In Asia, there are 3 major budget airlines operating in its international sky, namely (in alphabetical order):
I've taken all 3 of them in the past 3-5 years or so. Each has its own distinctive strengths and weaknesses. Here I'll just attempt to outline some of the common ones since this is merely a review on Jetstar.
Jetstar belongs to the Australians. As with the other two airliners, it is a low cost airline. That means you'd have to compromise (slightly, not too bad when you think about the savings in $ terms) in terms of services and entertainment when flying these airlines. There are some occasions when you've no choice but to fly them instead of premier airlines like Singapore Airllines, Cathay Pacific and/or Asiana Airlines because these airlines don't take you there direct or the cost of flying almost doubled or tripled. So, Jetstar it is!
Jetstar participates in Qantas Frequent Flyer program (It was established by Qantas after all). It is also very strong in Australia and its domestic routes. Hence, if you're heading to/from Australia, your best bet would be to first look at Jetstar via its website. I like Jetstar website a lot. Of the three, it's the most user friendly and easy to find the day where the fare is most suited to one's needs. Hence, it's # 1 where website-navigation is concerned. Jetstar official website allows visitors to see the fares for 2 months on a single click and that saves visitors and potential customers lots of time. The other 2 airlines don't!
In terms of customers service, I've no idea as I never did call any of them. Know that in most cases, even if the policy allows you to rebook your flights with penalties, in the case of low cost airlines, it's never worth doing it. The cost is just too high and you might as well just book another new reservation!
When it comes to experience, Jetstar is a tad better than the other two. You'd notice that budget airlines in the world fly mostly from a different (aka budget) terminal. That means, don't expect posh airport facilities. In some countries like Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand, they are not too bad. In the case of Jetstar, it is interesting that it doesn't actually take off in a budget terminal in Singapore. Instead, it flies from Terminal 1. In addition, Jetstar doesn't charge for your baggages. Instead, the 20-kg allowance is already computed into the cost of the ticket (as with normal airlines). This is a deviation from the standard practices of budget or low cost airlines. I find that quite refreshing. On top of that, Jetstar also allows you 10-kg hands-on luggage instead of 7-kg. That's truly nice! I feel like I'm traveling on a full fare economy airline instead of a budget airline! Hence, that's what makes it a step ahead of its competitors. To put it simply, if the cost is the same and the time of the flight is equally good, I'll always choose Jetstar ahead of the other two!!!
Now, some tips for the readers. Jetstar is reasonably competitive in Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore. Flights to Bangkok are often cheaper than the other two when you take into account all the charges. So, I encourage you to go through the entire process to calculate the total cost before you buy your tickets. Don't just look at the base fare as the other two airlines may have lower fares but when all things are added up, they are more costly! I do believe Jetstar doesn't charge for seats as well. So, do your sums!
One last tip about budget airlines. The beauty of budget airlines is that you can buy a one-way fare at equally great price as a return fare. Under the normal airlines, one-fare fare are usually a lot more expensive and are almost never accounting for about 1/2 the price of a return fare. That means you don't have to leave from the same airport if you prefer not to!
As you can see from the picture, Jetstar also has nice leather seats. At any time, it's better than the full fare airlines like American Airlines, Delta and United. So, have no worry about taking off in budget airlines in Asia. They are equally good and not filing for Chapter 11 as far as my knowledge goes. Tiger Airways is a subsidiary of Singapore Airlines, by the way.
While Virgin Atlantic & America may be the choice in the Europe and US markets respectively, Jetstar is clearly the preferred choice in Asia. Naturally, the other two budget airlines do have their advantages. Stay tune for future reviews!
One of the darling of budget airlines in Asia, Jetstar is Australian based and has the most user friendly site where fare-searching is concerned. There are often excellent deals to be found from Singapore to Australia as well as Australia's domestic sectors (sometime as low as just $1, excluding taxes and charges ;-)). Look out for its special (normally) on friday if you're heading to Australia anytime soon! Otherwise, there would be good deals to be had between Hong Kong, Singapore and Bangkok! &n … more