Low cost airline Jetstar will be hoping today runs smoother than yesterday.

The Qantas subsidiary broke new ground by offering nearly 6000 fares for "$0' but launch day was blemished by a ground equipment glitch in Wellington which led to delays snowballing beyond two hours, leaving dignitaries waiting at a Christchurch reception and some passengers grumpy.

The airline said container loading equipment failure had been exacerbated by new staff learning new procedures. A spokesman apologised to passengers affected.

While some of those waiting for a mid-afternoon Christchurch to Auckland flight were philosophical, welcoming new low fare competition, others were not so happy.

"They missed a PR opportunity and they dropped the ball - they had the mayor [Bob Parker] there and they were late," Christchurch woman Tracey Glass said.

Geraldine woman Jenny Prendergast said she had chosen Jetstar based on price but was disappointed at the wait.

"When we checked in we weren't told anything about a huge delay, apart from everything was OK."

Jetstar chief executive Bruce Buchanan was aboard one delayed flight and said the airline typically met on time performance targets up to 90 per cent of the time in Australia.

He said there would be more sales along the lines of the "$0" on some seats that were available for travel early next year.

Once its Auckland-Wellington-Christchurch-Queenstown services were bedded in, the airline would look to add frequency and other regions.

Buchanan said flying jets out of Hamilton, Dunedin, Invercargill and Rotorua was a possibility and a decision would be made early next year.

The seat provided to the Herald for yesterday's flights was leather, like those on the other domestic budget airline Pacific Blue, and had a seat pitch of 76cm, the same as most seats at the back of Air New Zealand Boeing 737s but slightly less than the average on Pacific Blue. Frequent fliers or passengers who pay more on any of the airlines can get more leg room.

Jetstar's menu is more spartan than Pacific Blue, offering nuts, Pringles and and noodles for between $3 and $4 and a range of sweets or beverages.

Jetstar cabin crew get a 10 per cent cut of onboard sales.

Air New Zealand offers free snacks throughout the day and also built into fares is more substantial food at either end of the day and alcohol on evening flights.

Jetstar's three Airbus A320 aircraft on domestic routes are almost new, as are many of the cabin crew. They were unfailingly helpful and cheerful despite the two-hour wait in Christchurch.