WestJet, doing business right.

As a person who is constantly flying I can tell you that there is a great deal of truth to the rule that it is the little things that matter. WestJet has continued to grow and expand even in those post-911 years while Air Canada continued to lose money, whine for taxpayer bailouts and demand preferential treatment on the allotment of gates at airports. While both airlines provide pretty much the same services, the differences in the provision of them are profound when you are the air traveler. The most glaring difference is simply attitude. Air Canada has a well earned reputation for surly service and unreasonable lineups while you feel like they are doing you a favor for simply answering a question. Air travel can be a harrowing experience at the best of times and dealing with Air Canada people can truly compound what is already a bad day.

WestJet has always focused on service and getting you from point A to point B with no frills but with as little stress as possible. Their perky service and in flight jokes can be a bit hokey, but they make the experience much more tolerable and they have built a loyal and growing client base on it.

The recent WestJet promotion with the Santa and gifts was nothing less than brilliant. This is the sort of idea (and willingness to follow through on it) that sets WestJet apart from the others. If you haven’t seen the viral video below, it is well worth a watch.

I encountered a cynical person on twitter who took terrible offense to this initiative last night. He howled on about how Air Canada does charities and that this WestJet thing is just a crass publicity stunt. He yelped about a TV being given to a man in a $600 jacket (apparently only people wearing rags should have gotten gifts). I suspect that this gentleman works for Air Canada (probably a union shop steward or something) and his attitude of bitterness and spitting out at this initiative perfectly demonstrates how Air Canada indeed just doesn’t get it.

Yes, this was a promotion that had the promotion of WestJet in mind in the end of things. Welcome to capitalism. This promotion brilliantly used social media and a true human element in order to go viral as it did. The effort was not disingenuous on the part of WestJet and that is why it has been embraced. As a company they do truly care (as much as any company can). It has been years of these kinds of efforts that have made it so that people in general do accept the human side of things with WestJet as being genuine.

The video is nearing a million views as I type and I expect that it will spread further as it goes international. It really was that good and striking as a promotion. WestJet does a whole pile of charitable works too as can be seen here, but it is the little things like the Santa idea and video that really add up.

For the above effort as well as countless other small things done by WestJet I will continue to go out of my way to use WestJet as much as possible. I do hope that WestJet’s competitors can learn from WestJet rather than keep trying to lash out at them.

Merry Christmas

A string of comments on a newspaper actually worth reading.

It is pretty well known that the comment sections of most newspapers have quickly become cesspools of vapid and belligerent ramblings from people on all sides of the political spectrum who like to hide behind the veil of anonymity. This has been sad as with this wonderful age of communication it would be good to see more real discussion from average folks on news issues. What many newspapers have been doing to address this lately is switching to a facebook commentary format (have to get around to doing that on this site). While not perfect, this at least takes away most of the wall of anonymity hiding the keyboard cowards out there and has fostered some decent discussion and counterpoints to stories.

The Calgary Herald recently reported that CUPE was working to organize flight attendants with WestJet. (CUPE is the union for federal civil servants but they will try to pad their membership in any industry)

Now the story implies that there may actually be a real chance that a union may finally be making inroads with WestJet. I say finally as pretty much every year unions salt a few staff into WestJet in order to try and fail dismally to organize in a company that has well paid and very happy employees. I wrote on this a few years ago when the Canadian Auto Workers Union made a laughable attempt to break into WestJet.

Unions despise WestJet as the company has consistently remained profitable in a sea of airlines that chronically lose money. WestJet has never made bones about the fact that it is the lack of unions that is the paramount reason that the company has been such a grand success for both it’s shareholders and employees. In the usual union manner, the unions would rather try to break in and drag WestJet down to the level of the other airlines than try to improve things at the already unionized airlines that are bleeding terribly. Socialism is indeed the equal distribution of poverty.

Now getting back to that comment section, it is worth giving the few dozen comments a read. Real employees of WestJet using their real names repeatedly and very effectively put lie to the threat of unionization within the company. Without the comment section in this case a person not familiar with the WestJet situation may have mistakenly thought that the company may actually get a union.

The internet provides us with a barrage of information. Sifting through this mass of information to find out what is true, what is exaggerated and what is outright BS can be a fulltime job. With true exchanges of views without anonymity we are seeing a great new tool in helping us find out what is really happening out there.

In light of the utter destruction of Detroit thanks to both public and private sector unions over the last few decades, getting to the truth of the costs of unionization in the modern world is more important than ever these days.


Good luck guys.


 I see that one of the first efforts of the new head of the Canadian Auto Workers union is to attempt to unionize Westjet.

 Unions have despised the existence of Westjet pretty much since the company’s founding. While airlines have been foundering and draining subsidies in North America  since 911 with every excuse from fears of terrorism to increased fuel costs, Westjet has continued to chug along with increasing profits and expansion. The executives of Westjet have never hesitated to point out that one of their primary reasons for success is that they are not bound under the yoke of organized labor.

 Unions would love nothing more than to bleed this successful company and drag it into non-profitability as they have with every other airline. Organized labor is fading and such a glaring example of union failure drives the fattened union-heads wild.

 CUPE has tried multiple times to get into Westjet and failed. The crooked Teamsters union tried to get a piece of Westjet and failed. Now the Canadian Auto Workers union is getting in line to be rejected by the workers at Westjet.

 Westjet has never had layoffs. Westjets profit sharing system and general employee satisfaction is the envy of the corporate world. Why on earth would they employees of Westjet consider jumping on with the Canadian Auto Workers union which has been instrumental in the layoffs of tens of thousands in the Canadian auto sector? The Canadian Auto Workers are part of Air Canada’s unions. Air Canada has been losing countless millions and is doing mass layoffs. The union has been an utter failure wherever is manages to organize.

 The only union “victories” we have seen in Canada in the last few years have been the organization of some individual McDonald’s restaurants and Wal-Mart stores (that subsequently shut down). Perhaps the unions should stick to organizing fry-cooks and greeters. Skilled labor no longer has use for unions and the coming rejection of the CAW by Westjet employees will demonstrate that yet again.

 Oh yes, I must not forget another recent Canadian union milestone. The Industrial Workers of the World have managed to organize panhandlers and squeegee kids in Ottawa and Vancouver. I imagine the dues being collected must be significant.

 How would we ever get by if pandhandlers went on strike?