Flight check: Jetstar JQ296

Jetstar. Photo / File
Jetstar. Photo / File

Winston Aldworth flies on Jetstar JQ296 from Queenstown to Auckland

The plane
A320 - The domestic Greyhound of the Jetstar fleet.

Class
Not particularly.

Price
$102, including fees and taxes. One bag of luggage costs $11 extra. In total, flying two adults and one fee-paying child, we saved more than $400 by opting for Jetstar over Air New Zealand.

On time?
No problems. We rolled out of Queenstown on time, despite the staff's last-minute flurry at the airport to account for a rogue ownerless suitcase.

My seat
24C, sitting by the aisle. My preferred spot. I don't like to see the wings wobble.

Fellow passengers
Families. Young travellers and a couple of dozen Asian tourists in a package group. For the rest of the passengers, my busy 3-year-old daughter, Zoe, was probably the most annoying person on board.

I got a nosebleed. We were that family.

How full?
There were maybe half a dozen seats out of 177 left empty. This is a popular run.

Entertainment
Not much - this is budget travel. Zoe found the emergency instructions card mildly distracting for a while there. I was surprised and impressed by Jetstar's in-flight magazine.

The service
Cabin crew were all pleasant enough. Once the exits have been pointed out, their main job seems to be selling you stuff.

Food and drink
You can buy drinks and food on board - don't expect anything for free. The on-board prices are steep though not outrageous - it pays to be canny and buy your snacks before getting to the airport. And quell the wails of your ear-popped child by having some lollies tucked away ready for landing.

The toilets
Clean. Though not much room when trying to help the 3-year-old with "toilet time" at 9100m (30,000ft).

Luggage
One bag, weighing up to 20kg, costing $11. These guys are pretty serious. Don't go over the limits or you'll pay extra.

The airport experience
When it's not too busy, Queenstown Airport is great. The best coffee is at the first stall as you enter. Window-seats get astonishing views on takeoff, although coming in to land is the bigger buzz.

Would I fly this again?
Money talks ... until we have a nightmare delay or JetStar lands us in Invercargill instead of Central Otago.

Winston Aldworth paid for his own ticket.

- NZ Herald

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