Jetstar, Economy Class – Airbus A 320: Sydney to Townsville


In language testing, the Rasch model is used in psychometric measurement to determine the probability with which a minimally competent test taker will be able to provide a specific response to a particular test item correctly. This probability is interpreted as a function of the test taker’s actual language ability on the one hand, and the true level of difficulty of the item that the test taker is being subjected to and for which they must provide a response on the other hand.

As it happens, one of the leading experts on Rasch modelling is Professor Trevor Bond. Very kindly, Professor Bond has accepted for me to visit him in Townsville, QLD to pick his brain, and so that’s where I’m heading today. 

Currently, the only direct service between Sydney and Townsville is with Jetstar, QANTAS’ low-cost subsidiary. All other connections require a change of aircraft in either Cairns or Brisbane.

The booking process on the Jetstar website is tedious, especially if you’re using Firefox. In which case, you’re likely not going to be able to complete the booking. Safari works reasonably well though.

Getting to the Airport

To get to the airport, I make the same journey I did on Monday, when I flew to Melbourne. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. Because the journey by ferry from Manly to Sydney is just so beautiful and tranquil.


Jetstar has an app, but obviously it’s not foreseen that people from outside Australia and a few Asian countries might also fly Jetstar. Which is why the app is not available for me to download onto my Swiss mobile.

You will receive a link to the web check-in page with the e-ticket confirmation you receive by mail and then one day before departure by SMS. But you will still have to print the boarding pass at home or at one of the self-service devices at the airport.

Jetstar operates out of domestic Terminal 2, along with all other domestic carriers except QANTAS.


My flight will be departing from gate 53, which is both good and bad. It’s good, because from gate 53 you have an unobstructed view of the aircraft on the approach. It’s bad, because really I should be reading up on objective standard setting in Professor Bond’s book without distraction, to brush up a little before I meet him. But it’s like a compulsion, every time I see movement from the corner of my eye, I have to stop and look up to check what airline/type it is…


Boarding starts with a minor delay. As I pass the gate, the attendant checking my boarding pass asks me if I’m aware of the fact that I’m sitting on the emergency exit. I tell her I am, but her next question catches me slightly off guard, because she asks me when was the last time I flew and sat on the emergency exit? I do a quick think and tell her that must have been two days previously. And for some reason that catches her off guard. Eventually though, she smiles and wishes me a pleasant flight.

The Cabin

The cabin looks well-kept and clean. I’m not sure if it’s intentional, probably not, but the orange colour in the Jetstar logo, which also features in the cabin, seriously reminds me of easyJet. But maybe that just lies in the nature of the beast.

The seat is comfortable enough for a flight of more than two hours and the seat pitch on the emergency exit it good.

There are no video screens or electricity/USB plugs available for passengers on board this aircraft.

The Crew

There are five cabin crew on this flight. The young man standing by the emergency exits is kind of strange, because he looks preoccupied and rather unhappy. But I think it must be just his normal face, because he’s actually rather friendly and accommodating once the flight gets underway.

The Meal

The Jetstar website allows you to purchase a whole list of ancillary services, including seat reservations, ‘comfort kits’, and food. I order the sandwich trio online, which comes with a hot drink included.

The sandwich is good. It’s probably one of the better sandwiches I’ve had on a low-cost carrier, actually.


The flight to Townsville takes two hours and fifteen minutes. The landscape on the approach is fascinating. It’s quite hilly and very green.

The airport sprawls over a vast area, mainly because it is a mixed military and civilian facility. The actual passenger terminal is rather small, with only a handful of gates and no segregation of arriving and departing passengers, which gets a bit tight during deplaning on a short turn around…

It takes me all of three minutes from stepping off the plane to arriving curb side, where I’ve arranged to meet Professor Bond.


There really isn’t very much I can say about Jetstar. They delivered me to Townsville safely. Other than that, the flight was unremarkable and calm. Pretty much like taking the bus actually.

Jetstar, Economy Class – Airbus A 320: Melbourne to Hobart


Date: 11 February 2017
Departure: 11:05
Arrival: 12:05
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.


The Cabin

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.
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

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.

The Non-Meal

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.