Savannah Grace

The West Jet Disaster

I knew our flight from Amsterdam to Vancouver was too perfect and thus our inevitably DOOMED return trip to Holland….

Normally I only fly direct to and from Vancouver and Amsterdam, so perhaps that was my first mistake. Our flight from Vancouver to Calgary was delayed forcing us to MISS our flight to Amsterdam. The first time EVER, in my entire life, to miss a flight. From others’ stories, I assumed we would be put up for the night in a hotel and catch another flight in a day or two… Oh how sorely wrong I was.

The whole reasoning behind this disaster is still a bit of a mystery to us, but it is either due to high winds in Calgary or the fact that the computer systems were down in Vancouver. We had had to be manually checked in and the boarding process was very slow.

The descent into Calgary was enough to turn my blood cold with the WORST turbulence I have ever experienced. I pretty much died in my seat from sheer terror as we got AIR in our seats. Not to mention I’m scared of flying to begin with, I nearly cried when the lady at West Jet told us that the next direct flight out of Calgary was in TEN days. The best option (more like WORST) she could find us was a treacherous 4-stop, two-day journey…My fear of flying literally had me considering just spending the rest of my life in Calgary and never stepping foot on an airplane again. I’m busing back to Vancouver was my thought. 


But of course, Kees found a way of tricking me into taking this voyage home. After quite some time spent figuring out our situation the lady at West Jet became super agitated and rude when we asked about a comped hotel room along the way, or at least a food voucher… Her reasoning for her rudeness? She had to PEE… You’ve got to be kidding me. I wondered if she was just too dense or selfish to realize what the next 24 hours entailed for us. 

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At any rate, we flew from Vancouver to Calgary, Calgary to Toronto, Toronto to Montreal, Montreal to Paris and finally from Paris to Amsterdam. The journey from bed to bed took 48 hours with absolutely no compensation of any kind from West Jet… or KLM. Thank gosh for my contact with Lisa at the Hilton Hotel in Whistler and her helping me arrange a stay at the Hilton Toronto Airport Hotel and Suites at the last minute so we could get 3.5 hours of sleep during our stop over. When I told Air France what we’d been through, they were shocked, “They didn’t even give you a food voucher?” “Nope.” The flights were all very short so none of them provided food or TVs for entertainment. 

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We turned lemons into lemonade in Montreal by exploring the city. It was easy enough to store our carry-on luggage at the airport and, with the help of many friendly locals, buy tickets which are good for both the airport bus 747 and metro and make our way into the old part of town. We had a lovely, if not zombie-like stroll through the city. I’ve only ever been to BC and Alberta so was actually pretty excited to step foot in both Ontario and Quebec. Plus I got to add another city to my map! 


Montreal was a real mix of old and new. I found it interesting to see the history of early settlers from Europe so evident in Montreal. That is something we don’t have so much of all the way on the west coast in Vancouver. I was also surprised that every single local we spoke to could speak both French and English perfectly! 

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By the time we reached Paris, I thought I was going to die of exhaustion and it made me realize how soft I’ve become. Travel days in the early days with the family were WAY worse! This journey really made me appreciate how insane we were on that round the world trip. 

Mom picked us up in Amsterdam. Since we arrived in the early afternoon, Kees and I attempted to stay up until bed time in hopes of avoiding jet lag. We hopped on the motorcycle and did groceries. The wind in our faces made me believe I was revived, but I realized the opposite was true when I nodded off on the back and constantly had to shake myself to stay awake.


We made it until 4pm before crawling into bed and I slept for a amazing 25 hours with a short three hour awake period from 1-4am.  

It goes without saying, I will never fly with West Jet again, I will always go direct from Amsterdam to Vancouver and if I can avoid it, I will not fly with KLM either. Why can’t airlines be more like Emirates?!!?!? 


3 replies »

  1. Well you know what they say,have a bad experience and you will tell nine people and then word travels from there but telling you I think the word will travel much further that you had a bad experience with West Jet,why didn’t they just fly you back to Vancouver?I love the ears on your helmut.

    • Hahah thanks. And yes, I was all in favor of flying back. Because they said they could only fly us TO our destination, not back or we’d be paying that ourselves. Whatever. They’re just mean idiots.

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