petteri
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WestJet Announces Premium Economy Seating

Wed Aug 01, 2012 12:57 pm

According to WestJet's latest press release they will be introducing premium economy seating. They say they will be offering priority boarding and other "complimentary on-board amenities". I wonder what those might be?

No indication on pricing yet. They'll also set the remainder of the seats to a pitch of 31' to 32' inches.

Presser here:

http://westjet2.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=43&item=696
The above comments are my personal comments and in no way should be viewed as the views,policy or statements of JetBlue
 
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c172akula
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RE: WestJet Announces Premium Economy Seating

Wed Aug 01, 2012 1:12 pm

Quoting petteri (Thread starter):
and other "complimentary on-board amenities". I wonder what those might be?

Those in premium economy will be in their own self contained mini cabin and will not have to hear the in-flight jokes.  

I wonder if they will do this to the Q400's as well?
 
Bobloblaw
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RE: WestJet Announces Premium Economy Seating

Wed Aug 01, 2012 1:44 pm

Anyone remember Air Canada's ill conceived Conessur Clsss of the early 1980s? No separate cabin or even separate area. Just seats spread out through the cabin. You got a better meal, better ear phones, and some other amenities like no middle seat. But youd be sitting right next to a nonconnesur pax. Also no way of preventing pax from switching seats. I think it lasted abut 1-2 years.

It also made no sense because AC was govt owned and fares were regulated so the opportunity to sell up was quite limited to only grabbing share from CP, PV, ND, QB etc.
 
brilondon
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RE: WestJet Announces Premium Economy Seating

Wed Aug 01, 2012 1:57 pm

Quoting bobloblaw (Reply 2):
Anyone remember Air Canada's ill conceived Conessur Clsss of the early 1980s? No separate cabin or even separate area. Just seats spread out through the cabin. You got a better meal, better ear phones, and some other amenities like no middle seat. But youd be sitting right next to a nonconnesur pax. Also no way of preventing pax from switching seats. I think it lasted abut 1-2 years.

It also made no sense because AC was govt owned and fares were regulated so the opportunity to sell up was quite limited to only grabbing share from CP, PV, ND, QB etc.

This sounds more like what both DL and UA have done in their premium economy than AC's stupid move doing what they did.
Rush for ever; Yankees all the way!!
 
kiramakora
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RE: WestJet Announces Premium Economy Seating

Wed Aug 01, 2012 2:01 pm

Quoting c172akula (Reply 1):
Those in premium economy will be in their own self contained mini cabin and will not have to hear the in-flight jokes.  

Here you go again with supporting your AC employer against WS.

This will be tremendously successful for WS. Just like MLS has worked for B6. Also, nioted 29th straight quarter of profit and rising RASM! Let's see AC try that!!!
 
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c172akula
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RE: WestJet Announces Premium Economy Seating

Wed Aug 01, 2012 2:08 pm

Quoting kiramakora (Reply 4):
Here you go again with supporting your AC employer against WS.

I work for AC? Guess I better ask for all my pay I haven't been getting.

It's also called a joke, try it out sometime.

I fly both AC and WS when I travel.

[Edited 2012-08-01 07:12:20]
 
Whiteguy
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RE: WestJet Announces Premium Economy Seating

Wed Aug 01, 2012 3:36 pm

"I work for AC? Guess I better ask for all my pay I haven't been getting."

Good luck with that. Many employees still haven't been paid what their owed by AC from the contract that was implemented back in June.
 
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yyz717
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RE: WestJet Announces Premium Economy Seating

Wed Aug 01, 2012 4:00 pm

WS also firmed up their order for 20+25 Q400's.
I dumped at the gybe mark in strong winds when I looked up at a Porter Q400 on finals. Can't stop spotting.
 
Whiteguy
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RE: WestJet Announces Premium Economy Seating

Wed Aug 01, 2012 5:14 pm

"WS also firmed up their order for 20+25 Q400's."

The order was firmed up and announced a few weeks ago.

It is interesting to see a timeline for delivery slots of the options though.
 
railker
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RE: WestJet Announces Premium Economy Seating

Wed Aug 01, 2012 7:12 pm

As I recall when booking my parents flight to Cuba on Sunwing, they do the same thing with their 737s. First few rows of seats have more legroom. Can't recall if it's when you're trying to do seat selection or buying your ticket, but you're given the option to purchase one of those seats, and it comes with better meals, wine, etc. included. And if you did so, you also got priority checkin and boarding. Also had the option to just keep a regular seat and just upgrade to hot meal/snacks, wine, towel service, etc.

