Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic we have been taking many extra steps to ensure the safety of our guests and our crew and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
As the various jurisdictions in which we fly begin to open again, our decisions will always be made with the health, safety and mental well-being of our guests and our people at the forefront. It is our commitment that all processes and procedures will be thoroughly evaluated and adapted as required to meet the new operating reality of a post-COVID world.
At WestJet, we hold ourselves to the highest standard and strive to create an environment as safe and clean as possible and have implemented the measures below to ensure the safety of all.
All WestJet Cabin Crew Members have been required to wear a company-approved face mask or face covering when within two meters of a guest on board. This measure further aligns with the recent Transport Canada directive that requires guests to wear a face mask or face covering while on board an aircraft.
In support of the directive that was issued on April 20, 2020, it is mandatory for guests to wear protective face coverings throughout their travel journey, including at the airport and while in flight. Travellers will be required to have a protective face covering prior to CATSA security screening. In addition, and per the directive, travellers will be required to show that they have a suitable face covering prior to boarding a WestJet flight. Guests will be asked to temporarily remove the mask while their identification is verified. Additional details are available here.
Prior to boarding, temperature screening is conducted using a safe, non-contact infrared thermometer. Before successfully implementing this process across all 38 domestic stations, we trialed non-contact temperature scanning at our hubs in Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto. See how non-contact temperature scanning works in this video here.
These checks aid in a more seamless and reliable execution of the Transport Canada interim order and further support the government-mandated health questionnaires that are already in place for guests.
Aircraft Cleaning and Sanitization
From the onset of the pandemic, WestJet immediately added two additional disinfecting products to our cleaning arsenal for aircraft that are stationed overnight across our network. We also took additional precautionary measures to expand and increase the frequency of our aircraft sanitization.
We continue to clean onboard with aviation-approved products, including Sanicide (disinfectant) for galleys and lavatories, along with Celeste 8500 for all-purpose cleaning. In addition to these cleaners, we have added two more disinfecting products to our arsenal: hospital-grade Clorox Wipes and Spray.
These products are used on tray tables as well as general seating areas to ensure all guest contact surfaces are thoroughly disinfected. The Clorox and Sanicide products are used to accomplish the cleaning of our galleys, lavatories, tray tables, seat armrests and headrests, seatbelt buckles, the PSU panel, overhead bin door latches and lavatory door handles.
Our arrival announcement has been updated to include reminders for our guests to physical distance upon deplaning. These announcements are made to support physical distancing onboard our aircraft.
Upon boarding, each guest is provided with sanitization wipes. Guests are encouraged to use these wipes to further disinfect seats and tray tables should it make them feel more comfortable.
WestJet has implemented a new cleaning procedure consisting of fogging the entire aircraft interior to provide a complete disinfection using a hydrogen peroxide-based solution cleaner.
All WestJet 737 and Q400 aircraft are cleaned as part of their overnight cleaning and sanitization regimen. The new process takes approximately 15 minutes to complete with the product dissipating within 20 minutes.
Fogging enables us to thoroughly disinfect an aircraft at any time with little disruption to our guests and operations. We are working hard to ensure fogging can be expanded to every base we operate to as soon as possible.
WestJet introduced Seat Distancing on April 1, 2020 and was the first national airline in Canada to introduce guaranteed social distancing on board the aircraft. The middle seat on our Boeing 737s and 787 aircraft and every other seat on our Bombardier Q400 has been made unavailable to book to ensure our guests and crew can continue to fly safely and have more space to adhere to social distancing guidelines. You can rest assured that the seat next to you will be vacant.
This policy is in place until June 30, 2020 and we will reevaluate this initiative as required.
Changes to inflight service
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have made updates to our inflight service and guests may notice the following changes:
On flights under 90 minutes:
- We are no longer offering service on these flights in any cabin
- Water and complimentary snacks are available for emergency use only
On flights over 90 minutes:
- We have suspended beverage service in all cabins
- Guests receive a complimentary snack, water bottle (small) and napkin on their seat prior to boarding for all occupied seats
- Additional water is available on request
Premium and Business:
- Guests receive a premium snack box, napkin and water bottle (small) on their seat prior to boarding
- Additional water is available on request
In compliance with Transport Canada regulations to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, all guests are required to respond to a health questionnaire at the time of boarding.
Clean air – HEPA filters
It is a common misconception that air on an aircraft is recirculated. All WestJet aircraft (737, 767, 787 and Q400) are equipped with an industry-leading air circulation system containing a HEPA filter, similar to what is used in hospital environments.
These filters achieve a viral removal efficiency of greater than 99.99909 per cent and bacterial removal efficiency of greater than 99.99996 per cent. This rating is based on the 0.3 micron contaminant benchmark – considerably smaller than animal dander, which is approximately 2.5 microns in size.
These aircraft also introduce fresh air into the cabin every two to three minutes (20 to 30 air changes per hour).
COVID-19 Affected Flights
WestJet has been a leader in Canada through transparent communications regarding COVID-19 affected flights to our guests and WestJetters. We have been posting all affected flights here as soon as we are notified by public health authorities of a confirmed case.
Additional safety measures
We continue to ask that guests adhere to the following guidelines, while boarding and onour aircraft:
- Keeping two metres (six feet) of distance between the guest in front and behind when boarding
- Using the WestJet App to download boarding passes to display on phones
- Avoiding lining up for washrooms
The effects of COVID-19 on the airline industry have been swift and devastating. Our commitment remains and is unwavering – we will continue to hold safety as sacrosanct. Nothing is more important than the health and well-being of our guests and our people. You can do your part for all of us – if you aren’t feeling well or are showing signs of the virus, please stay home. We’ll be ready to fly when you are.