Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A Trip Report: JetStar Asia, Singapore to Bangkok (August 2015)

A Trip Report: JetStar Asia (August 2015)
comment below and let me know your thoughts :)

JetStar is the low-cost arm of Qantas airlines (even though they are part of Qantas, you cannot earn Q miles for JetStar flights).  They have many subsidiaries including JetStar Australia, JetStar New Zealand, and JetStar Asia.  I have flown all three and all have a basic low-cost structure.  Each offers low fares that cover an average seat and a basic carry-on; everything else has a cost including assigned seats, checked baggage, pre-selected seats, food, and some in-flight entertainment (depending on the route and plane).  As in most low-cost carriers, you can add the extra services at the time of booking for a reduced rate or later at the airport for a higher cost.  I have flown JetStar three times, in three different countries, and I continue to go back because they offer a low-fare, decent service, and add-ons which you can modify to your liking. In each case, even with the add-ons the total fare on JetStar was less than its competitors.

My most recent JetStar experience was with JetStar Asia Airways in August 2015.  This
airline is based in Singapore and I flew from Singapore to Bangkok – a 2hr and 25 minute flight.  JetStar has flights throughout the day to Bangkok, but they range in terms of cost.  I booked my ticket online and the online site was very user friendly (I also had a question and called the call center, and they were also provided good customer service).  We took the early morning flight departing Singapore at 7am, and took the late-night flight out departing Bangkok at 9p and arriving Singapore after 12am.  These flights fit our schedule, but also fit our budget.  A standard carry-on is included in the base fare, but checked luggage and assigned seats are separate.  I have normally purchased checked baggage (as I am usually connecting from another international flight) and the cost for the checked baggage is pretty reasonable.  I have normally not paid to pre-select my seat assignment, and sometimes I have received an aisle seat in the exit row and sometimes I received the middle seat.  As I was travelling with someone who normally does not travel on low-cost carriers, and is generally not a fan of them, I went ahead and paid for pre-selecting my seat.  The charge for this, in my opinion, is a bit high given you are only able to choose the standard seats – exit row seats, or those with extra legroom, or an additional cost on top the existing charge.

As in standard in most low-cost carriers, JetStar operates one type of aircraft – an Airbus A320 (they recently acquired 787 Dreamliners as well).  The planes are configured in the same way – 3 leather seats on either side.  The seat pitch is somewhat narrow, and the comfort of the seat is not that great.  Both are alright for short-haul flights and both were decent enough for our 2h 25minute flight; however, not sure if I could deal with both for longer flights. 

The service on board is pleasant, but everything needs to be purchased.  Water is free, but that’s about it.  Snacks and meals can either be pre-purchased online or bought directly on board.  The planes I flew had no entertainment system so bring something to occupy your time (the 787 Dreamliners do have PTV’s but the entertainment needs to be purchased).   I did not buy anything on board as I had purchased food and drink in the airport, but they also have amenity kits and other items available to purchase on board.  Some of the prices are reasonable while others are costly.

Overall, if you know what to expect then JetStar provides a decent experience at a low-cost.  Each flight provided a basic service at a low-cost, with an average seat and an on-time departure and arrival.   If you are looking for a full-service airline with lots of amenities including in your ticket, then this is not the airline for you.  If you are looking for an airline that provides low fares and services you can pick and choose that are right for you, then this is the airline for you.