Flight check: Dunedin to Auckland on Jetstar

By Peter Feeney

Peter Feeney and family fly on Jetstar JQ284 Dunedin to Auckland.

Moments after take-off smuggled snacks materialised into the laps of passengers throughout the cabin. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Moments after take-off smuggled snacks materialised into the laps of passengers throughout the cabin. Photo / Mark Mitchell

The plane: A320, medium-sized, about 180 passengers.

Class: Just the one, economy (as my Great Uncle Jim once observed, when asked why he travelled 3rd class on NZ Railways - "Cos there's no 4th you fool!")

Price: Buy sufficiently in advance on this leg and it's just $69 for a 1hr, 50min flight.

On time? Yes.

My seat: Leather, reclining, comfy.

Fellow passengers: A lovely primary school teacher read James and the Giant Peach to our six-year-old for most of the flight. I may still get the bill in the mail. The rest of my row was taken up by myself, wife, and our three boisterous children - all under seven. No one poured hot coffee down my neck, so I'm guessing the kids were well enough behaved - or maybe the price of a coffee on this no-frills flight deterred.

How full? Jam-packed.

Entertainment: Our well-travelled children repeatedly requested earphones, and tugged uselessly at various fittings hoping Game Boys might pop out. All to no avail on a domestic flight.

The service: Remarkably tolerant, especially when I was decamped across the aisle spooning two-minute noodles into hungry young mouths. Which took rather longer than two minutes.

Food and drink: Moments after take-off smuggled snacks materialised into the laps of passengers throughout the cabin. Ours didn't quite stretch to our six-year-old's appetite, regrettably, so he steadily worked his way through most of Jetstar's inflight pay menu - with no complaints.

The toilets: Our kids were frequent and grateful patrons. Our middle child on her first visit hit every knob she could find, including the call button, closely followed by the flushing one, so a flight attendant and I arrived just in time to observe the physical effects of scary suction on a startled four-year-old's bottom. No permanent damage, I'm happy to report.

Luggage: Small gripe - Jetstar's weight restrictions effectively limit each checked-in bag to 20kg, unless you want to pay for a second bag. A potential First World disaster avoided only by reading the fine print on the e-ticket.

The airport experience: Dunedin airport is small, modern and easy to navigate. Jetstar's Auckland terminal was a wee walk to the pick-up zone, but we survived.

Would I fly this again? Definitely. Cheap and very cheerful.

The writer travelled courtesy of Jetstar.

- NZ Herald

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