Callers to Canadian airline get phone sex line instead
Aug. 18, 2006 02:11 PM
CALGARY - Some consumers hoping to use a 1-800 line to book flights on WestJet Airlines are getting offers for a completely unexpected kind of service.
"Hey there, sexy guy! Welcome to an exciting new way to go live, one-on-one with hot, horny girls waiting right now to talk to you," purrs the female voice at the end of a 1-800-WestJet phone call.
The voice promises anything the caller wants for just $3.99 US per minute.
It apparently is not a side business dreamed up by WestJet CEO Clive Beddoe to improve the airline's bottom line.
"The 1-800-WestJet number has nothing to do with WestJet at all," sighed Gillian Bentley, a spokeswoman for the Calgary-based airline.
"It is a company out of the U.S. and that number was already used when WestJet first applied for a 1-800 number back in 1997," she explained.
The information surfaced a few years ago, she said, and WestJet employees are fully aware of it.
"You get the odd one who doesn't," she said with a laugh. "I get an odd e-mail saying, 'Did you know?' And I write back and say, 'Yes.' "
WestJet settled for 1-888-WestJet and 1-800-538-5696 for its reservation numbers.
"Unfortunately some people do dial the other number and they do get that line, but it has never been used in any form against WestJet," Bentley said.
The line has caught the eye and tickled the funny bones of many travellers on the Flyertalk.com Forum blog on the Internet.
"Maybe you guys have cracked Clive's secret revenue source ... Maybe this is one of WestJet's add-on value-added services?" quipped one participant.
"Thinking how 'relaxed' WestJet is, I thought that was some kind of special opening, so I continued to listen for a few more seconds. The more I listened, the more I thought ... what did I call?' wrote another.
Even a Calgary airline analyst was caught off guard after listening to the recording.
Rick Erickson said he thought at first it might be the brainchild of WestJet vice-president Sean Durphy, who once came up with some suggestive ads that the airline never did use.
"They were really on the cheeky side and there were sort of sexual overtones to those too," Erickson chuckled. "So I thought, whoa, what is Sean kind of hatching on us now?"
It's doubtful WestJet will lose business because of the sex line, said Erickson.
"I don't think it's going to be any kind of an issue to WestJet customers. WestJet is just victimized, if you will, and it's just bad luck."
Is this what they mean by full service today.