Apologetic WestJet

I meant to write this a while back, when I first received the e-mail from WestJet. WestJet, a Canadian low cost (arguably) carrier, e-mailed everyone on the WestJet list and apologized about the new reservations system being glitchy. I personally didn’t notice the glitch as I haven’t been booking flights; also, I don’t see how the system is better than the old one.

So below is the first A note from our President. The company written and sent the second one, and the third one. Apologizing in advance may be an overkill at first, but it definitely softens a consumer’s heart when  he/she does indeed starting having problems booking holiday tickets. I think it’s great that their PR team mobilized and handled the communications so well and prevented an online/offline outburst from so many outspoken Canadians (myself included). See the full message below. And follow them on Twitter! And buy flights with them! Maybe we’ll even cross sky paths 😉

A Note From Sean Durfy

On October 17, 2009 WestJet successfully implemented a new reservations system. This upgrade was made to allow us to expand the services and offerings we can provide. We anticipate that this new, state-of-the-art system will allow us to introduce many exciting initiatives that will be of great benefit to you, our guests, such as seamless connections to other airlines around the world.

While the system itself was successfully installed, there have been slowdowns at the airports this week and many of our guests have spent too long on the phone trying to get through to one of our agents. This is not the WestJet experience that you have come to know and expect from us and certainly not how we would like our airline to be recognized.

As the caring airline that values a great guest experience, we understand that this week has been hard on those of you who have been trying to call us, fly with us or connect to our websites. For those who experienced delays or less than stellar service this week, we offer our heartfelt apologies.

In the coming weeks, we anticipate that the system will be humming along and that it will enable us to provide you with the top-notch guest experience you have come to expect with WestJet.
On behalf of the 7,500 WestJetters who are working hard to create an amazing experience for you, we thank you for your patience and look forward to welcoming you aboard in the near future.

Sincerely,
Sean Durfy
WestJet President and CEO

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3 thoughts on “Apologetic WestJet

  1. Just thought I’d add some info re: the benefits of their new system.

    The biggest improvement of the new system from the Guest perspective is that it will allow WestJet to 1) Code share with another airline (WestJet can sell you a ticket on a partners flight to places like London, Paris, Atlanta) and; 2) interline with other airlines (a scaled back version of code share which allows WestJet to connect to flights operated by partner airlines).

    There are other cool things that will be launched once things are stable such as the new loyalty program which were not possible in the old system.

    Also, the old system was exceeding it’s capacity and the server it’s hosted had exceeded it’s useful life and was being shut down so WestJet really had no choice but to make the switch.

  2. Hi TangoWhiskey,
    I just thought I’d add a note about their previous system. It does in fact support code share and interline and it supports an integrated loyalty program as well as third-party loyalty programs. WestJet lost a great deal of money trying to build their own reservation system, to the tune of $31 million and while doing that they fell behind on their previous system, not taking upgrades that would have given them the functionality they were looking for. Air Asia, who is on the same system WestJet converted from, recently celebrated record booking days with 300 million website hits within the first 11 hours of their campaign and 489,000 seats sold in a 24 hour period with no problems so capacity and stability are certainly not an issue.
    There really is more to the story but it is certainly not about functionality in their previous system.

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