Airline review: Jetstar Dreamliner economy class

Our rating

3.5 out of 5

The plane

Jetstar 787-8 Dreamliner; the airline has 11 of this aircraft.

The route

Melbourne to Denpasar, Bali.

The loyalty scheme

Points can be earned on Qantas Frequent Flyer, depending on the type of fare.

Class

Economy, seat 24G.

Duration

5 hours, 15 minutes.

Frequency

Ten flights a week from Melbourne, seven from Sydney and four from Brisbane.

The seat

Seats in economy class have either 30 or 31 inches (76cm or 79cm) of leg room. 24G is on the aisle, one row behind the exit row. If you want to select your seat in advance, you'll need to pay a $15 booking fee.

Baggage

Jetstar's cheapest fares do not include checked baggage. At the time of booking, you had to pay an additional $32 for a 15 kilogram allowance or $35 for 20 kilograms, moving up to $55 for 40 kilograms. If you don't pay in advance and want to check luggage in at the airport, you'll be facing a $160 fee for the first 15 kilograms and $25 a kilogram above that. The starter fares include up to 7 kilograms carry-on luggage.

Comfort

This is my first time flying on the much-vaunted Boeing Dreamliner, which promises greater comfort than older airliners. The cabin ceilings are noticeably higher than some other aircraft and as a result the overhead baggage bins are more spacious too. The are no window shades, but instead there's a dimmer switch which tints the window. The seat itself is fairly typical economy – comfortable enough for this daytime flight. A $10 comfort pack includes an eye mask, socks, toothbrush and paste, earplugs, moisturiser and an inflatable pillow.

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Entertainment

Unlike most Jetstar aircraft, the Dreamliner features seat-back screens with a selection of entertainment options (access to which must be purchased for $10). There are 22 new and older movies and a range of TV shows. There's also music and games. The seats also feature USB ports so you can power your own device.

The service

The Asian crew is efficient and well presented, happy to respond to requests for water or snack orders. They pass the "call button" test with flying colours, responding in just a few seconds after it is pressed. The only slip-up is that the inflight magazine is last month's, so the entertainment listings are out of date, and the snack menus are missing because, I'm told, they too are out of date and are yet to be replaced with updated ones.

The food

A hot meal can be pre-ordered for $15. The selection on this flight is either chicken with rice or beef and mashed potato. It comes with a bread roll, chocolate mousse and water. The food is fine by plane standards, but it's served within the first hour of the flight – 10.20am Melbourne time. There are a range of snacks that can be purchased during the flight.

One more thing

Boeing's Dreamliner, the world's first all-carbon fibre airliner, promises a higher cabin pressure and more humid air that is closer to the normal air of ground level. This, it's said, helps prevent jet lag, but on a flight this short the effect is not noticeable. Jetstar flies Dreamliners on its Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane to Denpasar routes.

The verdict

The fact Jetstar is flying modern Dreamliners on this route puts it a step ahead of rivals. While the additional fees for everything from food to seat selection can be annoying, the low starting fares still make this a bargain for a quick jaunt to Bali. 

Craig Platt flew as a guest of Jetstar.

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