Review of WestJet flight Vancouver Kailua in Economy

Airline WestJet
Flight WS1882
Class Economy
Seat 14F
Aircraft Boeing 737-800
Flight time 05:39
Take-off 25 Apr 19, 18:36
Arrival at 25 Apr 19, 21:18
WS   #3 out of 22 Low-cost airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 30 reviews
Oscar
By 742
Published on 19th May 2019

Introduction


Hello everyone!

Long time lurker and first time posting. 

After finishing my finals at university, it was finally time to go on vacation! Deciding where to go was a bit tricky, but it was quickly narrowed down to Hawaii for its beaches and a chance to fly on the Boeing 717! From Vancouver, both WestJet and Air Canada offer direct seasonal service to Kona (and year round service to Maui and Honolulu) and WestJet was chosen as they would be the only Canadian airline to fly there this April (due to the MAX 8 groundings that forced Air Canada to suspend their services to Kona). 


Routing

  • Vancouver YVR to Kailua-Kona KOA You are here
  • Kailua-Kona KOA to Honolulu HNL Coming soon
  • Honolulu HNL to Kahului, Maui OGG Coming soon
  • Kahului, Maui OGG to Vancouver YVR Coming soon

Check In


After finishing my last final exam and saying goodbye to my friends for the summer, it was time to head to the airport for my flight. Vancouver International YVR is very accessible - just a quick ride from the city via the Canada Line. A view of the check-in area at YVR's USA Departures Terminal. 


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Check-in was very smooth as I had checked in the day before. Westjet, like Air Canada, does charge for seat selection (which can be a bit steep especially on long flights). However, 24 hours before the flight, when online check-in begins, you are able to select any available economy seat and I was able to grab seat 14F (and emergency exit seat) free of charge. 

For this flight to Kona, WestJet charged $62 for seats near the front of the cabin, $66 for the emergency exit seats, and $30 for the rest of the Economy seats. What's important to note is that rows 12 and 13 don't have recline due to the emergency exits (WestJet used to allow these seats to be selected for free during the booking process as "less desirable" seats but have since begun to charge for them as well). 


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YVR does have US Pre-clearance (which allows travellers to pass through US Customs and Immigration before departing to the USA), so after checking my bag at the kiosk, I proceeded through security as well as US Customs and Immigration. Passing by the duty free after clearing US Customs and Immigration.


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An Air Canada Boeing 787-9 getting ready to head to Honolulu.


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Boarding and Takeoff


After grabbing dinner, it was time to board my flight to Kona! This flight would be operated by a 6 year old Boeing 737-800 with registration C-GKWA. WestJet operates their Boeing 737's in a two class configuration, with 3 rows of "Plus" seating which is their Premium Economy with 36 inches of legroom and 27 rows of Economy with 31-33 inches of legroom (according to SeatGuru). Onboard.


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Can't really complain about the legroom ;). WestJet's Boeing 737's are not equipped with IFE's - instead they offer entertainment through the WestJet app. The seats themselves are very comfortable and each seat has USB and AC power ports. 



A view of the cabin during boarding. Even though the flight was not full, boarding still took a while and the flight pushed back around 15 minutes late.


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Pushing back.


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And after a quick taxi to the runway, it was time to finally take off to Hawaii!



A view of Vancouver's west end (and my university :) ) after taking off.


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Some condensation did start to form after takeoff which was a bit unexpected but thankfully did not develop into a constant stream of water.


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Climbing and reaching cruising altitude.



Inflight


On this almost 6 hour flight, WestJet offers a buy-on-board menu, as well as complementary drinks and snacks. A view of the buy-on-board menu.



After takeoff, the flight attendants were quick to set up their carts and begin the beverage service. WestJet offers free soft drinks, juice, water, coffee, and tea, along with a choice of pretzels or cookies. Seeing that it is a long flight and the fact that there are only two beverage services for the entire flight, the flight attendants gave most of the passengers two drinks and snacks, which was much appreciated. 


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After the snack service, it was time to explore WestJet's entertainment system. In order to access the entertainment system, you need to download the WestJet app before your flight and once airborne, all you need to do is connect your device to the WiFi onboard. WestJet offers paid WiFi access as well as a large array of complementary movies and TV shows. I decided to watch A Star is Born - a good movie although I do believe it is a little overhyped. 



WestJet also offers a flight tracker on its app which is was a little disappointing as it would always take the map a few minutes to update the progress of the flight every time the map was opened.


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A view of the cabin inflight. 


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A quick trip to the lavatory which was fairly clean although the garbage bin seemed to be overflowing by the end of the flight.


