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Going North via WestJet on Southwest (confused?)

rsweet
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It's official, WestJet will be our first international partner and we will be offering travel to some pretty cool destinations all the way to Canada! Okay, I know, it doesn't feel that international because it is Canada and traveling to Canada is quite simple. But they do speak different languages, eh..and those accents...and the beer...the temperature...the metric system...work with me here...this is the start of some really cool stuff.
 
It's like a dream come true. I woke up this morning and there was actually an official announcement of Southwest's first international codeshare partnership. The anticipation of something international has been talked about around here forever. Having come back to Southwest almost a year ago, I have been a part of a team that has been busy analyzing codeshare opportunities to determine how and when we would actually be able to offer our Customers the ability to travel beyond the United States. You can't imagine the complexity that goes into identifying, negotiating, developing, and finally being in position to implement an international codeshare partnership.
 
Okay, now that I've set this up to be the most difficult task that any team in the history of Southwest Airlines has ever tackled, the reality is that the choice of WestJet was so logical you could classify our task as a "no-brainer." You don't have to have taken Codeshare 101 to have made the decision to partner with a airline like WestJet but hey, we want our partnerships to meet and exceed all Customer expectations. Naturally, we took the time to make sure WestJet was the great airline we had heard it was. We found that there were so many similarities to Southwest, they had to be a great airline!
 
So stay tuned, we will begin the relationship by selling existing WestJet flights on southwest.com. We will then evolve to provide a seamless travel experience for Southwest Customers connecting to and from Canada. It'll take several months for this to happen because, as I mentioned, it really is a complicated process but it will be well worth the wait for US and Canadian Customers.
 
We look forward to hearing from the Westjetters (Westjet Employees) and their Guests (their Customers) along with Southwest Employees and our Customers about this wonderful opportunity.
 
I think my first trip will be to Banff Springs.
36 Comments
Anonymous4628
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When Will We Be Able To Book Flights From Southwest.com
Anonymous4432
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Wonderful news! But I can't believe it will take you over a year to set up the partnership?? The hawaii partnership with the now-defunct ATA airlines didn't take as long to set up did it? And how will rapid reward travel to canada work? Double tickets, just like hawaii?
John2
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Heard the news yesterday from Sean Durpy and let me tell you it was exciting! A big hello to all you SWA peeps from us Westjetters! We all look forward to working with you all to make North America our playground. Looking froward to the first WJA/SWA party! Cheers
Anonymous3331
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As a WestJetter I am super excited about this new venture and can reassure all of you Fun-LUV-ing Southwest Employees that our culture, our fun and friendly approach and our high-value, low cost business is a great fit! We look forward to things evolving and becoming part of the greater family!
Michael_B_
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Congrats Southwest!
Anonymous1515
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How are Southwest Passengers in the Northeast, South, and Northwest supposed to connect to a WestJet flight if the only cities that both of you serve are in Florida and Southern California? Do we have to go all the way down to one of those cities and turn around and come back again?? Also, only one or two cities with the exception of Las Vegas are served by WestJet from their US cities so does that mean flying down to Florida, switching planes, flying back up to Toronto, switching planes, and then flying to Halifax? For now I think I'll stick with my nonstop flights to Toronto with one stop connections on AirCanada until you clear these things up.
Anonymous2989
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That's great. Now, if you would just fly to San Juan and have better deals for flights out of RDU I'd be ecstatic! I'd also like to say that I agree with and applaud your decision to remove the lady and her obnoxious kids and leave them in the Sky Harbor Airport. Thank you for that! It is yet another reason I love SWA.
seanyoda
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This is fantastic news, but calling WestJet your first international partner ignores that short-lived (and limited) agreement with Icelandair through BWI back in the mid 90's.
Anonymous2186
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Does WestJet fly to Hawaii from the U.S.? Will we be able to fly to Hawai next year using SouthWest and WestJet?
Anonymous2186
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Does West Jet fly to Hawaii from the U.S.? Will we be able to fly to Hawaii in 2009 using SouthWest and West Jet?
bhurst
New Arrival
Does this mean we're going to need a new Web site called "Nous allons!" :-) B
scottnearsmf
New Arrival
I'm sure that WestJet and Southwest will begin working together in '09 to create scheduling opportunites from points further north as well as add to SWA focus cities that aren't currently served. I can see Westjet adding DEN, BWI and MDW as additional cities they serve to better link up Southwest's lineup (Westjet already serves the following focus cities MCO, PHX, LAS). With regard to the family that attempted to try one of the most gruling travel plan in the Southwest schedule, Trying to fly DTW to SEA as a PHX/1 (which is only offered on Saturday at last check) would be very hard on a large family (9 hours and 5 minutes from first takeoff to last landing). That doesn't excuse the behavior of the children, but if I was a parent I would have pick one of the MDW/1 plans and avoided the PHX/1 plan.
