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WestJet says it’s back online after global outage, COO says more disruptions expected

CALGARY — Over 200 flight cancellations caused long lineups this past weekend after a system-wide outage at WestJet.

The airline said it has resolved Saturday’s outage, which affected its entire network and saw more than 200 cancellations related to a cooling issue in its primary data centre. Despite coming back online late Saturday evening, WestJet is cautioning additional delays and cancellations – confounded by winter weather affecting Alberta and parts of Western Canada – across the next 24 hours as it works to re-accommodate guests.

Passengers with imminent travel plans are asked to check the WestJet app or WestJet.com for the most up-to-date information on their flight. All other guests are asked to refrain from contacting the airline until 72 hours in advance of their flight to ensure calls are being prioritized. Re-accommodation options for impacted guests continue to be communicated through email.

For Monday, Nov. 7, there are 31 cancellations related to recovery from the service outage, winter weather, crew safety and maintenance, as well as 10 extra section flights for guest recovery.

Chief Operating Officer Diederik Pen released a statement on Sunday, which reads in full as follows:

“To our valued guests,

“On Saturday November 5, WestJet experienced a system-wide outage that impacted operations across our network due to a cooling issue in our primary data centre. Upon learning of the issue, we immediately implemented procedures to employ backup options and manual processes where possible, to minimize guest impact.

“Despite our best efforts, a severe disruption to our service occurred, resulting in more than 200 flight cancellations across our network and significant delays throughout Saturday and Sunday.

“On behalf of the entire WestJet team, we sincerely apologize to all guests for this unforeseen disruption to their travel plans and the resulting impact on communications, affecting our ability to relay information. We deeply regret this weekend’s extraordinary events that prevented us from delivering the experience our guests deserve.

“The technology outage has been resolved and all systems are online, but we are still experiencing some instability. Unfortunately, due to the scope of yesterday’s network impact, we continue to see residual disruptions. Further delays and cancellations in the coming days will be required, as we work diligently to recover our operations.

“We understand we let our guests down, and as we work to restore normal operations we owe our sincere gratitude to all who continue to demonstrate patience and understanding as we are currently experiencing very high volumes for our phone, email and social media support channels and long lineups at airports.

“While our teams are working to assist guests as quickly as possible, we ask that anyone with travel plans check the WestJet app or WestJet.com for the most up-to-date information on their flight. In an effort to assist guests with imminent travel plans, we are asking all other guests to refrain from contacting us until 72 hours in advance of their flight to ensure we are able to prioritize calls. Re-accommodation options for all impacted guests will be communicated through email as soon as possible. Unfortunately, we are unable to assist guests who are coming to our airports for re-accommodations.

“We are undertaking a full review on this incident, and it is my sincere promise that we will find areas of opportunity to improve.”