Is It Worth Upgrading To WestJet Plus?

Filed Under: Travel, WestJet

I won’t be doing a full review of my WestJet flight from Toronto to Gander, though did briefly want to talk about the value proposition of WestJet Plus. This was my first trip on WestJet, and when I booked I didn’t even realize that WestJet had a “Plus” cabin on their 737s.


We booked our WestJet flight through an OTA, so I didn’t see that option at the time. Our one-way tickets from Toronto to Gander cost ~150USD per person, and only when I checked in online did I see the option to upgrade to WestJet Plus. It seems like WestJet offers discounted upgrades to Plus at check-in, which opens 24 hours before departure. As WestJet describes it, upgrading to Plus comes with:

  • Extra legroom and seating at the front of the cabin
  • An empty middle seat
  • Priority boarding
  • Free food & drinks


The cost to upgrade to Plus on our Toronto to Gander flight was 90CAD, plus tax. As you can see, there are three rows of Plus seats at the front of the cabin, and this seems to be the case on all WestJet 737 flights.


Including tax, the total cost to upgrade was ~70USD per person.


So, was it worth paying ~70USD to upgrade on a three hour, 1,250 mile flight? Let me start by saying that the flight landed on my birthday (at 1:30AM), so if nothing else it seemed worth it to avoid starting my birthday in economy. That seems like it would be bad luck for the year to come. 😉

Anyway, WestJet Plus is sort of like business class on intra-Europe flights, except there’s more legroom and less service.

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WestJet Plus apparently has 36″ of seat pitch, so it’s similar to extra legroom economy on US airlines.

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There was a tray over the middle seat, which had a bottle of Dasani water for each passenger on boarding.

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There was also an outlet at each seat.

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WestJet offers free soft drinks and coffee in economy, along with a free snack. However, they charge for more substantial food and alcohol. For reference, here’s their onboard menu:

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Fortunately there’s a bit more service when you’re traveling in Plus. After takeoff we were offered warm (disposable) towels.

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We were then offered a selection of snacks, with the choice between a thai chicken wrap, a turkey & swiss croissant, and a cheese tray. I nibbled at the cheese tray, which was… fine (I wasn’t very hungry, since this was a late night flight).

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Ford had the chicken wrap, which he enjoyed.

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In addition to that, we were each offered a snack box.

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Inside the box were sliced apples, an apple crumble dessert, and a mint.

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On top of that we were offered beverages of choice, including alcohol. I just had a cup of water and a McCafe coffee.

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The service in WestJet Plus was more like economy than business class. While we were offered free food & drinks, it was mostly also stuff that could be purchased in economy, it was also served in cups, etc. Also, the service seemed to be similar to economy, in the sense that flight attendants made a single pass through the cabin during the flight.

I found the WestJet flight attendants to be perfectly fine. They weren’t overly friendly, but weren’t bad either.

WestJet is supposed to have Wi-Fi, though it was broken for the entire flight.


So, is WestJet Plus worth it? At the cost of 70USD for the three hour flight, I’d say yes. It’s actually completely unrelated to the free food and drinks, since we didn’t drink alcohol and weren’t especially hungry.

Instead it’s because we could actually sit in comfort. Legroom and shoulder space was plentiful, so I was able to be productive for the entire three hour flight. Meanwhile economy was full, and with 31″ of pitch, I wouldn’t have been able to comfortably work.

So at the upgrade cost I think WestJet Plus can be worth it. I’m not sure how much it would have been if I paid for it in advance, but in looking at the fares for travel in the future, it looks like it’s often about 250CAD more for the three hour flight from Toronto to Gander. That’s about as twice as much as I’d be willing to pay for it.


Have you flown WestJet Plus before? If so, did you find it worthwhile?

  1. I’ve flown it a few times, before the pricing differential became too great. Nice on a 3-4 hour flight that is typical for Canada. Useful to those without NEXUS as it often gives you priority security. If I buy it it is for the shoulder room and priority boarding.

