Jetstar fine print


New vertical takeoff meets mixed passenger response
If someone can show me where it says that a passenger travelling on frequent flyer points on a Jetstar flight gets treated as third class freight, I’ll give them a chocolate fish. My bet is that such print if it exists is buried in a reference to “operational matters”.

In the not so olden days, JAL ran a route from Sydney to Kansai (Osaka) where we would normally go. Either JAL or Qantas would fly to Narita (Tokyo). So codesharing was the norm. And JAL was the best for customer service by a fair margin. It was such a pleasure to ask for beer after beer and the only comment you received was a complementary bottle of water with your third. Sure, it was difficult for me to fit on the seats of their old planes, but I was usually accommodated well.

First minor miracle was that we didn’t have to carry our bags from the second QANTAS flight to Jetstar in when transferring from domestic to international in Cairns. (I must admit that it wasn’t until seeing my bags in Narita that I was sure!) So it was safe to assume that we were being treated as Qantas passengers on a codeshare, right?

Economy gets complicated now that Jetstar is the carrier: Your ticket could be Qantas or JAL, in which case you got fed, or Jetstar where you had to pay for everything but you could pre-pay and show your receipt, etc… The back of the plane gets very complicated. Up to this point we’ve avoided that confusion by flying Qantas or JAL or by being in Starclass on Jetstar.

I do “get” budget airlines; why should you pay for stuff that you don’t want? If I were back-packing around Asia, a discount airline would be an attractive option and I would put those minor hardships into consideration. The problem is where there is no warning that you are subject to these rules.

The first hint of something amiss was no blanket and no pillow, followed of course by no meal or drinks. The flight attendant told us that as we were flying on (Qantas) points, Jetstar was not obliged to honour much more than the seat we were sitting on (which had a broken headrest, while I’m at it!) He couldn’t find the document that explained such things but he was sure that the website had it somewhere. The nice man got us a meal at the end of service when he found two spare, but by that time we had spent a bunch on food and drink.

I cannot recall any such warning. As far as I’m concerned, I was a Qantas passenger on a codeshare. On that basis I think that there was an obligation. Anyway, I’ll raise it with head office.

Fortunately we’ll be returning in business class. To make up for the experience on the way over, I’m going to ask for everything from sleep mask to a sponge bath and I expect to get it!