WestJet 787-9 business class is Air Canada’s worst nightmare

WestJet 787-9 business class is Air Canada’s worst nightmare

Would it surprise you that WestJet 787-9 business class has been one of my most requested airline reviews of the past two years? For those of you who have begging me to do this, probably not.

I recently flew from Toronto to Calgary on the WestJet 787-9. I’m happy to report that their business class seats are extremely comfortable, very spacious, and every bit as good as international business class on any other global airline.

Yeah, I was skeptical of a little rinky-dink 737-based Canadian airline going big with 787s, but you know what? It seems like they actually know what they’re doing.

WS665
Toronto, ON (YYZ) – Calgary, AB (YYC)
Tuesday, September 27, 2022
Aircraft: 787-9
Registration: C-GYRS
Duration: 3 hours 33 minutes
Seat: 4K (Business Class)

WestJet 787-9 side view
WestJet 787-9 side view illustration by NorebboStock.com.
WS665 flight track
Our route from Toronto to Calgary this afternoon as WS665.

The video

One of the most interesting things about putting together the video from this flight was how similar it felt to putting together a video for any other long haul international business class product. That’s basically just a long way of saying that WestJet really impressed me.

A full review of my WestJet 787-9 business class experience from Toronto to Calgary

With a total flying time of 3 hours and 33 minutes, going from Toronto to Calgary was the perfect way to give the WestJet 787 a try. That’s long enough to experience a full meal and a decent nap afterwards, but not long enough that I’d be miserable if it totally sucked. Spoiler alert: it didn’t suck.

Arrival at the Toronto Pearson International Airport

After a nice night at the Gateway Sheraton Hotel, it was simply a matter of walking down some stairs, through a tunnel, and across the street. WestJet uses Terminal 3 at the Toronto Pearson International Airport. It’s one of the older terminals at YYZ, and it’s a little rough around the edges.

Westjet check in terminal 3 YYZ
Like a dog who marks its territory on a fire hydrant, WestJest has successfully marked its territory here in the ticketing hall of Terminal 3. Teal green everywhere you look!
Car advertisements YYZ terminal 3
Even the car has been slathered in the WestJet brand colors.
Westjet check in and baggage drop Toronto airport
There is a priority check in area for business class passengers BTW (which is where I assume the guy on the left got that sweet teal green sweater).
Terminal 3 YYZ airport
Uh oh. There was no sign of WestJet at all once past the security checkpoint here in T3. Walk with me for a second as I confirm whether or not I’m in the right place…

< panicked walking >

Gate B37 terminal 3 YYZ airport
Disaster averted! There’s no sign of the plane yet, but I’m seeing splashes of teal green here at gate B37. So far so good. 
Westjet 787-9 Toronto International Airport
Fast forward 40 minutes, and the 787-9 taking me to Calgary today has arrived and is in the process of getting prepped. Which is perfect, considering that I am in the process of getting pumped.

Lounge access

If you’re flying international business class on WestJet out of Toronto, you’ll have access to the Plaza Premium lounge located at the center of Terminal 3. Note that domestic business class passengers on the 787-9 (such as myself) have access as well.

Plaza premium lounge entrance terminal 3 YYZ airport
I know. Plaza Premium Lounges aren’t all that extravagant, but it is better than nothing.
plaza premium lounge interior YYZ
Here are some pics from the first (and last) time that I visited this lounge (right before flying Air Transat A330-300 economy to Montreal). The fact that I didn’t even go in this time tells you everything you need to know about what I really think of it.

The boarding process for flight number 665 to Calgary

I was having mega-flashbacks to my last WestJet flight as they started the boarding process. No, WestJet 737-800 economy from Vancouver to Los Angeles wasn’t anything like what I’d be experiencing today, but it was just nice to see that stylish WestJet logo again on my boarding pass.

WestJet business class boarding pass
My boarding pass for today’s flight (presented in an awkwardly antisocial manner).
Boarding westjet 787-9 flight in Toronto
I could’ve been at the front of the line when they called for Zone 1 to board if I hadn’t been so antisocial just now. Oh well.
Westjet jet bridge YYZ airport
You thought I was joking about the antisocial thing, didn’t you?
Westjet 787-9 boarding door
Oh how long I’ve waited for this moment! After all these years, it’s nice to finally see a WestJet 787 up close.

My first impressions of the business class seats on the WestJet 787-9

I immediately started to “get it” as soon as I stepped onboard. WestJet’s newest interiors (especially on the 787) are beautiful. And they went with a dark charcoal color for the fabric, which works really nicely with the wood and metal accents. It looks like a very high-end experience.

