Over the past few years, I’ve had the opportunity to fly on WestJet Premium Economy quite a few times and have seen the product evolve from a “not much better than economy” option to a relatively respectable premium domestic and transborder product.
On a recent trip to Las Vegas, I found the opportunity once again to sample WestJet Premium Economy on a short three-hour direct flight from Edmonton. I wanted to share my experience so Canadians have a better idea as to whether upgrading on their next flight with WestJet is worth it.
Let’s dive into my review of WestJet Premium Economy.
Booking WestJet Premium Economy
For this trip, I actually started out by booking an economy fare using WestJet Dollars from the WestJet Rewards program. For a short three-hour flight to Las Vegas, I didn’t have the interest in splurging on Premium Economy upfront and was fully prepared to tough it out in economy class.
However, I recently took advantage of a generous status match offered by WestJet, in which I was able to match my Air Canada Aeroplan status to the highest tier of WestJet Rewards, Platinum status. A general best practice is to always look for status-matching opportunities if you hold status with any airline or hotel loyalty program.
Among other perks, holding Platinum status provides the opportunity for complimentary upgrades to higher classes of service on WestJet flights, provided the correct fare type is purchased and the member with the status is flying alone. As luck would have it, I was proactively upgraded on both flights in my itinerary, roughly two days before the flight.
That being said, if you don’t hold status and are dead set on flying WestJet Premium Economy and are flying with another person, the best value is to redeem a WestJet companion voucher on the booking since it significantly reduces the cost of the base fare for the second ticket.
This WestJet companion voucher is a benefit of the WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard and is earned annually as long as the credit card is active.
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.
700 WestJet Dollars
Mar 14, 2024
On the other hand, if you are wanting to roll the dice, the best value in securing a seat in Premium Economy can be had 24 hours in advance of the flight during the online check-in process. At this point, WestJet is willing to sell upgrades for the cheapest possible price point, which means you can upgrade for anywhere from $50 to $200 per flight, per person.
Upgrade pricing depends on the route and distance traveled, so it is difficult to predict how much it will actually cost to upgrade. Unfortunately, you are unable to use WestJet Dollars to upgrade into Premium, and can only pay cash to upgrade.
Either way, if you are interested in flying in Premium Economy, there are a number of options you can consider to determine what is the right option for your budget. Premium economy also comes with 2 free checked bags, priority check-in, priority boarding, priority bag tags, and expedited security screening in select airports.
The Premium Economy cabin consists of twelve seats on WestJet’s Boeing 737-800 aircraft. Premium economy takes up the first three rows of the aircraft, and seats are arranged in pairs. Many WestJet planes were retrofitted a few years ago with this much more comfortable premium economy product; gone are the days of having the middle seat blocked as a “premium experience”.
For this flight, I chose 1A, the window seat in the bulkhead row.
Premium Economy passengers on WestJet can expect extra legroom, and in all honesty, the bigger and comfier seat plus additional legroom is the main selling point for this product. While I wasn’t able to completely stretch my legs out, it was good enough for the short three-hour flight.
The tray table extends from the armrest and can be positioned either as a half tray table or a full table, depending on your needs. The tray table can also be moved closer to you or further away, allowing some customization.
All in all, this Premium Economy seat is comfortable enough for what it is and has ample legroom, which is all I care about. If you are sitting in the bulkhead row of the premium cabin as I did for this flight, remember you will need to store any luggage in the overhead bin for takeoff and landing.
If you are on a WestJet flight and are on a flight over 2.5 hours, you can expect to receive a hot meal service in addition to various beverage options as part of the Premium Economy service.
For flights under 2.5 hours, typically a small sub-par snack box is provided, and it is woefully disappointing. In this case, you should definitely eat in the airport lounge before your flight so you don’t starve. Simply put, don’t expect much from Premium Class on shorter flights.
However, since Edmonton to Las Vegas is just over the 2.5 hour threshold, a hot meal would be served. Shortly after takeoff, menus were provided and I was asked for my meal and beverage choice. This flight had two options for the meal: chicken breast with velouté herb sauce or cheese ravioli. I decided to go with the chicken.
A selection of spirits was also available, in addition to sparkling wine, red wine, white wine, beer, and many non-alcoholic choices. I opted to start with a Canadian Club and Diet Coke and stuck with that choice for the duration of the flight.
Shortly after that, the flight attendant brought out a “tablecloth” which is really just a piece of paper with a bit of grip, and set my table. A napkin and utensils were also provided.
My Canadian Club and Diet Coke was served in addition to a small snack of pretzels and a Celebration chocolate butter cookie.
Around 15 minutes later, the meal was served. When flying WestJet Premium Economy, the meal is served on one tray and includes the chosen entree, a bread roll, salad, and a small dessert.
The meal itself, in particular the chicken, was cooked perfectly and was one of the better meals I’ve had on WestJet. I also had multiple drinks during the flight, and the flight attendant was proactive in offering refills.
On the whole, I was impressed with the dining experience, but I find it can definitely be a mixed bag as to what you will experience depending on the route and flight attendant.
WestJet does not have entertainment consoles in their premium economy class; this is arguably the biggest difference between WestJet Premium Economy and Air Canada Business Class. Additionally, Premium passengers have access to the same entertainment options as Economy class passengers.
That being said, WestJet does offer WestJet Connect as a complimentary service. This service contains a variety of television shows and movies for your entertainment and can be accessed via the WestJet app on a tablet or phone. Alternatively, if you have a laptop, you can quickly connect it to the onboard WiFi and view content on that device.
I’ve found that the selection is pretty good; it consistently is a strong blend of classics and new Hollywood releases, especially when it comes to movies.
There is also a flight map available, should that be up your alley. I personally love nerding out on flight maps, so I keep this open throughout my travels to see where we are currently at and how much longer in the skies.
Another option to keep yourself entertained is to take advantage of free in-flight WiFi on WestJet flights, thanks to Boingo. Many World Elite Mastercard products in Canada, such as the National Bank World Elite Mastercard and the previously mentioned WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard, offer a complimentary Boingo WiFi membership, meaning you can access in-flight internet up to 8 times per year.
Taking advantage of working or browsing the internet while in the air is my preferred method to pass the time, and as a result, I always keep a World Elite Mastercard on hand to take advantage of this perk. This is another spot where WestJet shines, as there is no easy free way to get WiFi on Air Canada flights.
WestJet Premium Economy is perfectly fine for any quick domestic regional flights or transborder vacations. While I wouldn’t recommend or even consider paying for this out of pocket, if you have some WestJet Dollars to burn or are looking to maximize a companion voucher, it could be worth your while to consider booking this class of service.
At the end of the day, it’s better than sitting in economy class, and that’s what matters right? 😉
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