Friday, December 23, 2011

An apology to Jetstar

I've flown a few times recently with Jetstar, and my son also used them to fly home for Christmas.

Things haven't gone well, and I've been tweeting a bit about the disappointment of traveling with this airline.

After thinking about it though I've decided that I'm not being fair, and that Jetstar is undeserving of the complaints I've been making.

To recap, I used them for a business trip last week - on the way up the flight was 45 minutes late, and they lost my bag. On the way back the flight was delayed twice (after we boarded), in total about 60 minutes late. My son's flight was cancelled due to the CHC earthquake (on Friday), and the next available seat was 9pm on Xmas day.

So, not a good experience. Probably not going to happen to all their passengers all the time, but a pretty bad sample.

I usually fly with Air New Zealand, which is a world class airline. It has lots of planes, lots of crew, and a lot more options. When the earthquake struck, their flights were cancelled too, but they put a 747 on to the AKL-CHC route to help clear their backlog - because they COULD.

Bad things happen to both airlines - weather closes airports, crew get sick, aircraft break down - the difference is that Air New Zealand has more depth, so when things go wrong they can re-route aircraft, call in more crew or whatever.

But Jetstar is a lot cheaper.

And that's the key.

We have a choice. Jetstar could probably provide a better service, by having an extra aircraft and more crew that weren't allocated to the schedule, but just sat waiting to provide cover. Who would pay for that?

Complaining about delays and cancellations from Jetstar is as ungrateful as complaining about the price on Air New Zealand. In fact, looking at it logically, Air New Zealand is always going to be more expensive, but Jetstar sometimes flies on time - so there's only upside to choosing them, sometimes you get your cake and eat it too!

I should also say that when they did lose my bag the ground staff were extremely friendly and helpful and couriered it to my hotel before bed-time so no real harm done.

So I take it all back. The benefit of having competition on routes helps to keep prices down, we have real choice, and  both airlines deliver what they promise. The only problem comes when our expectations don't match what the airline is selling.

Jetstar offers very cheap flying (we flew 6 developers to Auckland in September for less than what it would cost for 2 on Air New Zealand).

Air New Zealand offers a reliable, premium service at a higher cost.

Our choice.

No comments:

Post a Comment