Winston Aldworth and his family join homeward-bound tourists aboard JQ292

The plane:

An Airbus A320, the happy little hopper that keeps Jetstar's empire chugging along. I love these things.

Class: You know the drill.

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Price: Our family of four - flying down to Queenstown in the middle of the school holidays and returning just before the end of the holidays - managed the return haul for a sniff over a grand. A bargain.

Flight time: You're in here for 1hr 55m. Like I say,
I love these little A320s - but anything more than 2hr 30m is a stern test.

On time: Nailed it.

Fellow passengers: Post-holiday Aucklanders schlepping home and a fair smattering of Asian tourists.

How full: You can reasonably bet that any Jetstar flight going into or out of Queenstown in the middle of the school holidays will be chocka. This one didn't disappoint.

My seat: I was in 20D, keeping an eye on my two kids and their cousin Ollie across the aisle. When the safety briefing kicked off, the cabin crew staffer set up right next to us, plonking the demonstrator lifejacket on my son's tray table. The three kids were utterly transfixed by the demo - unlike pretty much everyone else on board the plane.

Entertainment: The Jetstar magazine is a helpful friend on this short hop. I always keep an eye out for the hilarious ad selling shoes that make blokes look taller. The fella in the advert is already six foot tall!

An advertisement in Jetstar's inflight magazine for shoes that make blokes look taller. Photo / Winston Aldworth
An advertisement in Jetstar's inflight magazine for shoes that make blokes look taller. Photo / Winston Aldworth

The service:

Good sorts.

Food and drink:

The sandwiches I had made were picked over, critiqued then ignored by the kids.

The toilets: One of the great things about having kids with you when writing Flight Check reviews is that you can always be sure of at least one trip to the dunnies. Happy to report the toilets were in fine shape.

Airport experience: Both on our arrival and on our departure, Queenstown Airport was a heaving mass of travellers, testament to the dangers of underestimating the infrastructure needs of a tourism boom. When we had arrived, I cut in front of The Mighty Brad Thorn in the coffee queue and lived to tell the tale. I didn't realise it was TMBT until I heard his distinctive husky tone ordering a flat white.

Luggage: We paid for two large bags in the hold and wedged extra kit into carry-on bags.

In a nutshell: Holiday gold from a low-cost carrier that gets families where they need to be.