March 15 was a big day for WestJet and WestJet Encore. At 6 a.m. EDT the first guests started trickling into the boarding lounge for our first flight from Toronto to Boston. One flight, two big milestones. Not only was this WestJet Encore’s very first scheduled flight into the U.S., it was also WestJet’s 100th destination. There were decorations, a few introductory words and a well laid out table of drinks and morning snacks.
— WestJet (@WestJet) March 15, 2016
I soon found out that the real story of the day was our guests. As I got settled in my seat (14A), the gentleman in 15B wanted to thank WestJet for providing such affordable transportation. He is a Bostonian academic, who said the cost of this particular flight made it possible for him to attend a conference. When I told him about the prices of our flights between Boston and London, England (via a connection in Toronto) he realized that he may actually be able to attend a conference in Europe which he had previously ruled out due to cost.
The guest sitting in 16D also had a great story. He works in Fort McMurray but calls Boston home. Before we started this new route, his trip home on one of our competitors would include a 15 hour layover in Toronto. Our new flight option to Boston means that his total trip time flying home is now only 6 hours and 45 minutes.
Massport Airport Authority rolled out an exceptional welcome for us in Boston. There were speeches and presentations as well as a ribbon cutting ceremony to open our new route. After an on-time departure, we were on our way back to Toronto, where I had the chance to meet more of the guests who’ve chosen to travel with us on our newest WestJet Encore route. If the feedback we heard on those two flights is any indication, we’re confident that our new flights between Toronto and Boston will be a resounding success.
And the day was only half over!
Later that day, London, Ontario also received its first WestJet Encore flight. Though WestJet has had a long-standing relationship with London, March 16 marked the start of new WestJet Encore service between London and Toronto. It’s a brand new city for WestJet Encore as well as a completely new route for the WestJet network.
The crew for our first flight from Toronto to London has a special connection to the London area. Our Captain, Rupert, was born in London and graduated from the Aviation program at University of Western Ontario. One of our flight attendants, Deb, grew up in the nearby town of Goderich and is excited to see another WestJet link to her family’s home turf. It’s a quick link too – the flight from Toronto to London is only 23 minutes in the air!
To recognize WestJet Encore as a new customer to its facility and to celebrate the arrival our first Q400 NextGen aircraft, the London Airport Authority planned a great celebration for our first arrival. There was a ribbon cutting ceremony, and in keeping with the theme of putting our guests first, the ribbon was cut by the guest who bought the first ticket between London and Toronto.
What a great day for WestJet and WestJet Encore. It was amazing to see the excitement from our guests and employees from Boston to Toronto to London and was a very fulfilling day of new beginnings for everyone involved. We look forward to more successful flights on these routes in the future and hope we have the chance to welcome you on board.
This guest post is from David Moore, Vice President Flight Operations for WestJet Encore.