Airline Review

Jetstar’s New Jet Isn’t Half Bad: A321neo Economy Class Review

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Tom Goward | 31/03/2023

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73/ 100

Flight Hacks expert rating

Jetstar does a reasonably good job at offering competitive fares and friendly service. Even though it's still a budget seat, Jetstar's latest jet is more comfortable than ever before.

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  • 10/ 20
    Ground Experience
  • 17/ 20
    Seat & Cabin
  • 18/ 20
    Crew & Service
  • 14/ 20
    Food & Beverage
  • 14/ 20
    Overall Value
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Pros

  • Cheap flights
  • Improved and comfortable seating
  • Enthusiastic crew

Cons

  • Disappointing ground experience
  • Poor redemption value

Wider seats, large overhead bins and USB charging at every seat awaits travellers flying on Jetstar’s latest jet, the Airbus A321neo LR (new engine option, long-range). Eleven years after placing their initial order, Jetstar now operates six state-of-the-art Airbus aircraft, with an additional seven due for delivery.

Travelling onboard a brand-new aircraft is always fun, and after being impressed with the refreshed cabin at Jetstar’s A321neo launch event, I thought it was time to book myself a flight.

Jetstar’s Domestic Fares

Being a low-cost airline, Jetstar offers a range of fares at a reasonable price. While passengers have the option to add extras such as checked baggage and seat selection individually, there are four bundles to choose from when booking your Jetstar flight;

  • Starter is the most affordable way to travel, with 7kg carry-on included.
  • Starter Plus adds 20kg checked baggage, standard seat selection, food and drink plus Qantas Points.
  • Starter Max offers maximum extras plus cancellation to a credit voucher.
  • Flex is namely flexible but also includes 14kg carry-on baggage and upfront seat selection.

Jetstar Ground Experience At Hobart Airport

My honest take on Hobart Airport’s International facilities (read what I said here) was not well received by those who run the show. I found this rather amusing but hope my concerns were taken on board.

Anyway, back to Jetstar. My flight was delayed, but check-in staff proactively informed me of this and several announcements were made. Security was underequipped as usual, but I didn’t have to wait too long and the staff here were fantastic.

Inside the poorly planned terminal, I remembered why Hobart Airport remains among Australia’s worst. The space is undoubtedly beautiful, normally well-kept and includes overpriced food and beverage, but there are simply not enough seats. I don’t know how many passengers Hobart Airport thinks they can handle, but as I depart this dump around 80 times per year, I can confirm that three planes is a stretch.

Next comes the issue of signage. Want to find gate six? No worries, as Hobart Airport has thoughtfully provided two signs, placed side-by-side and located after you are halfway to the gate. The gate area was crowded, so I enjoyed my coffee on the terminal floor until it was time to board.

Jetstar A321neo Review (photo: Tom Goward)

Jetstar A321neo Cabin

While it’s not groundbreaking by any means, Jetstar’s latest Airbus feels noticeably fresh and comfortable. The slimline seats are quite similar to those seen on Jetstar’s A320ceo, with the most noticeable changes found at the seatback. As well as USB power for every passenger, a device and cup holder can be folded down from the seatback.

Jetstar A321neo Review (photo: Tom Goward)

My favourite addition is the split seat pocket, which allows the safety card and other inflight reading to sit up top, leaving space below for personal storage while improving legroom. On the topic of legroom, seat pitch is set at a budget-friendly 29-inches, although I was quite impressed when sitting down. I’m 180cm tall and had about 8cm spare in my standard seat.

Jetstar A321neo Review (photo: Tom Goward)

The seat itself is incredibly comfortable by budget standards, although I do fear such a slim design will show its age rather quickly. But for now, this is one of the most comfortable budget carrier seats you will find worldwide.

Food & Beverage Onboard Jetstar

Don’t expect complimentary food and drink with Jetstar. If your fare doesn’t include a meal voucher, you will need a physical card to make a purchase from the onboard menu.

My A$8 tea and banana bread combo tasted as good as you would expect.

Jetstar A321neo Review (photo: Tom Goward)

Inflight Entertainment Onboard Jetstar

Over the coming months, Jetstar will retrofit its NEOs with digital streaming technology. This will allow passengers to stream inflight entertainment on their own devices and order from the inflight menu.

You will need to pay for this perk, and a yearly IFE subscription is on the table. Older aircraft will also see the new technology over the next two years.

Summing Up: Is Jetstar Worth Considering?

As a budget airline, Jetstar does a great job at striking a balance between offering a comfortable journey and cheap flights. You’ll have to make sacrifices to save, but if you want to get to your destination for the lowest price possible, Jetstar is worth a try.

I would also like to mention the exceptional cabin crew. Along with all the crew, the cabin manager on my flight, Lisa, was amazing. They were every bit as good as a premium airline, and miles better than the crew on Jetstar’s parent company Qantas.

I never hesitate to fly with Jetstar if the price is right, or if I miss flying on an Airbus. If you are booking economy class, it always makes sense to crunch the numbers, even if you have elite status with other airlines.

Flight Details

  • Flight Date: February 2023
  • Aircraft: Airbus A321neo
  • Registration: VH-OFP
  • Route: Hobart to Melbourne
  • Seat: 4A
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Tom Goward

COO and Aviation Nerd at Flight Hacks

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