Date: 11 February 2017
Flight time: 54 minutes
Seat: 7F, starboard window
Terminal 4 is the low cost terminal in Melbourne and home to both Jetstar and Tiger Air. Interestingly enough, there are no manned check-in counters and instead, all passengers have to use one of the many self-service check-in kiosks instead. Even the baggage drop is unmanned. There are only two Jetstar employees available in case of problems.
The boarding process is interesting. Passengers have to stand in line at the gate. One of the gate agents then walks by with a mobile set of scales to check the weight of the hand luggage. At Jetstar only one piece with a maximum weight of 7kg is permitted in the cabin. If, as in my case, your bag exceeds the limit, you will have to have it checked in at the gate at a flat charge of AUSD50.-, which is pretty steep, I think, but probably intended as a deterrent to stop passengers arriving at the airport and simply trying their luck. Alternatively, you can purchase an allowance for luggage online for more reasonable prices.
Configuration: 3 + 3
Seat Layout: Single class configuration with a total of 180 seats.
Pitch: 29 inches
Width: 17.5 inches
AC Power: Not available
Audio and Video: Not available on this flight. However, on longer flights you can rent a portable device.
Connectivity: Not available.
Comment: The seat is very uncomfortable. Because the pitch is so tight, you are obliged to sit upright. However, the curvature of the seat requires you to sit very straight, which is quite a strain on the lower back. At least the seats have good padding.
The crew seem friendly enough. More importantly, I am impressed by the quality of the announcements made by the lead flight attendant. She is very clear and precise in the way she speaks.
There is a menu with a large selection of hot and cold dishes and beverages. However, with a flight time of under one hour, I do not bother.
Our descent into Hobart is rather fun. First of all, there is a strong gusting wind, which makes the approach rather bumpy. Secondly, the pilot in command obviously does not want to waste any time, so our final turns onto the approach are fairly tight. Once we hit the ground, the reversers are immediately opened at full throttle, given the fact that the runway here is very short.
All in all, flying with Jetstar was an interesting experience. The lack of comfort is enough to take the fun out of flying, which is kind of what I was expecting. What impressed me though, is the efficiency of their operation on the ground, particularly with the self-service check-in process.