Canadian airline WestJet unveiled a slew of new routes on Monday set to begin flying this summer, including flights across the northern border from a trio of new U.S. cities.
Travelers based in Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) will see WestJet planes for the first time with nonstop service over the summer to both Edmonton (YEG) in Alberta and Saskatoon (YXE) in Saskatchewan. Meanwhile, the airline is also adding its first routes from its hub in Calgary (YYC) to both Detroit (DTW) and Washington, D.C.-Dulles (IAD).
Those new routes are part of a broader summer expansion as the low-cost carrier adds more flights in and out of other U.S. cities like Seattle (SEA), Austin (AUS), Nashville (BNA), and more. With brand-new destinations like Minneapolis and Detroit and expansions in Seattle and Atlanta (ATL), there's a clear emphasis on Delta hubs. Delta and WestJet are partner airlines, meaning Canadians can fly down to Minneapolis and easily connect onward throughout Delta's network – or vice versa for Americans. And, don't forget: It also means travelers can cash in Delta SkyMiles on WestJet flights.
All those flights were added to WestJet's schedule over the weekend, so they're available to book now.
“We are thrilled to be expanding our network and giving our guests substantial opportunity to explore the U.S., and Canada from coast-to-coast this summer,” WestJet CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech said in a statement.
WestJet is also ramping up its intra-Canada flying as it challenges Air Canada's dominance north of the border. But, the carrier's emphasis for summer 2023 is on expanding flights to the U.S. – with a handful of brand-new options. Let's take a look.
Brand-New Minneapolis to Canada Service
WestJet is making a splash at Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP), kicking things off with not one but two routes this summer.
- Flights to Edmonton (YEG) begin June 2, with five flights a week on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays until late October
- Flights to Saskatoon (YXE) begin June 19, with three flights a week on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays until Oct. 25.
It's a brand-new carrier for Minneapolis-based travelers. But in some ways, WestJet is picking up where Delta left off: Delta still hasn't brought back its nonstop route from Minnesota to Edmonton after ditching it during the pandemic.
“We're thrilled to welcome WestJet to Minnesota and are pleased to add two important business routes to Edmonton and Saskatoon from MSP,” Brian Ryks, the CEO of the Metropolitan Airports Commission and the Minneapolis airport, said in a statement. “WestJet's arrival also opens up new connections for travelers across Western Canada and the United States leveraging their codeshare with Delta Air Lines, MSP's largest carrier.”
These new routes to Canada start as low as $285 roundtrip … but can clock in as high as $600-plus during the peak summer. So you might turn to your Delta SkyMiles instead: With award rates steady at 25,000 SkyMiles roundtrip, it could be a solid deal if you're planning a trip to Canada during the middle of summer.
Detroit to Calgary
WestJet is also making its first foray into yet another Delta hub: Detroit (DTW).
- Flights from Detroit to Calgary (YYC) begin May 26, eventually operating five times weekly through late October
Both WestJet and Delta executives emphasized their close partnership as a key factor in these new routes. Detroit residents can simply fly into Calgary or connect onward to dozens of other Canadian destinations. Canadians, meanwhile, can fly WestJet down to Detroit, then hop on another Delta flight to get to their final destination.
“With the addition of WestJet, our customers will be able to fly directly from Detroit to Calgary for the first time since 2005. We're hoping this route will also give our Canadian neighbors one more reason to visit our great region,” Detroit Airport's CEO Chad Newton said.
Delta's only current nonstop routes to Canada can get travelers to Toronto (YYZ) or Montreal (YUL).
While skiing might be off-limits with this summer seasonal service, Calgary is a great gateway to head out to Banff any time of year.
D.C. to Calgary, Too
WestJet is also targeting a brand new route to our nation's capital.
- Nonstop flights connecting Washington, D.C.-Dulles (IAD) and Calgary (YYC) commence June 2, flying up to three times weekly until early October
It's WestJet's first appearance in the D.C. area. While many D.C. residents might prefer flying out of the more centrally-located Washington, D.C.-Reagan (DCA), strict limits on flight lengths departing from that airport make getting all the way to Alberta a no-go.
WestJet is making its way to more and more U.S. cities.
The highly-regarded Canadian low-cost carrier will launch summer flights to three new U.S. airports: Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP), Detroit (DTW), and Washington, D.C.-Dulles (IAD). Along with additional routes to its existing U.S. outstations, those new summer options are already on sale whether you're using cash or cashing in some Delta SkyMiles.
Westjet can expand all the flight routes they want, they won’t have passengers to fill their seats. They do not believe in Air Passenger Protection Rights, do not fulfil their promises, make up excuses, and while they publicly blame others for flight delays, they take ZERO accoutability for things in their control. They left my family stranded in Calgary after turning around mid-flight to our destination. We had to find our own way home. No rebooking and no compensation. Their reason was “due to unplanned aircraft maintenance” that is “out of their control”. SO aircraft maintaince is not planned and/or out of their control, that’s comforting. But by all means, add more flights, to more destinations for empty planes.