Denied boarding

We do not overbook our flights. However, in certain circumstances we may have to deny you boarding.

A denied boarding occurs when you are unable to board a flight because the number of available seats on the flight is less than the number of passengers who have checked in by the required time, hold a confirmed reservation, have valid travel documentation, and are present at the boarding gate at the required boarding time.

There may be instances where we may have to deny you boarding due to reasons outside of our control.

An “uncontrollable denied boarding”, includes but is not limited to a denied boarding due to:

  • meteorological conditions or natural disasters that make the safe operation of the aircraft impossible (in the judgment of WestJet or the pilot in command)
  • instructions from Air Traffic Control, airport operation issues
  • a medical emergency
  • war or political instability
  • illegal acts or sabotage
  • “a notice to airmen” which affects flights operations
  • a security threat
  • a collision with wildlife
  • a labour disruption within WestJet or within an essential service
  • a manufacturing defect in an aircraft that reduces the safety of passengers as identified by the manufacturer or a competent authority
  • an order or instruction from an official of a state or a law enforcement agency or from a person responsible for airport security

There may be instances where we may have to deny you boarding due to reasons within our control. This is a “controllable denied boarding”.

There may also be instances where we may have to deny you boarding due to reasons within our control but required for safety purposes (where it is required by law in order to reduce risk to passenger safety and includes required safety decisions made within the authority of the pilot of the aircraft or a decision made through a safety management system to ensure aviation safety or the safety of the public, but does not include scheduled aircraft maintenance). This is a “controllable denied boarding but required for safety purposes”.

Denying a passenger boarding because there are not enough seats is not the same as refusing to transport them, for example:

  • for health, safety, or security reasons
  • for failing to follow carrier rules or instructions
  • because a passenger does not have appropriate travel documents
  • the passenger has failed to respect check-in and departure gate cut-off time limits

For more information please see Rule 95 within WestJet’s domestic tariff.

When we communicate a denied boarding, we will give you:

  • the reason for the denied boarding
  • information related to compensation you may be entitled to
  • information regarding any required standard of treatment that you are entitled to
  • information regarding avenues of recourse available to you with WestJet and/or the Canadian Transportation Agency, when applicable

If we receive new information regarding a denied boarding, we will communicate it to you as soon as feasible and we will provide updates to you every 30 minutes using the methods set out below until a new departure time is set or alternative travel arrangements have been made.

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

In the event that you have been denied boarding due to reasons outside of our control, we will:

  1. Provide a confirmed reservation on the next available flight operated by WestJet or on a flight operated by an airline with which WestJet has a commercial agreement, if the next available flight is travelling on a reasonable air route from the airport at which you are located to your original destination and departs within 48 hours of the event that caused the delay.
  2. If WestJet cannot provide the confirmed reservation set out in (1) above, WestJet will provide a confirmed reservation for a flight operated by another airline travelling on any reasonable air route from the airport at which you are located, or another airport that is within a reasonable distance of that airport, to your original destination (transportation will be provided from the airport where you are located to the new departure airport, if applicable).
  3. WestJet will, to the extent possible, provide comparable travel arrangements to the original ticket and will not ask you to pay additional fees if the alternative travel arrangements are in a higher class of service. If the class of service is lower than was to be provided on your original flight, WestJet will refund the difference in the cost of the applicable portion of the ticket.

In the event that we have to deny boarding due to reasons within our control but required for safety purposes, we will:

  1. Not deny you boarding unless we have asked all passengers if any of them are willing to give up their seat. We may offer a benefit in exchange for a passenger willingly giving up their seat.
  2. If denial of boarding is necessary, we will select passengers who will be denied boarding, giving priority to unaccompanied minors, a person with a disability and their support person, service animal, or emotional support animal, if any, a passenger who is travelling with a family member, and a passenger who was previously denied boarding on the same ticket, in that order.
  3. If you have been denied boarding, WestJet will provide you with a confirmed reservation on the next available flight operated by WestJet or on a flight operated by an airline with which WestJet has a commercial agreement, if the next available flight travelling on a reasonable air route from the airport at which you are located to your original destination, and departs within 9 hours of the departure time that is shown on your original ticket.
  4. If WestJet cannot provide the confirmed reservation set out in (3) above, WestJet will provide a confirmed reservation for a flight operated by another airline travelling on any reasonable air route from the airport at which you are located to your original destination that departs within 48 hours of the departure time that is shown on your original ticket.
  5. If WestJet cannot provide the confirmed reservation set out in (4) above, WestJet will provide transportation to another airport that is within a reasonable distance of the airport at which you are located and will provide a confirmed reservation for a flight that is operated by another airline on any reasonable air route from that other airport to your original destination.
  6. If you have been denied boarding, we will, before you board a flight reserved as part of an alternate travel arrangement, provide you with food and drink in reasonable quantities and access to a means of communication, when feasible.
  7. WestJet will also provide you with hotel or other comparable accommodation, as well as transportation to and from the accommodation, taking into consideration your location, if it appears that you will be required to wait overnight for your original flight or a reserved flight as part of alternative travel arrangements. Some or all of these benefits may not be provided if providing them would further delay your travel.
  8. WestJet will, to the extent possible, provide comparable travel arrangements to the original ticket and will not ask you to pay additional fees if the alternative travel arrangements are in a higher class of service. If the class of service is lower than was to be provided on your original flight, WestJet will refund the difference in the cost of the applicable portion of the ticket.
  9. If you purchased any additional services in connection with your original flight and you did not receive those services on the alternate flight or you have paid for those services a second time, WestJet will provide you with a refund paid by the method used for the original payment and to the person who purchased the ticket or additional service.
  10. If the alternative travel arrangements do not meet your needs, WestJet will refund the unused portion of the ticket. However, if the disruption has caused the guest’s travel to no longer serve a purpose and the guest is no longer at the point of origin on their itinerary, WestJet will provide the guest with a confirmed reservation back to the point of origin on the ticket and refund the full amount of the ticket

