Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Leaving On a Jet(Star) Plane

We arrived in Honolulu this morning. A classic Hawaiian morning, beautiful blue skies, the temperature warm but not too warm, the light sparkling on the water. We did what you would expect. We went to bed at 9:30am.

That overnight flight from Sydney is just so tiring. Even if you get plenty of sleep, you don't get enough. And when you get into Honolulu at what is still 4am in Sydney, you're tired. So catching up on a few more zzzz's is first on your mind. And what good news to get to our hotel and discover that our room was ready even at 9.

We are in Hawaii because Jetstar had a fantastic deal about six months ago, and we couldn't pass it up. From here, we can use frequent flyer points, so it's a very economical way to go.

Jetstar is the airline Qantas created a few years ago to be able to compete at the budget airline end of the market. Some bright sparks at Qantas had decided they could do the impossible - make money by providing even crappier customer service than they normally provided.

The deal we took was for very inexpensive seats in what Jetstar calls StarClass. I am pretty sure they meant to call it StarkClass, but must have felt the K was unnecessary. Their web site points out that your extra bucks get you several great benefits. I was particularly attracted to the promise of wider seats. Having now spent almost 10 hours in one of those wider seats, I can only think that had we flown economy I may have had a permanent impression of the seat recliner button on my left cheek, because this boy's chubby cheeks weren't ever going to be sliding around in those StarClass seats.

We also got free food. I won't do cheap airline food jokes, but I haven't thought about our trip a few years ago aboard Polish Air Lot. I did last night.

Jetstar does not have stewards and stewardesses. They are customer service managers. To their credit, they do (barely) manage customer service. One particularly cheerful young woman customer service manager managed to give us the wrong immigration forms (no big deal), the dessert we didn't order (not that serious) and walked away during breakfast service forgetting to give LK her coffee as we were waking up (potentially life threatening mistake - she's lucky LK was in the window seat and couldn't crawl over me to get to her).

It wasn't all that bad - just not all that great. But things got better once on the ground. At the taxi rank, the luck of the draw gave us a stretch limo, so we at least got to the hotel in the taxi equivalent of StarClass. And as I said, the room was ready early. So we've now had a snooze, the sun is shining brightly at midday, and we have 24 more hours here in Honolulu.

1 comment:

Davy said...

You will see the value of StarClass when you return. Not from the sardine crush of the premier lounge but from not having to fight and argue for one of their overbooked seats. StarClass you'll actually get to come home.