, for example. Costs are similar from Canada to the US.

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