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Flight delays, cancellations, and schedule changes

We know that any type of interruption to your schedule can be challenging and inconvenient. To minimize any inconvenience, we will do our best to keep you informed, and get you on your way as quickly and safely as possible.

Learn more about flight interruptions to flights departing, arriving or diverted through the United States.

We are pleased to let you know that WestJet and WestJet Encore never intentionally overbook flights, a common practice in the airline industry. However, there may be times where substitutions of aircraft or seat configuration changes within aircraft may occur because of operational changes. This may result in larger aircraft being used for your flight, or smaller. Either way, we will ensure your experience and the impact on your travel is minimized.

If you are denied boarding or your baggage is lost or damaged, you may be entitled to certain standards of treatment and compensation under the Air Passenger Protection Regulations. For more information about your passenger rights please contact WestJet or visit the Canadian Transportation Agency’s website.

There may be instances where your WestJet flight may be delayed or cancelled due to reasons outside our control: uncontrollable reasons (e.g. inclement weather, medical emergencies, air traffic control, airport ground delays, bird/lightning strikes, airport facility issues, security issues, or unruly passengers, etc.) or for reasons within our control.

Some delays may require WestJet to re-accommodate you to another flight to minimize the impact to your arrival time. If your flight is cancelled, we will re-accommodate you on to the next available WestJet or WestJet Encore flight. For circumstances where our re-accommodation options do not meet your needs, we will do our best to offer you other options available to help you get on your way.

Uncontrollable (outside of WestJet’s control) delays or cancellations

In the event that something happens outside of WestJet’s control, we will provide you with alternate options (if required) to accommodate you.

  1. Attempt to rebook you for no additional charge:
    • on the next available WestJet or WestJet Encore flight. We can also change your return to match the same length of stay if desired; or
    • on a flight that is travelling to/from another destination that is geographically close to your original destination (e.g., neighbouring city to Hamilton is Toronto).

Changes to flights outside of the option above could result in you paying the difference in fare(s) and/or applicable change fee(s).

  1. If an appropriate flight accommodation option is not available on a WestJet or WestJet Encore operated flight, we will:
    • rebook you on the next available flight operated by an airline that WestJet has a partner agreement with, if circumstances permit
    • offer to cancel the reservation and offer you the option of retaining the unused portion of your ticket and using it towards future travel with WestJet; or having the unused value (refunded) to the original form of payment.

WestJet does not issue a travel credit, pay for ground transportation or pay for tickets with an alternate airline.

Third party or codeshare flights:

If you’re travelling on a codeshare flight operated by another airline, or you booked your trip through a third-party such as a travel agent, airline partner, travel site or AIR MILES®, we recommend that you contact them directly as they may be in a better position to make the appropriate arrangement for re-accommodation or refund options.

Controllable (within WestJet’s control) delays or cancellations

In the event that something happens within WestJet’s control, we will provide you with the same rebook or accommodation options as uncontrollable delays or cancellations. In addition, we will:

  • assess and offer additional services such as hotel accommodation, meal vouchers and ground transportation to/from your hotel (please see Services provided during controllable delays or cancellations, for more information)
  • rebook you on the next available flight operated by an airline that WestJet is not partnered with, if circumstances permit
  • assess potential compensation to which you may be entitled
  • for compensation inquiries, please see Compensation for controllable delays and cancellations below for more information

Third party or codeshare flights:

If you're travelling on a codeshare flight operated by another airline, or you booked your trip through a third-party such as a travel agent, airline partner, travel site or AIR MILES®, we recommend that you contact them directly, as they may be in a better position to make the appropriate flight accommodation. For hotel, meals and ground transportation, we will assist you directly, or work with your travel arranger (on your behalf).

A Tarmac Delay is when your flight is ready to take off (and the doors of the aircraft are closed) or your flight has just landed (and the doors of the aircraft are closed), but you are kept waiting in the plane. We will do what we can to make you comfortable during a Tarmac Delay, including the following:

      1. WestJet will provide you with access to working lavatories, proper ventilation and heating or cooling, food and drink, and the ability to communicate with people outside the plane free of charge, when feasible (“Tarmac Delay Services”). If you require urgent medical assistance during a tarmac delay, we will take all reasonable steps to facilitate access to medical assistance.

