James Cridland

Trip report: a flight on Jetstar from Brisbane to Denpasar and back, in business (Boeing 787-8)

I’ve never taken a Jetstar flight before, so this is a first for me. And to be honest, I was a little nervous, having flown RyanAir in the UK and having to tiptoe carefully through a set of financial gotchas - a fee for not printing out your boarding pass, a fee for thinking of checking in a bag, a fee for using the loo, a fee for wearing clothes, a fee for wishing to breathe during your journey, a fee for landing as well as taking off.

The client bought me a “business” ticket, which isn’t the same as “business max” though gets in the same seats which is very confusing. The website wasn’t very clear whether I had any luggage allowance at all (indeed, client emailed me worried about that), but it turns out that I do. What I don’t apparently get is any lounge access in DPS or any Qantas points.

Check-in was easy, with a separate lane for business. The QF lounge (I’m WP) was all fine, obviously, once it had opened. Business was boarded first. I’m greeted with a menu - “I’ll take your order” - and a choice of orange juice, water or sparkling wine.

The plane, a Dreamliner, is new-feeling. The seat is similar to European business - slightly wider with a tiddly drinks tray. There’s a power socket, I note with relief (I’ve work to do). The mood lighting is Jetstar red, as is the trim on the seat. On it is a blanket that - unusually - says its brand new and it’s mine to take away, offering suggested uses (a picnic blanket, a dog blanket, a smothering tool for unwanted relatives, a method of cleaning up unwanted vomit, not the last two). There’s an amenities pack, including a pen and other things. A bottle of Cool Ridge water and some fancy headphones for the quite decent IFE. This is not a RyanAir experience. This is (whisper it) quite nice. Sure, I’m in business. But it’s quite nice.

The food arrived, on porcelain and with metal cutlery. The “creamy chive scrambled egg” had no chives. Immediately, I demanded my money back and wrote to Alan Joyce. WHERE ARE MY CHIVES, JOYCE? I asked. SCREW YOUR LIFETIME WP ANNOUNCEMENT, WHERE ARE MY CHIVES? Except I didn’t.

Instead, I ate the food, had a coffee or two, wrote approximately 402,748 emails, wrote a much too long newsletter, watched a little bit of Netflix, and even asked for a beer (they have a decent choice). The couple next to me attempted, I can only guess, the world record on vodka consumption. But, before long, we were swooping low over the sea, and landing in DPS - twenty minutes late (something to do with the wind).

The way back was just as good. The food (a choice of Dinner or Supper on the menu, which confused me) was okay, though not excellent - probably, perhaps, because it was from the Indonesian caterers. My vegetable curry was okay, if a little dull. Being fair, I’m not very good at making Indonesian food, but I do a good bacon and eggs, something that seems beyond the capability of many places I’ve been in Thailand or Indonesia.

The eagerness of the flight crew to please the passengers continued on the way back, too. I was given a beer with my meal, then another beer afterwards, and when they came to take my empties away, decided that I wanted another one. I really didn’t. But I had half of it to show willing. The flight crew were full of smiles and friendliness.

Yes, the passenger announcements are mostly automated - a sure sign that most of the crew aren’t as fluent in English as you’d perhaps expect (the flight crew both ways were Indonesian). The choice of “business” or “business max” is confusing, frankly. The Jetstar red colour is inconsistent, sometimes looking a little more orange than red. I don’t like how the ‘r’ in the logo is hidden behind the star. I’m not much of a fan of the corporate typeface. But to be honest, there’s precious little to complain about. Apart from THE DAMN CHIVES.