WestJet made major headlines recently by launching their new and exciting direct flights between Calgary and Europe. However, the CEO of the airline also announced something else, that the new routes were actually part of a plan to win over customers from Air Canada.
As the two biggest airlines in the country, Air Canada and WestJet are often in competition to see who can get ahead. Canadians and other passengers help fuel that debate with countless online reviews and comments.
Everyone has a unique flight experience and each airline has their own perks and policies, but based on the most common themes emerging in reviews and on Twitter this is how Canadians really feel about both WestJet and Air Canada.
When it comes to airline reviews, Skytrax is probably the most credible source. Not only do they use a detailed review system to give each airline a customer rating, but they also rate the airlines themselves. When it comes to WestJet and Air Canada, their Skytrax ratings are almost identical.
Both airlines have gotten an average 5/10 rating from customers but the reviews are broken down into different categories as well. Customers give a rating out of 5 stars for different parts of their flight experience like staff service, in-flight entertainment, and value for their money.
On average WestJet and Air Canada have the same ratings from customers, receiving 3 out of 5 stars in every category. The only spot where passengers have given Air Canada the lead is in food and beverages, where reviewers only gave WestJet an average of two stars.
Another difference between the two airlines on Skytrax is the review the site themselves gave them. While WestJet is labelled as a 3-star airline from the site, Air Canada has been given a 4-star rating from Skytrax. They also were named the Best Airline in North America in the Skytrax awards earlier this year.
Online reviews only tell part of the story though. Thanks to social media, more and more people are able to share their flight experiences, both negative and positive on sites like Facebook and Twitter. When it comes to both WestJet and Air Canada it seems that every day they spend hours responding to both complaints and praise from their passengers on Twitter.
It truly is a mixed bag of experiences that people share on Twitter, with both airlines having a complete split of negative and positive tweets being put out about them.
In the past day alone on their Twitter, West Jet has responded to a person who complained about their customer service, while also thanking a passenger who said WestJet is their favourite airline.
I fly @westjet all the time. Been a good member for years and I just have some terrible service for the first time. So not impressed! Common @westjet train your counter crews to be more about customer service... or at least train that one guy better!— Tilt Property Group (@tiltproperties) October 11, 2018
Air Canada's Twitter tells a slightly different story of how their passengers feel. Today the airline has responded to a significantly larger amount of negative tweets from passengers including many about delayed or cancelled flights, lost luggage, or booking issues.
@AirCanada wow this will be the last time I fly with you.— David Gustafson (@Dgustafson85) October 11, 2018
Why is it the only time I take to Twitter it is because @AirCanada screwed up yet again! Cancelled flights.— Trevor Gent (@GentTgent) October 11, 2018
Canadians and other customers have also revealed their true feelings on Facebook, with similar posts to what customers post regularly on Twitter on both of the airlines' pages.
In both cases, the airlines have gotten extra media attention from passengers and Canadians who have shared their opinions in response to recent news stories published about them.
In WestJet's case, it is in response to a story about their new trips from Calgary to Europe. In one comment, a person referred to them as the biggest BS airline, while on the complete flipside another calls them service oriented, pro-passenger, and can-do airline.
In another comment, one person said that they choose WestJet over Air Canada anytime but again splitting the vote, another person says the airline's lack of Star Alliance membership is a huge drawback for them.
For Air Canada, the customer comments are more on the negative side, given the recent news about them. Canadians are responding to news that a 70-year-old woman was recently kicked off of an Air Canada flight, and they say that the airline should be embarrassed and that this doesn't reflect true Canadian values.
While Canada's biggest airlines continue to go head to head corporately to win over Canadians with new perks, policies, and routes if you want to know who the winner is, the real picture is painted by the thousands of passengers who reveal online how WestJet and Air Canada has really worked for them.