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BKK-MEL-BKK On JQ  
User currently offlineChristao17 From Thailand, joined Apr 2005, 940 posts, RR: 8
Posted (7 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 17062 times:

Jetstar International
Bangkok to Melbourne


Background

Last July, Jetstar International, the low-cost branch of Qantas, announced they would begin flying nonstop service three days a week between Melbourne and Bangkok in November. A large advertising campaign ensued and an extremely attractive promotional fare was offered: just 1000 baht (about US $27 at the time) each way, plus taxes and “fees”.

Jumping on the internet that afternoon, I looked for a weekend trip available in that fare category. The earliest date available: the first weekend in May, 2007. In a rare occasion of tremendous advance planning, I went ahead and booked tickets for a flight a full ten months ahead of time.

With the addition of taxes and other miscellaneous fees, the total fare for Tawn and myself was only 25,000 baht – US $675. Not too shabby for a nine-hour flight for two people. The fare included the addition of the various in-flight services of which we wanted to avail ourselves: Jetstar’s method of operation is to offer a base fare for getting you between two cities, and then to charge for literally everything else you might want: drinks, food, amenity kit, blanket, pillow, and portable digital video player.

Many price-conscious customers appreciate this approach, as it allows you to skip paying for a service you do not wish to have. Other airlines have adopted the approach, too, and after experiencing it, I’ve decided I like it. Not being experienced in this a la carte method of buying airplane tickets, I went ahead and purchased all of the available items for both legs of the trip in advance. A discount is offered for doing this, and I didn’t realize that some of the items (blanket, pillow) would be ours to take and could be used again.

This is our trip on Jetstar:

Thursday, 3 May 2007
BKK-MEL
JQ 030
Depart:
21:00 / 23:05 (Scheduled/Actual)
Arrive: 09:00+1 / 23:00 +1 (Scheduled/Actual)
Equipment: Airbus A330-202
Cabin: “JetSaver” Economy
Seats: 32 H & K

The schedule seems at first to be a good one: not leaving too late (and in fact, leaving well before Bangkok’s usual “midnight madness” rush of incoming and outbound flights), and arriving at a reasonable hour of the morning. The problem, though, is that a 21:00 departure means you’re heading to the airport smack-dab in the middle of rush hour, which in Bangkok is something just shy of a death sentence.

Our taxi driver rather adeptly wove his way through the gridlocked traffic on our soi and just thirty minutes later we were on the expressway for smooth sailing all the way out to Suvarnabhumi. Arriving just before 19:00, I was expecting we’d find a long queue at the Jetstar counter. After we found the right counter – Jetstar Asia’s check-in in row H is not differentiated from Jetstar International’s check-in in row U at the other end of the world’s second-largest terminal building – there was only the briefest of waits as the agent checked our bags, confirmed our advance purchase of amenities and meals, and informed us that the inbound flight was delayed and so our departure time was now 22:45.

Check-in counters at row U
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JetStar boarding pass
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This gave us a little more free time than we expected, time for a little shopping and a bit to eat. The branch of S&P Restaurant on the middle level between Arrivals and Departures offered an inexpensive dinner and we were through with dinner and finished with immigration in no time at all. Alluding to the usual long lines at the airport for night-time departures, “This is great,” I said to Tawn, “we should travel this early in the evening all the time.”

Low-tech and poorly spelled signage
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Our friends in Melbourne had given us a long list of duty-free items to purchase for them: perfumes, cosmetics, and the like. Thankfully, we asked the young lady working the duty-free counter to confirm that we’d be able to bring our purchases aboard the flight, given the patchwork of liquid restrictions now complicating travel around the world.

“No, I’m sorry” she told us, explaining that we would be able to retrieve our purchases once we returned to Bangkok.

Since the purchases were for our friends in Melbourne, there was little point in retrieving them upon our return to Bangkok! She acknowledged that it was inconvenient and told us that they had seen a drop in sales because of the rules.

Suvarnabhumi Shopping Mall… er, International Airport
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Our shopping excursion quickly truncated, we headed to security. The design of the Suvarnabhumi airport is doubly inconvenient: you walk through a mall’s worth of shops and services only to then pass through security into the wasteland of the gate area, where you cannot even purchase a bottle of post-screening water. It seems obvious to me that if the security area was moved directly behind the immigration counters (there is room for this at each of the screening areas) then duty free sales would be boosted, customer service would be increased, and everyone would generally be happier about the experience.

