Flight test: Jetstar business class

Jetstar's business class seating.
Jetstar's business class seating. 

THE ROUTE

Gold Coast to Osaka, Japan

THE PLANE

Airbus A330-200

THE LOYALTY SCHEME

Qantas Frequent Flyer

UP THE BACK OR AT THE POINTY END?

Business class, seat 6A

TIME IN THE AIR

Nine hours and 15 minutes

THE SEAT STUFF

38 inches pitch, 30 inches wide

BAGGAGE ALLOWANCE

A big step up from economy, business class gives you 30 kilograms of checked baggage and two bags of 10 kilograms for carry-on.

COMFORT FACTOR

The 2-3-2 layout comes with plenty of room, with plush leather seats in dark brown, which goes with the trademark orange trim elsewhere in the cabin. Though far from flatbed, my seat reclines like a comfortable armchair, and the adjustable leg rest means I manage a long afternoon nap despite the headrest refusing to stay adjusted.

THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT

There's no seat-back display on offer, but staff quickly remedy this by distributing iPads filled with a small but decent selection of movies and music. Hollywood blockbusters are accompanied by Australian classics (The Man from Snowy River) and some truly oddball Japanese options, including, on my flight, the curiously named Righting the Girl Ship. Games on in-flight entertainment systems are often woeful but the iPad shines in this department, with everything from modern car simulators to the card game Uno. The digital selection of Australian magazines is a nice inclusion, too.

THE SERVICE

A mostly Japanese crew is efficient and friendly from the get-go, when a flight attendant swaps my jacket for a glass of bubbly. Everything is delivered with a smile. Come lunchtime, the various attendants worry over my empty wine glass, and fret even more over my temporarily wayward phone. As I disembark I notice one attendant singing a passenger's baby to sleep.

FEEDING TIME

Business-class fares include two meals en route: a full lunch followed by a lighter snack. Both of these are Japanese in theme. From three options for lunch I choose the shiso-scented pork picassa, which comes with pan-fried yukari rice, plum sauce, and stir-fried vegetables. The rice is a little glutinous, but the pork is hot and satisfying. The cheese platter is a good finish too, and I find serving sizes to be on the right side of generous. Extra snacks are never more than a button press away if you do get peckish.

ONE MORE THING

Though this is marketed as business class, lounge access isn't an automatic base inclusion - choose the "Max" option to take advantage of facilities in the Qantas Club.

THE VERDICT

Jetstar stakes a solid claim on the space between "economy plus" and "business class" on a full-service airline such as Qantas. With significantly more comfort than economy and a rounded experience in terms of food and service, this is a good option for stepping up the quality of a flight without blowing your budget before you even reach Japan.

FREQUENCY

Jetstar flies to Osaka three times a week via the Gold Coast and five times a week via Cairns. See jetstar.com.au.

Tested by Lance Richardson, who travelled as a guest of Jetstar.

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