In the event that we have to deny boarding due to reasons within our control, we will:

  1. Not deny you boarding unless we have asked all passengers if any of them are willing to give up their seat. We may offer compensation in exchange for a passenger willingly giving up their seat.
  2. If denial of boarding is necessary, we will select passengers who will be denied boarding, giving priority to unaccompanied minors, a person with a disability and their support person, service animal, or emotional support animal, if any, a passenger who is travelling with a family member, and a passenger who was previously denied boarding on the same ticket, in that order.
  3. If you have been denied boarding, WestJet will provide you with a confirmed reservation on the next available flight operated by WestJet or on a flight operated by an airline with which WestJet has a commercial agreement, if the next available flight travelling on a reasonable air route from the airport at which you are located to your original destination, and departs within 9 hours of the departure time that is shown on your original ticket.
  4. If WestJet cannot provide the confirmed reservation set out in (3) above, WestJet will provide a confirmed reservation for a flight operated by another airline travelling on any reasonable air route from the airport at which you are located to your original destination that departs within 48 hours of the departure time that is shown on your original ticket.
  5. If WestJet cannot provide the confirmed reservation set out in (4) above, WestJet will provide transportation to another airport that is within a reasonable distance of the airport at which you are located and will provide a confirmed reservation for a flight that is operated by another airline on any reasonable air route from that other airport to your original destination.
  6. If you have been denied boarding, we will, before you board a flight reserved as part of an alternate travel arrangement, provide you with food and drink in reasonable quantities and access to a means of communication, when feasible.
  7. WestJet will also provide you with hotel or other comparable accommodation, as well as transportation to and from the accommodation, taking into consideration your location, if it appears that you will be required to wait overnight for your original flight or a reserved flight as part of alternative travel arrangements. Some or all of these benefits may not be provided if providing them would further delay your travel.
  8. WestJet will, to the extent possible, provide comparable travel arrangements to the original ticket and will not ask you to pay additional fees if the alternative travel arrangements are in a higher class of service. If the class of service is lower than was to be provided on your original flight, WestJet will refund the difference in the cost of the applicable portion of the ticket.
  9. If you purchased any additional services in connection with your original flight and you did not receive those services on the alternate flight or you have paid for those services a second time, WestJet will provide you with a refund paid by the method used for the original payment and to the person who purchased the ticket or additional service.
  10. If the alternative travel arrangements do not meet your needs, WestJet will refund the unused portion of the ticket. However, if the disruption has caused the guest’s travel to no longer serve a purpose and the guest is no longer at the point of origin on their itinerary, WestJet will provide the guest with a confirmed reservation back to the point of origin on the ticket and refund the full amount of the ticket.
  11. If you have been denied boarding, WestJet will provide you with compensation in the amounts set out below as soon as operationally feasible, and no later than 48 hours after the denial of boarding. If we cannot provide you compensation prior to the boarding of a flight as part of alternate travel arrangements, and in all cases of denied boarding, we will provide you with written confirmation of what is owed as applicable. Compensation will be determined based on the estimated arrival time of the flight reserved as part of the alternate travel arrangements at the destination that is indicated on your ticket. Adjustment will be made to the amount of compensation if the expected time of arrival and the actual time of arrival is different, to reflect the compensation amount owed according to the actual time of arrival. An aircraft has arrived when it has opened one of its doors after it lands to allow passengers to leave the plane.

Minimum Levels of Compensation

In the event that we have to deny boarding due to reasons within our control and not required for safety, the following compensation will be provided as soon as operationally feasible, and no later than 48 hours after the denial of boarding. If we cannot provide you compensation prior to the boarding of a flight as part of alternate travel arrangements, and in all cases of denied boarding, we will provide you with written confirmation of what is owed as applicable.

Compensation will be determined based on the estimated arrival time of the flight reserved, as part of the alternate travel arrangements at the destination that is indicated on your ticket. Adjustment will be made to the amount of compensation if the expected time of arrival and the actual time of arrival is different, to reflect the compensation amount owed according to the actual time of arrival. An aircraft has arrived when it has opened one of its doors after it lands to allow passengers to leave the plane.

less than 6 hours after the time of arrival indicated on the original ticket $900
6 to 9 hours after the time of arrival indicated on the original ticket $1,800
9 hours or more after the time of arrival indicated on the original ticket $2,400