--> http://www.sunwing.ca/Seats-Boeing-737-800-Aircraft.asp

[Edited 2012-08-01 12:12:42]
 
AusA380
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RE: WestJet Announces Premium Economy Seating

Wed Aug 01, 2012 9:47 pm

Given the fact the Brett Godfrey is director, the premium economy project that Vigin Blue introduced (now replaced by a Business Class product by the revamp Virgin Australia) might be a pointer.

First couple of rows with convertible seats (3 - 2), food and drinks, access to lounge etc.
 
Viscount724
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RE: WestJet Announces Premium Economy Seating

Wed Aug 01, 2012 10:33 pm

Quoting bobloblaw (Reply 2):
Anyone remember Air Canada's ill conceived Conessur Clsss of the early 1980s?

Connoisseur Class.

If memory correct it was a response to CP's Empress Class which was their early effort at a business class product using Y class seats with a flexible cabin adjusted to meet demand and a curtain divider and upgraded service (although even CP's standard Y service was better than what you get on many carriers in J class now). The Empress Class product was much like the current business class products offered by virtually all European carriers within Europe.
 
abrelosojos
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RE: WestJet Announces Premium Economy Seating

Thu Aug 02, 2012 3:14 am

Smart move by WestJet. Any business must evolve and they are being smart by doing so. I keep being impressed by forward thinking management.

Quoting whiteguy (Reply 6):
"I work for AC? Guess I better ask for all my pay I haven't been getting."

Good luck with that. Many employees still haven't been paid what their owed by AC from the contract that was implemented back in June.

= LOL.

Saludos,
A.
Live, and let live.
 
threepoint
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RE: WestJet Announces Premium Economy Seating

Thu Aug 02, 2012 4:33 am

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 12):
Any business must evolve and they are being smart by doing so. I keep being impressed by forward thinking management.

I'm not so sure. WS has prided itself for years and nurtured a corporate culture that embraces the concept of equality for all onboard. Once you open the door to elitism - if you can call it that with a whopping 4" pitch increase - it's often difficult to counteract. One small perk leads to another little amenity and all of sudden, you are not an LCC anymore. Two-class cabins, lounges, reward programs - we know where this is going...
The nice thing about a mistake is the pleasure it gives others.
 
Ps76
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RE: WestJet Announces Premium Economy Seating

Thu Aug 02, 2012 5:12 am

Hi!

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 12):
Smart move by WestJet. Any business must evolve and they are being smart by doing so. I keep being impressed by forward thinking management.

This is only my opinion but I'm not sure I agree with this. For me there's something to be said for "if it ain't broke don't fix it". It sure has worked for Southwest who've been extremely successful at doing pretty much the same thing for a long long time. Same with Ryanair in Europe. Even when Ryanair increased their prices quite drastically maybe 6 months ago I saw on their website that they have now brought them down again and are offering 8 pound return fares from Stansted.

Quoting threepoint (Reply 13):
One small perk leads to another little amenity and all of sudden, you are not an LCC anymore. Two-class cabins, lounges, reward programs - we know where this is going...

Yes this I agree with. Pretty soon you end up like Air Berlin and I don't even think the people who work for them know what kind of an airline that is.

I'm no expert though. Maybe in the future this LCC/mainline thing will dissappear and we'll just have a bunch of airlines with different names.

Many thanks.

Pierre
 
abrelosojos
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RE: WestJet Announces Premium Economy Seating

Thu Aug 02, 2012 5:40 am

Quoting Ps76 (Reply 14):
This is only my opinion but I'm not sure I agree with this. For me there's something to be said for "if it ain't broke don't fix it". It sure has worked for Southwest who've been extremely successful at doing pretty much the same thing for a long long time. Same with Ryanair in Europe. Even when Ryanair increased their prices quite drastically maybe 6 months ago I saw on their website that they have now brought them down again and are offering 8 pound return fares from Stansted.
Quoting threepoint (Reply 13):
I'm not so sure. WS has prided itself for years and nurtured a corporate culture that embraces the concept of equality for all onboard. Once you open the door to elitism - if you can call it that with a whopping 4" pitch increase - it's often difficult to counteract. One small perk leads to another little amenity and all of sudden, you are not an LCC anymore. Two-class cabins, lounges, reward programs - we know where this is going...