The gloomy E concourse
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I had assumed that the security screening was looking for liquids, having read in the Bangkok Post a few weeks ago that the airport was going to adopt the increasingly standard “only in a zipper plastic bag” liquid restrictions. To my surprise, when we reached gate E6 well along the gloomy concourse, there were two tables and eight security personnel set up to go through all of our cabin baggage by hand to look for prohibited liquid items.

Of course, at this point you’re past security and all the shops so if you have any items not traveling in a zipper bag, you would have to dispose of them. Or, as it happened, the guards had boxes of Ziploc brand bags, available for sale at 20 baht each. Twenty baht! A box of fifty of the bags costs perhaps 40 bags at the store, so you can imagine the beer money that these entrepreneurs were making from a single flight.

Thankfully, we had anticipated the restrictions and were traveling with our allowed quantities in the approved plastic bags, so we were not subjected to the highway robbery.

Contrast this to our experience in Narita six weeks ago, where the security personnel were providing complimentary plastic bags, had tables set up, and personnel available to help explain the restrictions and get you organized. Once again, Suvarnabhumi makes a clever play to achieve “least favourite airport” status at this year’s Freddy Awards.

Boarding began just a few minutes later, at about 22:30. There was an announcement made, barely audible, that the Star Class (de facto business class) would be first, then such-and-such a range of rows, then the remainder of the cabin. Since the announcement was difficult to hear, everyone promptly got up and queued. Our boarding passes had already been torn and passports checked upon entering the gate area, so at the jetway door there was only a cursory nod hello as the agents clicked counters, to tally the boarded passengers.

The flight used two jetways to board but since there had been a wholesale rush to follow the Star Class passengers, the entire queue snaked up the front jetway and nobody was using the jetway leading to door 2L. An agent finally came down the walkway and discovered this, so waved some of us over to the second bridge.

Snaking line in the Battlestar Galactica-styled jet bridge
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We were greeted aboard by a friendly Thai flight attendant – the entire cabin staff, minus two, were Thai nationals – and were directed to the right-hand aisle. The aircraft cabin was clean and in good condition: economy class seats are uniformly dark beige with a slim-line design that seems to make the seats very thin but still comfortable. My headrest wasn’t much use, as when it was pushed up instead of staying in place is would just slide right back down. Thirty-two inch pitch was adequate but not overly comfortable and recline was sufficient for a nighttime flight.

Approaching departure time
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There was a bit of a delay after boarding and we didn’t push back until just after 23:00. The first officer came aboard the PA system and greeted us, apologizing for the delay and explaining that it was due to a mechanical issue in Melbourne. He also informed us of an eight hour, thirty-five minute planned flight time, initial cruise of 31,000 feet and then after the fuel burned off, up to 41,000 feet. Also, because of noise abatement, we would be departing from runway 19L on the other side of the airport.

The safety demo was cheeky in a straight-forward, “Hey, you! Pay attention!” kind of way. Flight attendants stood in the aisles, demonstrating the seatbelt, life vest, etc. in time with the video, the first time I’ve seen both the live demo and video used together.

Small bottles (300ml) of complimentary water and the audio headphones were passed out. Normally five Aussie dollars are charged for the headphones but I think because of the delay they were provided free of charge. Based on what I read on the in-seat menu and on the website, I was under the impression we’d have to pay for additional water throughout the flight, but every time I asked for water it was provided free of charge.

After a long roll we lifted into the air for the usual strained climb that Airbus widebodies seem prone to, gradually gaining altitude as we headed out to the Gulf of Thailand. Cabin lights came on just at about the point when most passengers had drifted into a nap, and the flight attendants passed through the cabin several times to distribute the different amenities:

Immigration cards were first, followed by amenity kits, then the digital video players.

The amenity kits, available for AUD 12 on the flight and AUD 10 in advance, are rather clever: a generously-sized black fleece blanket rolled and carried by a bright orange Jetstar logo handle that contains two pockets: one with an inflatable neck pillow and the other with amenity items such as ear plugs, eye shades, toothbrush and toothpaste. While we were in the gate area, I noticed a number of Aussies who were returning home had their kits with them ready to re-use. Had a realized how substantial the kit was, I would have saved money and ordered it for only the outbound flight. But since it was pre-purchased, I’ll just have to send an extra kit to Toronto. (Kevin?)

