Westjet has begun construction of its first branded lounge at its Calgary hub, upping the ante in its transition to a globally competitive full-service airline, and away from its low-cost roots.
Westjet has increasingly dominated the Calgary market in recent years, launching its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner flights to Europe from the city, and concentrating more of its sun destination flying from its home base. To fill those planes, Westjet has turned to funneling more and more passengers through Calgary, and away from flying its Boeing 737s exclusively on non-stop routes between cities.
The new lounge will give an added perk to Westjet’s most frequent flyers, and people seated in business class. Previously, those passengers were allowed to use private lounges, which will continue to be the case in other Westjet cities.
“As WestJet continues its accelerated journey to becoming a global network carrier our new flagship lounge in Calgary will give top-tier WestJet Rewards members, Business cabin guests and select partner travellers a home within our home in Calgary,” said d’Arcy Monaghan, WestJet’s Vice-President of Loyalty in a statement.
“This lounge will showcase WestJet’s award-winning hospitality, refined style, elevated products and premium experience our guests have been enjoying with the launch of our new Dreamliner.”
The lounge is being built near Calgary’s B Concourse, with easy access to Westjet’s most frequently used gates. International passengers will also be able to access gates in the International pier, the airline said. Customs rules make providing a lounge for premium passengers to the United States a challenge, both for Westjet and rival Air Canada.
“Whether guests are starting a journey, or connecting, this premium lounge will elevate their experience,” said Rob Palmer, the Calgary Airport Authority’s Chief Financial Officer. “YYC is already proud to be home to WestJet, its Dreamliner hub, and now we’re excited to welcome this flagship lounge at our airport. Congratulations to WestJet.”
Westjet said its branded lounge will “seamlessly blend contemporary interior design with refined mountain living.” It is being designed by Gensler, a global architecture firm with its only Canadian office in Toronto.
The lounge will feature food and drink for top-tier frequent flyers and business class passengers, as well as space to work or relax. It is slated to open late next summer.