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Flight Review: In the Unlimited Legroom Sweet Spot on JetStar Asia

June 25, 2013 at 12:52 PM | by | ()

Getting around Asia on a shoestring is easy, courtesy of its plethora of low-cost carriers. It’s worth doing a quick investigation into the airline’s reputation and safety record if you’ve never heard of them before. Affiliation with major international carriers (in this case, JetStar has ties to Australian flag carrier Qantas) always helps. Navigating your way onto the right seat may be a bit daunting, but break it down in steps and you’ll be off in no time.

During the booking process, pay close attention to the difference between base fares advertised in huge font on the homepage and total cost, which gets pushed up by taxes, surcharges, fees, and myriad options for add-on packages. For our JetStar flight from Phuket to Singapore, we maximized bang for our buck by paying 800THB ($25) to select a premium seat in row 1, resulting in the bliss of limitless leg room, all the way to the cockpit door.

We couldn’t remember the last time we walked onto a plane and found nothing in front of seats 1A to 1C. The price to select one of these three seats is exactly the same as 1D through 1F on the other side of the isle, which do have the typical divider, painted JetStar’s bright orange signature color. Likewise, you can pick one of the emergency exit rows over the wings, but we’d highly recommend row 1, also for being the first one off the plane at the other end of your journey.

The base fare for our flight was 2,799THB ($90). We avoided the heavily advertised “most popular package,” costing 700THB ($23), which gets you Qantas frequent flyer points, standard row seat selection, and a meal. Given the morning flight time, we had breakfast at our hotel, which would far surpass anything JetStar would be able to offer in-flight, and had lunch when we arrived in Singapore.

We paid a small surcharge when booking our ticket to increase our hold luggage allowance to 25 kilos, fearing a typical low cost carrier attitude towards baggage limits and carry-ons, i.e. no leniency and extortionate fees at the airport. Surprisingly, this didn’t seem to be the case at all; while we were waiting for check-in, a JetStar employee went through the queue and labelled pretty much anything and everything as cabin approved. Obviously, this is not something you can rely on happening, so expect a more stringent approach.

The rest of the flight was uneventful and did what it says on the tin: it got us from A to B in a budget-friendly way. The plane was clean and crew was friendly, though we had little interaction with them. Flight 3K 534 left Phuket (HKT) at 09.45am, arriving at Singapore Changi (SIN) at 12.30pm. For a total of 4269THB ($137), booked about eight weeks out, we were perfectly happy with our budget flight.

[Photos: JasonD for Jaunted]

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