Anonymous4426
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WJ will operate about 65 departures a week from LAS n/s to YYJ, YVR, YXX, YEG, YYC, YXE, YWG and YYZ this October. By the time all the details are ironed out, I wouldn't be surprised to see a small WJ presence in MDW, and potentially BWI and IAD. WJ has a fairly substantial winter flying program from points in Canada to places like PSP, PHX, FLL, TPA, RSW and MCO and I don't think that will change. YYZ-BWI-Florida is not a very competitive product compared to n/s YYZ-Florida, a 1,200 mile sector. WJ has been producing operating margins in the top 3 in North America for quite some time now, and dare I say it, higher than SWA's, even operating without a fuel hedge. Like SWA, they are sitting on lots of cash and have costs about 35% lower than their principle competitors when adjusted for stage length. WJA has about 35% of the domestic marketplace. Due to cabotage, WJ can not operate, for example, YYC-SFO-HNL-YVR, nor could SWA operate LAS-YYC-YYZ-BWI. It's a marriage made in heaven. The benefits for both carriers are huge.
Anonymous3627
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WestJet has daily flights to HNL, OGG and KOA via Vancouver, BC. on a 737-800's and the entire 700 fleet is also capable for Hawaii. It has to be a good marriage with North America's two most profitable airlines teaming up. Currently, WestJet is making 14% profit margins with no fuel hedge in place. WestJet has 54 flight per week to LAS and I'm sure many other flights will be added to harmonize a profitable network. WestJet has another 44 new 737 currently on order, bringing the fleet to over 120 737NG's by 2015 and an average fleet age of 3 years. It will be great working with Southwest and WestJet together; both airlines share a powerful employee culture and put forward great customer service. Now the question from me, how does WestJet provide Mexico service to SouthWest, when we only fly direct from Canada.... does Southwest start Mexico flights that WestJet connects to?
An_excited_West
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Welcome to the WJA family, LUV! I couldn't think of a better partnership....LUV shares all of our values, our culture and our excellent guest services!! I'll be happy to send our guests your way, and I'm sure you'll do the same. Take care, and let us know where/when the first party is!
SouthWestJetter
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For those Hawaii questions - Yes - Westjet does fly to Oahu, Maui and Kona. Even better, their WJ Vacations have great rates for staff at some nice hotels and condos there. It's the only way Canadians can get a good tan in the middle of winter. WJ also does fly into LAX - I'm sure they hook the left coast and mid-pacific up.
Anonymous2194
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I suspect that West Jet may be adjusting its Route Network over time because of this codeshare arrangement. They will want to get SWA business so it makes sense to access SWA passengers easily and take them places they can't go on SWA. I don't know how the laws work but the easy solution would be to have West Jet fly into MDW or BWI (or both) from Toronto to access the Canadian routes. They might also add flights from TPA or FLL direct to their Caribbean destinations. Something like that works well for both airlines and allows them to compete with folks like Spirit Airlines getting people to the Caribbean.
Anonymous4064
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It is nice to see SWA teaming with another airline but it would be nice to WestJet fly to more US cities. The only option to go to Hawaii, Mexico, or the Caribbean is to fly North into Canada then South. I don't see how this is a good match for SWA unless they start flying to those places from the U.S.
Anonymous1649
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The purpose of this codeshare is not for LUV passengers to be able to fly to Mexico, Hawaii or the Caribbean. Due to cabotage laws and various "freedoms", as well as simple geographic and economic realities, it makes no sense to try and force traffic north to Canada to fly it south, or to Hawaii. Vancouver - Honolulu is 2,705 miles about 150 miles more than LAX-HNL. Even if it was permitted, and with oil at anything above about $30 a bbl, it's not going to make sense to anyone to have people fly 1,100 miles from LAX to YVR to take the same 6 hour flight to HNL. This deal allows WJ and SW access to a very lucrative transborder market. That's what this is all about. Don't forget that Canada is the US's #1 export partner, the #1 supplier of oil and the single largest source of (legal), foreign tourists. Additionally, the C$ is pretty much par with the US$ these days, making the US a cheap destination for Canadians for the first time in about 30 years. It's also a very safe place for Americans to visit. There is lots of business and leisure air traffic between the two countries and this partnership is going to exploit it to the benefit of their passengers, their employees and their shareholders.