        After a 3 hour tarmac delay at an airport in Canada, the plane will return to the gate so you can disembark if safe to do so. A plane can stay on the tarmac for up to 45 additional minutes, if it is likely that it will take off within that period and we are able to continue providing the same Tarmac Delay Services, when feasible.
      2. This short extension is to ensure that the plane can take off if there is a reasonable prospect of this occurring – so that you can reach your final destination without the inconvenience of further delay or a flight cancellation.

        If it is not likely that the plane can take off within the additional 45 minute window, the plane will return to the gate, unless it is prevented for reasons related to safety, security, customs control or air traffic control.

Depending on the circumstances, it may not be possible for WestJet to allow you to disembark from the aircraft during a Tarmac Delay, for various reasons, including but not limited to concerns related to safety, security, or due to directions by Air Traffic Control or Customs Control.

If the plane returns to the gate for disembarking because of a tarmac delay, disembarking priority will be available to passengers with disabilities and their support person, service animal or emotional support animal, if any, upon request and when feasible.

Changes to your flights 72 hours or more before departure time

Changes to flights within three (3) days (72 hours) of departure are referred to as flight delays or cancellations. Schedule changes are adjustments to flight times and destinations which may apply to flights departing more than three (3) days (72 hours) prior to departure, including weeks or months in advance of departure. Unfortunately, even though we prefer not to make schedule changes, they do happen. Generally, schedule changes are made because of adjustments to air traffic routes, airport requests, construction at airport facilities, security constraints, market forces, partner airline schedules and so on.

Should you experience a schedule change, WestJet will make every effort to contact you in a timely manner (via email) to advise you of a change. The email will contain information about your old flight itinerary and your new flight itinerary. Depending on the magnitude of the schedule change, the email may also include the option to accept the change, decline the change (and request a refund), or instructions on how to make a change to your new flight itinerary.

For flights booked directly with WestJet (westjet.com, contact centre, etc.), Please refer to the chart below, which displays how WestJet contacts guests in most schedule change situations.

  • One (1) schedule change email will be sent 90 days prior to departure
  • Flight is departing no more than one hour later than the original flight.
  • Flight is departing no more than 15 minutes earlier than the original flight.
  • Departure time remains the same but connection times are different (up to three hours).
  • Flight time remains the same but flight number has changed.
  • Up to four (4) schedule change emails will be sent starting 90 days prior to departure
  • Phone call if there is no guest action resulting from emails, or if the schedule change requires alternate planning directly with the guest (including WestJet Vacations or Group Bookings)
  • Flight is departing 16 to 30 minutes prior than the original flight.
  • Flight is departing 1 to 3 hours later on the same day.
  • Direct or non-stop flight was changed to a connecting flight.
  • Up to four (4) schedule change emails will be sent within 72 hours of when the change has been made
  • Phone call if there is no guest action resulting from emails, or if the schedule change requires alternate planning directly with the guest (including WestJet Vacations or Group Bookings)
  • Flight is departing more than 3 hours later on the same day.
  • Flight is not departing on the same day.
  • Flight now has an overnight connection.
  • Flight is departing more than 30 minutes prior to original departure.

You can also review our domestic tariff, specifically rule 90: Schedule Irregularities for more information.

If you booked your trip through a third-party such as a travel agent, airline partner, travel site or AIR MILES®, WestJet will notify them directly of all changes and they will be responsible for providing you updates.

We will attempt to notify you as soon as possible of flight delays, cancellations, and mitigating inconveniences that result from these flight interruptions. When we communicate any delay or cancellation, we will give you the reason for the delay, length of the delay and possible re-accommodation options, when applicable.

Please note, if you booked your trip through a third-party such as a travel agent, airline partner, travel site or AIR MILES®, we recommend that you contact them.

The following are various ways you can stay informed on potential changes to your trips.

Before you arrive at the airport:

  • via email, as long as you have provided WestJet with your WestJet Rewards ID or email address. Otherwise, we will not be able to send you email notifications about your flight status or itinerary, or messages may be sent to your travel arranger instead. As a reminder, if you booked your trip through a third-party such as a travel agent, airline partner, travel site or AIR MILES®, we recommend that you contact them, as you may not receive direct communications from WestJet, or you may receive modified version of these communications.
  • on our website through flight status or travel advisories. To receive an up-to-date email confirmation, please retrieve your itinerary.
  • WestJet app, so long as you enable the app notifications

At the airport:

  • during check-in
  • by the departure and arrival screens located throughout airport terminals, where feasible
  • announcements at the airport
  • updates provided every 30 minutes until a new departure time is set or whenever new information is available

On the aircraft:

  • announcements every 30 minutes (when safe for our pilots to do so)

We strongly recommend that you ensure you, or your travel arranger, has provided us with your WestJet Rewards ID, an email address, or current phone number.