  2. You are someone who has thought many ridiculous things are “worth it”, from hotel cars to hand-holding services at airports, to spending $$$ without seeing the destination, to upgrading on small airlines (Paro/Vietnam) where you then have to wait 30 plus minutes during checkin for the privilege, to only looking at Hyatt/SPG when there are tons or other reasonably priced options available at comparable/better hotels.

    That is to say, you are absolutely not a good judge of if something is “worth it”. Leave that to people who actually value their time and money.

  3. You can generally get exit row seats on WestJet for free if you are quick during OLCI.

  4. Dont understand why people think or consider West Jet as low cost or budget airline. Their fares are almost exactly the same as those from Air Canada

  5. @CK +1

    And comparing them to SouthWest even makes “Westjetters” cringe. They’re so far beyond that original business plan.

  6. Your point of the WestJet Plus fare vs last-min upgrade reminds me of another question I keep thinking about from time to time – Is W (Y+) really worth the 2x the discounted Y fares, or it’s only worth it when offered at last min, say $300-350 for JAL’s NA routes?

  7. Lucky, I think this was a pretty good review of the product. It is not bad, sort of similar to European short haul business class. For $70 worth it for a 3hour flight. I have taken this product to Hawaii, and thought it was worth the $150 upgrade price. A little more room, place to put your snacks and nice when travelling with one other as you get the whole row, nobody has to sit in the middle.

    This type of product reminds me that really first class on a flight less then say 1500 miles, is really of pretty small value. Coach is really not that bad if you don’t have someone in the middle seat next to you.

    I know people of size can purchase an empty middle class coach seat. Do you know can a regular person like you or me purchase an extra seat even if we are not too big? What airlines offer that and how do you book an empty seat?

  8. I agree it’s worth it for the extra legroom on a longer flight – definitely not for the food or service.

    Pro tip: if you’re on a full flight like yours, just be the last to check in and you get Westjet Plus for free. I flew on a combined AA/WS itinerary from AUS-PHX-YVR and got upgrades on both flights (extra legroom on AA, plus on WS), since I waited to check in at the airport. Westjet isn’t so bad about overselling, so you don’t have to be as paranoid about not getting a seat at all with them.

  9. @Dave: WS doesn’t overbook flights, but if they have to down-gauge an aircraft there will be some denied boarding going on.

    I am flying WS YWG»YYC»YXE in a month or so booked using some WS points I got because of a service failure. Looking at the fares then it was 180 WS points +60$ cash for a basic fare, or 280 WS points +60$ cash for a plus fare, I went with Plus. I will have a bag and the total flight time will be about 3 hours, so seemed worth it to me.

  10. I flew on LessJet last week from LGA to YYZ because I was a Delta codeshare customer. The pitch on LessJet 737’s is worse than on Air Canada planes and the TV screens are about 10 years out of date. I usually choose AC or Delta for economy flights of less than 3 hours. Of course it all comes down to price!

  11. Are you bemoaning a coffee being served in a cup? What else would you expect it in – an embossed crystal goblet?

  12. I’ve flown WS Plus class LAX-YYZ and it was certainly worth it IMO. It was nonstop, came with a bit more room, bottomless free drinks and was SO MUCH LESS than AC on the same route. Unless you get an internationally configured 787 or 767 on AC, which is possible, with lie flat and true business class service, you’re in the equivalent of a US domestic F seat on an A320 or similar – which is most of what they fly on that route. So, it’s a lot less fancy in terms of catering, and the seat is narrower, but it’s maybe 30% of the AC price on the same route. It’s even cheaper than F on AA/DL with a connection, for a nonstop flight. So, as someone who pays his own fares or bills a Client, on this route, WS Plus class wins, easy.

  13. @ @mkcol — Huh, where did I suggest that? All I said was that drinks were served in the same cups as economy, unlike in business class, where there’s glassware. That wasn’t a complaint, just an observation.

