As we continue to manage through the ongoing effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic, we understand that you may have some questions regarding our reintroduction of the middle seat for sale. We are sorry for any distress this has caused. WestJet is a highly safety sensitive organization in one of the most carefully regulated industries and every decision we make has the safety of our guests and WestJetters at the forefront.
From the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, WestJet invested quickly in hygiene and safety measures to mitigate the risk throughout the entire travel journey, investing millions of dollars’ worth of equipment, cleaning and additional measures to protect those who had to fly.
With a vaccine not yet produced, we are learning to live responsibly with the virus as it’s here with us for the foreseeable future. With the many safeguards and procedures implemented, we are certain travel can be undertaken safely while allowing for economies to begin growing again and putting Canadians back to work.
The blocked middle seat was introduced at the beginning of the pandemic before the myriad of safety measures were put in place and mandated on board. Our temporary distancing measures were enacted at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak to provide our guests who had to travel with the peace of mind while our extra hygiene measures were planned and implemented.
Seat distancing was one of the first measures we adopted temporarily before WestJet implemented:
• Transport Canada-mandated mask wearing for both employees and guests
• Transport Canada-mandated health questionnaire pre-boarding
• Electrostatic fogging on our aircraft
• Removal of all published material on board to reduce the risk of spread via contact
• Modifications to inflight service to reduce contact between guests and crew
• Non-contact temperature scanning at all our bases
Seat distancing was never intended to be in place permanently or throughout the pandemic. What makes an airplane, and the entire journey, safe is the layers of enhanced cleaning, the wearing of masks and the hospital-grade HEPA filters that remove 99.999 per cent of all airborne particles. The hygiene standards we have now are world-class and backed by industry experts.
We understand that there will be different levels of comfort or confidence with travel right now. We believe that we are doing all we can to ensure those who are comfortable with it can travel safely and responsibly on our aircraft.
WestJet is proud to have served Canadians throughout this pandemic and while we have greatly reduced our service, we have maintained flying to 38 domestic cities to ensure that essential products, workers and services were able to get where they needed to be. We have also repatriated thousands of Canadians to a safer environment back home in Canada. We have been working tirelessly for Canadians to ensure their health and safety and our operations today are no different in that regard.
Safety is above all, always.