You can also review our domestic tariff, specifically rule 90: Schedule Irregularities. Delays, cancellations and compensation.

If your flight delay or cancellation is due to controllable reasons, on a flight operated by WestJet or WestJet Encore, we will offer compensation in the form of a travel credit using WestJet dollars. WestJet’s promise is to offer compensation for controllable flight delays and cancellations that delay your arrival to your final destination by three hours, or longer. If your flight qualifies for compensation, our promise is to send you an email notification within one week, outlining the value of the flight compensation provided. For this to occur, we strongly recommend that you or your travel arranger has provided us with your WestJet Rewards ID or email address.

WestJet dollars issued for compensation will expire 12 months from the date of issue. You can redeem your WestJet dollars (1 WestJet dollar = $1 CAD) toward travel with WestJet or WestJet Vacations at any time, for travel on any date, to any destination, with no blackouts. They can be used to pay for all or part of the published fare of a WestJet-marketed flight or WestJet Vacations package, except for WestJet Vacations group bookings. WestJet dollars cannot be applied against taxes, fees or charges and can only be used for new bookings. Other restrictions may apply.

You can also review our domestic tariff, specifically rule 90: Schedule Irregularities.

EU Fixed Value Compensation

In line with guidelines set out by the European Air Passengers Rights Regulation (261/2004), you may be entitled to compensation for an interruption in your travel plans. Compensation amounts are based on the length of the delay and the distance of the flight, to a maximum of 600€ (or the cash equivalent in CAD or USD). Flights departing the European Union (EU) which are delayed may qualify for the following compensation values:

Less than 1500 km €0 €250 €250
Between 1500-3500 km €0 €400 €400
Greater than 3500 km €0 €300 €600

Please see our EU alternate dispute resolution process or International and transborder tariff for more information.

Third party or codeshare flights:

If you booked your trip through a third-party such as a travel agent, airline partner, travel site or AIR MILES®, you may not receive a direct communication; however, you may still be eligible, so please contact us directly, or have your travel arranger contact us (on your behalf).

Submit the European Air Passengers Rights Regulation form

In the event that your flight encounters a controllable delay or is cancelled, WestJet will – depending on the situation - provide certain services to eligible, confirmed guests. These services may include providing meal vouchers and hotel accommodation (when required) until your new WestJet or WestJet Encore flight (time) departs. We will ensure that we assist any guest with special needs accordingly.

WestJet’s promise is to offer:

  • meal vouchers for any posted or estimated departure delay of three (3) or more hours up to a maximum of three (3) meal vouchers per day
  • a hotel voucher, one (1) meal voucher and airport transfers if your travel is delayed eight (8) hours or more, and you did not start your air travel at that airport
  • if you miss a WestJet or WestJet Encore connection flight because of a controllable delay, we will offer you the choice of:
    • another flight to either the intended destination or point of origin using WestJet or WestJet Encore, an interline or code-share partner of WestJet/WestJet Encore, or another carrier as deemed necessary;
    • a travel credit, in an amount to be determined by WestJet
    • a refund for the unused portion of your ticket

Expenses

Should you incur out-of-pocket expenses for a controllable flight delay or cancellation, you may submit a request to WestJet for reimbursement. WestJet will review requests for reasonable expenses that meet certain criteria and supporting, itemized receipts will be required. If approved, you will have the choice of receiving reimbursement via international money order (for mailing addresses outside North America), a prepaid WestJet credit card, or WestJet dollars deposited into your WestJet Rewards account. It’s your choice. Our general guidelines are:

  • Hotel costs: in situations where WestJet was unable to secure a hotel room, or you did not accept the hotel re-accommodation option WestJet has offered (and you book your own hotel), WestJet will reimburse you up to $150.00 CAD ($200.00 CAD for non-Canadian destinations) per night/per reservation. In-room movie costs, tips/gratuities and long distance telephone charges will be excluded.
  • Meals: in the unlikely event meal vouchers mentioned above are not available during your controllable delay, we will reimburse you to a maximum of $45 CAD per day/per guest. Alcoholic beverages and tips/gratuities will be excluded.
  • Transportation: if transportation was not available by WestJet, we will reimburse the cost incurred for transportation between the airport and the hotel.

