WestJet flight cancellations: tips for Vancouver travelers

WestJet flight cancellations: tips for Vancouver travelers
WestJet flight cancellations: tips for Vancouver travelers

Another 200+ flights have been cancelled.

WestJet canceled more than 200 more flights on Saturday, June 29, following the mechanics’ union’s surprise strike.

The airline has announced 235 flight cancellations for Saturday, impacting 33,000 travelers over the Canada Day long weekend; More cancellations are expected during the WestJet strike.

WestJet reported 25 cancelled flights affecting 3,300 guests from Thursday, June 27 through Friday, June 28, and another 150 cancellations affecting 20,000 passengers on Friday.

On Friday, June 28, the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA), the union representing mechanics, instructed its members to stop work at 4:30 p.m.

Union members walked off the job at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, saying WestJet’s “unwillingness to negotiate with the union made the strike inevitable.”

In an email to WestJet senior manager of labor relations Virginia Swindall, posted on AMFA’s website, the union accused the employer of stalling negotiations, listing behaviors such as allegedly withholding a revised contract proposal and requesting that certain members of the bargaining committee be excluded.

The move came after the federal government issued a ministerial order for binding arbitration on Thursday, following two weeks of turbulent talks with the union over a new deal.

Diederik Pen, president of WestJet Airlines and group chief operating officer, called the union’s decision “devastating” and noted that many travelers will miss weddings, doctor appointments, family reunions and vacations.

WestJet planned to fly more than 250,000 guests over the long weekend, including many flights to and from Vancouver International Airport (YVR).

Guests should check their flight status online before leaving for the airport. They should also visit WestJet’s Guest Updates page for more information on flight status and trip changes.

What to do if your WestJet flight is not cancelled

Customers with WestJet flights in all fare classes scheduled between June 29 and July 1 are entitled to a free one-time fee waiver for changes or cancellations.

When booking their new ticket, travelers must take into account the following rules:

  • If you change your destination, the difference in fare will be applied. Any remaining amounts will be refunded.
  • If you transfer to another aircraft cabin, the fare difference applies. Any remaining funds will be refunded.
  • Changes to a WestJet Rewards companion voucher booking (including expired companion voucher bookings) are permitted.
  • To waive the fare difference, travel must be completed by July 24. The fare difference will apply to travel completed after July 25, 2024.
  • If you cancel your booking, the amount will be refunded or credited based on the fare class booked. You will receive a travel credit for Basic and UltraBasic.
  • If you cancel your booking, the portion paid with WestJet dollars, Travel Bank credit or a WestJet rewards companion voucher will be refunded to your account. The original expiration date (if applicable) will apply.
  • Changes or cancellations must be requested more than two hours before the original departure.

To change an existing booking, go online to WestJet’s Manage Flights portal.

Travelers who have booked a WestJet Vacations package can also benefit from flexible rebooking policies for trips starting during the same period.

  • A complimentary one-time fee waiver is offered for changes or cancellations (hotel penalties apply).
  • If you change your booking, the difference in package price will apply and is subject to availability.
  • If you cancel your booking, the value of the package will be refunded in WestJet dollars with a one-year expiration date, less a hotel penalty of $200 per person.

To cancel an existing WestJet Vacations booking, go to Manage Vacation Packages.

What to do if your WestJet flight or WestJet Vacations package is cancelled

Flight strike notification emails have the subject line “Essential or critical details for your upcoming flight” and provide passengers with direct links to the airline’s self-service or live chat options.

With files from the Canadian Press and the Richmond News.

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