Westjet 787-9 premium economy
My heart sank when I turned left and saw this. Yours would too if you were expecting business class but saw premium economy instead.
Westjet 787-9 business class cabin
That’s more like it! Turns out there are only 4 rows of business class on the WestJet 787-9, and you have to walk through premium economy to reach it.
Westjet 787-9 business class seat
Seat 4K. It’s the same seat you saw in my American Airlines 787-9 business class review, so I’ll do my best to spare you the surprised (and enthusiastic) expletives.
Westjet 787-9 business class seat details
“Holy ******* **** this kicks ***!” (Sorry, I really did try)
Westjet 787-9 business class seat design
The attention to detail is on-point. This is WestJet?
Westjet 787-9 business class seat storage bins
Just as I was successfully recovering from hyperventilation, opening the storage bins and seeing that vivid blue sent me into a fit of dizzying palpitations. This is easily one of the best looking business class seats I’ve ever seen!
Westjet 787-9 business class leg room
Okay, I probably definitely over exaggerated the effects this seat had on me just now, but I can’t deny that I was pleasantly surprised.
Westjet 787-9 business class window seat 4K
I’m not even mad that there’s no teal green anywhere.
Westjet 787-9 business class cabin overview
If you didn’t know this was a WestJet 787-9 business class review, would you be able to identify it just by looking at this pic? It’s definitely stealthy.
Westjet 787-9 business class video screen
WestJet brand colors spotted!

The departure out of Toronto

I always get nervous when flying out of Toronto. No, not because I have a fear of flying or anything (OK maybe  a little), but this is a massive airport that often becomes overly-congested.

Thankfully, it was a quick and easy taxi out to the runway this particular afternoon. I wouldn’t say that it was as casual as flying out of Dangriga or anything, but I was certainly expecting worse.

Westjet 787-9 pushing off the gate
Can’t say that I’m not feeling just a little bit excited about this!
Westjet 787 engine and wing
That stressful moment when the engines are running but we haven’t moved in like 5 minutes. Uh oh.
Westjet 787 taxiing to runway YYZ
Ok, I’m back to feeling excited again. The emotional roller coaster so far has been wild.
SANspotter selfie westjet 787-9 business class
Hold on – I’ll resume the pics in a moment (the safety video was a bit hypnotic lol).
Westjet 787-9 takeoff YYZ airport
There we go. And nope, this wasn’t the most scenic takeoff I’ve ever experienced, but the sound more than made up for it (you can hear it in the video embedded below).

Climbing through clouds Boeing 787-9 engine and wing
My apologies to those of you who were hoping for sexy views of the city upon departure. The best I can offer you is this sexy engine pic instead.

In-flight entertainment

If there’s one thing that disappointed me about this business class experience, it was the entertainment system. Having flown Air Canada 737 MAX 8 economy class the day before, it was quickly obvious that the WestJet in-flight entertainment system was far inferior. The selection of movies and TV shows were just a fraction of what Air Canada offers.

Westjet 787-9 business class video entertainment home screen
4K? It looked no more than 1080p to me.
Westjet 787-9 business class movies and tv shows
If there is one thing that Air Canada does better than WestJet, it’s video entertainment. These screens were nice and all, but the variety of content was lacking.
Westjet 787-9 business class entertainment system remote control
At least there’s a remote control (a statement I don’t think I’ve ever made before). I can’t be the only one who never uses these things…
Westjet 787-9 business class noise canceling headphones
However, I always make use of the noise canceling headphones. You know I wore the **** out of these bad boys!

The food

Domestic flights on internationally-configured aircraft can sometimes be a watered-down experience. I wasn’t expecting much from the meal service, so that’s why I was beyond happy to be presented with a full menu offering several choices for the main entrée.

Westjet 787-9 business class menu
They had me at “Cheese and crackers.”
Westjet 787-9 business class drinks menu
Want to get lit on your way to Calgary? The WestJet drink menu has got you covered.
Westjet 787-9 business class snack
First came a drink (ice water) and a snack (roasted cashews).
SANspotter eating snack westjet 787-9 business class
Second guessing my choice of entree. Don’t you hate it when they give you time to think about it?
westjet 787-9 business class dinner
It’s too late now. Mushroom ravioli it is!
westjet 787-9 business class mushroom ravioli
Upon closer inspection, I was back to thinking I made the right choice. Cheesy pasta FTW.
westjet 787-9 business class dinner salad
I have no idea what this is (mozzarella perhaps?) but it was good, and I ate it all.
westjet 787-9 business class dessert
I know Tiramisu when I see it though. Saving it for last was an exercise in futility.
SANspotter selfie Westjet business class food
Did I regret my decision to eat the ravioli instead of sending it back? Not at all. Not only was it delicious, there was no real way of knowing if the flight attendant wouldn’t have retaliated by spitting in my food (which would have been totally justified IMHO). 

