Jetstar is one of Australia’s two low cost carriers (LCC) and is a subsidiary of the world-renowned Qantas. Jetstar operates a fleet of A320 variants on their domestic routes around Australia and B787’s on their international legs to destinations such as Tokyo, Phuket, Denpasar and Singapore. On rare occasions, due to the need to reposition their 787 fleet, it is possible to secure a short domestic flight on one of these giant wide-bodies. This trip was one of those occasions. The flight I booked was from the Gold Coast to Melbourne on a 787-8 that had just arrived from Tokyo Narita, being repositioned to Melbourne. As with all my trip reports, you can find the accompanying footage at the link below:Youtube video link:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pg-us2rGl-ECheck-In
The check in for flights with Jetstar at the Gold Coast is quick easy and efficient, that is if you follow the rules you subscribe to when booking your ticket type. The whole check-in and baggage drop process is almost fully automated, as is consistent with the LCC operating model. The terminal has several self-service kiosks that are intuitive and easy to use, dispersing your boarding pass and luggage tags. If any issues arise (which for me they did due to travelling on a domestic flight from the international section of the airport) a few Jetstar staff are always nearby to help. Bag drop off is automated with passenger required to scan their boarding pass before they load their luggage onto the conveyor belt, where it is then weighed and sent to the aircraft, with a luggage receipt being provided. Jetstar are strict on the weight of your baggage, if the weight of your bag is more than what was purchased at the time of booking an alert is triggered and additional chargers are payable there and then at the airport. It is always entertaining watching people remove items of clothing from their luggage and putting them on at the bag drop area to avoid the additional chargers.Airport & Lounges
The Gold Coast Airport is a small airport and mainly services domestic flights around Australia. The airport is utilised by both full-service airlines Qantas and Virgin Australia along with the regions LCC’s Jetstar and Tiger Air. International carriers - Air New Zealand, Scoot and Air Asia also utilise this airport for their flights to their destinations. The bulk of the food and shopping outlets are in the domestic section of the airport along with only two lounges - The Qantas Club and Virgin Australia’s “The Lounge”. Jetstar customers travelling in business class or passengers with the appropriate level of One World status can access The Qantas Club prior to the departure of all Jetstar flights. As I fit into neither category, on this trip I headed through security to the general waiting area.
Both domestic and international flights leave from the same terminal. Once clearing domestic security screening passengers travelling on international flights need to clear secondary security checks and custom processes before being guided into duty free shopping and a separate waiting area. Even though this flight was technically a domestic flight, it was heading to the International terminal in Melbourne so treated as an international journey security procedure wise. However, no passport was required only photo ID and passengers are not able to purchase duty free items. I would highly recommend not going through to the International departures area until the last minute as there is limited seating and limited things available to kill the time.
One of my favourite things about the Gold Coast airport is that there are no aerobridges meaning that you get the opportunity to walk on the tarmac to the aircraft and board via the stairs. Getting up close with giants like the 787 is always great and a thrill to all true aviation geeks.Seat Selection
Now I am about to give you the best seat selection tip for these Jetstar 787s. What if I told you, you could pay economy prices and still turn left after boarding. Not only do you get to turn left after boarding (like all the business class passengers) but also additional leg room. All this could be yours for the small additional cost of $25AUD when travelling from Australia to Japan, Thailand and Singapore or as little as $9 on a domestic leg. The secret my friend is ROW 10!!
Row 10 is located directly behind the business class cabin in a private economy section consisting a total of only 27 seats, of which the 9 in row ten all have additional legroom due to the wall between business and economy. These seats are not sold as extra legroom seats (like the exit rows) but as “upfront seats” meaning they only attract an additional fee of $25AUD for international flights and $9 for domestic flights. This is an absolute bargain and well worth it for a flight like Gold Coast to Narita which is over 9 hours. I recently did this trip and the extra expense is excellent value on the overnight flight back to Australia. The only downside is that the IFE comes out from the armrest due to no seat back in front of you.Seat
The economy seats on the 787 offer 17 inches of width and standard seats having a pitch 30 inches. These measurements are consistent across LCC fleets. Each seat has a personal IFE system located in the seatback in front, that has several movies and TV shows however accessing this content comes at an additional fee that is not worthwhile on a short flight like this. Each seat back has a USB charging point and there is a universal power outlet underneath the seat. Use of this power outlet is free unlike on-board Scoots 787s – where there is an additional charge, which is ridiculous.Service
The service by the cabin crew was great, with a flight attendant coming around shortly after take-off asking if anyone would like to order something from the in-flight menu. All meals and drinks are reasonably priced and on par with other LCC offerings. The in-flight magazine also has a selection of Jetstar branded accessories and souvenirs that can be purchased on board.Conclusion
Jetstar is not an airline that I have flown with regularly as I normally try to stick with carriers that are a part of my favourite alliance. When you add all the optional extras like, seat selection, luggage, food and so on – the price can quickly get to that of a full-service carrier so the value for money is depleted. In saying this, Jetstar operate some route exclusively (for example Gold Coast to Tokyo Narita) that are not serviced by other carriers, so flying them make sense. Jetstar service is what you would expect from a low-cost carrier, nothing more, nothing less – ultimately, they are there to get you from point A to B safety and on time, anything more cost extra. I have had pleasant experiences every time I have flown with them and would not hesitate to book with them in the future.As always you can check out the video footage to this flight below:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pg-us2rGl-E