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WestJet boasts it doesn't overbook flights in ad targeting airlines that do

June 9, 2017 9:00 AM
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WestJet boasts it doesn't overbook flights in ad targeting airlines that do

Ad campaign follows media reports of angry passengers bumped by Air Canada

WestJet's new ad campaign boasts that it doesn't overbook flights and bump passengers. It also takes aim at airlines that do.

The airline has always had a no overbooking policy but chose to do the campaign now, on the heels of numerous media reports about angry Air Canada customers being turned away from oversold flights.

WestJet's blitz includes a slick TV commercial where a disgruntled passenger waits endlessly in the airport while griping about being bumped. In one scene, he's slumped on the floor. In another, he's sleeping on his briefcase.

The commercial ends with a WestJet employee saving the day; she informs the stranded passenger that WestJet doesn't overbook its planes, and offers to help him get a flight.

"This campaign allows us to boldly, clearly and publicly state that we do not overbook our flights because we care about the guest experience," said WestJet spokesperson Lauren Stewart in an email to CBC News.

Around the same time, CBC News began a series of stories detailing sagas of customers bumped from oversold Air Canada flights. They included a family who was ordered off a plane after taking their seats, a woman who missed her $10,000 dream cruise, and a 10-year-old who was bumped from a flight he was supposed to take with his family.

"They shouldn't be able to sell the same product twice," the boy's father, Brett Doyle, from Stratford, P.E.I. said at the time. His comment sounds similar to the passenger in WestJet's commercial who asks,

"WestJet's smart. I think they're capitalizing on the focus and attention out there [on overbooking]," said Toronto aviation consultant Robert Kokonis, with AirTrav Inc.

He believes the recent stories inspired the airline to launch the campaign. "WestJet is just getting ahead of this and saying, "Hey, guess what? We don't bump.'"


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