skeeter
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It's great to see the enthusiasm and warm-heartedness of Westjet employees and customers welcoming Southwest into the code-share agreement. I've done a little research on Westjet just to ease my own sense of mind, and have found that Westjet and Southwest's culture and structure are very much alike. I have read many customer reactions and commentaries, and it seems that Westjet has a very loyal base of customers. I compare Westjet's pride with what I observed the first time I went to St. Louis, MO. The people in St. Louis took pride in their city, and what impressed me the most was that when people were talking about the city, they always laid claims to ownership. They always referred to "our city" or "my town", or "we are doing this or that" instead of saying "the government or the city" is doing it. With this said, what astounded me was that Westjet employees and customers seem to deem themselves "westjetters", showing pride and commitment to the company. Westjet had to be doing something right! There has to be a level of admiration in corporate businesses (and airlines) when you can hear customers and employees labeling or describing themselves after the company. I think Southwest Airlines should promote the code-share by creating our own "Southwester" campaign by showing our employee's and customer's satisfaction with Southwest Airlines commitment to customer service. What do you think--ehe?
Chris_Baker
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This is a brilliant move. Westjet basically copied SWA's plan--flying a whole fleet of 737's, for example. Apparently, Westjet is one of the few airlines that is still making money. Of course, SWA is still making money. It's good to take your time on something like this. I suppose Westjet will be coming to Midway soon.
John28
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Please add PHL - YUL route!!!!
Anonymous6479
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As a proud westjet FA of almost 6 years, I say a huge Welcome! Apparently we are very similar airlines, as far as cost structure and most importantly, our people. The buzz online is amazing and everyone is thrilled and excited to enter into partnership with such a fantastic group of people and an airline that mirrors us in so many ways We look forward to the great success that this deal will bring both parties
MarcYVR
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Hello SWA! I'm another one of those infamous WestJetters, and a very proud one to say the least, I look forward to meeting some of you one day! As far as one of the previous comments on opening up the caribbean and mexico, it is possible that WestJet could operate those flights as we already have landing rights in many airports in those countries and with 5th Freedom Rights we could fly (as an example) from Toronto to Chicago to Nassau. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedoms_of_the_air If that's correct, then the network for SWA not only expands north, but further south, and of course that means increased business for both of us. Thanks for being the world leaders in this airline business model giving us something to build our airline from. Now look at the possibilities!!
robmark
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So shouldn't that original post have said, "partner with a airline like WestJet but hey der," rather than just the informal American "hey?" I would appreciate the border-correct answer to this query.
Scott_in_Baltim
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Westjetters.. are you ready to color outside the lines? Sounds like many of you do already. As a Southwest Lifer, I'm thrilled at the annoucment of our two companies working together. I'm sure we will countiune this remarkable tale and the results possible when Employees are liberated to take charge of the rules and have fun at work.
M_2
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I think that when you decide who your Latin America/Carribean partner is that you should use Nashville as one of your gateways. Frontier was able to support nonstop Cancun traffic for several years using only O&D traffic and if you had the kind of feed possibilities that Southwest does I think you could really make it work. American had planned to do this pre-Miami with Nashville & RDU so you could do it with Nashville & BWI. I'll also add that we're not too different from Charlotte in population size and that's happned there. Just thinking out loud......Then again if you were to go Atlanta(and give us an alternative to DL since the situation is similar to DEN in everything up to and including the airport layout and you've succeeded with flying colors there and Delta and AirTran are weak and cutting back and you have better customer service) I suppose that would be a good place too although I'd prefer to have an ATL route and have the gateway in Nashville since I live here and think I just made a pretty good case for it.
Anonymous3627
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http://www.katkam.ca/ There's a live camera shot of Vancouver. I hope to see Southwest and WestJet making some big cash sending our customers to the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. I am also hoping to see lots of Southwest people traveling here as well on the interline agreement that we already have for staff travel. Easy connections from LAS....
