Plus Service

It was one of those days… Granted, I haven’t been doing anything productive this past few weeks but let’s just leave the facts behind and go for dramatic build-up and exaggeration. Every now and then, I’d do a dummy booking to see how much it costs to fly on “someone” to “somewhere; I’m an aviation enthusiast and I love traveling so playing around with the booking engines not only satisfies my curiosity but keeps my ‘goals’ in mind and dreams entrenched in reality so that I don’t think it’s unrealistic and give up trying to achieve it.

One of the places I’d like (but not love) to visit is Melbourne. Thanks to endless reruns of Anthony Bourdain, Kylie Kwong and a horde of shows on TLC (used to be called Discovery Travel & Living), I’ve found Melbourne to be a pretty intriguing. And besides, it’s the first Jetstar “long-haul” destination out of Singapore… even though technically, Jetstar flies from Singapore to Melbourne via Darwin although this will end when the new nonstop flight begins, and even though the flight number is a Jetstar Australia (JQ) flight, it is operated and crewed by Singapore-based Jetstar Asia. Unusually, when I booked a Jetstar Singapore to Melbourne flight, I saw that Jetstar’s JetPlus fare is being offered. Anyway, instead of me explaining to you what’s JetPlus, I thought I’d let Jetstar explain it to you themselves.

This is quoted from the Jetstar website:

JetPlus is a new international fare with comfort and convenience! JetPlus is available on selected flights to Hawaii, Thailand, Bali, Japan and Singapore. With a JetPlus fare on your Long Haul flight you get:

– 2 meals with 1 hot and 1 cold non- alcoholic beverage per meal service (due to the shorter flight duration, 1 meal will be served on direct flights to/from Melbourne and Sydney to Bali).
– a personal video on demand unit
– a comfort pack (blanket, inflatable neck pillow, eye shades and ear plugs)
– 20kg checked baggage allowance.
– No change fees for permitted time, date and passenger name changes. Fare difference is applicable.
Why not experience a low fare, and travel with all these inclusions!

Long Haul flights are international flights operated by A330 aircraft and are direct flights from:

  • Australia to Japan, Thailand or Hawaii;
  • Sydney and Melbourne to Bali; and
  • from Melbourne to Singapore.

If you’re that stupid, and don’t understand what they said, basically, this is Jetstar’s version of your regular full-service Economy Class you get in airlines like Qantas and Singapore Airlines. Great idea, don’t you think? It’s only roughly a SGD 20 upgrade from JetSaver Light fares and I get ALL the benefits of flying full-service right?

Now, let’s compare fares, shall we?

For all the flights, I’ve booked departing Singapore to Melbourne on February 24 and returning March 6:

Jetstar

JQ 8 SIN2050 – 0655+1MEL
JQ 7 MEL1200 – 1650SIN

JetSaver Light: SGD 970.07
JetSaver/JetPlus: SGD 1010.07
Star Class: SGD 1830.07

Qantas

QF 10 SIN2100 – 0640+1MEL
QF 9 MEL1705 – 2140SIN

Economy Class: SGD 921.40
Premium Economy: SGD 2311

Just in case you’re unaware, Jetstar is the low-cost offshoot of Qantas and since its inception, Jetstar has been growing, with approval, at the expense of Qantas. Jetstar has a lower cost-base, with everyone from pilots to cabin crew earning HALF of what they’d usually earn if they were Qantas cabin crew; this translates into lower fares for passengers and profitability of the airline because after fuel, labour is the largest expenditure for any airline. Unfortunately, while passengers are benefiting from lower fares and the company reaping profits, it is the Qantas cabin crew and pilots who suffer the most as work is literally swept from underneath their feet, and being transferred to Jetstar, hiring younger, more gullible and desperate crew willing to work for less. The Qantas network is getting smaller and smaller as Jetstar grows larger and larger, and the fact that nobody in Qantas is being sacked is making Qantas crews anxious and uneasy over what feels like the inevitable end. It is a tug o’ war between the two brands. While Qantas crew fiercely object to new developments in Jetstar such as the long-haul base in Singapore, the Qantas management SAYS it’ll reinstate some Jetstar flights back to Qantas, all while it secretly grows the Jetstar Singapore base at a faster pace than previously… and for good reason. The competition and the battle between Jetstar and Qantas becomes all too apparent when they compete with each other on long-haul routes such as this. Comparing fares, it looks like Jetstar commands a premium on JetSaver Light, JetSaver and JetPlus fares compared to Qantas’ single Economy fare.

It’s simple math.

Jetstar is able to charge more per passenger for less or no frills. For Qantas Economy, even if you don’t use the inflight entertainment, eat the food or use your baggage allowance (checked-in allowance of 23kg and handcarry allowance of 20kg) , it has been factored into your airfare of SGD 921. Compare that with a JetSaver Light fare, the SGD 970.07 pays off only for your physical being AND a handcarry allowance of 20kg. What this means is after deducting all the ‘extras’, the Qantas Group is earning more per passenger on a Jetstar flight in JetSaver, JetSaver Light and JetPlus than an average passenger in Economy Class. Star Class however, gives Qantas’ Premium Economy passengers a run for their money, and although Jetstar won’t as much from a Jetstar Star Class passenger, they’ve won the battle; plane’s filled and profitable.

It's SGD 50 cheaper to fly Qantas' Economy Class... something's wrong right? A low-cost airline can charge more per seat than a full-service one.
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