“Comfort Me” packs
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The video players are also sort of a useful item. They have ostensibly a six-hour battery life although mine crapped out halfway into a second movie. They are pre-loaded with about ten movies, another ten television shows, some music videos and some other features. There were greasy fingerprints on it, disgusting really, but it wasn’t until morning when I figured out where they had come from.

The biggest problem with the video units is that they have to be propped up on the tray table. When the person in front of you reclines, you have a pretty steep angle of looking down at the screen, which isn’t comfortable in the neck. Still, I think it is a nice item to offer. Upon reflection, since a movie is shown on the main screen along with a few TV shows, that would have been sufficient for the flight out since it was a nighttime flight. Also, even though it was already the third day of May, the previous month’s videos were still loaded and the selection was not nearly as good as what was listed in the in flight magazine.

“Entertain Me” video on demand unit
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About an hour after take-off meal service began. This was another pre-order item: order in advance and you not only receive a discount, you’re also guaranteed a meal. After the pre-orders are served, everyone else has an option of buying. I suspect that on the overnight flight people probably don’t buy much and that the return daytime flight has more takers.

The meal was something I was quite curious about: airline food is usually not too exciting and I was worried that I’d be paying for a very poor meal. In this case, the dinner service was about the same as on other carriers. The meal choices were a stir-fried fish over rice, chicken with pasta, or a vegetables and noodles Asian-style dish. Tawn had the fish and I had the chicken, and both were tasty. The quality of the food itself was good, but I thought the portions were a bit skimpy. If there had been another side item or a little appetizer or something else, I think that would have been nicer. Especially since I’m paying for it, I expect it would be a good value.

Meal service
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People settled in for the flight, most opting to sleep in the 70% full flight and a few lucky people having two or three seats to stretch out over. I slept for a little while, awoken by a wailing baby, and then watched one-and-a-half movies.

During the flight, it seemed that of the three mid-cabin lavatories, only one was actually in use. Waiting in a long line, only one of the lavatories ever opened up. There were two others in the rear of the plane which passengers didn’t seem to be as aware of. There would be a queue in the center of the cabin while almost no wait at the rear.

Flight attendants passed through the aisles pretty frequently and whenever I asked for more water, the request was promptly and politely fulfilled. I expected to have to pay, but was never asked for money.

The buttons in the armrest were a bit anemic in their response. You really had to press hard to get the lights on or off, often pressing several times to get the desired action to occur. Still, the seats were pretty comfortable for economy, the cabin was clean, and the temperature just right for the flight.

Morning over the middle of Australia
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About two-and-a-half hours before landing, the cabin lights were brought back on and a slap-dash breakfast service was offered. Some sort of an attempt at a Panini sandwich, the dry ciabatta bread had cheese and a thin slice of ham inside and the melted cheese had made the entire thing oily, thus explaining the greasy hand prints on the video players: they didn’t collect the players until after breakfast.

Breakfast snack
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Descent into Melbourne
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We approached Melbourne from the west, landing smoothly on a cloudy morning on runway 9. There was a brief delay on the taxi in as we waited for another Jetstar plane, this one a domestic flight, to clear the alley so we could pull into the gate.

Exiting runway 9
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Other traffic at the airport
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Unlike my flight last November, this time immigration was smooth and almost pleasant. Baggage was quickly reclaimed and we were at the rental car center within about twenty minutes of landing.

All in all, the outbound flight was pleasant and as comfortable as could be expected for economy class. It compared favorably with other carriers and if money were the only factor, would be a good value.

Melbourne Montage

The Yarra River passes through the heart of Melbourne, with the Southbank district on the right side of the picture. It is lined with restaurants, a performing arts complex, and office and condo buildings.

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The Yarra Valley is one of the primary wine producing regions in Australia. It was autumn, the grapes had been harvested and the leaves were turning golden.

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After eighteen months of enjoying Thai food, this visit to Melbourne provided an opportunity to enjoy some of the foods that are more difficult to find (and afford) in Bangkok. A flight of Domain Chandon sparkling wines and a platter of antipasti.

