Jetstar Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner economy class, Melbourne to Bali

Economy class on a Jetstar Boeing 787 Dreamliner. 

The Route

Flight JQ43, Melbourne Airport to Ngurah Rai International Airport, Bali

The Aircraft

Boeing 787-8 with 314 economy seats and 21 business class seats

The Loyalty Scheme

While there is no loyalty scheme as such, for $55 a year you can join the Jetstar Club which offers discounts on fares, seats and baggage, plus also gives members early access to sales.

Jetstar is flying three times a week from Melbourne to Bali. 

Class

Economy, seat 27F which is the aisle seat in the middle row, on a ‘Plus’ fare which includes a standard seat, 7 kilograms of carry-on and 20 kilograms of check-in luggage, an inflight meal and an option to change flight dates or time.

Duration

Six hours five minutes, scheduled to depart at 9.10am and arrive at 1.15 pm in Denpasar. Our flight is the first from Australia to Bali in two years, and it’s running late due to “paperwork issues”. We’re stuck on the tarmac for an hour and 23 minutes and the flight departs at 11.18 am, getting us into Bali at around 2.30 pm.

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Frequency

Three flights per week, departing Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.

Health

You are expected to be fully vaccinated at least seven days before departure on an international flight with Jetstar and will have to provide proof of vaccination on check-in. If the requirements at your destination are more strict, those rules will apply. Masks must be worn on board aircraft, except when eating or drinking. If you’ve forgotten or lost yours, they can be provided upon boarding.

Carbon emissions

Carbon emissions for this particular route are calculated as 0.722 tonnes for an economy class passenger. You can offset a trip such as this at the end of the booking process for around $12.

Check-in

The process is a long one given the flight is full and the amount of paperwork required. In this instance, time can be saved by downloading the Indonesian COVID contract tracing app Penduli Lindungi, and filling out your flight details and vaccination history prior to checking in, as this will be cross-checked by airline staff. You’ll also need a printout of your negative PCR test (which can be taken at the airport). As the flight was early, Histopath opened at 6am and there was no queue for PCR testing, and results came through quickly (within about 15 minutes, but they say to allow 90. Bear in mind there were no other flights departing at this time on this particular day). You can register for the test at test2go.com.au. You’ll need your International Vaccine Certificate, and proof of travel insurance with at least $25,000 in COVID-19 medical coverage (which you can purchase from Jetstar during the booking process).

The Seat

I’m sitting in seat 27F, an aisle seat in a middle row of three. This is on the last row of the ‘upfront’ seats Jetstar offers for an extra $25 each way. Emergency exit row seats can be also be purchased for extra legroom at an additional $38 each way. The seats are leather and have a pitch of 30 inches (76 centimetres) which I find adequate for the six hour trip, although the taller passengers in front and behind seemed to be struggling. The economy seats are 17 inches (43 centimetres) wide. An ‘international chill kit’ is available as an add-on for $25 and includes an eye mask, earplugs, inflatable pillow, socks, lip balm, blanket which was totally unnecessary for this short flight (bring a jacket in case the air conditioning gets chilly).

Baggage

My ‘Plus’ fare includes 20 kilograms of check-in luggage and 7 kilograms for carry-on which is perfectly adequate for a week in Bali. On this trip, hand luggage is not weighed at check-in (probably due to the large amount of time it takes to wade through the paperwork).

Entertainment

You must pay for extra for everything on Jetstar and entertainment is no exception. Each seat has a nine-inch screen and it costs $10 to watch, play or listen if you pre-pay during the booking process. If you wait until you’re on the flight, it will cost you $13 for an all-access pass or $9 for an individual movie, or $6 to listen to an album or play a game. There are about 100 movies to choose from including a handful of new releases such as Dune, Spencer and The French Dispatch. Television is a bit light-on, with about 10 comedies, dramas and lifestyle shows. There’s also plenty of music, a kid’s section and games – but make sure you bring an adaptor if you wish to use your own headphones or you’ll be stuck with Jetstar’s basic earphones. There’s also in seat power via a USB.

Service

I found the service to be hit and miss on this flight. Maybe it was the stress of the first full flight to Bali in two years. Maybe it was being “hangry” from having to wait on the tarmac for so long and not eating prior to boarding. Things just weren’t as sparky as I had hoped, after the celebratory vibes at check-in and boarding.

It’s good thing to remember if you haven’t pre-booked an inflight meal, you’ll have to be patient. Those earlybirds’ meals get served first, with hot drinks and water, with two “kiosk” services to follow. So that means no soft drinks, alcoholic beverages or snacks until those meals have been heated and served.

Food

International meals include a butter chicken and rice with two vegetarian options – mac and cheese with a panko and cheese crumb and spinach and feta or pumpkin quiche, available for $13, $12 and $10 dollars respectively – if you pre-purchase the meals include a hot drink at $14/15. Snacks are also available and include things like pot noodle and pringles, sandwiches, wraps and toasties ($10), alcoholic drinks from $9-$12, hot drinks ($5) and soft drinks ($4). I choose the mac and cheese which keeps me satisfied for the flight, but I take mental note to bring snacks on the return leg. You can bring water on board, just keep an empty bottle handy for filling at a fountain at Melbourne Airport.

One More Thing

Getting through the airport in Denpasar was a six part process and on this occasion, took about two hours. You’ll need to present all your documents for checking on arrival (basically, the same documents you showed at check-in in Melbourne). Fortunately the additional PCR tests on arrival have now been scrapped (unless you are showing symptoms). At the time of my visit, I had to pay for PCR test in one queue, then have my PCR test in a separate queue (showing my receipt). Then it was off to queue for my visa on arrival. Then to immigration to show my passport and visa, and finally, head through customs and immigration – to get through this last leg you need to fill out a customs declaration form for Bali electronically before you fly and print out the QR code it gives you. You can do this here: bcngurahrai.beacukai.go.id.

The Verdict

Right now, many of us would do almost anything to travel internationally, so to be at an international destination in just six hours feels like a dream come true. With no other choice when flying direct to Bali from Melbourne right now, any preconceptions you have about Jetstar will have to be cast aside. Just make sure you bring plenty of patience and snacks.

The writer flew as a guest of Jetstar

See also: Jetstar flights to Bali take off for first time in two years

See also: Bali reopening to tourists: Everything you need to know

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