Dom Post on Jetstar

January 4th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Dom Post editorial:

Now faces another bad news story. It refused to let 12-year-old Ashleigh Harvey fly from Christchurch to Wellington to see her father because only secondary school students are allowed to fly unaccompanied. Ashleigh starts high school in Christchurch later this month.

So let’s take Jetstar at its word and ask: is this a case of treating customers “as if they were friends and family”? Not really. A friend or a family member might reasonably suppose that Ashleigh fails the secondary student test only by a few weeks, and it is therefore daft to be so pedantic about the rule’s application.

A spokeswoman for the airline said the policy was clear. “There has to be some kind of cut-off.” But this is exactly what customers dislike about Jetstar – its mule-headed insistence on the letter of its laws. This is not “bringing a human element” or “empathy” to the customer.

This isn’t the first time Jetstar has bungled its public relations. There was the shocking case of Jeanette Strange, mother of Adam Strange, who was killed by a great white shark at Muriwai. She was told she would have to pay $321 to change a booking to get to Auckland.

It’s the culture, and they simply have it wrong. When Ansett NZ started in New Zealand, they had a great culture as the underdog seeking to win market share. They came across as grateful, every time you flew with them. By contrast, Jetstar seem to think you should be grateful to them for allowing you to fly with them.

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29 Responses to “Dom Post on Jetstar”

  1. peterwn (3,277 comments) says:

    The only good thing about Jetstar is the 10kg cabin bag limit – AirNZ is 7kg.

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  2. Fentex (986 comments) says:

    Personally I find no fault with Jetstar in these matters, I have no problem with companies that stick to simple clear cut rules that deliver a useful cheap service when you abide by them.

    The contract with them isn’t pressed on anyone and if customers want to travel with an airline with wider margins for negotiation then feel free to pay the prices that provide the margins elsewhere.

    With other complaints about Jetstar I have read I have little sympathy, no matter what the circumstances, for people who turn up late and expect a service that has made promises to hundreds of other people with their own circumstances who had the grace to arrive on time be delayed for the late arrival.

    Jetstar quite likely has insurance for much of what it does that will, should it be required to be called upon, be conditional on them having fulfilled all the requirements and contracts required of and promised by them.

    No doubt should something have gone wrong with a child travelling with them they would be condemned for having broken rules clearly designed to protect youths. In choosing between which way to jump and what to risk being condemned for they are right to insist on adhering to their rules.

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  3. Michael (910 comments) says:

    I do understand that JetStar run on low margins so adherence to policy is important to them – so having to check in 30 minutes ahead, strict baggage limits and other restrictions passengers need to meet are to allow them to turn planes around quickly on the ground and run more flights per day per plane than a full service airline. But when you read that they can’t get their heads around a situation like this you do wonder why they are in a customer service industry.

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  4. Harriet (4,988 comments) says:

    The day I left NZ for good – was the wrong day!

    I turned up at the fucken airport a day early by mistake.[ I never tell this story btw. :cool: ]

    BUT – the Qantas bloke who told me at check-in that I was a day early, simply put me on the flight for no extra charge. Seats were available.

    Jetstar wouldn’t have.

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  5. nasska (11,580 comments) says:

    Let’s pass the hat around for the bloke from Qantas who spared us another twenty four hours of disorientated tripe. :)

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  6. calendar girl (1,244 comments) says:

    Sensible comment, Fentex. The MSM tend to make sob-story mountains out of molehills in these circumstances. How come the “Dominion Post” has no subject more weighty than this on which to write its leading editorial? Are there no reporters out there gathering real news that is worthy of editorial comment?

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  7. Lance (2,662 comments) says:

    I would normally like to expound the pro’s and con’s amid the business practices and philosophical stance undertaken by JetStar

    But based on experience I instead have only this to say….

    JetStar Sux to the Max!!!!

