New Zealand Domestic Competition - NZ, JQ, DJ (2009) - nickyoungphotos
  • Trip Reports
  • New Zealand Domestic Competition - NZ, JQ, DJ (2009)

New Zealand Domestic Competition

The New Zealand domestic scene is hotting up (in reference to how things were in 2009) with the recent arrival of Jetstar (replacing Qantas, who in New Zealand were flying under the name of Jetconnect) on the main trunk routes (Between AKL, WLG, CHC, ZQN), sharing the market with Air New Zealand and Pacific Blue. I thought it was about time to check these LCCs out on a short hop to Wellington and back and compare the flights with Air New Zealand. The first part of this report is on Air New Zealand and the second half is on Pacific Blue and Jetstar.

Air New Zealand knew that there was competition on the way so the weekend before the fiasco of cheaper fares offered by the launch of Jetstar and Pacific Blue matching those fares, NZ used their grabaseat website to promote $10 one way fares on the main trunk. It was too cheap to avoid and I got in there and booked many seats for me and my family. The hype surrounding the grabaseat fares provides a great adrenalin rush as your seats aren’t confirmed until you have paid and the confirmation window comes up. It sure gave me a few rushes throughout the day!

On the morning of the day I was flying south, the weather in Wellington was horrendous and it caused the cancellation of many flights. The backlog was never able to clear itself so it resulted in a delay of 45 minutes to my flight to Wellington. Without knowing the severity of the delays, I arrived at the airport thinking that I’d have to rush upstairs to get on my flight but as a matter of fact, I had around an hour to kill at the domestic terminal. The terminal was rather dead at this time of the evening with many staff in the check in area to assist if anyone needed help. I chose a seat in the last row because I wouldn’t think the flight was going to be full. Out came the boarding pass and baggage tag for my checked in luggage and I was off to explore the terminal again. Auckland Airport has installed a few free internet booths at the airport. A better idea would be to provide free wireless internet As of 2013, they have 30 mins free wifi). Another “exciting” event at the airport that night was the disposal of someone’s abandoned box. Some guy went over to it and wheeled it towards the AvSec man who shouted at him to leave it alone. I think the bomb sniffer dog did the once over and then they took the package away. The Not So Good Free Internet AKL Departures FIDS AKL Baggage Carousel

AKL Arrivals FIDS, Note The Delays DJ/QF(JQ later) Check In Area I eventually wandered up through security to the gates. Night time at AKL isn’t particularly exciting with a few flights to North America, Asia and ones arriving from Australia; all of them being scattered throughout the night. So in the time that I was upstairs, I think I saw 3 movements and that was it. Boarding Pass Original Departure Gates The View: The Green Machine Departure Lounge My Ride To Wellington Busy Turnaround Flight Information

15 May 2009

Routing: Auckland – Wellington (AKL-WLG)

Airline: Air New Zealand
Flight: NZ475
Scheduled Time of Departure: 2000hrs
Actual Time of Departure: 2045 (pushback), 2053 (rotate)
Scheduled Time Of Arrival: 2100
Touchdown: 2143
Flight Time: 58 min
Aircraft: Airbus Boeing 737-319
Registration: ZK-NGJ
Seat: 23A

Air New Zealand is soon going to replace their 737-300 fleet for A320s over the coming years. The 737 has done a good job with domestic services. They have the youngest 733 fleet in the world and ZK-NGJ was delivered on the 17th December 1999.

There weren’t too many people lining up for boarding and I was soon on the plane, heading to the last row. The plane didn’t exactly fill up much more (at most 75%) and I had the entire row to myself for the first time ever! I could have had 6 seats to myself if it weren’t for the flight attendants helping an old lady and making sure she was looked after well. The tray tables were littered with crumbs from the snack on the previous flight which wasn’t ideal. Nevertheless, they made sure we made up for as much time as we could in getting to Wellington due to the 45 minute delay.

Jetway


Space+ Legroom


vs Normal Economy Legroom


The recline of the final row is limited by the rear bulkhead but having 3 seats to myself to stretch out over definitely negated the lack of full recline.

