WestJet 737 MAX – Questions and Answers

We have received many inquiries from guests and members of the media regarding the grounding of the 737 MAX. Here are some answers to the most common questions. We will update this blog post as necessary, with the most recent updates at the top.

For additional information please read our frequently asked questions below and/ or click to read how to determine which type of aircraft you are travelling on.

To check flight status, please click here.


Operational update – March 18, 12:00 p.m. MST

We thank all of our guests, airport partners and our crews for their understanding since the grounding of our MAX aircraft last Wednesday.

Through proactive planning and preparation for a variety of scenarios, including grounding, we enacted our contingency plan immediately and grounded all thirteen of our MAX aircraft within 55 minutes of Transport Canada’s order, with only three MAX aircraft outside Canada. We continue to implement and execute our contingency plan to minimize guest disruption. Of the more than 65,000 guests booked on MAX flights up to March 31, more than 85 per cent will have had little to no changes to their flight schedules.

This will be the last update on this blog page pertaining to the grounding. We will continue to keep guests apprised of any updates through our social channels.

For guest inquiries please direct message us on Facebook and Twitter.
For media inquiries please email media@westjet.com.

Today’s Cancellations:
Flight 1039 Fort Lauderdale/St. John’s
Flight 1970 St. John’s / Fort Lauderdale

Guests from these impacted flights will be rebooked on flights tomorrow with a handful of guests being rebooked on Wednesday flights.

Operational update – March 17, 11:30 a.m. MST

What’s happening today

Cancellations: 14 including the following flights:
• Flight 338 Comox/Edmonton
• Flight 339 Edmonton/Comox
• Flight 394 Abbotsford/Calgary
• Flight 395 Calgary/Abbotsford
• Flight 427 Toronto/Edmonton
• Flight 431 Toronto/Edmonton
• Flight 438 Edmonton/Toronto
• Flight 444 Edmonton/Toronto
• Flight 476 Winnipeg/Toronto
• Flight 653 Toronto/Calgary
• Flight 735 London (ON)/Calgary
• Flight 736 Calgary/London (ON)
• Flight 738 Calgary/Winnipeg
• Flight 1242 Toronto/Fort Lauderdale

Number of guests impacted: Approximately 1,600

Rebooking: Approximately 800 guests impacted today will be rebooked on flights today, while 500 will be rebooked tomorrow and around 300 rebooked for Tuesday.


Operational update – March 16, 11:30 a.m. MST

It has been a busy week as we have worked to minimize inconvenience to our guests affected by the temporary grounding of our 13 Boeing MAX aircraft. Of the more than 65,000 guests booked on MAX flights up to March 31, more than 85 per cent will have had little to no changes to their flight schedules.

Our teams have been working incredibly hard behind the scenes to limit cancellations to our sunny destinations during spring break and as a result, there have been no sun market cancellations, ensuring that families will be on their way to the beaches and sunshine.

We have replaced our Boeing MAX flying from Calgary/Edmonton to Hawaii with our 767 aircraft, while some of the Calgary-Toronto MAX operations have been replaced with our two 787 Dreamliner aircraft.

What’s happening today

Cancellations: 18 including the following flights:
• Flight 115 Calgary/Vancouver
• Flight 118 Vancouver/Calgary
• Flight 129 Calgary/Vancouver
• Flight 160 Vancouver/Edmonton
• Flight 165 Edmonton/Vancouver
• Flight 180 Vancouver/Edmonton
• Flight 196 Victoria/Calgary
• Flight 232 Calgary/Winnipeg
• Flight 431 Toronto/Edmonton
• Flight 438 Edmonton/Toronto
• Flight 444 Edmonton/Toronto
• Flight 449 Calgary/Victoria
• Flight 736 Calgary/London (ON)
• Flight 735 London (ON)/Calgary
• Flight 493 Winnipeg/Calgary
• Flight 720 Vancouver/Toronto
• Flight 703 Toronto/Vancouver
• Flight 714 Vancouver/Toronto

Number of guests impacted: Approximately 1,800

Rebooking: Approximately 1,000 guests impacted today will be rebooked on flights today, while 400 will be rebooked tomorrow and around 300 rebooked for Sunday.


