Here’s an interesting bit of news we picked up at last weekend’s Spring show in Toronto: WestJet is now offering motorcycle shipping through Canada and abroad, via its cargo division. And, the pricing looks good.
According to the rep in the booth, the program actually started last season, once WestJet got its dangerous goods transportation certification in order.
WestJet’s deal is similar to the Air Canada program that’s already been in place for years. Motorcycles must pass a dangerous goods inspection before flying, and can only be flown between airports where WestJet takes widebody jets. That means, for now, WestJet is only flying bikes out of Toronto and Calgary in Canada, with overseas destinations of Dublin, London (Gatwick), Barcelona and Paris.
However, WestJet is planning to add more destinations, and also has an affiliation with Expair Cargo that greatly expands its network. Expair’s website lists additional departure possibilities in Edmonton, Montreal and Vancouver, and WestJet’s rep says the tie-in here means the possibilities are endless.
WestJet’s pricing seems to be roughly the same as Air Canada’s in-country fees. The booth rep said a Toronto-Calgary flight would cost about $850. Air Canada’s inter-Canada flights started at the $650 mark when the program began, but have risen in recent years, we’ve been told. Pricing does seem to fluctuate, and in the past couple of years, Air Canada has told us to just call them to arrange a price, instead of quoting a flat Canadian rate. Air Canada doesn’t publish its cargo price list.
Where WestJet seems particularly attractive is its overseas flight pricing. At this point, WestJet is supposed to be offering round-trip shipping to Europe for $1,500 US for its Euro destinations. By contrast, Air Canada pricing has usually been a bit unclear on return trips from overseas, due to the vagaries of dealing with foreign regulations and airports. However, the numbers we saw in 2015 generally put round trip pricing above $2,000 CDN., and prices have risen since then, due to fuel costs. The price tag also varied wildly depending which European airport you were flying from, which could make WestJet’s flat rate much more attractive, if that flat rate does indeed hold for all its overseas destination.
To be clear: You definitely want to check for yourself on pricing from WestJet, if you’re budgeting for a trip. To do so, call West Jet Cargo at 1-866-952-2746, and tell them you want to ship a motorcycle. In our experience, this is the only reliable way to know your costs.
You should also call Air Canada at 1-800-387-4865 (in Canada) to ask about a competitive rate, and take a look at Air Canada’s cargo website.
Don’t forget that pricing discounts are usually tied to passenger fares (airlines want you to buy your passenger seat aboard the plane in order to get a special motorcycle shipping rate). And, you’ll also have to pass your Dangerous Goods inspection before the flight as well, which adds its own expense.