Sunday, March 6, 2011

Flying Jetstar
We are flying into Melbourne the day before the Soundwave festival, with a full day to see the city after we land. I'm flying Jetstar, and after the publicity storm that surrounded its launch, I am pleasantly surprised. Check in opens 3 hours before take-off and is easy, although the short queue moves at a snails pace.

I have nabbed a cheaper, carry-on only ticket, which suits my 2 night stay just fine. There is a quick stop in passport control as they weigh my 8.3kg case, but the 10kg limit on Jetstar - 3kg more than most airlines - sets me free.

On board, the seats are impressive in context - having flown other budget airlines many times, the small spacing on Jetstar is on par, but the comfort surpasses it's market competitors. The offensively orange coats that complete the staff uniform at least insure you know where assistance is if you need it, but it tends to come to you first, which is again pleasantly unexpected.

As a budget airline, there is no free on-board food or entertainment but an optional - and costly - food service is regular and frequent. We are advised early on in the flight that rentable entertainment consoles are unavailable as they are being upgraded to the new Apple iPad. This is great news for future flyers, but it remains unclear as to why this means we had to go without. I manage to sleep through much of the flight - no small feat but made easier by the window to my right and the unclaimed seat to my left.

Although no-frills, I would definitely choose Jetstar over any other budget airline in the future. Comfort and service prevailed, the landing was smooth, and the lack of frills went largely unnoticed. The elderly gentleman snoring behind me sure didn't mind.