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  8. PaulL (5,987 comments) says:

    I’ve always felt their real problem is that it’s a downmarket brand of Qantas. Every time I fly with Jetstar it feels like they’re trying to be a parody of a budget carrier – they have an ex-Qantas culture that kinda says “we used to have a good airline, but all these cheap airlines undercut us, and they’re all crap, so we’ll be crap too and take their market share.”

    Whereas a budget airline that started from scratch wouldn’t think of themselves as a budget airline, they’d be more like Ansett and see themselves as the underdog. Sure, lots of things about them would suck, they’re a budget airline after all. But things that have no reason to suck, and no actual additional cost involved, wouldn’t have to suck – they could have good customer service.

    It’s like the old story about cars – it doesn’t cost any more to build a good car, you just need good designers. It doesn’t cost any more to have good customer service, you just need a good culture and to expect it of your staff. Jetstar have clearly never tried to create that, nor even considered that it might be necessary.

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  9. MT_Tinman (3,205 comments) says:

    I won’t fly Jetstar simply because it’s record of actually providing ‘planes for flights sold is not great.

    That said I agree, almost, with Fentex.

    Almost because the 12yo girl was issued a boarding pass before being refused transport.

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  10. scrubone (3,099 comments) says:

    In this case, the rules were quite clear. And you’d think – being Jetstar – people would be even more careful to ensure they were within them.

    I flew with them last year, had no issues at all. Didn’t even charge me for my bag.

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  11. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,903 comments) says:

    Fentex pretty much has it right.

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  12. tvb (4,432 comments) says:

    You want to fly on a budget airline you get what you pay for. I prefer to pay possibly extra to fly on something that is reliable and customer focussed.

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  13. tas (625 comments) says:

    Having such a policy is fine, but it should be enforced at time of booking. It’s plainly ridiculous that they took her money and gave her a boarding pass only to stop her boarding the plane. Never fly JetStar if you can avoid it.

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  14. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    I agree with tvb.

    Jetstar’s rules regarding unaccompanied minors are very clear. If people like these want to “take them on” and play “silly buggers” then that’s their problem.

    These people should have flown on Air NZ. I’ve flown with them about 8 times in the last 3 years and the service has been great every time. No problems whatsoever. Well worth the extra cost (over Jetstar).

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  15. Longknives (4,767 comments) says:

    Typical NZ media- Lets run yet another ‘Sob Story’ from some loser who doesn’t read the fine print and clearly doesn’t like abiding by the rules the rest of us have to..
    Oh the Humanity!

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  16. artemisia (242 comments) says:

    Our teenagers fly Jetstar usually, as it is so much cheaper. They, and we, know the rules and make sure the kids check in on time, have the right documentation and bag weight.

    Not difficult. Easy to be a crybaby though.

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  17. F E Smith (3,305 comments) says:

    As has been noted, it is their business and they can do as they please with it. If they want to encourage bad publicity then that is their right. But a contract is a contract and they don’t force you to purchase a ticket from them.

    In the same way, I exercise my right not to fly with them at all, ever.

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  18. Sean (301 comments) says:

    As someone who actually wrote the conditions of carriage for a low cost carrier (not in New Zealand) I can tell you that Fentex is one hundred percent on the button with this. Our insurers do not share the views of the editor. There is no room for doubt when it comes to aircraft insurance.

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  19. edhunter (547 comments) says:

    I’m usually a strong defender of Jetstar, while not my airline of choice when I have flown with them I’ve had nothing but good experiences.
    But in this case to have a policy that you must be at secondary school to travel alone is a bit ambiguous to say the least especially when your charging a full fare for a 12yr old, surly to save confusion it would be easier to say charge full fare at 13 & make that the age at which you can fly unaccompanied?

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  20. wikiriwhis business (4,019 comments) says:

    Full fare should be 16 which is the legal age of consent. Right across the transport industry.

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  21. cha (4,036 comments) says:

    I’ve always felt their real problem is that it’s a downmarket brand of Qantas.

