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Canadians: Westjet or Air Canada?

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(do you have a preference between these two tour providers)

 

Hi Everyone and congratulations on your past or up coming wedding!

 

I am travelling from Thunder Bay to Majestic Colonial in Punta Cana in February 2011.

My TA has provided me with a price of of $1,725 including $325 tax a $115 transfer through Toronto, with Air Canada (AC). They have a booking bonus right now until March 22, which is saving about $400. They leave on Sunday's (a day later than I planned) for my Tuesday ceremony.

 

Westjet does not have their prices out yet. They went direct to Punta Cana from my city last year which saved a bit but they will not know for a few more months so I may miss out on a great price with AC. Also if they don't go direct they'll charge a lot more than AC $115 tranfer through Toronto, unless I someone find a seat sale that will match up with getting to Punta Cana. As a bonus they leave on Saturday's.

 

I know AC will price match but I want my guests happy. I also want to give them as much notice as possible because the booking bonus trip needs to be paid in full by Oct 31/10.

 

I love westjet and have heard so-so things about Air Canada. I guess I'm excited about booking now with a price I like for the time of year but is it the right decision?

 

Do you have any suggestions or stories about travelling with either?

-charges for suitcases overweight

-extra costs

-negative or positive stories

-do's and don'ts

 

Thanks for your help!

Good luck with your planning.

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As a fellow Canadian, I fully understand your feeling about Air Canada. I have never personally flew with WJ, but heard all good things about it. My only suggestion is that Air Canada is more reliable when it comes to "in case" situations. An I find it is easier to actually speak with AC rep when you're on ground. WJ you can be on hold for 45 mins!!

 

I would suggest that your agent puts the flights on hold (if it's not a seat sale, they usually give you a few weeks to pay the deposit). WJ should have their flights out 11 months prior to travel. Have your agent speak with WJ and tell them the situation and they will try to get you the prices and flight allocation even sooner. That is all that I can suggest.

 

Hope that helps a bit!

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My opinion... LOVE LOVE LOVE westjet!!! Boooo AC!!

 

All of the quotes that I had for our guests flying direct from either Toronto, Winnipeg or Calgary was at a minimum of $1750+ through AC and that was including every bonus the TA could pull for me.

 

So far any of our guests who have booked through WestJet Vacations have paid under $1550 including all taxes and transfers, and other guests who booked through AC have paid on average $1650 or so.

 

Air Canada - I have issues with AC because anytime I've been trying to get customer service they were typically not very helpful and sounded as if they had no intention of giving an ounce more of their assistance than is required. I also find it ridiculous that they charge $25 PER TICKET to book over the phone! You could do it online for free but might take a lot longer if you're booking multiple people etc. Also, I find that if you want a ticket that has more flexibility (like if you later decide to fly home a day later or something) then you get charged for that ability upfront but also have to pay additional fees when you actually make the changes. And from what i've heard, they're more strict about baggage allowances and charge a higher fee if you go over.

 

WestJet - they just recently made the addition of a new sales call centre to handle their volume which has unfortunately resulted in longer wait times on the phone (sometimes, not always). However any time I've called for information or quotes etc they've been tremendously helpful. If you book your flights and need to change them afterwards, you pay a single fee for the change plus the difference in cost from the old flight to the new one. This goes two ways though - if the flight cost DROPS after you book, you still have the pay the change fee but anything beyond that you get a WJ credit to use on another booking (and this $$ is transferable to a friend or family member too!). Although they still charge a fee for going over your baggage allowance, I believe that it is less than AC charges. Oh and of course - they have seat back television on their planes!!

 

In all honesty, I do all my travelling with WestJet within Canada and am SO happy that we were able to book through them for our wedding. Also, each year I organize a student field trip that involves booking flights for around 30 students across Canada and WestJet has been spectacular in their customer service year after year. When I tried to reach someone at AC to assist our group, I was bounced from dept. to dept., or rather answering service to answering service and I never did manage to get a person on the phone who could help me. You'd think with a group that books every single year for the last 15-20++ years, they would try to be more available.

 

As for suggestions... see how long AC is willing to guarantee that price for and make your decision then. You could also contact westjet and ask what their prices were this past month for the same time period to at least get a ballpark price estimate.

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Thanks. I just found out today that Westjet is confirming direct flights from my hometown which they first said they wouldn't decide until Aug/Sept. So by the end of April I can choose between the two but really prefer Westjet.

My resort does cost a bit more than some so I expect that cost but so far it looks like I'll get a great price.

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i've never flown westjet before, only air canada. i've never had a problem with them.

 

you still have so much time to until your wedding date...you don't need to rush & book something so far in advance.

 

i didn't get price packages from TA's until 6 months before. it's still PLENTY of time.

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I LOVE Westjet, but we are flying AC because my travel agent got us a great deal. I don't think you can go wrong with either, but in my experience the flight attendants on WJ are way nicer and more helpful.

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West Jet all the way. I have heard way to many stories about Air Canada with loosing luggage, and bitchy flight attendants. I have also heard that West Jet's planes are newer.

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Thanks everyone! My TA found a great deal with AC that expires this month and I wasn't sure when Westjet would come out with prices. I guess I"m just so freakn' excited! Sounds like I'll get to choose sooner than later.

Just get me to the beach on time!

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