The Differences Between WestJet Fare Classes

westjet-plane-wing-difference-between-fare-classes-ultrabasic-featured-image

Buying an airline ticket has never been more complex as airlines continue to add different ticketing options with various benefits and restrictions. In doing so, they hope to satisfy a consumer base who wants to select the product that is right for them at the price point they desire.

In some ways, this is great, as more options are usually positive for the seasoned traveler who knows exactly what they need in a fare. However, for those more infrequent travelers, these ticketing options, or fare classes, can be confusing. It can be difficult to know which fare is best and where the best value for money lies when purchasing a ticket.

Let’s look at WestJet fare classes and their differences to help you make the right decision when booking your next WestJet flight.

What are WestJet Fare Classes?

As with nearly every airline, WestJet offers broader fare buckets that include economy, premium economy, and business class seats. While the available classes of service will differ depending on the aircraft that the route is serviced on, there are usually at least two different options to satisfy both the budget-centric and more premium-focused consumer.

westjet fare class buckets

However, within each fare bucket, there are several options that are called “fare classes”. Choosing a fare class is a secondary choice that must be made before finalizing your ticket purchase and will determine whether you have to pay for advance seat selection, checked baggage, baggage limit allowances, and more.

For example, suppose you want to purchase a WestJet economy cabin fare. In that case, you then have to choose between the UltraBasic, Econo, or Econo Flex fare classes which all offer different features and price points.

westjet economy fare classes with details

At their core, WestJet fare classes are quite similar to Air Canada’s fare classes, with a few unique differences. Either way, you should understand the differences between fare classes and what fare class is right for you before booking your next flight on WestJet.

The Differences Between WestJet Fare Classes

WestJet offers three different economy fare classes, two premium economy fare classes, and two business class fare classes.

Economy (UltraBasic)

WestJet’s bottom-of-the-barrel fare class is called UltraBasic and that name suits it perfectly. If you book an UltraBasic fare on WestJet, set your standards accordingly. UltraBasic is a no-frills ultra-low-cost carrier fare class so just be happy you have a seat and that the plane gets off the ground and to your destination. Don’t expect anything more.

Passengers who book an UltraBasic fare are only allowed to bring one personal item and no carry-on luggage. They will pay a higher fee for checked baggage and seat selection, and if they don’t pay for seat selection they will most likely be placed in the worst seats on the aircraft, usually at the back of the cabin and in the middle seats. They also will be the last to board the aircraft and will not earn any WestJet Dollars from the booking.

westjet ultrabasic fare features

Most importantly, you cannot change or cancel your flight on an UltraBasic fare. This means that if you can’t fly the flight for any reason, your money is gone with no avenue to receive any reimbursement or a credit.

There are a number of other aspects that you are not eligible for when flying on a WestJet UltraBasic fare, even if you have received benefits as part of holding WestJet Rewards elite status. For more details, check out the graphic below:

westjet ultrabasic fare features excluded

This might be my personal bias, but I would highly recommend against ever booking an UltraBasic fare unless you have a super niche situation where it makes sense. Depending on the route, you can expect to pay $30 to $100 more per person for an Econo fare and have a much better and far less restrictive experience on your next flight. Simply put, booking an UltraBasic fare is not a great way to save money on your next vacation, even though it may look that way on the surface.

Economy (Econo)

WestJet’s Econo fare is the main fare class in the economy fare bucket and is the most likely choice for many leisure travelers. Passengers will be able to bring one personal item and one carry-on bag.

Econo passengers can make changes or cancel their tickets for a fee. If canceling their ticket, they will receive a travel bank credit that can be used for future WestJet flight bookings, less the fee.

Passengers will need to pay for advanced seat selection and checked baggage, but there are good opportunities that exist to save money on WestJet baggage fees, such as holding the WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard which offers a first free checked bag for the cardholder and up to eight guests on the same itinerary.

WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard

The WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard earns WestJet dollars and offers cardholders benefits on WestJet flights including an annual companion fare and a first free checked bag.

Check out our WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard review for more details.

BONUS
450 WestJet dollars
MINSPEND
$5,000
NET VALUE
$331+
ANNUAL FEE
$119
FOREX FEES
Yes
EXPIRY
Jul 31, 2024

For most passengers who are looking to fly economy class, choosing an Econo fare is likely the best value-added choice when it comes to the cross-section of features and cost.

Economy (Econo Flex)

The Econo Flex fare class is very similar to the Econo fare class, with a few added perks. Econo Flex passengers will receive the same benefits that were in the Econo fare class, with the addition of receiving 1 checked bag and seat selection included in their ticket cost.

Econo Flex passengers can change or cancel their flights for no fee. If the change that is made results in a higher fare cost, the passenger will only need to pay the difference in fare. If they cancel, they will receive a travel bank credit that can be used for future flight bookings on WestJet and there are no cancellation fees.

