Phuket International Airport (HKT) – Singapore Changi International Airport (SIN)
STD: 16:15 (+7 GMT) ATD: 16:09 (+7 GMT)
STA: 19:05 (+8 GMT) ATA: 19:17 (+8 GMT)
Aircraft: Airbus A320-200 – (9V-JSS leased new on 02/04/2013)
Flight Date: February 10, 2017
Class of Service: Economy Class
Seat Type: Standard Economy
Seat Pitch: 29 inches
Seat Width: 17.8 inches
Meals: Buy on board drinks and snacks available for 1 hour in the flight.
In-Seat Outlets: No
This was what turned out to be a bog standard intra-Asia flight on a reputable low cost carrier based in the region. Which, let’s face it – when most of us book with airlines such as JetStar (3K), that’s exactly what we’re looking for.
JetStar Asia offered the best timings for my return to Singapore, and had comparable fares to Air Asia and Tigerair Asia – both of whom only offered early morning or late night departures back to Singapore, making my hotel check out situation a bit of a tricky one. The late afternoon departure of this flight made it ideal – time for breakfast and a last soiree to the beach and also squeezing in one last delicious Thai meal. And at $70 or so I was sold on this flight.
Having flown 3K several years in the past and thoroughly enjoyed the experience, I was eager to see if they maintained their fun charm.
Check in was a complete breeze – while there were no self service kiosks that JetStar has in Singapore, there were three check in desks open which was ample for this afternoon service. The line moved fast and the check in procedure was completed very quickly.
Before I knew it was I had gone through immigration and security and was greeted with a modern and well designed Phuket International Airport.
I did my bit at duty free and spotted a Thai A330 docked at one of the international gates – how I wished I was on one of those.
And to the other side was a Thai 777 headed to Hong Kong – again, I was at the time rather regretting my decision to go with JetStar over Thai. Notice the Thomson 787 in the background, resting from its long haul flight over from London.
Got to our designated gate to find this disturbing sight:
Only to find out that our gate had been changed to a remote parking bay, much to the chagrin of most of the passengers.
I was happy to board through stairs and get that distinct smell of A1 jet fuel in that tropical sea breeze – even if it meant a more disorganized boarding process.
We boarded through 1L eventually in what was a relatively painless process.
Despite the remote boarding the cabin crew were on hand to make the process as efficient as possible and got us all settled down in remarkable fashion. The aircraft had arrived early from Singapore and they were obviously determined to get it out back to home base early as well.
Before we knew it we were on our way with everyone in their seats and bags stowed, with the cabin crew in their seats – before scheduled departure time, to boot. The cabin crew were already studying the manifest to see who to serve first with web pre-orders to make the in flight service as quick as possible on this short flight.
We had a quick taxi to the active runway and a smooth take off – soon enough the seatbelt sign was turned off and I paid a quick visit to the loo. It was clean enough overall.
As would be expected, it had the basic amenities including airline branded soap. Extra marks to JetStar however for having a good array of tissues and towels, especially for a low cost carrier.
The crew then came around to distribute landing cards for Singapore and were helping folks get settled in. You might notice that while JetStar does cram seats in, they do also offer good dose of padding contrary to the extra slim seats that most of the European and American carriers offer these days.
Eventually the crew came around with the meal and drinks cart after serving those who had pre-ordered things during booking. Nothing on the menu looked remotely appealing – it was a mix of mostly local Asian and more Western options but all looked bland and boring. So I opted for a glass of wine, that was promptly served with the mini wine bottle and a label that while cute I can’t vouch for its quality. It served its purpose however, and it was served with a smile so no complaints.
The crew came through the cabin multiple times to clear service items and to ensure everyone was comfortable – inflight duty free was announced and sales of meals and beverages were closed about 45 minutes before our intended arrival. We were mostly left to our own devices at this point and it was then I realized just how tight the legroom was. Seat padding 1: legroom 0.
Despite the very tight seating situation, I did enjoy the remainder of the flight and appreciated the approach the crew took on this flight – efficiency first and getting everyone everything they needed on a short hop from Thailand to Singapore.
Descent was announced soon enough and despite our early departure from Phuket we did have to ensure the dreaded rush hour stacking around Changi. 6-7pm is one of the airport’s peak hours and we were sent as far as Batam, Indonesia to circle before being given clearance to land. The crew were buckled in and carts were locked so no service during this time – I opted to sleep for the last 30-40 minutes of our circling, waking up just in time for landing.
Would I fly JetStar again? Yep, their reliability and safety are hallmarks of their brand identity and reputation. Do they stand out as an airline? Nope – but I don’t think they ever set out to be such an airline. Bottom line – fly them for a no nonsense safe and reliable way to get from point A to B within Asia. Nothing more, nothing less.