Sue2
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I'm hoping that SWA and WestJet will work something out for the northeastern part of Canada. My dream would be Philadelphia to Halifax and St. John's so we Philadelphians could explore the Canadian Maritimes and Atlantic Canada. Please don't forget Philadelphia in your WestJet route negotiations! We love SWA!!
ayholloway
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Okay, I'm new to Blogging.....I just wanted to find out and start discussion about Southwest adding Ft Walton Beach to your list of great destinations to fly......Those other airlines fly there and normal folks cant afford them. Southwest needs a Destin/Ft Walton Beach flight schedule.....especially for folks in KY who would rather drive to Louisville Ky (SDF) or for us Western KY folks, Nashville Tennessee (BNA) and fly to VPS. Whats your thoughts Southwest ?
cowtown
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You will love Westjet but we want to see a Calgary to Houston flight. Would like to see a run for this lovely cash cow as we are almost sister cities but don't have a reasonable flight between. Southwest seems wonderful! Yahoo
Dave13
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A presence at MDW would be wonderful. Right now, MDW has almost no flights to Canada.
jmc
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Is this still a going possibility as of May 2009? Also, if it happens, will Westjet honor free tickets that Southwest has given to frequent fliers?
blusk
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jmc, the code3share won't be effective for awhile, so I am afraid that leaves out this month. Also, neither carrier is honoring the other's frequent flyer awards at this time.
Anonymous3017
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What is going on with the SWA/WJA codeshare? Has is been scrapped?
Anonymous489
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this excerpt from the Financial Post is very disappointing! I thought Southwest was better prepared and not so stagnant! The end of the Westjet deal seems to make me think WN is becoming stagnant and not like it once was. New WestJet chief eyes global flight path Scott Deveau, Financial Post Published: Ftriday, March 26, 2010 In this story Canwest News Service Gregg Saretsky in the pilot's seat as WestJet aims to shed its stagnant low-cost model to become a true global player When Gregg Saretsky was just out of university, working in the financial sector in the early 1980s, the woman who would eventually become his wife asked him what his ambition in life was. Without missing a beat, the Montreal native, who put himself through university as a flight attendant for Air Canada, told her, "I want to run my own airline." His wife, Deb, reminded him of that conversation last Monday, 25 years after he returned to the business, when the board of WestJet Airlines Ltd. unexpectedly appointed Mr. Saretsky, 50, its new chief executive less than a year after joining the airline and only five months after becoming its head of operations. While his rapid rise at Canada's No. 2 carrier is notable for his own career, it's also a pivotal horse-for-the-course transition that WestJet's board hopes will finally allow the carrier to shed the stagnant low-cost model it adopted from Southwest Airlines 14 years ago to become a true global player. "It's a great opportunity for me, to be in the seat I have, to really help write the next chapter in our story," Mr. Saretsky said in an interview Friday. Paramount in making WestJet a major player in the North American market will be the successful implementation of several strategic partnerships with international carriers. These so-called code-share deals have been made possible after the rather rocky transition to WestJet's new SabreSonic reservation system in recent months. The problems implementing the new system contributed to the unexpected departure of Sean Durfy as its chief executive effective April 1. Code-share deals will allow WestJet to seamlessly pass its passengers onto the planes of its international partners, and help fill its domestic flights with other airlines' customers. WestJet has been laying the groundwork for such a deal with Air France/KLM and China Airlines. Before it fully implements those deals, WestJet appears to be prioritizing a partnership with a U.S. carrier due to the high amount of traffic crossing the border, Mr. Saretsky said. Fitting WestJet's new ambition, Mr. Saretsky said it is now more likely it will first partner with U.S. legacy carrier Delta Air Lines rather than the expected deal with Southwest Airlines. While WestJet has often strived to be the Canadian version of Southwest, the U.S. low-cost carrier lacks a reservation system capable of code-sharing. A deal with Delta has been made all the more probable now that WestJet is also lined up to receive five daily slots at New York's LaGuardia airport as an offshoot of a slot swap between Delta and U.S. Airways. The deal is subject to regulatory approval. The slots would allow WestJet to reinstate its Toronto-New York service after a five-year hiatus, and a deal with Delta could see it expand to Atlanta, Boston, and Washington, D.C., all locations where the Atlanta-based carrier has a strong presence, Mr. Saretsky said. "[Delta] has an interest. They have a capability. We like the Southwest partnership, but they've signalled to us that they're not going to be ready," Mr. Saretsky said. "We're going to move on and tee things up with another partner Read more: http://www.financialpost.com/news-sectors/story.html?id=2731968#ixzz0jXFDQkDy The Financial Post is now on Facebook. Join our fan community today.