WestJet 737-700 main cabin (economy class) SAN-YYC

WestJet 737-700 main cabin (economy class) SAN-YYC

It’s not very often that I manage to put together an itinerary that ends up being so easy. This flight up to YYC on WestJet qualified as one of the easiest travel days I’ve had in a long while, and the entire day I spent wishing that it could always be like this. Let me explain…

This flight was scheduled to depart SAN at 1:25pm, which meant that for the first time since…well…heck, I can’t even remember…I was able to sleep in the morning of departure. Even better was the fact that this was a Friday. Normally I’d be at work, but taking the day off to fly on a new-to-me airline to a city I’ve never been to before made it all that much more sweet.

So I slept in a little, went for my normal morning bike ride, came back and ate breakfast, packed, and then leisurely made my way to the airport via Uber with enough time left over to have a nice slow lunch once I arrived. Never once did I feel rushed this morning, and it was the perfect way to kick off a long weekend of travel.

San Diego, CA (SAN) – Calgary, Alberta (YYC)
Friday, September 16, 2016
Aircraft: 737-7CT
Registration: C-FBWJ
Duration: 2 hours 55 minutes
Seat: 6F (main cabin / economy)

westjet 737-700 side view
WestJet 737-700 (C-FBWJ) side view illustration by norebbo.com
san diego to calgary route map
Our route from San Diego to Calgary today.
passport san diego airport
Passport in hand, and ready to fly!
terminal 2 san diego airport
Terminal 2 east is home for WestJet here at SAN.
san diego airport terminal building
It’s a beautiful day here in San Diego, and luckily the airport isn’t so busy on Fridays (mid day at least).
westjet check in san diego airport
Poor WestJet – their ticket counters are basically shoe-horned into the very last spot at the end of the terminal next to Allegiant Air.
san diego airport terminal 2 food court
I had a bit of time to kill before my flight so I stopped at the food court for lunch.
lunch san diego airport
This grilled chicken and rice bowl from Saffron hit the spot.
san diego airport terminal windows
One of my favorite spots to sit and watch airplanes here at SAN. I’m not flying out of terminal 2 west today, so I need to hustle on over to the east side…
terminal 2 east san diego
Here we are in terminal 2 east. Not as nice as the west side, but still clean and up to date with modern finishes.

My boarding pass said that boarding for this flight would begin at 12:45pm, but the inbound aircraft from YYC wasn’t due in until 12:40. Hmm.

They were still promising an on-time departure even though there would be no way to board at the scheduled time, so it was fun to watch them turn that aircraft around as fast as I’ve ever seen it done.

The ground crew (with the help of the cabin crew) really hustled, and they were able to start boarding just about 15 minutes behind schedule. While not exactly on time, it was impressive nonetheless.

gate 24 san diego airport
Flight information board here at gate 24 showing an on time departure.
westjet 737-700 san Diego
There she is: C-FBWJ just in from YYC, and the ground crew working hard to get her turned around to head back home (with me on it!).
westjet 737-700 san Diego
Another angle showing off that beautiful blue and teal WestJet livery.
gate 24 san diego airport
Boarding just about to commence here at gate 24.

WestJet boards by zone numbers, and the “ZONE 4” stamp on my boarding pass meant that I would be one of the last to board. Not that it really mattered anyway, as my backpack is small enough to fit under the seat in front of me so it’s rare that I ever have to fight for overhead bin space.

I was thinking that the gate area seemed rather empty just before they started the boarding process, and I was expecting a fairly open flight based on the number of other passengers waiting to board. My suspicions were confirmed when they called for zone 1 and nobody came forward. They jumped straight to zone 2 and the boarding process was underway.

