Travellers vent as WestJet announces baggage, seat selection fee hikes in November

By Michael Talbot

Making flying even more expensive right before the busy holiday travel season is a sure way to tick off travellers.

WestJet found that out on Tuesday, when it announced new increases to existing bag and seat selection fees that will come into effect on November 7.

The airline says first, second and excess bags paid via an airport agent will cost flyers an additional $10.

“This $10 only applies to tickets purchased on or after November 7, 2023,” WestJet said in a release.

“Any guests with tickets purchased on November 6, 2023, or prior can self-identify with an agent to avoid the additional $10. This additional amount will not apply to guests with bookings that are inhibited from self-serve check-in.”

WestJet added that guests with Econo or EconoFlex fares “will now pay a fee for seat selection during check-in if they choose a Preferred or Emergency Exit row seat.”

“Preferred seats provide additional legroom and are located at the front of the economy cabin, allowing for a quicker exit upon arrival at your destination. Exit row seats provide additional legroom and provide guests with the opportunity to board earlier.”

“There will be no change to Standard seats, which are still available to Econo and EconoFlex guests for no charge at check-in,” it elaborated. “There will also be no updates to Basic fares. Guests who purchase a Basic fare will be assigned a seat at check-in and if they choose to change their seat, a fee will be applied. Please note that check-in begins 24 hours before the flight’s scheduled departure, at which time the additional seat-selection fees come into effect.”

WestJet stressed that travellers can avoid the fee by prepaying for checked baggage, a fact that offered little consolation to the angry masses on social media.

“More savings means more spending on the things that matter the most,” WestJet posted, leading to some online head-scratching.

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