  14. @Lucky – Sorry fella, just the rest of the para is comparing Plus with economy, and it all reads that it’s not that great in Plus as it’s actually just what you’d get in economy, inter alia a cup isn’t that good either, hence my inference that a cup isn’t good enough.

  15. That free food that was offered looks better than intra-European business class by a kilometer

  16. Gander? Just fly some of United’s TATL flights which offer free diversions in Gander and Goose Bay.

  17. Received an upgrade to Plus last month on HNL-YVR and was pleasantly surprised.

    Flight Attendant serving our section was beyond phenomenal; she was pleasant and offered several drink and snack runs to our section. I had to turn down one offer for fear that I would have to ask for wheelchair assistance to deplane. 🙂 At the end of the day, it’s a really good Premium Economy product which you cannot compare to F on a legacy North American carrier.

  18. It’s also worth noting that $70 is likely the distressed inventory price.

    On my flights to Cuba last year, Plus was pricing at +$500 per segment for roughly the same experience.

  19. I have a flight scheduled on June 21st. From Cincinnati to Toronto then on to Vancouver. I had hip replacement surgery a few months ago and thought I should check into upgrading to plus or first class.. I have never flown Westjet so I don’t know if they have first class. How can I find out the cost or upgrading for the Toronto to Vancouver leg of the trip to save mine!?

  20. @Lucky – What would you say is a reasonable price for a 3-5 hour flight? I recently flew Westjet (economy) from Orlando, Florida (MCO) to Calgary, Canada (YYC). It was a 5hr flight. Economy cost $200 (AMAZING PRICE) while Plus cost $750. We definitely didn’t upgrade as that was way to expensive for 4 people.

  21. My husband and I used to buy the 3 seats so nobody or nothing in middle. Was happy to hear nobody in middle seat so we could stretch out sideways, but now this thing in middle. Can you still raise the arms on each side of it so that both window and aisle seats get a few more inches width wise ????

  22. Just flew West jet plus from Vegas,Thursday
    Very shoddy service
    New attendant serving us so service was very slow
    Blames new caterers, no trays for service
    No clean up before we landed, glasses and garbage everywhere
    Flirting with pilot for twenty minutes
    Busy writing on a clipboard before landing
    Not worth the money for sure

  23. on the 7th Nov I upgraded to plus from hnl to yvr, the cheese plate was perfect, the first glass of wine was great had to beg for the second one and finally went to the back and bought another one, never seen the flight attendants again, oh they were sitting up front relaxing, I have expressed these comments to westjet, gave me 50 westjet dollars to use on another flight, !! As I had bought a seat in the rear thought might have got a refund but, all in all the seat was nice all my space food okay, not worth 200.00 dollars though, the two free wine well their choice the staff, what can I say the nice lflight attendant in economy was very nice so my thought wasted 200.00cdn but got to yvr safely

  24. Bought the plus seats for a night flight from Vancouver to Toronto. Thought it was all good until We were about to go through security and looked at our boarding passes that westjet gave us when we checked our bags. They switched our seats. No one had a said a word to us. Sneaky!!!!!! They claim they refunded me the amount but haven’t seen it on my credit card but the charges are there. Ended up being seated further in the back in a middle seat horribly cramped! Who does that. Spoke to three different westjet employees and given three different reasons. When I asked their phone centre supervisor if it could happen again if I purchased the Plus seats she said Yes. It could. Fly Aircanada. At least you get Aeroplan points toward future flights vs measly westjet bucks

  25. I love West Jet. Clean and the service is wonderful every time I fly. I used the Plus Seats a couple of times. I was in a line up with many coughing people and went back to upgrade. It was nice to have that option. Such comfort and attention and not having to pay for food. It was 50 then and now 90 so its not easy to justify but I am so close to going Plus again. It’s nice to have the option.
    BTW on a side note, when I booked my trip and West Jet could not get me to Calgary, they paid the flight via Air Canada so I would not miss my West Jet flight. Now that is service. Thank you West Jet.

