Jetstar Airways is a fully owned subsidiary of Qantas, who created the airline in 2003 as part of a two-brand strategy in response to the threat posed by Virgin Blue (now Virgin Australia). The master plan was to position Jetstar for the low-cost market, leaving Qantas to take on the premium full-service sector. Nowadays, Jetstar is one of the world’s most successful value-based airlines, and is currently Australia’s only major low-cost carrier after Tigerair’s demise in late 2020.
Tip: check out our guide on the Jetstar price beat guarantee to save on your next flight!
Jetstar is unquestionably a “you get what you pay for” airline. Put simply, customers who expect Jetstar to offer the same service as parent airline Qantas are not choosing Jetstar for the right reasons. Jetstar is a good option for those who want to get to their destination for as little as possible, and don’t mind skipping some of the benefits to save a buck.
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The Jetstar fleet
According to Planespotters.net, Jetstar currently holds a fleet of 68 aircraft with an average aircraft age of 10.3 years.
Jetstar Airways has 49 Airbus A320 aircraft and 8 Airbus A321 aircraft in their fleet. You can expect to fly on these aircraft on domestic routes, as well as some shorter international flights, with the larger A321 used on flights with increased demand. Each aircraft is configured in a 3-3 all-economy layout, with 180 seats on the A320 and 220 to 230 on the A321.
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is Jetstar’s most modern aircraft, with the first of the type delivered to the airline in 2013. The Boeing 787 features state-of-the-art technology to improve passenger comfort and fatigue, including cabin pressurisation that is 2000ft lower than traditional aircraft and improved cabin humidity. Jetstar’s 11 Boeing 787 aircraft operate on long-haul international routes, configured with 21 seats in a 2-3-2 layout in Business, and 314 seats in a 3-3-3 layout in Economy.
Fare types and bundles
Normally you can only add bundles to your fare at the time of booking directly through Jetstar’s website. The cost of each bundle will differ based on the length of each flight, and can sometimes cost more than adding items such as checked baggage and meals individually.
There are six main Jetstar fare types:
- Starter – base fare
- Flex – designed for business travellers
- Plus – designed for general travellers
- Max – for maximum extras
- Business – base business class fare
- Business Max – a business class fare with the lot
|Seat Selection||$||Upfront or Standard||Standard||Extra Legroom|
|Food and Drink||$||$||Snack or Meal||Snack or Meal|
|Qantas Points||No||No||Yes (Y)||Yes (W)|
|Qantas Status Credits||No||No||Yes (Y)||Yes (W)|
|Zero Change Fees||$||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Flight Cancellation||$||Credit Voucher||$||Credit Voucher|
|Food and Drink||Yes||Yes|
|Comfort Packs||Where available||Where available|
|In-flight Entertainment||Where available||Where available|
|Lounge Access||Where available||Where available|
|Qantas Status Credits||No||Yes|
|Zero Change Fees||Yes||Yes|
|Flight Cancellation||$||Credit Voucher|
Booking Jetstar flights through Qantas
Jetstar often cost more when booked through the Qantas website, even with all the trimmings added. However, sometimes it may be your only option for a connecting flight. If you book a Jetstar flight through Qantas’ website, you will get a choice between a Starter or Max fare.
Please note that the COVID-19 pandemic may result in slightly different fare policies, including waived change fees on some bookings.
Food & beverage
As with most low-cost airlines, Jetstar does not provide complimentary food and drink. Instead, you have the option to purchase items online before your flight or from the onboard menu. If you selected a Plus or Max bundle, or you are travelling in Business, food and beverage is included in the ticket price.
Note that Jetstar only accepts card payment onboard.
Jetstar does not provide inflight entertainment on all domestic flights. On international flights operated by B787 aircraft, you will have the option to pay extra for inflight entertainment.
Earning Qantas Points/Status Credits
As part of the Qantas Group, you can earn Qantas Points and Status Credits when flying with Jetstar. To earn Qantas Points and Status Credits you must purchase either the Plus, Max or Business Max bundle.
Want to know more? Check out our guide here!
Booking Jetstar flights with Qantas Points
Jetstar award redemptions cost 20% less points than Qantas award redemptions. The best way to book award redemptions with Jetstar is on the Qantas website.
You can also use “points plus pay” on the Jetstar or Qantas website (just before payment) however, this is likely to cost more than a standard redemption.
Jetstar’s Price Beat Guarantee
If you are searching for the cheapest flight available, Jetstar’s Price Beat Guarantee is a great way to book some seriously cheap flights. The Price Beat Guarantee works a bit like Bunnings. If you find a cheaper flight with either another airline or a Jetstar flight on an eligible third party website, Jetstar will beat it by 10%.
Note that Price Beat bookings are always Economy Starter fares, although you do have the option of adding extras such as checked baggage and seat selection. You can’t add a bundle to a price beat booking.
Want to know more? Check out our guide here!
Jetstar can be a great option for travellers who want to get to their destination for the lowest price possible. I have never had a bad experience when I have chosen to fly with Jetstar, although there are some horror stories out there.