Operational update – March 15, 9:45 a.m. MST

As of March 14, 2019, all of our MAX aircraft are currently parked at the following airports: Vancouver, Kelowna, Calgary, Hamilton and Toronto. We would like to thank our airport partners for their cooperation in finding locations to store our aircraft.

In addition to guests who are unaffected by the MAX grounding, yesterday we were able to find alternate flights for over 1200 guests that allowed them to arrive on the same day as their original itinerary.

We continue to reconfigure our schedule to remove all 737 MAX 8 flights and move guests to other aircraft across our fleet including on our new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners. The updated schedule will be implemented in our booking system on Monday, March 18, however, until then we are working through guest rebooking on a day-to-day basis.

What’s happening today

Cancellations: 18 including the following flights:

• Flight 188 Winnipeg/Calgary
• Flight 253 Calgary/Winnipeg
• Flight 431 Toronto/Edmonton
• Flight 438 Edmonton/Toronto
• Flight 556 Calgary/Waterloo
• Flight 557 Waterloo/Calgary
• Flight 653 Toronto/Calgary
• Flight 664 Calgary/Toronto
• Flight 675 Toronto/Calgary
• Flight 703 Toronto/Vancouver
• Flight 709 Toronto/Vancouver
• Flight 714 Vancouver/Toronto
• Flight 719 Toronto/Vancouver
• Flight 720 Vancouver/Toronto
• Flight 1202 Toronto/LaGuardia
• Flight 1207 LaGuardia/Toronto
• Flight 1208 Toronto/LaGuardia
• Flight 1213 LaGuardia/Toronto

Number of guests impacted: Approximately 1,800

Rebooking: Approximately 55 per cent guests impacted today will be rebooked on flights today, while 25 per cent will be rebooked tomorrow and 20 per cent rebooked for Saturday.


Operational update – March 14, 10:30 a.m. MST

While 168 aircraft, or 93 per cent of our fleet, is still operational, we have temporarily grounded all 13 Boeing MAX aircraft and are working through the resulting cancellations which will continue to affect guest travel.

We are in the process of reconfiguring our schedule to remove all 737 MAX 8 flights and move guests to other aircraft which could include our fleet of Boeing 737 NGs, 767, 787 or Bombardier Q400s. The updated schedule will be implemented in our booking system on Monday, March 18, however until then we are working through guest rebooking on a day-to-day basis.

What’s happening today

Cancellations: 11 including the following flights:
• Flight 119 Calgary/Vancouver
• Flight 120 Vancouver/Calgary
• Flight 230 Calgary/Winnipeg
• Flight 435 Toronto/Edmonton
• Flight 442 Edmonton/Toronto
• Flight 546 Edmonton/Toronto
• Flight 653 Toronto/Calgary
• Flight 664 Calgary/Toronto
• Flight 665 Toronto/Calgary
• Flight 676 Calgary/Toronto
• Flight 706 Vancouver/Toronto

Number of guests impacted: Approximately 1,200

Rebooking: More than three-quarters of guests impacted today will be rebooked on flights today. The remainder will be rebooked tomorrow with only a handful of guests being rebooked for Saturday.


1. Where are WestJet’s MAX aircraft currently located?

As of March 13, 2019, WestJet’s 13 MAX aircraft are on the ground in the following locations: Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto, Winnipeg, Tampa, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale.

Following the Transport Canada Notice to Airmen (NOTAM), the six WestJet MAX aircraft in operation were grounded within 60 minutes. WestJet’s other seven MAX aircraft were not in operation at the time.

2. How many MAX aircraft are in WestJet’s fleet?

WestJet has 13 MAX aircraft in our fleet. Overall WestJet has 181 aircraft which include Boeing 787 Dreamliner, Boeing 767, Boeing 737, Bombardier Q400 and we also fly guests on Saab 340 aircraft through a capacity purchase agreement with Pacific Coastal. See this blog post for more information.