Pushback as mentioned above was 45 minutes after schedule and take off was smooth on a calm Auckland evening. Soon after takeoff, the captain came over the PA announcing the cruising altitude of 36,000 feet and also to announce that one of the flight attendants on board was celebrating 25 years of service with Air New Zealand. What an achievement. She got a warm round of applause from the passengers; it was at the ear popping stage of the flight but I’m sure she appreciated it. There was no view from the window and the bright light of the 733 was very annoying. I don’t particularly seem to understand the purpose of it but it wrecked any potential photos I attempted.

Tarmac View


Legroom


Take-Off Roll


Biscuit



After the small snack, it was time to relax and spread out over the 3 seats! I managed to make a little haven of my own. Service was great, the flight attendants were extremely friendly and even took great interest in my camera and tripod (gorillapod) I happened to take onboard.

My Nest In The Last Row, WIFI On Board – I Wish!


Lavatory


Surely enough it was soon time to land. The bright lights of Wellington came into view, showing the urban sprawl scattered around the harbour. It was a really nice sight too. I was expecting the landing to be quite bumpy but definitely not as bumpy as I had wished or experienced before and not long after, we landed on Runway 34. The only bad thing about sitting at the back of the plane is the time you have to wait to disembark. But it meant that my bag was out at the other end when I got down to the carousels.


Lights Of Wellington


Touchdown


Wellington Airport


Inbound From Christchurch


Pretty Small C-5!


Baggage Carousel In Wellington


Wellington was pretty windy on the day I was there. It was blowing a northerly which was fine by me as it wasn’t going to freeze the living daylight out of me!
A few shots from Wellington:

View Of Terminal From The Road


Air New Zealand Pier From Other Side Of Runway


”Wild At Heart” - Wellington’s Terminal


NZ Dash 8


NZ Beech 1900D


Windy Wellington!





International Pier


Damn Fence!


Maranui SLSC Cafe, Lyall Bay


View From The Cafe


Plane Spotting Never Ends!


The Cafe


Airport From Nearby Hill


Wellington Airport is New Zealand’s 3rd largest airport. Being the capital city of New Zealand, it has many domestic services. The short runway currently lies under 2000m long and isn’t long enough for long haul flights or profitable widebody services; it only has international routes to Australia and the Pacific Islands. The one terminal suits perfectly for both domestic and international flights. The pier on the left is only for Air New Zealand domestic and the pier on the right shared between international flights and also Jetstar/Pacific Blue’s domestic flights.

Departure Drop Off Point


Air New Zealand Check In


Air New Zealand International Check In Area


Air New Zealand Domestic Check In Area


DJ/QF/JQ Check In Area


On The Left Is The International Check In; Domestic Is By The Kiosks


Checking in is exactly the same as in Auckland.



Bag Drop Off


Seeya In Auckland!


At Least You’ll Know Where To Go For An International Flight!


For now, Wellington Airport is providing free Wireless internet in the departures hall which is a great feature that not many airports provide. I made use of this and got onto A.Net properly this time, unlike in Auckland (and for that matter on the plane)!



Plane Home


Scanning Boarding Pass


Vibrantly Coloured Jetway!



Flight Information

16 May 2009
Routing: Wellington – Auckland (WLG-AKL)
Airline: Air New Zealand
Flight: NZ464
Scheduled Time of Departure: 1730
Actual Time of Departure: 1732 (pushback), 1742 (rotate)
Scheduled Time Of Arrival: 1830
Touchdown: 1828
Flight Time: 56 min
Aircraft: Airbus Boeing 737-319
Registration: ZK-NGG
Seat: 23A


I boarded the plane and noticed that the plane was swaying! I’ve experienced that a little bit before but I’ve always thought it was from people loading the cargo into the plane! Then I realised that it was the wind. People going down the aisle to their seats including me nearly lost their balance as the swaying was rather unpredictable. We hadn’t taken off yet it was bumpier than the flight itself! This time, the plane was pretty full, probably between 95 and 100% full. That meant sitting next to someone! Trapped in the far corner of the cabin! Seats 23 B and C were already occupied so I caused them even more trouble by climbing over them to reach my window seat. I was to later learn that they were on their way to the Pacific Islands in Business.. No idea how they ended up in the last row of the plane! A kid and her uncle deserved to be in Space+, as that is what it was kinda intended for. But luckily I was sitting next to the kid, giving me slightly more room.