Please note, WestJet does not reimburse expenses for cellular roaming charges, missed entertainment/sporting/excursion events, lost wages or missed connections to non-partner airlines or cruises.

These guidelines do not limit or reduce your right to claim damages, if any, under the applicable convention or under the law.

Third party or codeshare flights:

If you booked your trip through a third-party such as a travel agent, airline partner, travel site or AIR MILES®, you may submit directly or have your travel arranger submit the details (on your behalf). If completed by the travel arranger on your behalf, all information provided must contain the traveler details in full and refunds will only be addressed to the travelling guest.

For further detailed information please see rule 90: Schedule Irregularities of our domestic tariff.

To submit a request, please fill out and submit the online reimbursement request form in full. One of our Guest Support specialists will review the request and process it, if approved. Submit expenses from a disrupted flight

From unexpected maintenance to winter storms, flights are delayed or cancelled for many reasons. The Canadian Transportation Agency has created three categories of reasons your flight might be delayed or cancelled.

  • Within WestJet’s control
  • Within WestJet’s control but required for safety
  • Outside WestJet’s control

Reasons for flight delays or cancellations:

** reasons provided on your day of travel are based on information available at the time of disclosure and are subject to change.

When Air Traffic Control determines that they cannot safely manage the volume of flights arriving into that airport and requested flights be delayed and/or cancelled.

Outside WestJet’s control

When the airport experiences an issue that either limits operations or makes it unsafe to operate (e.g. power outage). 

Outside WestJet’s control

When a bird collides with the aircraft and an inspection is required to ensure the aircraft is not damaged.

Outside WestJet’s control

When unexpected maintenance interrupts operations, for example:

  • The operating crew is delayed arriving on another aircraft into the departure airport.
  • The flight is cancelled as the delays resulted in the crew exceeding their Transport Canada-mandated duty day.

 

Within WestJet’s control but required for safety

When weather interrupts operations, for example:

  • The operating crew is delayed arriving on another aircraft into the departure airport.
  • The flight is cancelled as the delays resulted in the crew exceeding their Transport Canada-mandated duty day.

 

Outside WestJet’s control

When weather interrupts operations, for example:

  • The operating crew is delayed arriving on another aircraft into the departure airport.
  • The flight is cancelled as the delays resulted in the crew exceeding their Transport Canada-mandated duty day.

 

Outside WestJet’s control

When the flight is short a crew member and is delayed and/or cancelled until a replacement crew member can arrive to ensure the flight operates safely.

Within WestJet’s control

An issue with crew amenities (hotel or transport) provided by an external vendor that causes a delay.

Outside WestJet’s control

When staffing issues, new government policies, or additional screening requirements delay the processing of guests.

Outside WestJet’s control

When the aircraft requires de-icing prior to operating the flight.

Outside WestJet’s control

When the ground crew experiences an issue that limits their ability to operate (e.g. baggage loading, catering, etc.)

Within WestJet’s control

When a guest's actions interrupts flight operations (e.g. no-show guest at the gate). 

Outside WestJet’s control

When a guest experiences a medical incident.

Outside WestJet’s control

When a hurricane or tropical storm impacts the ability to operate flights. 

Outside WestJet’s control

When lightning strikes the aircraft and an inspection is required to ensure the aircraft is not damaged.

Outside WestJet’s control

When WestJet decides to delay and/or cancel the flight to assist other guests impacted by other flight disruptions (e.g. holding for connecting guests).

Within WestJet’s control

When scheduled maintenance on the aircraft requires additional time to complete which causes the flight to be delayed and/or cancelled.

Within WestJet’s control

When a security breach or a threat is made against WestJet or the airport, e.g. a restricted item made it past the security checkpoint.

Outside WestJet’s control

When an aircraft encounters an issue that results in unplanned maintenance.

Outside WestJet’s control

When a weather issue causes the flight to be delayed and/or cancelled.

Outside WestJet’s control

When an issue with WestJet software (not related to the aircraft) results in the flight being delayed and/or cancelled.

Within WestJet’s control