The flood of media released today claiming that Jetstar is ranked the worst airline in a consumer rated survey is a real kick in the guts for the airline and may well strike doubt and confusion in the minds of many parents contemplating a long-awaited trip away. The study was inherently flawed from the outset and Jetstar probably has every right to be pretty peeved off with the outcome and the potential fall-out from it.
As a seasoned Jetstar traveller who has taken a number of overseas family holidays with the airline here are a few reasons why I think this airline is still a safe bet for family travel.
The number one thing that I look for when selecting flights for my family is that the airline has a good safety record. Nothing gives you better peace of mind when you hit some strong turbulence or uncomfortable weather conditions than being on board an airline with a stellar safety record.
The report failed to include this in the criteria but Jetstar has been scored 7 out of 7 for safety. Owned by Qantas, arguably the world’s safest airline I feel pretty confident booking my family onto a Jetstar flight.
They copped a rough score for this aspect of their business but in my personal opinion, and experience I have always found the flight attendants and desk staff for Jetstar to be extremely professional and helpful. As far as travelling with kids goes, the staff have generally been very tolerant, particularly on Jetstar Asia flights where we have received excellent customer service.
In all honesty, we find the ‘holiday vibe’ of the Jetstar flights and service to be far more relaxed and amenable to family travel than some of the high profile full service airlines we fly with.
As far as flight delays go we may just have been lucky but we have only had one or two flights affected by minor delays. Generally speaking, this is due to unforeseen issues that could happen to any airline anyway.
We all want to save money on flights to have more spending money for the actual holiday. Jetstar makes travelling as a family affordable with regular sales and packages that can save you plenty of dollars. Last year we picked up flights to Hawaii for just over $600 Australian per person which was a complete bargain when you are looking at buying four tickets.
If you are comfortable with going without the tiny luxuries that full service airlines offer then you are definitely able to save big.
Who travels on Jetstar
Worried about taking long haul flights with your kids? Jetstar could be your perfect answer. Taking a Jetstar flight to any of the major travel destinations out of Australia and you will find yourself joining a huge number of other parents travelling with children. The family friendly price point for tickets and the great choice of direct flights to hot destinations means every Jetstar flight is full of kids. No need to feel like everyone is staring and noticing what your kids are up to as everyone is busy with their own.
As an added bonus, a Jetstar flight is usually a pretty social experience with other parents happy to chat and let the kids play.
Our recent trips with Jetstar have all been on the new Boeing Dreamliner jets which I find to be fantastic. Really quiet, clean and comfortable, so if you have reasonable expectations you shouldn’t anticipate any problems. The seating space is a little tight but I think this is also increasingly normal for economy travel.
Note that the Jetstar Asia flights are operated on aircraft which have extremely close seats making it a little difficult when travelling with infants in your lap. Having said that most Jetstar Asia flights are no longer than a couple of hours so tolerable.
What do you need to know?
Ultimately Jetstar is a great option for affordable and safe travel to some amazing destinations. The caveat being that yes, they are a budget airline. What does this mean for families?
Essentially the only difference is that you face additional costs for meals, entertainment, seat selection and blankets/pillows.
We generally pack some beach towels or light blankets into our carry on for our own comfort and to allow the kids to sleep.
I recommend adding the meals to your flight package – it’s simply easier and meal times are a great time waster for kids. It’s a great distraction from boredom and soaks up some valuable minutes getting you that little bit closer to your destination.
I have always found the quality of food on Jetstar flights departing out of Australia to be very good and in all honesty, there is little difference between Jetstar and Qantas meals. Having said that the quality can be variable and questionable dependent on which country you are departing from as they are supplied by local caterers.
If in doubt just pack some extra sandwiches and snacks for the kids to avoid hassles. You can also purchase snacks and refreshments from the Jetstar café on board.
As for entertainment, you have the choice to add an ipad to your booking or take your own tablet pre-loaded with entertainment for the kids. This is something that you would likely do anyhow so not really a big deal. The Jetstar entertainment has a nice range of movies, TV, music and kids shows but the selection is smaller than what you would expect on a full-service airline.
So basically, fear not cause a family trip with Jetstar is really a breeze. After all you really just want to find an airline that gets you on your holiday safely and with the minimal of fuss.