There are many factors to consider when selecting an airline. From cost and baggage to in-flight entertainment and Wi-Fi, the choices are endless when it comes to flying. And sometimes, it can be difficult to know what your airfare actually includes.
At first, your budget airfare may look affordable, but when you add on the baggage, in-flight refreshments and entertainment, does it really work out cheaper? Do budget airlines offer the best value for money, or do the full-service airlines justify the higher price?
We’ve compared two of Australia’s top airlines, Jetstar and Qantas to help you determine which airline is right for you.
Should I fly Jetstar or Qantas?... Read on to find out.
As a budget airline, Jetstar is generally cheaper than its full-service competitors, however, prices will vary across aircraft and selected routes. To put this theory to the test, we’ve compared flights from Brisbane to Sydney during peak season to determine which airline is the cheapest.
Jetstar: Return flights Brisbane – Sydney 24/01/2020 – 27/01/2020 = $198 + booking fee for basic starter fare.
Qantas: Return flights Brisbane – Sydney 24/01/2020 – 27/01/2020 = $242 + booking fee for Red e-Deal.
As you can see, Jetstar works out to be $44 cheaper for this particular route. However, the Jetstar fare does not include baggage or in-flight meals.
Jetstar: While Jetstar offer significantly cheaper flights, the in-flight inclusions are quite limited compared to Qantas. For instance, in-flight meals are not included as part of the Jetstar economy starter fare. Meals and refreshments will need to be purchased prior to or during the flight for an additional fee.
Qantas: As a full-service airline, all Qantas flights include in-flight meals and refreshments. Complimentary wine and beer are also available on select flights.
Australian airlines have very strict baggage weight restrictions and require all luggage to be weighed before boarding, including carry-on. If your bag is overweight, you will be charged an additional fee.
Jetstar: Starter fares allow passengers to bring 2 carry-on items that equal 7kg (total) or less. Recently, Jetstar has introduced a new $19 carry-on charge that lets passengers bring up to 14kg of luggage on board. Checked baggage is also available for an additional fee.
Qantas: The full-service airline allows all passengers to bring 7kgs carry-on and 30kgs of checked baggage free of charge. Additional baggage can be purchased for a fee.
Jetstar: As Jetstar flies with a range of different aircraft, the average seat width and pitch will vary across planes. Surprisingly, many of Jetstar’s aircraft offer comfortable seat width and legroom.
• A320 - 45.42cm
• A321 - 45.72cm
• A330-200 - 44.45cm
• Boeing 787 - 43.18cm
Qantas: A standard seat on Qantas aircraft A33-200 is approximately 44.45cm.
• A320 - 73.61cm
• A321 - 71.12
• A330-200 - 78.74cm
• Boeing 787 - 76.2
Qantas: Offers slightly more legroom on average at 78.74cm on its A330-200 aircraft.
Jetstar: Seat selection on Jetstar flights is not included in the starter fare and will cost $7 to book. Extra legroom can be booked for $13 and upfront seats can also be booked for $12.
Qantas: Offers complimentary seat selection for every passenger across all fare types. Extra legroom seats start at $10.
Jetstar: Offers movies, tv, games and music on board International 787 Dreamliner flights that can be purchased for a fee. Unfortunately, Jetstar does not offer in flight entertainment for domestic flights.
Qantas: Qantas offers movies, tv, radio and an entertainment app complimentary for all fare types and is available across domestic and international services.
Jetstar: Unfortunately, in-flight Wi-Fi is not available on Jetstar.
Qantas: In-flight Wi-Fi is currently being rolled out across the Qantas network on select planes including 737-800s and A330s.
Jetstar: Infants aged two years and under will be charged $30 for domestic flights, and $50 for International Flights. The child is required to sit on the adult’s lap.
Qantas: Children aged two years and under will be charged 10% of the adult fare and are required to sit on the adult’s lap.
Jetstar: Club Jetstar costs $55 a year and offers members exclusive discounted fares, partner offers, early access to sales, 20% off bags and seat selection. Members can also join the Qantas Frequent flyer program for free.
Qantas: Qantas’ frequent flyer program has been around for a long time and offers some fantastic benefits. Members can earn points by flying, shopping, using their credit card, dining out, booking hotels, buying insurance and so much more. Points can be redeemed for flights, upgrades, accommodation, car hire, and a range of products across the Qantas Shopping Rewards store.
Choosing between a low-cost or full-service airline ultimately comes down to your own personal preference and travel style. Low-cost airlines such as Jetstar often work out to be cheaper and offer great value for price conscious travellers, however Qantas is known for its world-class service, unbeatable inclusions and frequent flyer program.
At first, the Jetstar airfare appears considerably cheaper than Qantas’, but when you add on 30kgs of baggage and an in-flight meal, it actually works out to be $326 total, which is $84 more expensive than Qantas.
So, if you’re looking for a low-cost, no-frills experience without baggage or food, the Jetstar starter fare is the way to go. However, if service, baggage and in-flight meals and entertainment are important to you, then Qantas is a better choice.