I bet you never thought you’d see those words strung together: Impressive airline service. In general, airlines have become a paradox in and of themselves; the only business that treats its customers like shit and yet continues to grow in demand. Or maybe that’s actually a chicken-and-egg question; they can afford to treat their customers like shit because demand continues to grow (I heard an interview with an airline guru some months ago, that emerging economies like China and India are making sure that airlines will be booked to capacity for generations).

Recently, I had a chance to fly WestJet to Toronto and back. Its rates are a little better than Air Canada, but its schedules are pathetic, and its planes are much older and ricketier. Nevertheless, the seating is comfortable, and the staff is friendly in a “trained-to-be-friendly” way, e.g., calling the customers by their first names, cracking jokes that you know they’ve told a zillion times before, etc.

My return flight from Toronto was delayed by about an hour and a half due to torrential rains and thunderstorms in Montreal. Not the airline’s fault, obviously. Nevertheless, yesterday I received and email from WestJet stating that the delay has surpassed its internal standards for customer satisfaction, and providing me with a 50% off discount code on my next flight to Toronto. It was both unexpected and appreciated, as I need to go to Toronto again soon, and this time it will be on my dime rather than on the client’s.

Here’s WestJet’s email text:

We apologize for your experience. 

Dear Guest,

I’m sorry for the interruption to your travel plans. We know that these delays are an inconvenience and can keep you from important commitments at your destination. WestJet works hard to be among the best when it comes to on-time performance. To show our commitment, we have recently introduced an on-time service promise on routes serving travellers in Canada’s busiest business corridor. Our promise to guests flying between Toronto and Montreal or between Toronto and Ottawa is that if your flight is cancelled or arrives more than 30 minutes late, we’ll give you 50% off your next eligible flight.

To fulfill our promise to you, we’d like to offer you a 50% discount off your next flight between Toronto and Montreal or between Toronto and Ottawa. You can take advantage of this offer by entering the promo code and coupon code shown below when booking your next flight on http://www.westjet.com.