Flying West Jet With A Pet: Why I Do Not Recommend It

West Jet, our beloved Canadian airline company.  They are on Forbes Canada’s Best Employers List and host WestJet Christmas Miracle providing gifts to individuals.  I was a loyal and supportive Canadian for 15 years, buying West Jet shares when I was 19 and flying countless short and long haul flights.  My loyalty has run dry.

Simply put, West Jet refuses to divulge their policy regarding code-sharing in relation to Emotional Support Animals (ESA).  After investigating online, I have learned of others who have encountered the same problem with regular pets.

Background

Tango (my ESA) and I flew from Kelowna to Calgary on Feb 3, 2018 on a code-share flight.  I followed the instructions on the West Jet website and my ESA was immediately approved with no mention of code sharing being an issue.

So I was very surprised when returning home, I was denied advanced acceptance of my ESA when flying from Calgary to Kelowna on a code-share flight.  I followed the updated steps on the website and there was no mention of codesharing.  When denied, I was told by a Special Care Agent “If it is a code-share booking we are unable to process your request prior to your flight, and you will need to try best effort at the airport (we cannot guarantee approval)”.  This was news to me and no exception was made.

“If it is a code-share booking we are unable to process your request prior to your flight, and you will need to try best effort at the airport (we cannot guarantee approval)”.

You can imagine how nerve-racking it was to be flying internationally from Hungary to Canada not knowing if I would be able to board my final flight home.  I started looking for rental cars to drive the seven hour journey.  My other option was staying in a hotel for two nights while I purchase a new flight and wait the 48 hour ESA application wait time.  Luckily, Tango was approved for the final flight home at West Jet’s check in desk in Calgary.

Going Forward

Anyone flying West Jet with an animal (ESA or not) needs to aware of this hidden and unclear policy.  Until this policy is clearly divulged, I do not recommend booking a code-sharing flight with West Jet when traveling with your pets.

Current Situation

I have been emailing back and forth with both Special Care Agents and Guest Support Specialists. Both have been giving me the runaround and have not provided clarity on this issue.  Comment with your email below and I will e-mail you when/if this issue is resolved.

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