Soon enough, we pushed back and made our short taxi to the base of Runway 34. Engines were revved up and the baby Boeing climbed effortlessly out of Wellington, aided by the howling gale.

Wellington City On Departure


Once we were clear of the clouds, we were greeted with a beautiful sunset. However, nothing that I could capture on my camera can quite grasp that moment as well as being there in real life; pretty much like any sunset I’ve experienced from the air.



It was a rather uneventful flight. The “snack” service finally reached the back of the plane. Tea, coffee and water was served like usual. The nice flight attendant offered the girl next to me a glass of milk which was a real surprise. I guess they had plenty of milk left over after going through the cabin but to actually give a whole up away to a kid was amazing. It was a really nice touch. They surely know how to look after most onboard – I’d much prefer one more option but it’d probably be too costly to provide..

Snack


Milk


Full Cabin


Soon after, we started out descent into Auckland. The FAs came around with the “famous Air New Zealand hard boiled sweets”. The original producers of these lollies, Pascall, discontinued a lot of favoured sweets and I’m led to believe that factory also made these Air New Zealand sweets. Air New Zealand had generic ones for a few months but now they’re back in the same wrapper but the company who now makes them has different flavours. I was rather disappointed when I reached for the colours I have traditionally known to be nice flavours but it backfired. I guess I’ll have to fly some more and find out which ones are the better ones! The landing was smooth and we were soon at the gate.

Auckland Airport


Touchdown



-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


The second half is on the 2 other players in the New Zealand domestic market – Jetstar and Pacific Blue. Their services/schedules are very small in comparison to Air New Zealand’s – a fact that keeps a lot of business people away from these two carriers. A comparison will be made at the end between all three airlines.

The websites of JQ (Jetstar) and DJ (Virgin/Pacific Blue) are relatively easy to use. Jetstar added on another $2 for a credit card booking. The good thing about Jetstar is that you can reserve your seat whereas on Pacific Blue, you aren’t given that opportunity until you come to checking in online or at the airport. Jetstar for some reason does not email you the itinerary straight away (this one took quite a while) but to my surprise instead sent me tonnes of confirmation emails that I had successfully subscribed to their email and text message services. Since then, I have received their itineraries much more quickly. Although the LCC websites are easy to use, the things they either add or omit can really frustrate some. All of this makes Air New Zealand’s booking experience a much easier way to start the journey with the airline.

In April, Jetstar made changes to their schedule. Luckily it wasn’t late enough to disrupt my schedule and I’d still have plenty of time to explore Wellington’s terminal. And then a couple of weeks before the flight, the decided to change the schedule yet again, this time a little bit earlier than the first change. They are having some rather frustrating teething problems which should have been sorted out a long time ago.

On the day, I knew I had to get to the airport early or face missing my flight. Jetstar closes its check-in counters for flights 30 minutes prior to the scheduled departure. To get past this, you can check in online up to 24 hours before your flight. Very easy if you don't have any bags to check in. I checked online to see if my flight was to be delayed (I had expected delays) and sure enough it was. After my friends’ ordeal the day before mine (which included something like a 7 hour delay and a technical delay on another flight), I surely couldn’t expect much worse from them. I got to the airport an hour before the scheduled departure. I could have checked in online for the outbound flight too – I did just that with my Pacific Blue flight because I was afraid that this delay could end up making my time in Wellington much worse than I had hoped.

The Jetstar/Pacific Blue domestic terminal was once a freestanding building which housed Ansett New Zealand, Origin Pacific and Qantas/Qantas New Zealand over its lifetime. It was fused to the Air New Zealand domestic building a year or so ago (2008) and shops were opened in between, outside where the security checkpoint exists for the Air New Zealand jet gates. This end of the terminal only has 2 jetbridges at present.