= Fair points. But keep in mind that Canada is not like the U.S. or Europe with potentially unlimited expansion markets. It is a country of 30 million or so people spread out over vast geographic mass. Sooner or later, they can't do more of the same. This might be taking WS away from its loyalists, but is the only direction to go. It is a smart management because they are proactively changing it instead of passively waiting. Smart airlines and companies evolve - not wait.

Saludos,
A.
Live, and let live.
 
AusA380
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RE: WestJet Announces Premium Economy Seating

Thu Aug 02, 2012 6:13 am

Quoting threepoint (Reply 13):
I'm not so sure. WS has prided itself for years and nurtured a corporate culture that embraces the concept of equality for all onboard. Once you open the door to elitism - if you can call it that with a whopping 4" pitch increase - it's often difficult to counteract. One small perk leads to another little amenity and all of sudden, you are not an LCC anymore. Two-class cabins, lounges, reward programs - we know where this is going...

I would say the experience down under has been great. Virgin Blue changed from a LCC to NWC (new world carrier), introduced PE, Lounges and have gone to the next phase with the relaunch as Virgin Australia, upgrading the lounges (now introducing a high invitation only lounge), business class, etc. So far so good. They still have a way to go (systems are the major challenge, but the migration to Sabre next will solve that).

[Edited 2012-08-01 23:14:51]
 
Ps76
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RE: WestJet Announces Premium Economy Seating

Thu Aug 02, 2012 6:54 am

Hi!

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 15):
It is a smart management because they are proactively changing it instead of passively waiting. Smart airlines and companies evolve - not wait.


I agree but they have to do this move in a certain way unlike some who have gone before them.

All really successful business come out of people's dreams. From some person or persons who has a clear vision and turns that into reality. That is being truly proactive. Because no matter what happens the dream gives them direction and keeps them alive. Then they keep at it, keeping that vision alive as long as possible. Of course they evolve and expand and bring in new things but they never stray from that initial idea.

From the Westjet website:

WestJet was founded in 1996 by Clive Beddoe and a team of like-minded partners, who believed that just because you pay less for your flight, doesn't mean you should get less.

From this I understand that what they wanted to do was give people a good experience with a low fare. Seems very simple but the best business ideas always are. It in fact seems extremely similar to JetBlue. In my opinion introducing Premium economy and keeping this dream alive (and the airline what it is) depends entirely on how they price it. It could be the way forward or it could be unneccessarily complicating things. The low cost carrier with the low cost premium economy. In my opinion it will work only if it is significantly cheaper than any premium economy offered by mainline airlines and is priced exactly in line with their low fare scheme. Only then will you still be "paying less" and "getting more". Then it might work and it may even be a great thing seeing as they have some long flights.

If however their costs go up too much and they have to start charging mainline fares like Air Berlin it will be a big mistake for them I fear. I don't know the exact figures but I wouldn't expect that Air Berlin's financial performance was even in the same universe as Westjets at the moment.

Time will tell!

Apologies for the long post.

Many thanks.

Pierre
 
a318
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RE: WestJet Announces Premium Economy Seating

Thu Aug 02, 2012 12:20 pm

Sounds somewhat like what jetBlue offers with their Even More Space seating.
Welcome aboard!
 
connies4ever
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RE: WestJet Announces Premium Economy Seating

Thu Aug 02, 2012 1:06 pm

Quoting Ps76 (Reply 14):

This is only my opinion but I'm not sure I agree with this. For me there's something to be said for "if it ain't broke don't fix it". It sure has worked for Southwest who've been extremely successful at doing pretty much the same thing for a long long time. Same with Ryanair in Europe. Even when Ryanair increased their prices quite drastically maybe 6 months ago I saw on their website that they have now brought them down again and are offering 8 pound return fares from Stansted.

Perhaps, but IMHO this is part of the corporate response to the codeshare/interline agreements with AF/KL, CX, etc, so that premium pax from those carriers can transfer to a (somewhat) better product on WS for the balance of their journey.

I think the perks will include some type of lounge access, priority boarding, and complimentary champers. Jokes remain, however.
Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
 
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c172akula
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RE: WestJet Announces Premium Economy Seating

Thu Aug 02, 2012 3:16 pm

Quoting connies4ever (Reply 19):
Perhaps, but IMHO this is part of the corporate response to the codeshare/interline agreements with AF/KL, CX, etc, so that premium pax from those carriers can transfer to a (somewhat) better product on WS for the balance of their journey.