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And soon enough, the sun began to set and we were treated to a gorgeous sunset. However, one of the window shades on the right side of the aircraft seemed to be stuck in the up position resulting in the sun shining directly into the cabin - though it was soon resolved by the flight attendant taping a safety card on the window and joking "this is how we make sure you read the safety card."



The seat pitch in the emergency exits was phenomenal and there was plenty of space to work on my laptop without the fear of the person in front reclining (especially since the seat in front of row 14 cannot recline). Soon the flight attendants came around the cabin for the second beverage service and not long after, the pilots turned on the fasten seatbelt sign signalling the start of the descent into Kona.


Landing and Arrival


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The approach itself was a little bumpy but the pilots executed a very smooth touchdown into Kona. 


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And touchdown.


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Taxiing to the gate


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Gate arrival.


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View of seat 14F during deplaning


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And though disliked by some, having no jetbridges is always great for me as it allows for a great view of the aircraft.


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Kona's airport is an open style airport which allows for a lot of fresh air though that also means that there is no shortage of mosquitoes :). Baggage was delivered to the baggage carousel about 30 minutes after arrival and after a quick shuttle ride to the car rental, it was time to begin my Hawaii vacation!


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Verdict

WestJet

8.2/10
Cabin9.0
Cabin crew9.0
Entertainment/wifi8.0
Buy-on-board menu7.0

Vancouver - YVR

9.8/10
Efficiency10.0
Access10.0
Services9.5
Cleanliness9.5

Kailua - KOA

7.5/10
Efficiency8.0
Access7.5
Services6.0
Cleanliness8.5

Conclusion

Overall, it was a pleasant flight onboard WestJet. The flight attendants were friendly and handing out two drinks per service was a nice touch. WestJet's entertainment system is adequate for the flight and I personally find WestJet's seats more comfortable when compared to Air Canada especially in terms of their seat pitch even in the standard economy seat. Thanks for reading this flight-report and see you next time!

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4 Comments

  • Comment 503563 by
    KL651 TEAM 4449 Comments

    Welcome and thanks for this nice first FR.
    Service is in line with other north american Airlines just the BoB seems a bit cheaper on WS than on UA or AA.
    The Entertainment options seem really good for an app.
    I'll be flying WS myself this summer on an AF code share so good to know that seats become free during OLCI.

    • Comment 503777 by
      Oscar AUTHOR 10 Comments

      The Entertainment options seem really good for an app.

      Yep WestJet has improved their entertainment options (which offer more options than their IFE's a few years back)! I still remember flying on 5+ hours on WestJet with only live TV as entertainment onboard.

  • Comment 503771 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 4906 Comments

    Hi Oscar,

    Thanks for posting your first report! Very cool and interesting route, for sure.

    but it was quickly narrowed down to Hawaii for its beaches and a chance to fly on the Boeing 717!

    Two birds, one stone 👍

    However, 24 hours before the flight, when online check-in begins, you are able to select any available economy seat and I was able to grab seat 14F (and emergency exit seat) free of charge.

    Always a gamble with waiting for OLCI...but sometimes it can pay off like in your case. Other times, not so much....middle seat for a 6 hr flight, lol
    Speaking of middle seats...many other carriers charge less for the middle seats (for obvious reasons)--sounds like WS needs to look into that.

    An Air Canada Boeing 787-9 getting ready to head to Honolulu.

    Love that new livery

    WestJet operates their Boeing 737's in a two class configuration, with 3 rows of "Plus" seating which is their Premium Economy with 36 inches of legroom

    And a free middle seat, like a European Business class (pretty recent change, I believe...introduced last year I wanna say?)

    A view of the buy-on-board menu.

    Oooh, Butter chicken...Yum! Considering those prices are in CAD...the BoB is pretty reasonably priced. I take it hot dishes like the Butter Chicken have to be pre-ordered?

    And though disliked by some, having no jetbridges is always great for me as it allows for a great view of the aircraft.

    Some = non-AvGeeks 🤣

    A very nice first report! Looking forward to the others.

    Welcome among the contributors!

    • Comment 503778 by
      Oscar AUTHOR 10 Comments

      Always a gamble with waiting for OLCI

      Yep, always get a bit nervous at the 24h mark hoping that I'll be able to get a window seat :). WestJet used to charge $10 less for middle seats and nothing for the less desirable seats (seats with no recline) but they have since started charging more for those seats.

      And a free middle seat, like a European Business class (pretty recent change, I believe...introduced last year I wanna say?)

      And now WestJet is changing the name to Premium and transitioning into a 2-2 configuration (starting with the MAX 8's then eventually on all 737's)

      I take it hot dishes like the Butter Chicken have to be pre-ordered?

      Nope. Currently WestJet doesn't have a pre-order option for their flights but all the hot dishes are available onboard.

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