WestJet Announces Transatlantic 737 Flights From Halifax

We’re seeing a trend where airlines are increasingly operating longer flights with smaller planes. This is happening in several ways. For example, we’re seeing routes that were previously operated by 747s now operated by 787s, and we’re also seeing plenty of routes previously operated by widebody aircraft now being operated by narrowbody aircraft.

This is largely possible thanks to the Airbus A321neo and the Boeing 737 MAX. Both of these planes are similar to their more “basic” models, except they have more efficient engines, meaning they have lower fuel burn and are longer range. This opens up all kinds of new markets that weren’t previously possible.

One trend we’ve seen is the introduction of transatlantic flights on these smaller aircraft. We’ve seen this from airlines including Norwegian, Primera Air, and Air Canada. Now another airline is adding transatlantic service on one of these planes.

WestJet will be launching daily seasonal transatlantic flights from Halifax to London and Paris using the Boeing 737 MAX.

The routes will operate on a seasonal basis, with the following schedule:

Halifax to London Gatwick between April 29 and October 27, 2018

Halifax to London departing 10:35PM arriving 8:21AM (+1 day)
London to Halifax departing 9:50AM arriving 1:00PM

This flight covers a distance of 2,875 miles in each direction, and is blocked at 5hr46min eastbound and 7hr10min westbound.

Halifax to Paris Charles de Gaulle between May 31 and October 27, 2018

Halifax to Paris departing 10:55PM arriving 10:00AM (+1 day)
Paris to Halifax departing 11:20AM arriving 1:35PM

This flight covers a distance of 3,039 miles in each direction, and is blocked at 6hr5min eastbound and 7hr15min westbound.

WestJet’s 737 MAX aircraft

WestJet’s 737 MAX 8 aircraft feature 174 seats. This includes three rows of Plus (which is extra legroom economy with a blocked middle seat and free food & drinks, much like business class on an intra-Europe flight), as well as 11 more rows of seats with 34″ of pitch.


WestJet Plus

Fares for WestJet’s new transatlantic flights

Roundtrip fares on the Paris flight start at 435USD roundtrip, while fares on the London flight start at 390USD roundtrip.

Bottom line

It’s great to see this expansion from WestJet. The airline has four 767s in their fleet that they also use for transatlantic flights, but this seems like a much better fit for flights out of Halifax. Furthermore, the airline has 10 Boeing 787s on order (with an option for a further 10), so it will be interesting to see what routes they add with those planes. They’ll get those planes starting in 2019, and plan on adding service to Asia and South America, as well as adding service to further points in Europe.

What do you make of WestJet’s new transatlantic 737 MAX flights?

(Tip of the hat to @TravelCanadian)

Comments

  1. Their current ‘biz class’ is pretty half-assed. They’ve yet to demonstrate any convincing case for being anything but shorthaul. We’ll see after delivery of the 787. They’re still in the minors.

  2. @rw

    WestJet have already said they’ll introduce a proper business class on their 787s (Including lie flat seats).

  3. Since I’m based in Nova Scotia I’m excited to see this, though this isn’t as innovative as it looks at first glance. The Gatwick flights are replacing YYT-LGW flights, so that’s great for me but bad for Newfoundlanders. These aren’t Westjet’s first trans-atlantic flights from YHZ either. We’ve had 737 flights to Glasgow for a couple of years.

    The CDG route is all new and very exciting though. I’m really hoping for AMS soon.

    Does Westjet’s 737 MAX economy class really have 34″ pitch? That is WAY better than Air Canada, which is a knee-killing 30″.

  4. @smallmj, The 737 Max is supposed to have 30-31 pitch. The 34″ is Economy plus and they only have a few of those seats. It’s like AC Rouge, which means painful.

  5. Honestly the 737MAX has just been bad news for Y passengers. AC’s sucks, AA’s sucks, and now WS’ sucks. And AC is offering J class which is just domestic first, at international J prices. Just nuts.

  6. @QQ The Dublin flights are from YYT. Newfoundland has stronger traditional connections to Ireland. Nova Scotia has a bigger Scottish community.

  7. “Honestly the 737MAX has just been bad news for Y passengers.”

    I wonder if AA or WestJet will win the award for longest flight on most uncomfortable 737MAX

  8. Good idea. This must be one of the shortest trans-Atlantic flights (save for St. Johns which doesn’t have good connections.

    That in turn means I’m happy to fly their “premium economy” over Business, which saves a lot of money

  9. @EvenSteven

    Even here in Asia, GA’s 737 MAX is bad news. They added 14 seats to the 737 by killing the pitch and reducing the toilet size. Worse still, they’re retrofitting the older 737s with the new seats and config. The only upgrade is a bigger IFE screen.

  10. If this means it will put downward pressure on other transatlantic fares, great. I’d much rather take a 737 to a North American hub and connect there.

    An evening flight to western Europe on a 737 does not sound fun. Nothing like a narrow-body cabin appropriate for domestic short-haul to rest in before an international arrival or connection. Dense layout, limited storage, noisy cabin, tiny restrooms, crowded aisles, etc.

    Why would anyone want to replicate the domestic/regional flight experience on transatlantic travel?

  11. Jeff,

    Except that this flight is about the same distance and duration as transcon US flights, most of which are narrow bodies. So why would it make any difference?

  12. @ smallmj

    “The Gatwick flights are replacing YYT-LGW flights”

    Really? That’s terrible news for me: the TATL flight to St John’s has been on my “must do” list for a while.

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