I really had no idea what to expect before stepping foot onboard, as WestJet is an airline I know very little about. Are they considered mainline or a low cost carrier (LCC)? How large of a network do they have? Do they serve many other destinations in the US? I really didn’t know before this trip began, so it was fun to get to know this airline a little bit better today.

westjet 737-700 main cabin seats
Main cabin seats 6D, E, and F on this WestJet 737-700. Mine was the window seat, of course.
westjet 737-700 seats
I like the way the ground crew crosses the seat belts across the seat. Nice little detail there (but it still doesn’t make me wish I was flying WestJet 787-9 business class instead).
westjet 737-700 seat pitch
Seat pitch looks decent – not too bad, eh? For the record, it’s better that what you will see in my Swoop Airlines review (a subsidiary airline owned by WestJet).
westjet 737-700 seat pitch
I’m 5′-10″, and as you can see, leg room seemed generous. It was perfectly comfortable.
westjet 737-700 seat back pocket
No personal video screens in these seats.
westjet 737-700 in seat power ports
There are power outlets at every seat though, which was really nice to see.
westjet 737-700 cabin
While not quite as flashy as Virgin America, the cabin of this WestJet 737-700 was nice. Simple and clean is always good.
westjet 737-600/700 safety card
I never really got into collecting safety cards, but I know that some of you like that sort of thing. So these pics are for you!
westjet 737-600/700 safety card
And here’s the back of the card.

The boarding process was very quick, and the forward door was shut with the middle seat open next to me. Yes! I don’t mind sitting in economy class if there is an open seat next to me, so I was feeling pretty good as we pushed back from the gate – on time no less. They did it. They were able to turn this aircraft around in record time (or so it seems that way) so hats off to Westjet for having such a well-oiled system here at SAN.

The flight attendant asked me to remove my earbuds for the safety demonstration, which ended up being a very entertaining live performance. Yes, “performance” is the best way to describe it – it was really funny, and they had my attention the entire time. The demo was also done a second time in French, but the voiceover was a recording.

The pushback and taxi out to the runway were more interesting than normal for several reasons:

  • First, they started one engine at the gate with an external APU. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen that happen. Engine problems perhaps? *GULP*
  • Second, the ground/tug crew held up a sign and waved to us as we pulled away and began our taxi. I’ve only seen this sort of thing in Japan, so it was a fun an unexpected little bit of flair here at SAN.
  • And third, the taxi out to the runway was FAST. I mean really fast. It’s not like we were way behind schedule or anything, so I don’t know what the rush was all about.
pushing back from gate
Pushing back from the gate as the wing walkers guide us to the active taxiway.
waving ground crew
The ground crew waving to a departing aircraft is something I’ve only seen in Japan. This was a nice and unexpected surprise!

Speaking of being fast and rushing, the pilots really gunned the departure as well. After what seemed like a normal liftoff from runway 27, they applied full throttle, shooting us up at a very sharp angle and banking left as we crossed over the shores of Sunset Cliffs.

In all my years flying out of San Diego, I’ve never experienced an aggressive takeoff quite like that. It also surprised me that we turned left (south) out of SAN – since this was a western/northern flight, I was totally expecting we would turn north.

taxi to runway san diego airport
It’s hard to tell from this pic, but at this point I am experiencing the fastest ever taxi-to-the-runway I’ve ever seen at SAN. We were haulin’!
runway threshold san Diego airport
There was no waiting for departure – we rolled right on through and started our take off roll immediately.
san diego airport runway
Over the piano keys!
liftoff at san diego airport
Liftoff just past the control tower. Note the military aircraft in the background (I’m ashamed to admit that I don’t know that that is. C130 perhaps?).
us marine new recruit depot san diego
Nice view of the US Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD). I’ve got a ton of respect for the young men who go through boot camp here.
climbing out of san diego airport
Climbing out of SAN with an awesome view of Mission Bay! Too bad the windows were so dirty.
aggressive takeoff san diego airport
This was probably the most aggressive take off from SAN I’ve ever experienced. The pilot was hammering it!