Check-in Area



Upon arriving at the terminal, I was straight onto the self-service check-in booths to check myself in for the flight. It gives you a range of options to identify yourself with – scanning the barcode, using your credit card/FF card, entering your FF number/flight number and name/booking reference. Being the aviation enthusiast I am, I went ahead and plugged my FF number in without needing to get anything out and away I was. The process is simple but it doesn’t give you an option to change your seat – once you’ve selected it online at an earlier time, it’s final. It wouldn’t help if you found people you knew at the airport who were flying on the same flight. Because I knew of this rather lengthy delay, I went outside to the carpark to do a little bit of spotting.


JQ Self Check-in Counters


Boarding Pass


DJ’s Self Check-in Counters


DJ/JQ FIDS


Domestic Jet FIDS


DJ/JQ Baggage Claim


JQ A320: Hasn’t Found The Pot Of Gold In The New Zealand Market


NZ 733 I Flew in the first part


Another NZ 733


EK A345 As EK 406 From Melbourne/Dubai


CX A343 as CX 108 Back To HKG


The weather got the better of me in the end so I ventured back inside the terminal and through security before my plane had arrived. The departure lounge is no where near big enough to cater for 2 departing flights. Pacific Blue had a 737-800 departing and our plane (A320) was late which clogged up the entire area. Because check in closed so early and the plane was so delayed, everyone who was on the Jetstar flight was outside the gate waiting for a very long time. Quite a few people were sitting on the floor and leaning against the walls. I’ve never seen that area so packed before. The position of the security checkpoint doesn’t exactly help things either. Disembarking looked like a real shambles too as those getting off the plane had to somehow clamber through the mess to get out of the departure lounge. Fortunately, both planes arrived and departed at slightly scattered times, meaning 200 odd people didn’t rush through the 200 odd who were standing around waiting for their planes. I could imagine the absolute hectic nature of that area!

Way Overcrowded Departure Lounge


So the Pacific Blue 738 came and had been loaded up by the time my Jetstar A320 pulled up to the gate some two and a half hours late. People eventually started coming off the plane which had just arrived from Queenstown including the Melbourne Victory soccer team. Finally, at around 2:45, boarding commenced. I didn’t get onboard for another 10 minutes either.

The Very Late Plane


PAX Load Sheets



Flight Information


29 June 2009
Routing: Auckland to Wellington (AKL-WLG)
Airline: Jetstar Airlines (Codeshared with Qantas, its parent company)
Flight: JQ265
Scheduled Time of Departure: 1340
Actual Time of Departure: 1514 (pushback), 1524 (rotate)
Scheduled Time Of Arrival: 1445
Touchdown: 1612
Flight Time: 58 min
Aircraft: Airbus A320-232
Registration: VH-VQS
Seat: 6A

Jetstar operates both A320s and A321s. Its New Zealand-based fleet comprises of 3 A320s (now about 6). VH-VQS is an IAE V2500 powered Airbus A320-200, which was registered with JQ as new on 1 September 2005. The seating onboard this Jetstar A320 is all Economy with seating capacity for 177 passengers.

Boarding



When onboard, I handed my boarding pass to the purser to which he replied: “Window seat on the right”. Impersonal, but I didn’t really expect more from them considering they were so delayed and this was a LCC I was on. The seat itself is quite comfortable and the legroom is sufficient, especially for short haul flights like my one to Wellington. Once I was seated, I had a look at what was surrounding me – a completely shabby interior. For a plane which is barely 4 years old, I’d have expected it to be maintained much more thoroughly than it had been. I’m pretty sure the windows were dirty. I felt like I was in a kindergarten even though I was on the plane. Someone had drawn on the wall below the window with a crayon – not cleaned. Someone had scribbled with a ballpoint pen on the seatback once the tray table was folded down – not cleaned. Chewing gum – not cleaned. A crack on the tray table itself – ok it can’t be cleaned.. But that itself shouldn’t be happening! Who chooses such flimsy materials for use as a tray table? So my first impression of the airline didn’t go down too well. Surely you’d even expect the most budget of airlines to clean the plane up properly! Obviously not. The tray table lock also felt rather tacky – I’d prefer it if they had just stuck to the normal plastic ones like everyone else! As this was my first LCC experience, I was really wondering what to expect later on in the day with my return Pacific Blue flight.