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The Return

Monday, 7 May 2007
MEL-SYD-BKK
JQ 7029
Depart:
13:10 / 12:50 (Scheduled/Actual)
Arrive: 19:40 / 22:45 (Scheduled/Actual)
Equipment: Airbus A330-202 (VH-EBD)
Cabin: “JetSaver” Economy
Seats: 33 H & K

After a glorious but too short three days in and around Melbourne, we drove our rental car back up the Citylink toll way to Tullamarine Airport. Along the way we passed Essendon Airport and I spotted a vintage DC-3. After returning home and doing a little internet research, I discovered that there is a tour outfit based there that offers excursions in their classic Douglas plane: Air Nostalgia.

Tullamarine’s Terminal 2
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Arriving about two hours before the flight in a departure hall that is undergoing serious renovation, we found nobody in line at the JetStar counter. As we checked in, the agent asked whether we had been informed of the schedule change.

“No,” I responded.

“Oh, I’m sure someone tried to get hold of you,” she said, explaining that because of maintenance reasons, the flight had been rescheduled with a stop in Sydney. As later became clear, JetStar had just combined their Melbourne-Bangkok flight with the Sydney-Phuket flight, resulting in a two-stop flight running MEL-SYD-BKK-HKT.

She handed us a photocopied letter from the General Manager of Customer Service, outlining the new flight times and telling us that we would receive complimentary non-alcoholic drinks on all flights and meals on the Sydney-Bangkok leg.

“We’ve paid in advance for our meals,” I told the agent. “Does this mean we’ll be getting that charge refunded?”

She said she didn’t know and we’d have to ask the cabin crew, which seems a little silly as I wouldn’t expect the cabin crew to have an answer for that question.

Taking a positive approach to this news, I decided that at least I would get a free opportunity to see Sydney Airport.

An empty check-in queue
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We had time to eat a light lunch and then to browse for some frozen abalone for Tawn’s father. This stuff is expensive! We paid AUD 92 for two fit-in-your-palm sized abalone. Of course, before paying we confirmed that we could take frozen abalone through security and onto the plane.

Spotting at Melbourne: United’s flight climbs towards Sydney. We’ll catch up with her at Sydney.
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Air New Zealand, off to Auckland
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Virgin Blue
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Our plane to Sydney and Bangkok
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After proceeding through immigration and security, I stopped to buy some 42 Below vodka (which I continue to mistakenly refer to as Level 42 vodka, referencing an otherwise obscure 80’s band). At the gate there were only a few passengers.

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Boarding commenced a little early and with a light load out of Melbourne, maybe 20% capacity, we departed about twenty minutes early via runway 34.

Departure from Melbourne
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The cabin on this plan didn’t seem to be as clean as our flight out of Bangkok had been. There was a bit of rubbish in the seatback pocket and the lavatories didn’t smell very nice.

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Safety card with lots of emphasis on brace positions
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The flight over to Sydney’s Kingsford Smith International Airport took only an hour and we landed on runway 7, having a long taxi to the terminal. There was an interesting mixture of planes including Malaysian’s hibiscus themed 747, THAI’s Star Alliance logo 747, and a Virgin Atlantic A340-600.

On short final to runway 7
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We have caught up with the UA 747 that departed shortly after we arrived at Melbourne’s airport
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Spotting in Sydney
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As we departed the plane we were given laminated transit cards and instructed to remain in the terminal area as we had already cleared immigration at Melbourne.

Transit card
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This gave me an opportunity to poke around the terminal a bit, snapping pictures and looking at the interesting airplanes. When boarding commenced, transit passengers were invited to board first. The boarding process was slow and I thought that the flight was going to be very light when, twenty minutes later, the plan was only 40% full. But the other passengers finally boarded and we departed with a load factor in the 90% range.

Moments before boarding
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Safety demo
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We were scheduled to be on the ground for only ninety minutes, but our flight left several minutes after the rescheduled 16:00 departure time. A long taxi out to runway 34L as the sun was getting low on the horizon made for some nice views, and once we were airborne the whole of downtown Sydney was visible off the right side of the plane. Being positive about the flight change, I thought how lucky I was to be able to see the Sydney Harbour Bridge without having to pay for a ticket to Sydney!