I was thinking the same thing, they need to add some features for premium passengers coming from those flights.

I have also heard that the Q400's will not have the premium seating.
 
DesertAir
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RE: WestJet Announces Premium Economy Seating

Thu Aug 02, 2012 7:19 pm

On recent UA and AA flights, domestic and international, that had 'economy plus' seating....one is paying for exit row seating. Since they need to leave a bit more space for emergencies, carriers are capitalizing on this for a bit more cash.

I remain a loyal Southwest flyer.
 
Steelhead
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RE: WestJet Announces Premium Economy Seating

Thu Aug 02, 2012 7:31 pm

Every time I compared prices latety for domestic flights fares on AC and WJ were quite similar - I can't see WS as a LCC anymore. Still like what they are doing (putting pressure on AC). I hope, for their new turboprop flying they will open new markets and not only copy what AC/JAZZ and Porter are doing in Ontario.
 
Viscount724
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RE: WestJet Announces Premium Economy Seating

Thu Aug 02, 2012 7:33 pm

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 15):
But keep in mind that Canada is not like the U.S. or Europe with potentially unlimited expansion markets. It is a country of 30 million or so people

Roughly 34.5 million.
 
aamd11
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RE: WestJet Announces Premium Economy Seating

Fri Aug 03, 2012 1:31 am

Quoting steelhead (Reply 22):
Every time I compared prices latety for domestic flights fares on AC and WJ were quite similar - I can't see WS as a LCC anymore. Still like what they are doing (putting pressure on AC). I hope, for their new turboprop flying they will open new markets and not only copy what AC/JAZZ and Porter are doing in Ontario.

With regards to the new regional flying, I suspect you'll be somewhat disappointed on that front. I wouldn't expect many entirely new routes to be set up with the Q400s. Jazz, flying for AC, has the biggest fleet of regional aircraft in the country... if they're not currently operating a certain route on AC's behalf, you'd wonder if the demand is really there. Let's not also forget that the likes of Air Georgian feed AC as well on some regional routes with their 1900s - if even they aren't operating a route, I wouldn't be optimistic about the chances of WS Q400 service.

As far as I can see, regional WS is about expanding WS' reach into new markets, but not into markets that have no service at all, for the most part. I would also anticipate some swapping of mainline routes to regional service with increased frequencies - a single daily 737 for maybe double or triple daily Q400s, to better serve the business traveller. Exciting times ahead all the same for many communities - getting additional service from WS will surely bring some benefit.
 
9252fly
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RE: WestJet Announces Premium Economy Seating

Fri Aug 03, 2012 2:07 am

Quoting steelhead (Reply 22):
I hope, for their new turboprop flying they will open new markets and not only copy what AC/JAZZ and Porter are doing in Ontario.

The Ontario markets are getting flooded with seats from AC and PD Q400's. Can't imagine there's too much opportunity there unless one of them disappears. Being fashionably late to the party is okay,but not in this business!

Quoting aamd11 (Reply 24):
As far as I can see, regional WS is about expanding WS' reach into new markets, but not into markets that have no service at all, for the most part. I would also anticipate some swapping of mainline routes to regional service with increased frequencies - a single daily 737 for maybe double or triple daily Q400s, to better serve the business traveller.

If one looks at the delivery schedule WS has for the Q400,don't expect too much.With 7 deliveries in 2013 and the balance(13) to follow until 2016 it will be the slow and methodical business plan. I foresee a lot of disappointed city campaigns for new service. There are two small cities in BC where I expect to see new WS Q400 service,YXT and YXJ. Those two have the critical mass and demographics to assure success. Other than that,you're correct in saying that they will likely go for frequency over capacity in certain markets.
 
abrelosojos
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RE: WestJet Announces Premium Economy Seating

Fri Aug 03, 2012 2:16 am

Quoting aamd11 (Reply 24):
With regards to the new regional flying, I suspect you'll be somewhat disappointed on that front. I wouldn't expect many entirely new routes to be set up with the Q400s. Jazz, flying for AC, has the biggest fleet of regional aircraft in the country... if they're not currently operating a certain route on AC's behalf, you'd wonder if the demand is really there. Let's not also forget that the likes of Air Georgian feed AC as well on some regional routes with their 1900s - if even they aren't operating a route, I wouldn't be optimistic about the chances of WS Q400 service.