Overall, I found the food quality to be very good. Nothing like what you’d get in Austrian Airlines Business Class or anything, but still pretty good.

Testing out the lie flat seat

A lie flat seat in WestJet 787-9 business class would be a very comfortable place to be on a long international flight. They are highly adjustable, fairly private, and the padding is just right (Goldilocks would surely approve).

Westjet lie flat business class seat
Yes, I often take pictures of myself when I sleep. Especially in really comfortable lie flat business class seats such as this.
Westjet 787-9 business class seat privacy
Ok, the wide angle view of the picture above is somewhat misleading. Make no mistake about it – these seats are very private.
Westjet 787-9 business class seat isolation
Well, privacy does have it’s limits, and in these seats, it ends at the top of the head (as demonstrated by the guy on the left). 
Westjet 787-9 business class view from row 4
I can neither confirm nor deny that I was feeling the temptation to play whack-a-mole with a cartoonish foam hammer as I was taking this pic.

For what it’s worth, there were no blankets provided on today’s flight to Calgary. I didn’t expect there would be, but at least we got pillows.

The arrival into Calgary

I always love flying into western Canadian airports. The scenery (as you saw in my Swoop 737-800 economy review from San Diego to Edmonton) is never disappointing. But first, I need to use the bathroom…

Westjet 787-9 business class lavatory
For anyone curious, the lavatory was standard-issue 787 without any WestJet personal touches. Really? How hard is it to paint a teal green maple leaf on the wall?
WestJet business class pre landing snacks
Just as I was thinking of the ways in which I was going to express my disappointment about the loo, they redeemed themselves with pre landing snacks.
WestJet business class pre landing snack box
Pro tip to any airline out there worried about their business class passengers being disappointed with the lack of loo flair: give ‘em snacks upon returning to their seat. It’ll turn any frown upside down!

The weather was just about perfect as we began the descent, and there was a pretty nice view of the setting sun all the way in. Seriously – the beauty of western Canada is highly underrated IMHO.

Canadian prairies
From now on, if anyone asks me if there are mountains in Calgary, I’m going to show them this pic. #flatasapancake
Westjet 787-9 arrival in Calgary
Calgary is a lot like Denver actually. Everything east of the city is completely flat, and everything west makes you want to sing John Denver songs.
Westjet 787-9 business class seat view from top
Welcome to Calgary! And so long to one of the best seats I’ve had the pleasure of sitting in for quite some time.
Westjet 787-9 premium economy seats
I like how we had to walk through the premium economy cabin on the way out. The gradual return to the real world (instead of being hit in the face with it all at once) was very much appreciated.
Westjet 787-9 galley
Is it even necessary for me to say whether or not I can recommend this? It’s not that I don’t want to, but I’ve pretty much used every positive word I know of in this review so far.
Calgary airport jet bridge
The only thing I got left is “bad a**.” It’s a term that my fellow 80’s kids know as being something you don’t throw around lightly. If you say it, you really mean it, and in this case…I think I do. Well done, WestJet!

Pros and cons of the WestJet business class experience on the 787-9

Honestly, if you can get it for a decent price, there’s not much about the WestJet international business class product that would make you consider avoiding it all together. From my experience, these are all the pros and cons:

Pros

  • The seats are every bit as good as the international business class seats on Air Canada or any other international airline.
  • The food was surprisingly good. I wouldn’t go as far as saying that it’s “world class” or anything, but it tasted (and looked) like proper international business class food.
  • Cabin service (in general) was excellent. WestJet isn’t a small regional Canadian airline anymore – they are every bit as competitive as the other airlines.

Cons

  • Compared to Air Canada, the variety (and quantity) of TV shows and movies is severely lacking. There didn’t seem to be much of a choice in my opinion.
  • Remember – the window shades on the Boeing 787 are electronically controlled. They don’t get completely dark, and they don’t get completely clear as well. That’s just something to keep in mind if you’re nitpicky about controlling the light from your window shade.
  • Although this isn’t anything specific to the 787-9, it’s important to note that you’ll have better mileage-earning opportunities flying internationally with Air Canada. Aeroplan (Air Canada’s frequent flyer program) is far superior to WestJet Rewards.

Comments (5)

  1. Peter

    November 5, 2022
    • Scott (SANspotter)

      November 5, 2022
      • Peter

        November 8, 2022
  2. Daniel

    November 5, 2022
    • Scott (SANspotter)

      November 5, 2022

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