Taxiing to runway 34L
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Departing Sydney
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Most of the crew that worked the MEL-SYD leg had stayed on, although the captain was replaced and I think a few new flight attendants were added. Most of the cabin staff was once again Thai, and as one of the flight attendants explained to us, it was the end of a thirteen-day rotation for them in which they had flown every day including flights to Bali and Hawaii. Must be incredibly tiring!

The flight back had a few hiccups: The free meal service never materialized and with the change in the schedule, our pre-paid meals (and amenity kits and video on demand players) were no longer noted on the manifest. Fortunately I had a print-out of our itinerary. I was finally able to flag down one of the Australian crew members after she had finished handing out the video units. She spent a few moments reviewing our itinerary and then retrieved two units for us. The one Tawn was given had a broken stand so it had to be replaced. The replacement had a faulty audio plug so in order to hear stereo you had to pull the headphone plug out just a little. At this point, it didn’t seem worth it to demand a third unit, so he just put up with it, adjusting the plug from time to time when it slipped back into mono or complete silence.

Sunset at flight level 31
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You would expect that since this Australian flight attendant had reviewed our itinerary and saw that we had paid for the full range of service, that when she and her flying partner came down the aisle with the meals, she would have seen us and remembered, “Oh, that’s right, their video units didn’t appear on the manifest but they had paid already, so perhaps I should stop and see if they ordered the meals, too.”

No such luck of course, so we had to flag the second flight attendant down, pull out the itinerary again, and go through that hassle in order to be served our fantabulous chicken and rice dinner. We also had a choice of a vegetable dish and a beef and noodles dish.

Dinner
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After dinner we had to flag down two flight attendants in order to finally get the amenity kits that we had bought in advance. Of course, now that we had flown already we had kits (and blankets) that we could re-use, but since we had paid already I wanted to make sure we received what we had paid for.

This whole episode was just a minor hiccup, though, and overall the crew’s service was friendly and professional despite their extended work day. I had time to watch several movies and made it a point not to sleep so that I’d be able to sleep once I returned home.

A full two-and-a-half hours before arrival in Bangkok we received our second meal which was… well, what was it? Sort of a frittata, omelet thing with a tomato-chili salsa and a mango crème bar. Actually, it was tasty. But I was a little confused why they had the meal service so far before the end of the flight. The video players were also collected and hour-and-a-half before the end of the flight, leaving a little time to kill.

Snack
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We approached the greater Bangkok area from Vietnam and Cambodia. We then headed east and north of the city, completing our down wind and base legs and descending over the rice fields, temples and mosques of Minburi where I go bicycle riding most weekends. We landed at about 22:45 on runway 19R, the pilot riding the brakes so we could vacate the runway quickly. We pulled into gate E9 and since only some of the passengers were deplaning, the rest staying aboard for a quick continuation down to Phuket, there wasn’t a mad rush for everyone to get up and grab their things.

Thankfully, despite a late evening arrival, immigration had lines only one or two people deep: either we had managed to slip in before or after most of the other flights (late evening is a busy time at Suvarnabhumi) or they had all arrived at the other end of the airport and were using that immigration hall.

We cleared immigration, collected our bags with only a five-minute wait, and then breezed through customs in less than fifteen minutes. The taxi queue was equally short so for the first time ever, we made it from gate to home in less than forty-five minutes!

Waiting for our baggage and bottles of wine
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As a summary, I think that JetStar provides a competitive quality product, especially given the generally lower airfares that are available. It will be interesting when Tiger Airways arrives in Australia later this year. They are setting up their base of operations at Melbourne Tullamarine, so this will likely result in stiffer competition between Southeast Asia and Australia.

Hope you enjoyed the report. Feedback is always welcome.

If you enjoyed this report, you may be interested in these other reports:




Keeping the "civil" in civil aviation...
20 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineRyanair!!! From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 4755 posts, RR: 26
Reply 1, posted (7 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 17008 times:

Great report. By changing the itinerary of the return flight, JQ left many loopholes open for problems like the allocation of your meals, "Comfort Me" packs and entertainment units. I am sure that you were not the only ones that encountered that issue during the SYD - BKK leg. This is a sign of very bad internal communication among the different levels of operations. Not good at all...