Cabin


My Row


Legroom


Crack Which Looks Better In The Pic Than In Real Life


Pen Scribbles


Gum


Pushback occurred some 1.5 hours after scheduled. As Jetstar’s A320s have no TV screens at all, they play an automated audio file for the flight attendants to do the safety demo along with. The pilots were quick to apologise and blamed the delay on a technical fault in the cockpit in Queenstown – something that could be true or something just said to cover themselves for the lack of RNP technology which allows those planes with the technology to land with less visibility than usual. 10 minutes later, we were lined up on runway 05R for our takeoff towards the east – could be the first time I’ve departed to the east. And away we went. I had forgotten how quiet the A320 was from the inside in comparison to the 737 as my previous and only A320 flight was 5 years ago. It could have something to do with where I was seated too. Off we went, heading towards a cruising altitude of 30,000 feet. It wasn’t long before we cleared the clouds and were winging it towards Wellington.

Finally Leaving The Terminal


NZ Dash 8-Q300 Departing


Lining Up Runway 05R


International Terminal – LA A343, DJ 738, NZ 763, NZ A320, QF 744, EK A345


IAE V2500


New Zealand Is Called The Land Of The Long White Cloud For A Reason


The plane itself was about 70% full. Luckily there happened to be an empty seat between me and the person sitting on the aisle. It wasn’t too long before the FAs came around with the buy on board items. They didn’t seem to be wanting to increase the airline’s profit much because they didn’t ask everyone whether they wanted anything to eat or drink. I could have been a willing customer and bought items which were marked up by over 150% but they didn’t even ask if I wanted anything. I bet their bosses won’t be too happy if they find out they’re not doing as much as they can to maximise their revenue! As the FAs did two runs virtually simultaneously (the sales and the clean up), I had no time to head to the rear of the aircraft to take pictures. I checked out the front toilet. Just as I got up, the seatbelt sign was switched on, followed by the purser touching the control and on came a pre-recorded message about starting descent. I believe it’s rather impersonal. It must get boring if you fly with them all the time! They have these messages for everything, probably to save them time and to keep consistency. I thought I’d better go straight back to my seat instead of wander around for another couple of minutes. In fact, we were still over 20 minutes out of Wellington and I don’t believe there was much need in turning the seatbelt sign on so early.

Toilet


Touch Screen Control Panel – So Many Pre-Recorded Announcements On The Right


Nevertheless, the rather uneventful flight started descending into Wellington from the north, buffeted by gale-force southerlies. I was hoping for a rougher flight but the A320 handled it quite well. The weather was rather similar to Auckland’s – cold and dreary, laced with rain. We touched down with nearly a 1.5 hour delay. A couple of minutes was spent taxiing to gate 22 and it was there where we encountered more problems. A couple of minutes after coming to a halt at the gate, the pilots announced over the PA that the airbridge wasn’t working and that they had contacted WIAL’s operations to get the problem solved. Of course, this wasn’t Jetstar’s fault but the experience some people had on the flight would have left them wondering why on earth they had chosen Jetstar to fly to Wellington that day. There were no interesting movements out the window and I couldn’t really do much in my seat. A mere 16 minutes later, the airbridge was finally attached to the plane and we finally disembarked. It’s one experience I hope doesn’t repeat itself again.

Crossing Over Land – Titahi Bay Below


Over Porirua


Lower Hutt In The Background


The Roundabout With The Wind Sculpture – Quite Strong Today!


Touchdown! Northern Pier At WLG, Rather Empty


Heaps Of Air NZ Planes


Vacating The Runway


I’m Lead To Believe That Most Of These Are Swing Gates – International or Domestic use


I See The Airbridge!


