Glasgow Inaugural Celebrations

WestJet seasonal flights to Glasgow, Scotland kicked off May 29, 2015 and the grand celebration from Canada’s East Coast to Scotland’s rolling hills was a sight to be seen. As all things WestJet, the celebration of this event was memorable, festive and greatly heartfelt. Our Executive team brought along not only WestJet Rewards members but also media, government dignitaries and some of WestJet’s best as ambassadors of the company on the inaugural flight to celebrate the transatlantic flight from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Glasgow, Scotland.

The celebrations kicked off in Halifax with a kilted pipe and drum leading the group from the Prince George Hotel to Tempo Food + Drink where Scottish-inspired cuisine and drinks awaited. Traditional Scottish food, hand-crafted by Chef Chris Charalambous of Glasgow, was passed around as the Buddy McDonald Trio took to the stage. Speeches from our Executive team, Tourism Nova Scotia and Visit Scotland rounded out the night and the room was buzzing as WestJet President and CEO Gregg Saretsky, dressed in his specially-commissioned WestJet tartan kilt, announced the winner of a ticket for a lucky guest to join the inaugural flight the very next evening.

Traditional kilted pipe and drum escorts for the inaugural guests

Traditional kilted pipe and drum escorts for Glasgow inaugural guests

The next day in Halifax was nothing but sunshine and blue skies. WestJet Rewards members and media guests embarked on an exclusive tour with Tourism Nova Scotia, visiting some of Halifax’s top restaurants, prominent spots and historic maritime sites including Pier 21 and Peggy’s Cove.

An outdoor pop-up concert and street party filled downtown Halifax with the sounds of WestJet celebration and could not be missed. Nova Scotia’s own, The Stanfields, rocked the stage while drinks and treats circulated and curious onlookers filled out ballets to win a free ticket to Glasgow. Amid the celebrations and events that filled the day, Gregg Saretsky took a moment to speak at the Halifax Chamber of Commerce, Board of Trade luncheon, alongside the Deputy Mayor of Halifax and representatives from Halifax International Airport Authority.

WestJet ice drink chute served up cold beverages all night.

The WestJet ice sculpture-turned-drink-chute served up cold beverages all night.

Upon arrival at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport that night, guests were welcomed by highland dancers,festive music, WestJet tartan banners and signs guiding them all the way from check-in to the gate. At the gate, an exclusive, Glasgow-only party awaited those with a ticket on the inaugural flight. Live music, authentic Scottish cuisine and tasty cocktails highlighted the evening as guests waited anxiously for the Tartan Tail plane to arrive for their flight. As the Boeing 737 700-series aircraft pulled up to the gate, guests rushed the windows to check it out. Meanwhile, Gregg Saretsky joined Halifax International Airport CEO, Joyce Carter to use the giant ceremonial scissors to cut the ribbon, officially kicking off the inaugural flight to Glasgow.

Gregg Saretsky posing with Joyce Carter,  President and CEO of the Halifax International Airport Authority before cutting the Glasgow inaugural ribbon.

Gregg Saretsky and Joyce Carter ready to cutthe inaugural ribbon.

When guests arrived at their seat on board the plane they found WestJet tartan-themed premium noise cancelling headphones. They also received a complimentary inflight meal that featured a Glasgow-exclusive corned beef and slaw sandwich with an apple cinnamon scone and Newcastle Brown Ale. The flight crew was adorned in WestJet tartan ties or scarves to match the aircraft’s tail and WestJet executives on board assisted the crew with food and drink service and cabin clean-up afterward.

Glasgow inaugural crew in WestJet Tartan

Glasgow inaugural crew in WestJet Tartan

As the plane began its decent into Glasgow with the sun rising in the east, guests woke from their sleep to watch the lush green Scottish countryside pass below. This remarkable day in Glasgow allowed WestJet Rewards members to relax after the flight while members of the media and travel industry joined WestJet executives on an exclusive tour hosted by Visit Scotland. That evening the Glasgow City Marketing Bureau held a private event at the stunning City Chambers building, where delegates welcomed WestJet’s team to Scotland. Everyone had the chance to enjoy authentic Scottish cuisine and hear a performance of Bruce Guthro’s original song about Nova Scotia, written exclusively for WestJet’s inaugural flight.

Landing in Glasgow. Photos: Rhonda Connolly, WestJet Rewards member

Landing in Glasgow. Photo: Rhonda Connolly, WestJet Rewards member

The following day, WestJet Rewards members, media, government officials and other WestJet guests were hosted on a tour of Glasgow’s historic downtown where they got to experience an assortment of stunning museums and galleries. The day concluded with a ride through the Glaswegian countryside to the Glengoyne Distillery where guests had a tour of the distillery and a hand crafted private dinner, accompanied with a traditional whisky pairing. The final day in Scotland allowed everyone to explore the sights and sounds of the city at their own pace before departing for Halifax the following morning.