3. What flights are cancelled?

WestJet has 168 aircraft, or more than 93 per cent of its overall fleet, that remain in service, however, there will be impacts to WestJet’s overall operations with delays and cancellations as this is a very fluid situation.

WestJet is swapping aircraft and making flight changes to accommodate as many people as possible and to minimize the impact to our guests. WestJet operates approximately 35 flights daily on its Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.

The most up-to-date flight-status information is available on our flight status tool.

4. What is WestJet’s recovery plan?

Our Operations Control Centre (OCC), in conjunction with Network Planning, Crew Scheduling and Guest Solutions, is working on the package that will contain the updated travel schedules for any guests affected. Please recognize that this is a very fluid situation and we are working to minimize the number of guests impacted. We will have more information available as the OCC completes its analysis.

5. Is WestJet overbooking flights due to the disruption?

WestJet does not intentionally overbook flights. It may be useful to have a bit of background on what the difference is between intentionally overbooking and having an overbooking situation due to irregular operations and the grounding of our MAX aircraft. There are times when we do have too many guests for the number of seats because we have had to swap a larger aircraft for a smaller one. This is an ad hoc situation that happens very infrequently. Intentional overbooking is done to compensate for the fact that some passengers don’t show up for their flight or cancel at the last minute. WestJet does not do this.

6. How many guests are affected?

As of today, March 13, around 1,000 guests have been affected. We have moved more than half of these guests to same-day flight options with the remainder to be recovered tomorrow (Thursday) and Friday.

This is a very fluid situation and we are working to minimize the number of guests impacted.

7. How old are WestJet’s MAX aircraft?

WestJet’s MAX aircraft were first introduced in 2017 and we have flown five different variants of the Boeing 737 since 1996. The MAX aircraft have been performing reliably, efficiently and safely for WestJet since their introduction.

WestJet has safely flown more than 1.3 million guests and operated over 9,000 flights on the MAX since 2017 and up until March 12, 2019.

8. How long will WestJet’s 737 MAX fleet be grounded?

WestJet is complying with Transport Canada’s decision and cannot speculate regarding potential timelines. At this time, we hope to resume the safe operation of our 737 MAX 8 aircraft as soon as possible to limit any potential disruptions to our greater schedule and our guests’ travel plans.

9. Does WestJet have confidence in the safety of its Boeing fleet?

WestJet remains confident in the safety of its Boeing 737 fleet and in the experience, training and capability of all WestJet flight crews. We have flown five different variants of the Boeing 737 since 1996, and the fleet currently operates around 450 safe daily B737 departures.

Our full Boeing fleet has provided WestJet with safe operations for the past 23 years.

10. Will there be a flexible/change cancel or goodwill gesture put into place for guests?

As an additional support for our guests, we are adhering to our uncontrollable delay or cancellation process. This means WestJet will attempt to rebook guests for no additional charge on the next available WestJet or WestJet Encore flight. We can also change guests return to match the same length of stay if desired; or on a flight that is travelling to/from another destination that is geographically close to a guest’s original destination (e.g., neighbouring city to Hamilton is Toronto).

Further details are available online here.

11. Is WestJet compensating guests for delays or cancellations?

Details on uncontrollable delays are available online here.

12. Will spring break travel for guests booked on WestJet be affected?

WestJet has 168 aircraft, or more than 93 per cent of its overall fleet, that remain in service. Guests can book with confidence knowing that WestJet continues to fly throughout the network with the safety of guests and employees at the forefront.

13. Why did WestJet not take immediate action when many other countries suspended the aircraft as early as yesterday morning?

WestJet is in full compliance with Transport Canada’s regulations and respects the decision to temporarily ground our Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft as a precautionary measure.

The Boeing MAX has performed reliably, efficiently and safely since its first entry into service in October 2017. Since that time, WestJet’s fleet of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft have operated more than 9,000 flights carrying in excess of 1.3 million guest safely to their destinations.

14. Will WestJet be seeking compensation from Boeing?

WestJet’s priority is on guests impacted by this decision along with updating our schedule to reflect the aircraft that are temporarily grounded.