WestJet May Lay Off More Than Half Its Staff

The union that represents flight attendants at Canada’s WestJet Airlines expects layoffs “of more than 50 per cent of its staff.”

An internal memo sent to union officials and obtained by The Canadian Press says that travellers are rebooking en masse and “our airline’s well-being has become grave overnight.”

…As recently as Wednesday morning, job reductions of only 12 per cent seemed likely, he said, a number that matches WestJet’s recent forecasts.

…Rauenbusch said one flight from Vancouver to Los Angeles this morning that had booked 150 passengers took off with just 12 on board.


Copyright: dennizn / 123RF Stock Photo

WestJet left its partnership with American Airlines for a joint venture with Delta. The airline has instituted a hiring freeze and is seeking voluntary furloughs. Layoffs will not surprise me at WestJet or at U.S. airlines.

Canada plans to limit the airports that accept international flights in order to facilitate testing of arriving passengers for COVID-19.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. That’s terrible. WJ has some of the friendliest cabin crew outside of Asia.

    When my travel with them was cancelled because of the Covid-19 outbreak, not only did they offer to refund the entire value of the ticket to my credit card (rather than forcing me to accept a credit for future travel like Air Canada did) they also gave me back a penny. I presume that this was because their system wasn’t set up to issue refunds like this and the program had to charge some sort of non-zero fee. So WestJet set it at negative one cent. I know a penny isn’t a lot of money, and even over thousands of bookings it won’t affect their bottom line, but it’s that sort of thoughtfulness that’s their hallmark. It’s terrible to see such nice people loosing their jobs, even temporarily.

  2. That’s terrible. WJ has some of the friendliest cabin crew outside of Asia.

    When my travel with them was cancelled because of the Covid-19 outbreak, not only did they offer to refund the entire value of the ticket to my credit card (rather than forcing me accept a credit for future travel like Air Canada did) they also gave me back a penny. I presume that this was because their system wasn’t set up to issue refunds like this and the program had to charge some sort of non-zero fee. So WestJet set it at negative one cent. I know a penny isn’t a lot of money, and even over thousands of bookings won’t affect their bottom line, but it’s that sort of thoughtfulness that’s their hallmark. It’s terrible to see such nice people loosing their jobs, even temporarily.

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