Not Moving..


Company A320 Departing


Service Vehicle


Finally Working


Passengers Eager To Disembark But The Door Still Isn’t Open


International/Domestic Segregation I Believe


I Wonder How Long They’ve Been Waiting There For..


Wellington Airport is nice and roomy, much more welcoming than Auckland’s domestic airport. Their free wireless internet is a bonus. It houses quite a few cafes and eateries but I decided not to get anything. I had already checked in online at home so there was no need to do anything else but show up at the gate. I took another look around the airport before heading to security and waiting for my plane.

WLG FIDS


WLG Airport’s Plan


They Expect 77Ws?? That’s Extremely Ambitious..


DJ/JQ/QF Check-In Area


The Plane I Was Just On Back To Auckland


Using Free Wifi Watching The Non-Existent Traffic


My DJ Flight Home


Pacific Blue’s boarding passes from the self check-in look like supermarket dockets. The handheld scanner they use to check you in is much more convenient than Jetstar’s “rip the stub” method and Air New Zealand’s “place the boarding pass on the scanner” method. Boarding began in front of schedule at 5:50. It wasn’t long before I was on the plane and greeted by name by the Pacific Blue FAs. Unfortunately for Pacific Blue, the flight I was on seemed like it was less than half full.


Flight Information


29 June 2009
Routing: Wellington to Auckland (WLG-AKL)
Airline: Pacific Blue Airlines
Flight: DJ3051
Scheduled Time of Departure: 1815
Actual Time of Departure: 1811 (pushback), 1819 (rotate)
Scheduled Time Of Arrival: 1915
Touchdown: 1915
Flight Time: 1 hr 4 min
Aircraft: Boeing 737-8FE
Registration: ZK-PBA
Seat: 20F

Pacific Blue operate a fleet of 737-800s with winglets, acquired from their parent company, Virgin Blue. This one, ZK-PBA, was the first 737-800 to be registered by Pacific Blue in January 2004 for their initial services out of Christchurch. It was initially registered in September 2003 as VH-VOO when flying with Virgin Blue. These planes do both New Zealand domestic and international sectors. Virgin Blue uses a configuration with a capacity of 180 over its 30 rows and a seat pitch of between 31 and 33 inches.

Not A Vibrantly Coloured Airbridge


As the flight was rather empty, I had the row to myself once again. The seats on board this 737 were a bit harder than Jetstar’s seats but still definitely comfortable enough for a 1 hour flight and the legroom was more than sufficient. Pacific Blue’s seats also had more recline than Jetstar’s seats. The light load meant that we were able to push back from Gate 23 ahead of schedule as well. Pacific Blue’s 738s don’t have any TV screens at all and everything was done in a similar fashion to Jetstar’s safety announcement.

Window View


Legroom


Taxiing To The Runway


Takeoff towards the south was quick into the stiff wind and we rocketed towards our cruising altitude of 29,000 feet. Apologies for the lack of pictures as it was simply too dark to take them. The CFMs on the 738 are quite a bit louder than the engines on the A320. There were 3 FAs, one for every 10 rows. It wasn’t long before they came around with the buy on board menu and this was also done as per their block of seats. The friendly FA approached me and asked if I wanted anything.
“Do you happen to have any Solo onboard?”
“I’ll have a look.. [rummages in the bottom most drawer of the trolley] Oh here’s one! Sometimes we have leftovers from the trans-Tasman runs”
It was a great surprise to me that they had some Solo on board and I was quick to buy it as it’s not available in New Zealand and they also deserved my money more than JQ did. The only bad thing I found with the seats was that the tray table kept on sliding towards me and it wouldn’t stay pushed in. This caused the ice inside the cup I got alongside the can of soft drink to topple and the ice went all over me. Luckily it didn’t have any drink inside it and I hadn’t opened my can by then. The cheerful FAs eventually came around to clean up and after they made their way to the back, I was up to take a few pics around the cabin.

