Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Avoiding WestJet Baggage Fees

WestJet held off from charging annoying extra airline fees for a while, but they now allow fewer checked bags before applying charges. An interesting consequence of their policies is that it encourages travelers to take more baggage as carry-ons.

Travelers used to be able to check two bags up to 50 pounds each. Now only the first checked bag is free. A second one under 50 pounds costs $20. But, you can carry on two bags of 22 pounds each without charge on most flights. For a yearly trip where I normally check 2 large bags, I’m now considering taking 3 bags with the 2 smaller ones meeting the carry-on size restrictions.

I don’t know how many people are cheap enough to try to save $20 this way, but I’m expecting the overhead bins to be packed a little tighter than they were the last time I flew WestJet.


  1. Was on an Air Canada international flight recently where there was so much carry on baggage that the flight crew struggled to find places to stow it all and we were late pulling back from the gate in part because of this. And because we were late pulling back from the gate, we missed out takeoff slot and were delayed something like 20 minutes before we took off. Being 20 minutes late taking off meant a similar delay or even a longer delay on arrival in YVR. This in turn meant that a number of us missed connections in Vancouver and had to rebooked on later flights. All of this costs Air Canada money - especially if any of those who missed connections were forced to put up in hotels overnight in Vancouver because of the delays.

    Forcing passengers to get around the checked baggage rules by increasing the amount of luggage we take on to the plane is very short sighted.

  2. Too late. The overhead compartments have already been gong shows for the past few years. Flying a lot for work, I see it all the time. If you're not on the plane early on the boarding call, you'll likely be placing your carry-on somewhere away from your seated area. I've even seen this for flight attendants. And to make things worse, getting off the plane is a chore since each individual has to hold up others as they wrestle to get their carry-on out of the compartments or worse, go against traffic to retrieve their bad instead of patiently waiting until it's clear. I don't have any pet peeves, but over the years, this has shot up to #1 for me.