Flight test: Melbourne to Auckland
The 787 Dreamliner servicing the Melbourne-Auckland-Melbourne route three times a week is spacious, smooth and quiet.
NAME OF AIRLINE Jetstar
THE ROUTE Melbourne to Auckland
THE PLANE Boeing 787 Dreamliner
THE LOYALTY SCHEME Qantas Frequent Flyer.
UP THE BACK OR AT THE POINTY END? Business class, seat 1J
TIME IN THE AIR 3 hours, 30 minutes
THE SEAT STUFF 9-inch recline, 38-inch pitch and 19-inch wide seat cushion.
BAGGAGE ALLOWANCE Passengers choose from checked baggage options from 15kg for $26 to 40kg for $60. Standard is 20kg for $28.
''Max'' bundles come with a standard 20kg baggage allowance included. All passengers are allowed carry-on baggage up to 10kgs.
COMFORT FACTOR I'm on the tall side but can stretch my legs out in an upright window seat without my feet touching the bulkhead. My cabin bag fits comfortably between my feet and the bulkhead which makes for easy access during the flight. The 2-3-2 seat configuration feels spacious and my seat is wide and soft with a generous armrest, so there's no elbow jostling with the passenger next to me.
The armrest buttons to put the seat back and the footrest out are stiff and have to be pushed firmly. I need a flight attendant to help put the footrest away. Although it's a mid-morning flight, the lights are dimmed very low within half an hour of takeoff.
THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT Access to 16 movies and about the same number of TV shows, plus games and music videos, is included for passengers who have purchased extra legroom and are seated in the business class section. In economy, passengers can pay A$12 for seatback inflight entertainment when booking or on board using a credit card.
THE SERVICE Polite but spare. I press the call button as we prepare to take off but it's 10 minutes before an attendant comes by. Sightings of flight attendants in my part of the cabin are infrequent once the food and drink cart has come through.
FEEDING TIME Food is available for purchase within 15 minutes of takeoff - nuts, pot noodles, Mainland cheese and crackers, muffins, chocolate, sandwiches and pies. Assuming it will be cheaper, I buy a sandwich at the airport before boarding, but an identical sandwich on board is $1 cheaper. Alcoholic drinks, priced from $7 to $8, include three types of beer, cider, two wines and three spirits. A cup of Grinders coffee or Simplicitea tea costs $3.50.
ONE MORE THING Cleanliness could be improved. A previous passenger's rubbish is on my seat when I board and the seat could do a wipe. Using the bathroom before we depart, there are used tissues on the floor (within half an hour after takeoff, however, they have been removed).
THE VERDICT The aircraft is spacious, smooth and quiet.
FREQUENCY The 787 Dreamliner is servicing the Melbourne-Auckland-Melbourne route three times a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) during March. See jetstar.com.
Susannah Walker flew courtesy of Jetstar.
Sunday Star Times