Drink


While all of this was happening, the cabin lights remained dimmed, from before takeoff to after arrival, which I found strange. The other two airlines don’t keep the lights dimmed for the entire flight and it meant turning on the reading light. I guess it does allow for a more peaceful sleep if people wished to do that. The toilet onboard was around the same size as the JQ A320 one. Soon enough, it was time to descend into Auckland. It was a really smooth landing on 05R and we shortly rocked up to Gate 21 on time.

Toilet


Cabin Views


First Time I’ve Noticed The Plate


Overall, my experience with Pacific Blue was much better than my experience with Jetstar. They were on time, their flight attendants were much friendlier and the interior of the aircraft was well maintained. (Not to mention I enjoyed flying on the 738 for the first time!) The strange dimming of the lights for the entire flight made everyone keep their personal lights on – something that will definitely be improved when planes start receiving the mood lighting.


The Comparison

Air New Zealand is a great airline, especially on the New Zealand domestic network. Its routes cover the entire country and its schedules are second to none. The flight attendants have pride and passion in working for Air New Zealand, shown in their superb service which is rather consistent. The current battles on the domestic scene have changed since 2001 when they stopped offering meals onboard and replaced them with biscuits and other small bits and pieces. The journey from the full service domestic carrier to where they are now has made them extremely competitive and it has seen the price of fares come down. Their planes may not be as new as their competitors’ fleets but they are still reliable and do the job well. Since the pullout of Pacific Blue, Air New Zealand has gone in the direction of being a LCC on the domestic routes. You must now pay for seat selection if you're on a cheaper ticket and credit card surcharges have been included. This is a huge change from their "Nothing to Hide" campaign from back in 2009. But if you do choose to fly with them, you can't go wrong with them - their extensive network and high frequency means that irregular operations are far better handled.

I didn’t try to scorn Jetstar at all but the product which was put in front of me left me with no other choice. The shabby interior summed up the experience – even the inside of the aircraft can’t be cleaned properly. At least the engines weren’t falling off and we reached the destination. Their uniforms don’t look great either. The lack of RNP technology will undoubtedly affect their on-time performance over the next year and a half – there are many factors which JQ should have considered and also had the time to consider. As a typical LCC, it’s not bad for getting point to point for $10 excluding luggage but expect delays.

Pacific Blue, if they could increase their schedules, has the opportunity right now to cement the second most important domestic carrier position. The product they provide is far superior to Jetstar’s. They only fall behind Air New Zealand in categories such as advanced seat booking, the complimentary tea/coffee, extra baggage costs, and surcharges - rather petty issues if you fly with hand luggage only. Their FAs do what’s required and a bit more – it was a really nice touch for them to personally greet passengers.

It’s quite funny how both JQ and DJ’s final PA mimicked each other: “We acknowledge that there is a selection of airlines out there today and thank you for flying ....”.

Out of all this negative publicity, Jetstar have released statements and promises which include a NZ$50 Jetstar voucher for anyone who arrives at their destination more than an hour late. Too bad they didn’t have that when I flew or the voucher itself would have been worth more than how much I actually paid for my flight.

I wouldn’t mind flying Pacific Blue again – they make great competition for Air New Zealand. All they really need now is to boost their timetable to be able to compete more closely with Air New Zealand and stop them running away with the pie. Jetstar on the other hand has a lot of work to do to even compete with the other two airlines because I feel that their product is that much more inferior in all aspects from what I experienced on my journey. Air New Zealand is the way to go and its fleet is probably the only thing which needs upgrading. Flight attendants on both Air New Zealand and Pacific Blue take pride in their job and provide a very satisfying inflight service which is friendly and helpful.


Pacific Blue ceased their New Zealand domestic operations back in October 2010, putting the domestic market back to a duopoly. Jetstar has not exactly expanded rapidly and they haven't attempted to try risky new routes either. It's the case that Air New Zealand is so strong and their ability to mix ATR 72s and Dash 8s with jets on some routes means they can provide that frequency edge that Jetstar can't match. The domestic routes will belong to Air New Zealand for the foreseeable future unless Jetstar is willing to double their investment to the market.