  26. My wife and I just flew WestJet Plus from Toronto to Phoenix and back again with our 10-month-old daughter. From your initial review, I’d say they’ve upped the ante in recent months: food options are still limited, but we were served our drinks in glassware and the service level was much more akin to what you’d find in first class than economy (e.g. we were offered multiple refills of anything we wanted, they provided us a wine list at the start of the flight, and we effectively had our own dedicated flight attendant). All in all, it was a great experience — I’m not sure if I’d normally splurge on the upgrade, but the extra legroom and space between seats (not to mention the alcohol) made flying with a baby far more pleasant.

  27. My experience this weekend YEG to YOW and back parallels Jim’s above…glassware, a seperate menu with three cold choices and the hot towel was no longer disposable. At $100 on check in worth it for a four hour flight…I already get four free bags as a vet so the lack of luggage allowance is not a biggie.

  28. The value used to be there. My wife and I are flying from Winnipeg to Phoenix VIA Calgary. The upgrade has to be paid twice due to the connection making the upgrade $200 per person as the Calgary to Phoenix portion is now $150 per person. You used to get luggage with the upgrade. No more! So, on top of my $370 ticket (not bad), its an additional $225. I paid it because my wife is not a good traveller and any improvement is a more enjoyable experience. Airlines today not only nickel and dime you, but when is the last time you saw a plane with an empty seat? Share prices are through the roof. Westjet…….PLEASE listen to your customers and lower these fees back to a reasonable cost.

  29. Loving this review of your trip to Fogo. My husband and I have been thinking about it, but were a little apprehensive about the journey…how? what? when? who? Your realistic review has been an enormous helpful. Thank you!

  30. I fly WestJet often around the 4 western Canadian provinces, occasionally to Toronto and Montreal as well. No way around it, I am fat. Eliminating the middle passenger is “worth it” for both myself and the poor individual that would get stuck in the middle. WestJet’s standard pitch is roughly that of an average cattle car.
    However, the prices are now very expensive for plus seating if you book in advance. The best value is at the time of check in when you get the option to upgrade. BUT you need to know the travel lane and time of year if you are going to leave it until check in! Nothing describes the feeling of despair when the option is unavailable on seat selection.
    It is a well known fact that we “people of size” should try to avoid the Q400’s whenever possible. At two-per-side, you are playing luck of the draw in plus or regular seating as to whether anyone is next to you. In fairness, if you do get a single the ride is comfortable. Tip: the gate agent prior to boarding is your best friend.

  31. Can you do a last minute upgrade to J on the 787 and for how much? Looking for an upcoming flight YYZ-YYC. Any DP on this option yet?

  32. “B” you sound like my father who’s answer to everything is that it’s “good enough”. More than 2 toppings on a pizza, no 2 is good enough, can I order off the adult menu dad, I am 14, no the kids menu is good enough, a second cup of coffee even though it’s free dad, no one is good enough. We’re going home I need a sandwich. Life is all about the experiences we have and nowadays air travel in economy is awful. If you can upgrade to a more comfortable seat, with extra leg room, not being crowded and being waited on hand and foot, DO IT! Of course price is a factor, but often booking Premium Economy with WestJet early out is only a fraction of the price more. The more P.E. seats they sell, the higher the price goes. We have flown on WestJet in P.E. many times and we are always treated like royalty! The last time our flight was leaving around 10 am for a sunny vacation and my husband ordered a coffee. The flight attendant said, “Oh I was mistaken, I thought someone was on vacation!” We were upsold to free mimosas easily. And the food never stopped coming! As we were getting ready to land the attendant who had previously given me a KitKat bar, handed me 3 more, saying, “You may need some chocolate sometime this week”. Even on a short 90 min flight to NYC we upgraded when we checked in 24 hours out and it was so worth it to be comfortable and relaxed upon our arrival to the worst city on the planet. (Personal opinion, don’t hate please.) Yes “B” the little things are worth it, you are worth it, and I recommend everyone to upgrade to Premium Economy on WestJet!

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