Contingency plan for lengthy U.S. tarmac delays

The following outlines our guest service plan in the event of delays, cancellations and diversion for flights departing, arriving or diverted to the U.S.

We remain committed to providing a great guest experience. Should a flight interruption occur, your safety and comfort remains our priority. The following plan has been developed in the event of an extended tarmac delay for flights in the U.S. This contingency plan has been developed in accordance with the United States Department of Transportation Enhanced Protections for Airline Passengers regulations (14 CFR Part 259).


Plan requirements


WestJet's contingency plan provides that guests will be given the opportunity to disembark a delayed flight within four (4) hours unless the pilot-in-command determines that a safety-related concern prevents the aircraft from returning to the gate or air traffic control advises that a return to the gate or disembarking at another location is not possible.

The plan also ensures that we have sufficient resources that meet the United States Department of Transportation's (U.S. DOT) requirements for extended tarmac delays in the United States, including diversions. WestJet's Operations Control Centre (OCC) is responsible for managing the plan and ensuring that it meets all required standards. WestJet's OCC will also handle oversight of the plan in the instance of an event and have coordinated implementation of the plan with airport authorities, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Transportation Security Administration at each U.S. airport that we serve. WestJet customer service agents, flight operations personnel and inflight staff will carry out the plan at the airport and flight level.


Flight status changes on the day of your flight (in effect for delays, cancellations or diversions)


We will inform you of changes to your flight's status within 30 minutes of the time we are notified of the change. This information will be available through our flight status tool or by calling 1-800-581-9499. We also provide updates at the boarding gate area, and continue to provide updates every 30 minutes. Also, if you provided your email address or WestJet ID in your flight reservation you will be eligible to receive flight status notifications automatically via email. We will attempt to notify you should your flight be delayed 15 minutes or more, within 3 hours of your flight's scheduled departure.


Delays at the airport


If you have not yet boarded your flight and we have estimated a delay of two (2) or more hours, we will issue you a food voucher. If you are delayed overnight and did not start your journey at the airport where the delay has occurred, we will provide you with a hotel voucher, airport transfers and food vouchers. Please note that we will only issue a maximum of three meal vouchers per guest, per day.


On-board departure and arrival delays


During an extended delay on board the aircraft, we will provide you with:

  • Notifications beginning 30 minutes after the departure time (including any revised departure time that guests were notified about before boarding) and every 30 minutes thereafter to identify the reason for the delay and provide a tentative departure time.
  • Notifications every 30 minutes that you have the opportunity to disembark from the aircraft that is at the gate or another disembarkation area with the door open if the opportunity to disembark actually exists. If you choose to disembark you should be aware that you are doing so at your own discretion and the flight could depart at any time without you.
  • Functioning lavatory facilities.
  • Access to medical attention (if or when necessary).
  • Food and water. This is provided no later than two (2) hours after the aircraft leaves the gate (for departures) or touches down (for arrivals and diversions), unless the pilot-in-command deems that safety or security precludes such service. Depending on aircraft catering provisions adequate food may be a snack item.