#hackinthehangar attendees from Microsoft and HootSuite look out at the Calgary skyline from the WestJet hangar (CNW Group/WESTJET, an Alberta Partnership)

WestJet is taking innovation to new heights by bringing together WestJetters, frequent WestJet fliers and some of the brightest minds in the technology industry at WestJet’s first hackathon today at the hangar at the WestJet campus in Calgary.

By welcoming over 100 members of the tech industry from 17 companies to Calgary, WestJet’s inaugural #hackinthehangar will challenge teams to co-create and build world-class digital solutions focused on WestJet’s premium and global travellers. For more behind the scenes photos and videos from today’s hackathon please visit WestJet’s Twitter.

“The #hackinthehangar is focused on building digital solutions in a collaborative and fun environment, in a unique venue at a much greater velocity than ever before,” said Alfredo C. Tan, WestJet’s chief digital and innovation officer.  “This hackathon is an exciting step towards helping us think, move and act more like a tech company in some key parts of our business. This will help position WestJet as an industry leader in transforming the guest experience. Bringing this level of creative talent from some of the most innovative companies in the world to Calgary at this scale is incredibly unique. We’re looking forward to seeing what some of the brightest minds in tech combined with our passionate employees and guests can create when given the opportunity to rise to the challenge and work together to win.”

Attendees flying in to participate in the first-ever #hackinthehangar from across North America include teams from Adobe, Amazon, Deloitte Digital, Facebook, Google, Hootsuite, Huge Inc., IBM, LinkedIn, Media Experts/IPG, Microsoft, Panasonic Avionics, Sabre, Salesforce, ServiceNow, Snapchat and Twitter. Each team will also be complemented by two WestJetters and a premium guest traveller.

The hackathon concept – made popular in Silicon Valley – is a sprint-like event that computer programmers and software developers used to collaborate and create solutions in a short amount of time. Now inclusive of all areas of business, they also serve to create a fun and collaborative environment for people to come together to try out new ideas and build prototypes at a greater velocity than normal. Hackathons are about approaching things with a philosophy around continuous improvement with no finish line. This type of thinking is embedded deep in the culture of companies like Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, Adobe and Google.

As WestJet continues its drive towards becoming a truly global airline the introduction of its new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, which includes the airline’s first-ever business class cabin, further highlights the increased importance and demand for personalized digital experiences that will redefine the air travel experience for guests.

This summer, WestJet’s growing fleet will operate an average of 777 daily flights to 90 destinations. The airline recently made its first foray to the European mainland by launching daily direct flights between Halifax Stanfield International Airport (YHZ) and Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) on May 31.

Credits: WestJet