    Well JetStar is a down market brand of Qantas, a union busting alternative to their internal carrier operations.

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  22. F E Smith (3,305 comments) says:

    a union busting alternative

    And therefore to be applauded.  Also, I don’t think that Jetstar’s Australian operation has the same bad name as its NZ one.

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  23. wreck1080 (3,924 comments) says:

    Jetstar set some rules…many of the times, the media reports on stories where people breached the rules and are suddenly sad.

    But, those same people tried to get an ultracheap deal.

    I think of it as a bit like investors in failed finance companies — they’e happy to chase the best deals but cry foul when things turn sour. The ignorance of not knowing their money is used to buy cars and other rubbish for people unable to afford them.

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  24. you reap what you sow (35 comments) says:

    Jetstar is cheap and their service is cheap too. I would never fly with them if arrival times are critical, as their on-time service is extremely dodgy. They are at least $100 cheaper than air NZ and I think that they could charge slightly more, offer better service and still be competitive and viable.

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  25. iMP (2,387 comments) says:

    I NEVER fly Jetstar now, on principle, they are appalling.

    Rules are meant to be guides, PEOPLE come first and the rules should serve them. This is pedantic “the rules say” nonsense. People who say “yes, but the rules say” are idiots. Ask WHY does the rule say this, and what is the purpose of the rule, not just that its written there so the universe must comply. That kind of mentality is infuriating.

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  26. Shazzadude (529 comments) says:

    Typical story.

    Customer trades in customer service and flexibility to save $20.

    Customer cries to the media when they don’t get customer service and flexibility.

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  27. RRM (9,933 comments) says:

    Our 9-year-old has been flying unaccompanied with Air New Zealand since she was seven; once a month. If JetStar doesn’t want the business, more fool them I guess…?

    Ansett New Zealand were a delight to travel with, but that doesn’t seem to have worked out too well for them…

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  28. Ed Snack (1,883 comments) says:

    RRM, see Shazzadude’s comment which is germane. I’d bet that you could get a cheaper ticket with Jetstar, but it won’t come with the extras that the extra $ buys you; like a stewie to look out for your 9 year old. And I agree about Ansett, always used to travel with them (and as a Golden Wing member too), they were a complete breath of fresh air to the industry in NZ. Your comment about your 9 year old flying with ANZ might not have held pre-Ansett as well.

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  29. Left Right and Centre (2,986 comments) says:

    Fentex wraps it up like paper around a good feed of fush & chups.

    Oh Jetstar – oh thank you. Thank you thank you thank you. Rules are rules…. get. fucked. Good on yer Jetstar. Don’t take any shit from these whining little fuckwits.

    With cunts like Jetstar – the money you might save converts to time spent being your own lawyer. Having to read anything and everything in order to know where you are with the pricks. To protect yourself from these unfortunate myriad potential eventualities. Terms and conditions. What’s expected of you. Times. What you can and can’t take. What you can and can’t do.

    And in the end – if you do a lot of research and still get burnt – who’s fault is that ? When you play with fire – you might just get burnt. Bottomline. People don’t have to fuck around with them. Jetstar is soooooo well known by reputation now there’s no excuse – whether in the right or not – for people to not at least *expect* that they might have a problem with these head-up-arse wankers.

    The customer could save themselves the trouble by *checking*. Check that it’s all good. Can the girl fly unaccompanied ? Was that question ever asked anywhere ? Will she be allowed to fly by herself ? Like fuck it was asked. You have to lift your game when booking Jetstar – I love it because the ‘she’ll be right’ mentality just doesn’t cut the mustard. She’ll be right there at the gate, see ya later retards. We’re busy with a flying tin can full of strong swimming sardines to deliver. How did they all manage to get it right, huh ? Makes ya feel fucking stupid when you’re in the less than 1% of morons that can’t get a booking right.

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