WestJet adds new lowest fare class: Econo (Lowest)

In the battle for the skies, WestJet announced today that they will also be launching their own version of Basic Economy fares that we have seen take off in the past few years in the U.S. and last week from Air Canada. These fares are really the barest of bare bone fares and are designed to compete with Ultra Low Cost Carriers who do the same and then charge for all the extras you could imagine. WestJet’s is called Econo (Lowest) and unlike Air Canada, these fares are not only for flights within Canada but for some flights to the U.S. and Sun Destinations (routes will be announced over the next while). WestJet’s are similar to AC’s in that you don’t have to pay for your carry on luggage but do have to pay for pretty much everything else. Here are the key points to WestJet’s new Econo (Lowest) fares:

  • There will be limited availability and the routes have not been announced yet but that will come shortly (check westjet.com for available pricing)
  • You can cancel within first 24hrs only however no changes permitted at any time after that. That is you cannot cancel or changes these flights at all. What you book is what get. If you can’t make your flight you forfeit anything you paid for it.
  • Companion vouchers can be redeemed for these fares but we’re thinking these fares will be quite low and it really won’t make sense to redeem vouchers for them. If redeemed on this fare they are subject to same rules that no changes are permitted (ie companion vouchers are forfeited if you can’t take your flight)
  • Seat assignment is only available at check-in only, with applicable fees
  • No early/late show availability (even for Gold members)
  • No upgrade to Plus available (even for Gold members)
  • No rewards accrual or qualifying flight spend issued for WestJet Rewards members

This really isn’t a fare for most WestJet Rewards members (basic or elite), its for the those who want the absolute bare bonus minimum and shop around for the lowest fare. For WestJet it is the competitive force for taking on AC’s new fare class, Canada Jetlines, and Flair Airlines. One issue to take note of is that if one of these lower fares is available on a route where WestJet Rewards Member Exclusive Fares show up on as well, the latter may not show if the Econo (Lowest) is lower than it. For example, say Calgary to Victoria has a Member Exclusive fare of $99 and the Econo (Lowest) is $79 then you won’t see the Member Exclusive fare in your flight search.

For more details on these fares check out the WestJet blog