Dunno if you read my most recent report on Jetstar, I had rather horrible flights with them as well. Which is strange because I have heard rather positive feedback about them until I tried myself, needless to say I am not in a rush to fly them again though.



Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
User currently offline9MMAR From Malaysia, joined Jul 2006, 2110 posts, RR: 18
Reply 2, posted (7 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 16700 times:

Hi Mr. Schultz. Nice photo report!

User currently offlineQantasAirways From Australia, joined Mar 2001, 1277 posts, RR: 3
Reply 3, posted (7 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 16492 times:

Great trip report! one of the best I've read. Loved all the photos of the JQ interior.

cheers
qantasairways



Spirit of Australia
User currently offlineCXtra From Hong Kong, joined Jan 2006, 263 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (7 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 16481 times:

Nice report.. JQ seem to run quite an efficient and tight operation, which was obviously let down by the rescheduling. They clearly understand there's a strong market for cheap Australia-Asia fares. Anyway, loved that pic of the Yarra River at night.. must visit MEL soon! BTW, I just read your BKK-ICN report on KE, which was very informative. I know what you mean about the Koreans not smiling as much, but they're great people!


Cathay Pacific, Now you're really flying
User currently offlineSIA fan From Indonesia, joined Aug 2000, 728 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (7 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 16350 times:

A great trip report as usual. I like it a lot how you made each trip sounded very nice and pleasant, no matter it's First on SQ or an Economy leg on a LCC. Looking forward to your future reports.


SQ*G BD*S
User currently offlineJamman From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 142 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (7 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 16334 times:

A great comprensive photo trip report! 5 stars!

James.



Phoning it in from a place with no phones.
User currently offlineFlyjetstar From Australia, joined Feb 2006, 951 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (7 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 16071 times:

Great report. I like how while you detail hiccups on the flights they are able to be kept in perspective and don't become something big that ruins your entire flight. That's a great attitude to have!

User currently offlineLucky727 From Canada, joined Sep 2003, 602 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (7 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 16026 times:

Hey Chris! As always, a great report and a fun read  thumbsup 

Quoting Christao17:
I’ll just have to send an extra kit to Toronto. (Kevin?)

Ha ha! Hang on to it for me! I'll have to come to Bangkok & take it off your hands!

Great meeting you last March & I'm enjoying all the loot! Say hi to Tawn from me...

Kevin



··· [·] oooooooo [·] oooo oo ooooo [·] ooooooooooooooooooo [·]
User currently offlineCX777Fan From Australia, joined Feb 2005, 296 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (7 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 15774 times:

Hey, I enjoyed reading your report - it's the first JQ int'l report that I've read; your description of the service more or less sums up what I expected to hear.

User currently offlineSuperfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 39854 posts, RR: 74
Reply 10, posted (7 years 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 15551 times:

Christao17:
Great trip report!  bigthumbsup 
Wonderful pictures and well written report.
I love the aerial shots of Sydney as well as the Suvarnabhumi shopping center...errr.....airport photos.

Looks like you departed at the same terminal me and Lufthansa747 (Lari) departed on the Thai Airways 747-300 flight two months ago.
Look forward to meeting up with you again next time in Bangkok.
Hopefully my next trip to Bangkok will be one way.  Wink



Bring back the Concorde
User currently offlineBNE From Australia, joined Mar 2000, 3183 posts, RR: 12
Reply 11, posted (7 years 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 15360 times:

Quoting Christao17 (Thread starter):
“Oh, I’m sure someone tried to get hold of you,” she said, explaining that because of maintenance reasons, the flight had been rescheduled with a stop in Sydney. As later became clear, JetStar had just combined their Melbourne-Bangkok flight with the Sydney-Phuket flight, resulting in a two-stop flight running MEL-SYD-BKK-HKT.

She handed us a photocopied letter from the General Manager of Customer Service, outlining the new flight times and telling us that we would receive complimentary non-alcoholic drinks on all flights and meals on the Sydney-Bangkok leg.

“We’ve paid in advance for our meals,” I told the agent. “Does this mean we’ll be getting that charge refunded?”

She said she didn’t know and we’d have to ask the cabin crew, which seems a little silly as I wouldn’t expect the cabin crew to have an answer for that question.

Check In agent was probably lying, or didn't really know.

