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WestJet launches flat bed business class from London Gatwick to Calgary with ‘everyday’ fares

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Low cost Canadian airline WestJet will launch an impressive fully flat Business Class service on its London Gatwick to Calgary route from 28th April.

As you can see from the photograph below, it looks good:

WestJet Boeing 787 flat bed business class London Gatwick Calgary

It is a 1-2-1 formation.  If the seat looks familiar, it is because it is the same one that Qatar Airways uses on its Boeing 787 and A380 fleets in Business Class.  It certainly isn’t the sort of seat you’d expect a budget airline to be using.

The one thing that differentiates WestJet from a legacy airline is the size of the Business Class cabin.  There will be just 16 seats on each aircraft.

WestJet Boeing 787 flat bed business class London Gatwick Calgary

There is also a good looking Premium Economy cabin.  These seats have a 38 inch pitch and a 13 inch TV.

The upgrade comes as WestJet begins to take delivery of its new Boeing 787-9 fleet.  Ten of the aircraft have been ordered, with the next two earmarked for Calgary – Paris and Calgary – Dublin.

WestJet Boeing 787 flat bed business class London Gatwick Calgary

British Airways has been pulling back from Calgary

British Airways is not flying to Calgary this Winter and it appears that it will not return next Winter either.  I have seen a report which suggests that the high cost of deicing the aircraft in Calgary each day makes the whole service uneconomic, although that sounds dubious.

The British Airways service IS operating during the Summer timetable, from 31st March to the end of October.

WestJet is offering ONE-WAY Business Class fares

One thing that WestJet brings to the party, apart from brand new aircraft and an excellent seat, is one-way pricing.

If you are struggling to find Avios redemption seats in both directions, you now have the option to fly one way on British Airways and purchase a relatively cheap one way ticket in the other direction with WestJet.  You won’t be penalised by WestJet for only buying a one way ticket.

Even if you have enough Avios, it might make financial sense to pay cash for one leg if WestJet pricing is low enough.

WestJet Boeing 787 flat bed business class London Gatwick Calgary

What about pricing?

To be honest, the opening fares are not exactly low cost.

In July, the cheapest I can see for a one way FROM London Gatwick to Calgary is £889

A one way TO London Gatwick from Calgary is £736

This makes a total return cost of £1,626

However, let’s compare that to an Avios redemption.

A one-way flight FROM London Gatwick to Calgary in Club World (there is no First Class on this route) on peak Summer dates is 75,000 Avios + £419

A one-way Summer flight FROM Calgary is 75,000 Avios + £296

A return flight in Club World on a peak date is 150,000 Avios + £651

As you can see, you’re getting poor value for your Avios by doing a full redemption vs paying the WestJet prices.  If the options are £1,626 return on WestJet vs 150,000 Avios + £651 on British Airways, then your Avios are only worth 0.65p each.

If you have a British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher then the numbers are a lot better, of course, and clearly worth doing.

An Avios ticket is refundable, of course, whilst the WestJet ticket is not.  On the other hand, WestJet offers a small private cabin with just 16 seats of a superior quality and configuration to BA Club World.

For  2019 this is very much a theoretical discussion only, however, as there are virtually no Avios seats in Club World to be found to Calgary for the entire Summer.

It will be worth keeping an eye on Dublin pricing when that service launches.  With no Air Passenger Duty it should be at least £150 cheaper than the London flight and I would expect the reduced demand compared to London to push the price down even further.

There are no ‘add ons’ either ….

Despite being a low cost carrier, Business Class passengers do NOT pay for luggage or seat selection.  WestJet will let you check in 2 x 23kg suitcases for free.  Food and drink is free, and you get lounge access, priority boarding etc.

(Yes, I know, we have a low cost carrier offering free seat selection in Business Class whilst BA will charge you £60+ each way if you don’t have status …..)

And a few airline miles too ….

WestJet is not in any of the major airline alliances.  However, you can credit flights to Delta SkyMiles, Flying Blue (Air France / KLM) and Qantas, as well as WestJet Rewards.


To see a low-cost carrier launch a Business Class seat which is far superior to the British Airways offering is an odd state of affairs.

£1,625 to £1,826, which is the current fare range depending on date, is not exactly bargain basement pricing for a return Business Class flight, of course.  However, if WestJet ends up offering fares like this day in and day out, even outside sale periods, it will be a serious option for a flat bed to Canada.

Your best option to maximise your miles when paying is American Express Preferred Rewards Gold.  This offers double points – 2 per £1 – when you when you book flight tickets directly with an airline.  Our review of Amex Gold is here.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (October 2023)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

EDIT: Applications for this card are temporarily suspended due to IT issues with the British Airways On Business SME loyalty scheme.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

Comments (26)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • when i travel the world says:

    Unless I’m mistaken I think the April 20th Date is wrong.
    I was under the impression that the Inagural flight date for the 787-9 on the LGW-YYC was is going to be Monday 29th April.

    Just wanted to add that info. Not sure if i’m wrong.

    • Rob says:

      Yes, you’re right, sorry. Updated. I think I simply misread the press release yesterday.

  • Lady London says:

    Don’t we need the new Canadian equivalent of ESTA to fly to Canada now or even transit in Canada on way to US?

    I’m guessing Westjet may have their own cheaper de-icing facilities in Calgary that their planes can plug into and maybe even heated hangars?

    • Chris L says:

      Yes, the eTA. Not sure about transit. It only costs about $7 a head I think.

    • Nick_C says:

      Not that new. I got one in April 2016. Cheap and very straightforward from what I remember, and valid for 5 years.

  • Tom says:

    Re de-icing I thought that Canadian airports had remote de-icing stations which is more efficient than using trucks and/or de-icing at the gate.

    I suspect it’s more that the numbers BA is getting don’t compare well with some of the newer US routes like San Jose and Nashville, which are served with similar aircraft.

  • Trev says:

    Re the ‘birthday’ Avios. My birthday is 11 Jan and I got 2018 points a few days ago, not 2019…… Now waiting for 2019 for BA’s birthday? Weird.

  • In Canada says:

    ‘Birthday’ Avios. Hum, I got birthday Avios last year for my birthday and again this week which was very nice. However, neither my wife or any family member got any! BA PR gone wrong? Oh, and I am writing this from Canada.

  • James says:

    Wildly off topic.
    Yet another IHG devaluation………….

    They come thicker & faster than I do now 🙁

    • Alan says:

      That’s just the one we already knew about – Award Wallet aren’t the quickest at covering these sort of things!

  • Howard says:

    A small detail but I don’t think the WestJet tickets include lounge access …. it looks more like a slightly discounted price (10% off the walk-up price at Calgary?) to access some lounges ?

    • Rob says:

      Hmmm … the business class ‘what’s included’ list does show lounge access. If this was just a discount it is VERY disingenous.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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