Tried & Tested

Jetstar Asia A320 economy

22 Apr 2013 by ScottCarey7

First impressions Booking tickets has to be done online. Jetstar offers three fare types: a starter/basic fare that includes a 10kg carry-on bag. The Starter Plus bundle adds free standard seat selection, food and a drink, the ability to make changes without fees (although fare differences apply) and the ability to earn Qantas FFP miles and status credits. The top Max bundle is basically a fully flexible ticket which is refundable (with fee) and also has seat selection for any seat (an upfront row or exit rows giving an extra 8 inches or more of legroom). 

When checking prices for Singapore to Hong Kong a starter ticket cost from around SG$110 plus taxes and fees (SG$34). A Starter Plus tickets added either SG$24 or SG$34 and a Max or fully flexible ticket cost the same on any flight at SG$360.95 including all fees and taxes.  Baggage is paid for as an extra by weight if required with individual bags allowed to weigh up to 32 KG with the total bookable weight being between 15-40KG per passenger accepted. A 15KG bag costs SG$16 and 20KG SG$ 18. It is best to stay at this level as the price then jumps to SG$35 for 25KG and SG$50 for 30KG.

As I did not need flexibility I booked a Starter Plus ticket with 20KG check-in baggage and an extra legroom seat for SG$240. An extra legroom seat (Row 1 or Rows 12 and 13 for the exit) cost SG$30 and an upfront seat (rows 2-5) costs SG$13.

Online check-in opens between 48 hours and 120 minutes before the flight’s scheduled departure time. I had reserved a seat and had baggage so decided to wait until the airport to check-in. Counter check-in opens two hours before the flight and as I entered Terminal 1 some two and a half hours before my flight I was expecting to wait.  It was with great surprise that I found a check-in desk for Hong Kong open and not a single person queuing. Immigration was equally easy and I was airside in just a few minutes. 

Boarding The departure area was not too busy and there was no shortage of places to sit. As I was very early I found my Priority Pass card and headed to the Skyview lounge to work and helped myself to a diet coke. Free wifi is available across the airport.

The departure board said boarding was taking place so at 1500 I headed to the departure gate (D38) which is one of the furthest gates. There were a few people queuing for security but this was very quick. Boarding had not started and did not actually start until 1535 but no announcements were made explaining the delay. The first announcement was for people requiring more time to board and passengers in rows one and two. This was a nice surprise and I was the first onboard.

With only 15 minutes to complete boarding the crew were actively encouraging passengers and reminding them with announcements about the short time until our take-off slot. With great surprise it was achieved in about 20 minutes so we pulled away from the gate about eight minutes late. The crew did the normal safety announcements and offered the opportunity of upgrading to an extra legroom seat for SG$32. As I had a spare seat next to me I kept my fingers crossed that nobody would!

The seat The A320 cabin has 180 seats fitted in a 3-3 configuration. Seats are allocated but as explained earlier you can pre-book. The seats were modern, contoured and covered in what I assumed was grey leather. They had tray tables and an adequate recline for a short journey.

I was sitting in seat 1D. There was a partition separating me from the galley but there was plenty of legroom. If you want still more legroom I would opt for seat 1A-C as these have no partition but you do need to keep your feet in when passengers are boarding!

The flight Immediately after takeoff the crew approached all passengers with pre-booked meals to offer them a choice. The menu card showed about a dozen hot meals including chicken rice, vegetable masala and Irish stew but when the choice was offered there were four to choose from and I opted for a beef rendang and diet coke. Drinks were served after about 10 minutes with the food about 15 minutes later. 

I was a bit disappointed by the food. It came in a standard ready meal container (although smaller) and you had to pull back the cellophane lid. The food inside was not that hot and a lot of rice had been squeezed in which had turned it into quite a solid block.

If you had not pre-booked food it could be bought onboard but the first choice might not be available. It is reasonably priced at SG$12 for a hot meal, SG$5 for instant noodles and snacks are from SG$3 to SG$5. Drinks are SG$4 with alcoholic drinks costing SG$7 to SG$9. The waste from the food service was swiftly cleared away and apart from a tax-free shopping service we were left alone for the remainder of the flight.

Arrival The flight caught up time and we landed at 1935, some ten minutes early.  We parked at a remote stand and were bussed to the terminal where it was a short walk to immigration. The airport was busy but queues were not too bad but the luggage seemed to take longer than normal to arrive. 

Verdict Superb service and a good value flight.


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