Quoting Christao17 (Thread starter):
Taking a positive approach to this news, I decided that at least I would get a free opportunity to see Sydney Airport.

Sydney is always a great airport to stop at and have a look around.

Quoting Christao17 (Thread starter):
The flight back had a few hiccups: The free meal service never materialized and with the change in the schedule, our pre-paid meals (and amenity kits and video on demand players) were no longer noted on the manifest. Fortunately I had a print-out of our itinerary. I was finally able to flag down one of the Australian crew members after she had finished handing out the video units. She spent a few moments reviewing our itinerary and then retrieved two units for us. The one Tawn was given had a broken stand so it had to be replaced. The replacement had a faulty audio plug so in order to hear stereo you had to pull the headphone plug out just a little. At this point, it didn’t seem worth it to demand a third unit, so he just put up with it, adjusting the plug from time to time when it slipped back into mono or complete silence.

Seems like Jetstar are doing everything on the cheap; and they aren't so popular 20% loads is not so good.
Like how hard is it to email someone with a change of schedule.

Seems like overnight East bound its probably a good idea to order an amenity pack but not the Digi player; and west bound day time flights; order the digi player but not the amenity pack.

Thanks for the report seems like it turned out ok for you.



Why fly non stop when you can connect
User currently offlineEK773 From Malta, joined Jul 2004, 235 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (7 years 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 15279 times:

Thanks for sharing with us your latest travels. The quality pics really add to the feeling of being there yourself. I just wonder does Tawn receive any royalties from modelling the different pieces of equipment in your various travels?  Silly

User currently offlineChristao17 From Thailand, joined Apr 2005, 940 posts, RR: 8
Reply 13, posted (7 years 3 months 3 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 15110 times:

Quoting BNE (Reply 11):
Like how hard is it to email someone with a change of schedule.

Full disclosure: when I returned home and checked my email, I found that I had received an updated itinerary the day before the return flight. However, sending the message via email assumes that I'll be checking email while on holiday. I also provided them with my mobile number but did not receive a call or a text message.

At least they did try.

Quoting EK773 (Reply 12):
I just wonder does Tawn receive any royalties from modelling the different pieces of equipment in your various travels?

Absolutely. Actually, Tawn works for a Public Relations company and from time to time when they need to get some photos for a clients' press releases they just grab staff members. Recently, Tawn got suckered into a photo shoot at a local Starbucks for a press release about Starbucks Thailand's new recycling initiative. The next day he opened the business section of the newspaper only to find a picture of himself holding a Starbucks reusable mug. That's his 15 minutes of fame!

Quoting BNE (Reply 11):
Check In agent was probably lying, or didn't really know.

I was just looking at the photocopied letter the agent gave us at check-in and it clearly states the free meal. I'm going to write a letter to the Jetstar main office and see if I can't hold them to that offer. Maybe a refund of the 700 baht per person we paid for the meal - about US$18. (Whew - didn't realize it was so expensive.)



Keeping the "civil" in civil aviation...
User currently offlineAlangirvan From New Zealand, joined Nov 2000, 2106 posts, RR: 1
Reply 14, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 14883 times:

I thought Jetstar printed all the extras you had paid for on your boarding pass ( I think I read that on someone else's TR). You would think they could try harder to contact a passenger during the middle of a trip. Still, you were positive and set out to enjoy the trip. This is better than the people on post on pprune who are determined to condemn everything Jetstar does.

User currently offlineChristao17 From Thailand, joined Apr 2005, 940 posts, RR: 8
Reply 15, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 14836 times:

Quoting Alangirvan (Reply 14):
I thought Jetstar printed all the extras you had paid for on your boarding pass ( I think I read that on someone else's TR).

On the outbound leg they did, but I think because of the schedule change (they created a new flight number for the special combined flight) the return boarding pass did not show that information. It should have been a tip-off to me that there would be problems but since I had my itinerary with me, I didn't even think about it.

Quoting Alangirvan (Reply 14):
Still, you were positive and set out to enjoy the trip. This is better than the people on post on pprune who are determined to condemn everything Jetstar does.

Well, half of the fun of travel is in the getting there, as they say. Hiccups happen and I want to accurately report what happened, but I'm hardly one to let a few things get in my way of enjoying the flight.



