In general, Luke and I stick to two main airlines so we can accrue miles and loyalty points. The only times we deter from that tend to be when we fly internationally or if there is another airline that really offers a much better price and more convenient flight. Sometimes our airlines of choice just don’t offer a great option to our destination.
Our recent trip to Australia was a perfect example of us using a different airline. Jetstar, Australia’s budget carrier, offered tickets at nearly half the price of the competitive airlines. It cost us less than $1,000 (USD) for two roundtrip tickets. We pay more than that to get to the mainland. Of course budget carriers can get you with the add-ons. The ticket price is literally just your butt in the seat (and you need to pay $7 (AUS) more to choose that seat). With that being said, I was a little nervous what the experience would be like but I was pleasantly surprised and would definitely fly Jetstar again.
- On-time Departures & Arrivals: Both flights we were on departed on time and actually arrived early. We did have the small challenge of the canceled flight due to aircraft malfunctions but Jetstar was great about putting us on the flight schedule for the next day.
- New Plane: Our flight was on a 787 Dreamliner and the plane seemed quite new. The seats were set up in a 3-3-3 configuration.
- On-board Entertainment: Normally you need to pay an extra $9 (AUS) for the in-flight entertainment if you purchase in advance or $10 (AUS) once you are on the flight. However, it was offered as a complimentary service on both of our flights. The selection was limited compared to the United flights I am normally on.
- Baggage Costs: The price to check a bag is quite steep but when you weigh that against the cost of the ticket you are still saving. If we hadn’t had a voucher it would have cost us over $100 (AUS) for a 50 lb bag. I’m also told it costs more if you wait to pay this fee at the airport so make sure you cover this cost in advance.
- Food: Nothing but water is free (not even coffee, tea or juice) but you can always bring your own snacks. They will also fill water bottles for you at the back of the plane. We packed our own food on the way there but we purchased from the in-flight menu on the way to Hawaii. I wasn’t impressed with anything we had although I think the food may be different if you pre-order. You can purchase a meal plan in advance for around $25 (AUS).
My recommendation? Splurge on the in-flight entertainment (depending on the length of your flight) and pay to choose your seat if you are flying with a companion. I’d probably pre-pay for my food on the next trip also.