As far as I can see, regional WS is about expanding WS' reach into new markets, but not into markets that have no service at all, for the most part. I would also anticipate some swapping of mainline routes to regional service with increased frequencies - a single daily 737 for maybe double or triple daily Q400s, to better serve the business traveller. Exciting times ahead all the same for many communities - getting additional service from WS will surely bring some benefit.
Quoting 9252fly (Reply 25):
The Ontario markets are getting flooded with seats from AC and PD Q400's. Can't imagine there's too much opportunity there unless one of them disappears. Being fashionably late to the party is okay,but not in this business!

= Very well put. I am curious - do you think they would fly across the border?

Saludos,
A.
Live, and let live.
 
yegbey01
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RE: WestJet Announces Premium Economy Seating

Fri Aug 03, 2012 2:17 am

I can see them definitely flying those Q400's from YEG - YCC to YMM, YQU, YQR and YXE where they will be able to provide the frequency needed. That way they will have the fins available for more flights south of the border
 
threepoint
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RE: WestJet Announces Premium Economy Seating

Fri Aug 03, 2012 5:00 am

Quoting 9252fly (Reply 25):
There are two small cities in BC where I expect to see new WS Q400 service,YXT and YXJ.

I wonder...
Both destinations are already served by regional turboprop service (from a pair of carriers each) and in Terrace at least, WS's entry may be viewed dimly as the predatory airline (ironic, I know). Fort St. John is more hospitable to Alberta companies of course. Will WS regional compete head-to-head with Jazz or will they target the smaller CMA and Hawk Air? I'm guessing they'll opt for the second strategy.

I anticipate a host of cities (YKA comes to mind) in which Q400s will replace mainline 737 service.
The nice thing about a mistake is the pleasure it gives others.
 
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RWA380
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RE: WestJet Announces Premium Economy Seating

Fri Aug 03, 2012 11:24 am

Quoting yegbey01 (Reply 27):
That way they will have the fins available for more flights south of the border

I sure hope Westjet brings it's aircraft into PDX, I think a PDX-YYC-YEG Q400 flight could be promising, a must is good connection opportunities. I doubt PDX-YVR with 2 carriers already, needs a third.
Next Flights: PDX-HNL-OGG-LIH-PDX On AS, WP & HA
 
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c172akula
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RE: WestJet Announces Premium Economy Seating

Fri Aug 03, 2012 1:39 pm

Quoting RWA380 (Reply 29):
I sure hope Westjet brings it's aircraft into PDX,

To my knowledge AC Express only operates YYC-PDX in the summer, I wonder if there is enough demand for WS to enter the market? Plus with the history of WS's current CEO would he want to start stepping on Alaska's toes?
 
aamd11
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RE: WestJet Announces Premium Economy Seating

Fri Aug 03, 2012 11:37 pm

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 26):
I am curious - do you think they would fly across the border?

I would expect the majority of the regional flying to be domestic markets, rather than transborder.

However, perhaps with enough Q400s they might step into a few more key US routes with frequent service to attract business passengers? To match, say, Porter's YTO-BOS frequencies with 737s would be an immense number of seats to shift (over 900 in each direction) - Q400s would be a bit more manageable. Or perhaps we might see Q400s on the LGA service? They do something like 8 a day to LGA right now? Perhaps the mid-day departures could use Q400s to maintain frequency without excess capacity where it isn't needed?

It's possible we'll see WS Q400s in the US, but I think domestic services will appear first.
 
briboy
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RE: WestJet Announces Premium Economy Seating

Sun Aug 05, 2012 1:37 am

I expect WS to operate their Q400s in markets where:

* AC has a monopoly due to aircraft size. YXE / YQR «» YWG are a couple I am thinking of.
* Regional markets in Ontario to try to capture corporate contracts. But, as noted above, there is a dogfight going on right now between PD and AC in many of these markets. Saying that, WS also dived back into the YTO «» NYC market, which is the most competitive transborder market.
* Replacing flights in the eastern triangle and to NYC.

I don't know Alberta and BC well enough to comment.

As for the premium seats. Nothing but negative on FB, mostly around the tightening of pitch on the 738s. Priority boarding will be a surprise to many (and not always positive). But given WS and AC are basically a duopoly, there is no real worry for WS loosing customers to AC because of these changes.
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