In celebration of its 40th anniversary, Make-A-Wish (MAW) Canada set out to do something magical. For the first time in its history, the nonprofit granted 40 wishes at once and set out to bring critically ill children and their families from across Canada to the happiest place on earth, fulfilling 40 mutual wishes of going to Walt Disney World. WestJet and the WestJet Cares for Kids program proudly donated the necessary air transportation, onboard its 737-800 Disney Magic Plane.
“Chartering a flight is one thing but chartering a flight for 40 exceptional and inspiring families with varying travel requirements is something we knew had to be a seamless, safe and, most importantly, magical experience,” says WestJet Director of Communications, April Crane. “From our catering and behind-the-scenes operations teams to the airport agents, cabin crew and pilots that welcomed them onboard, so many WestJetters contributed to make this once-in-a-lifetime trip an overwhelming success.”
In addition to chartering an aircraft to and from Orlando, WestJet created an extraordinary pre-flight experience ahead of take-off. This included craft and game stations, prepacked lunch kits for the flight and an exclusive gate-check experience. The families also had a unique in-flight experience including games and activities for all kids on board.
“After months of meticulous planning and coordination across the organization, it was humbling to see the impact this flight experience had on these families,” continued Crane. “For many, this was their first time on an aircraft, and for others it was their first family vacation since receiving a devastating diagnosis for one of their children. Knowing that WestJet played a part in this life-changing experience for them is something that all WestJetters should be proud of.”
The wish kids and families that attended the trip came from across Canada to participate in the historic flight including:
- 12 families from Ontario
- 9 families from Newfoundland
- 6 families from Alberta
- 5 families from British Columbia
- 2 families from Quebec
- 2 families from Manitoba
- 2 families from New Brunswick
- 2 families from Saskatchewan
- 2 families from Nova Scotia
- 1 family from Prince Edward Island
Through the WestJet Cares for Kids program, WestJet has donated more than 23,000 one-way flights to support MAW’s mission, business travel needs, and fundraising initiatives through the gift of flight. For more information about all of WestJet’s Community Investment initiatives visit https://www.westjet.com/en-ca/who-we-are/cares.