Jetstar Asia 536, HKT – SIN

3K 536

HKT – SIN

Airbus A320-232

Economy Class, Seat 14F

 

Prologue

It has been several years since we last flew with Jetstar Asia Airways and a trip to Khao Lak in southern Thailand recently provided the opportunity for us to be reacquainted with them. Once a shining star in Southeast Asia’s low cost carrier segment, the Qantas-backed airline has in recent years seemingly lost some of its lustre as its network expansion and profile fell behind the competition. We join its afternoon departure on the Phuket – Singapore route to see how the airline stacks up against its rivals.

 

Check-In

 

We arrived at Phuket International Airport shortly after 2.00 pm to find a packed terminal busy with the afternoon departures, amongst them being our flight to Singapore. With no self-service kiosks or a dedicated internet check-in counter, there was no benefit to reporting in advance online and we joined the line that had formed in front of row A at the far end of the hall. Thankfully the entire process was orderly and we were quickly attended to by a friendly Thai ground agent, issued our boarding passes and off towards security clearance within fifteen minutes.

 

Boarding & Departure

 

 

Following a late lunch at one of the airside restaurants, it was time to board the flight. We would be departing from gate 11 this afternoon and a large crowd had formed before the podium waiting to enter the gate area one level below, making the boarding process rather chaotic. While priority boarding was called for passengers requiring assistance and Qantas Club elite status holders, these were largely procedural and not strictly enforced owing to the lack of waiting line management earlier by the gate agents. As expected, this led to congestion towards the end of the air bridge further slowing the boarding.

 

All things considered, we found the boarding process messy and frustrating.

 

Seat

 

 

Jetstar Asia’s A320s are configured in a dense, all-Economy 3-3 layout. Since our last flight with them, the airline has ditched its old seats for the slimline Pinnacle model from Collins Aerospace giving the cabin a sleeker visual aesthetic. The black leather upholstery had seen better days and while seat pitch remains a tight 29 inches, we found the legroom to be comfortable enough for our short flight owing to the design housing the literature rack above the tray table.

 

Crew

Cabin crew are worked hard and kept busy on these short routes, with our flight being no different. Shortly after takeoff, the crew sprang into action conducting the buy-onboard meal service then a duty-free run halfway through the flight. While service was generally polite and professional, it was also very much procedural and forgettable.

 

Meal

 

Having eaten at the airport prior to boarding, we did not purchase any food on the flight. Browsing the menu, we found the meals offered to be decent with prices comparable to other low cost carriers at SGD 12 for a hot entree. Jetstar also offers several premium items served with bottled water and ice cream for pre-order, which were served first by the crew before onboard sales.

 

Entertainment

 

Like most low cost carriers, inflight entertainment was via the Jetstar inflight magazine focusing on travel and lifestyle stories from around Asia and the Jetshop duty free catalogue. Looking around, we observed most passengers choosing to bring their own inflight entertainment on personal devices or resting enroute to Singapore.

 

Arrival & Deboarding

We approached a rainy Singapore at dusk, with the pilots skillfully skirting the storm clouds and touching down smoothly on the runway for an on-time arrival. Doors were opened shortly after docking at the gate, but it was disappointing that the crew chose to conduct their post-flight checks rather than bid passengers goodbye as they disembarked the aircraft at the end of an otherwise average flight.

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