Keeping the "civil" in civil aviation...
User currently offlineSASDC8 From Norway, joined Mar 2006, 755 posts, RR: 1
Reply 16, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 13938 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Hi

Truly a great report again from you, mr Schultz. Good photography and a craking good read Big grin

Stein



2-3-2 is NOT a premium configuration
User currently offlineBA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8535 posts, RR: 54
Reply 17, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 13706 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Excellent report, though it left me less than impressed, somehow I thought JQ were better than this.......

Quoting Christao17 (Thread starter):
extremely attractive promotional fare was offered: just 1000 baht (about US $27 at the time) each way, plus taxes and “fees”.

- Now that was a steal, I wonder how may actually paid that price?

Quoting Christao17 (Thread starter):
She acknowledged that it was inconvenient and told us that they had seen a drop in sales because of the rules.

- Really!!??

Quoting Christao17 (Thread starter):
The design of the Suvarnabhumi airport is doubly inconvenient: you walk through a mall’s worth of shops and services only to then pass through security into the wasteland of the gate area, where you cannot even purchase a bottle of post-screening water

- I've yet to hear anything good about the new BKK.

Quoting Christao17 (Thread starter):
quality of the food itself was good, but I thought the portions were a bit skimpy

- Looks ok to me.

Quoting Christao17 (Thread starter):
“We’ve paid in advance for our meals,” I told the agent. “Does this mean we’ll be getting that charge refunded?”

She said she didn’t know and we’d have to ask the cabin crew, which seems a little silly as I wouldn’t expect the cabin crew to have an answer for that question.

- How ridicoulus!

Quoting Christao17 (Thread starter):
an otherwise obscure 80’s band

- They were pretty big here.

Quoting Christao17 (Thread starter):
it was the end of a thirteen-day rotation for them in which they had flown every day including flights to Bali and Hawaii. Must be incredibly tiring!

- That's quite a schedule, I'm tired just thinking about it!

Quoting Christao17 (Thread starter):
You would expect that since this Australian flight attendant had reviewed our itinerary and saw that we had paid for the full range of service, that when she and her flying partner came down the aisle with the meals, she would have seen us and remembered, “Oh, that’s right, their video units didn’t appear on the manifest but they had paid already, so perhaps I should stop and see if they ordered the meals, too.”

No such luck of course, so we had to flag the second flight attendant down, pull out the itinerary again, and go through that hassle in order to be served our fantabulous chicken and rice dinner.

- Again, poor on JQ's part. I'd be more than a little annoyed by now.

Quoting Christao17 (Thread starter):
The video players were also collected and hour-and-a-half before the end of the flight

- Rather early in my opinion.

Nice stuff.

Regards

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
User currently offlineChristao17 From Thailand, joined Apr 2005, 940 posts, RR: 8
Reply 18, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day ago) and read 13478 times:

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 17):
I've yet to hear anything good about the new BKK.

It is improving. I guess like most new airports there is some teething to be done. Perhaps a little more than here.



Keeping the "civil" in civil aviation...
User currently offlineChristao17 From Thailand, joined Apr 2005, 940 posts, RR: 8
Reply 19, posted (7 years 1 month 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 13064 times:

Finally, a response from the customer service department at JQ, to which I sent a letter detailing my concerns about the trip.

In addition to apologizing for the problems, especially the lack of a timely free meal on the return leg that we had been promised, JQ has offered to refund the 1400 Thai Baht that we were charged for ordering the meals beforehand.

Well, at least they responded and took appropriate action. I'm a satisfied customer now and will definitely give them another chance.



Keeping the "civil" in civil aviation...
User currently offlineKhunryeroam From France, joined Aug 2006, 33 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (7 years 1 month 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 12988 times:

Another wonderful trip report. Sorry for all the hiccups you experienced on the way back. Smooth traveling door-to-door is not so easy to come by anymore nowadays.

I didn't know that CHANDON is also present in Australia. The same appellation (and logo) exists in Argentina. From my research, the Argentine Chandon branched from its French progeniture Moët & Chandon Champagne because a part of Chandon family left France to settle down in Argentina a long time back. Now they're in Australia too?!  Embarrassment



THAI MAK MAK---TOTALLY THAI---TOUT Ã? FAIT THAÃ? ---MUY, MUY TAILANDÃ?S
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