The flight attendants came through with snacks 10 minutes after departure, offering “sweet” or “salty” (their words, not mine). I knew I didn’t want sweet, so I took a ride on the wild side and took my chances with salty – with a cup of water of course. Business class passengers (the first rows of the cabin) were served complimentary sandwiches.

westjet food for purchase menu
Having a look at the food-for-purhcase menu (in French, of course).
westjet food for purchase
Interior of the WestJet food-for-purhcase menu.
westjet in flight menu
The last section of the menu, featuring an assortment of audio peripherals available for purchase.
westjet inflight snack
A cup of water and a salty snack. Nothing fancy, but I’ll take it!
westjet in flight snack
Here’s a slightly wider angle view showing the complete WestJet inflight snacking experience. First class this is not!

There are no personal video screens on these WestJet 737-700’s, but they do have a mobile app for both iOS and Android that passengers can use to stream a large variety of movies, tv shows, and news programs – all free of charge, which was nice.

I played with a little bit, and overall I was impressed. My only disappointment was the fact that there was no moving map feature, which is always my favorite part of an in-flight entertainment system. There was a “flight time remaining” indicator on the app, but unfortunately, it’s just said “0:00” for the entire flight.

westjet mobile app in flight entertainment
WestJet’s mobile app also acts as it’s in flight entertainment system. I found it to be quite good, stocked with many good movies and TV shows. No moving map feature, unfortunately.

I spent most of the flight with my nose glued to the window (which was horribly dirty and scratched up), watching the ground below turn from summer to fall the farther we pushed north.

westjet 737-700 winglet
Good looking winglet with the westjet.com branding just outside the window.
flying over the western US
Flying over the western portion of the US is something I’ll never tire of. It’s beautiful down there!
great salt lake from the air
That’s the Great Salt Lake with Salt Lake City in the distance (at the base of the mountains).
in flight selfie
That’s me, SANspotter, hard at work getting pics for this trip report.
westjet 737-700 cabin
The view looking forward as we make our way towards Calgary.
flying over Montana
I’ve never flown over Montana before, and I was surprised how dry it looked. I was expecting more green.
westjet inflight snack
Still working on my water and snack…

The skies were clear for nearly the entire trip up, and our descent in YYC was as beautiful as I had expected it to be. Unfortunately I was on the wrong side of the aircraft to get a good look at the front range of the Canadian Rockies, but the rusty yellow and orange fall colors of the landscape below was very pretty. A very nice welcome to Calgary.

descending into YYC
Starting our descent over what appears to be a dry desert landscape. I definitely wasn’t expecting that!
descending into YYC
It wasn’t until we were at a much lower altitude that I realized that “green” season was over way up here – most of the brown was harvested farm land.
wide angle 737-700 pic
I had to get a wide-angle pic of it, just because. This is probably my favorite shot from the entire trip, so I’m totally bummed that the window was so dirty!
approaching YYC
Making the big left hand sweeping turn as we approach YYC.
approaching YYC airport
Alllmooosst there…
approaching YYC
Just a few more seconds…

Landing was smooth and the taxi took us around the airport (giving me a pretty good look at all the airlines that serve YYC), and it was shaping up to be a beautiful sunset out there.

arrival at YYC airport
Welcome to Calgary!
Air Canada 787-9 C-FGEO
We rolled right past a beautiful new Air Canada 787-9 (C-FGEO) on our way into the gate. Such a beautiful airplane!
WestJet 767-300 C-FOGJ
Also cool to see was this WestJet 767-300 (C-FOGJ) sitting on the ramp. Nice to see WS expanding their fleet beyond the 737!
arrival at YYC airport
Pulling up to the gate, ending my first ever flight on WestJet.

Unfortunately, knowing that I had Canadian border agents to get past soured my mood a bit as we were pulling up to the gate. I hate going through Canadian customs (they are always so aggressive and mean), but I put my best foot forward, had a positive attitude, and marched my way to passport control. Welcome to Canada!

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