Premium Economy (Premium & Premium Flex)

WestJet Premium Economy is available on most aircraft that WestJet operates and within this fare bucket, the two fare class options are titled Premium and Premium Flex.

Premium fares are an actual tangible step up in the flying experience, as passengers will be seated at the front of the plane in the Premium cabin and have a bigger and much more comfortable seat. Passengers will receive complimentary food and beverage, including a full hot meal on flights of an eligible length, and alcoholic beverages of their choosing.

westjet premium economy class review featured image

Seat selection is complimentary and each Premium passenger receives two checked bags free of charge. Customers will also receive check-in, priority boarding, and priority security screening at eligible airports. If a passenger wants to make a change or cancel their Premium ticket, there will be a fee associated. Passengers will receive their cancellation refund to the travel bank, less a fee, upon canceling their flight.

The Premium Flex fare class offers the same benefits as above, except there is no fee to change or cancel the booked ticket. If canceled, the refund will go back to the original payment method.

Business Class (Business & Business Flex)

WestJet Business Class is the top-tier fare bucket offered by WestJet and it is only offered on routes served by their Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner which usually skew international.

Passengers who book a Business fare class can expect many of the same perks as Premium, including priority services and two free checked bags. The main difference is that WestJet’s business class offering is a true business class pod-style seat in a reverse herringbone layout, similar to Air Canada Signature Class. This means that you can actually turn your seat into a lie-flat bed and get some rest on your flight. On longer flights, passengers will also receive an amenity kit.

westjet business class window seat 2a

Passengers on a business fare can change or cancel their ticket for a fee. If canceling their ticket, they will receive a credit to their WestJet travel bank to be used on future flight purchases.

The Business Flex fare class offers the same benefits as above, except there is no fee to change or cancel the booked ticket. If canceled, the refund will go back to the original payment method.

How to Choose the Right WestJet Fare Class For Your Needs

Before choosing a fare class, I would recommend looking at the importance of flexibility in your travel plans as the first step. If you are 99% certain you will be flying a certain flight, an Econo fare might suit your needs because at worst, if you do need to cancel, you will receive a travel bank credit less a nominal fee. On the flip side, if your travel plans are uncertain, splurging for a Flex fare might be worth the money.

From there, consider what other features are important to you. For example, while some fares come with free checked baggage or free seat selection, it might not be worth it if those benefits are not of any value to you. Also consider if you receive these benefits from any other avenue, such as a WestJet co-branded credit card or through holding WestJet elite status.

After looking at the big picture, determine the best fare class that meets your budgetary needs while not sacrificing any of your must-haves. Oftentimes, it might be cheaper to book a normal Econo fare and pay for seat selection or a checked bag if those are things that are important to you.

What About Member Exclusive Fares?

Member Exclusive fares are available for all three fare buckets: Economy, Premium, and Business. These fares only appear when logged into a WestJet Rewards account and will be displayed as another fare class that can be chosen when booking a ticket.

Member Exclusive fares can only be booked if the WestJet Rewards member is able to pay for the full base fare amount using WestJet Dollars. These fares offer the same benefits as the normal fare class (e.g. Econo, Premium, or Business) but don’t earn WestJet Dollars since you are making an award redemption.

westjet member exclusive economy fare

Passengers who book a Member Exclusive fare can expect to save 5-10% on each ticket which might be worth it if you have the WestJet Dollars available. However, I wouldn’t go out of your way to make a Member Exclusive fare work, and I definitely wouldn’t buy overpriced WestJet Dollars to top-up for this redemption opportunity.

How to Check the WestJet Fare Class on an Existing Booking

If you can’t remember the fare class that you booked on a future flight, WestJet makes it easy to check. Simply visit the Manage Your Booking page and enter your booking reference number and last name.

Once your itinerary loads, you will see the route you are flying, and the fare class is denoted directly below.

westjet fare class on manage booking screen

You might see a different fare class for each direction that you booked, so ensure you double-check to understand your checked baggage allowances and other entitlements in advance of your flight.

Conclusion

Educating yourself on the differences between WestJet fare classes will only benefit you as a traveler the next time you are booking a flight on WestJet to ensure you know exactly what you are entitled to and to avoid any surprises. Choosing the right fare class for your needs will guarantee you aren’t overspending for benefits you don’t value or require for your upcoming flight.

Josh Bandura

Josh Bandura

Co-Founder at Frugal Flyer
Josh has been involved in the miles and points game since 2015 but has scaled up his knowledge and points earning potential in recent years. With a consistent attitude of "min-maxing" in many aspects of his life, Josh has transferred this mindset over to the miles and points game. Always looking for the next big opportunity, he aims to share content on a variety of topics including his travels, miles and points, and most importantly, how to get the most out of your credit cards

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