Friday, April 13, 2018

A long whinge

Do you ever hear me complain about anything? Oh yes, you do. And here is a long one, principly about Jetstar airlines.

We departed home for Sydney on Tuesday morning and returned the following day. Catching a taxi to to the airport is usually economically sound and very convenient for us and that was our plan. But for one night away? I looked at the price for a long term car parking space at Melbourne airport for one night at $49 plus road tolls, as against the two way taxi journey of about $120, you can guess what we went for. The long term car park provides a free shuttle bus to the terminals. I said to R, I remember once this trip in the bus was so horrible, with awful loud music blaring and so crowded. This was really quite nice. And then a woman with a voice of about 100 decibels boarded and was talking about her racehorses on her phone. Everything was suddenly so much louder, with the driver's two radio chipping in. We couldn't hear the bus announcements, As I said to R, funny how things can so quickly go wrong. He agreed.

The Jetstar check in was quite painless. We had checked in at home and all that was need was our boarding passes. Later I realised we already had printed them out. Airlines are in transition mode with this matter, and while better than it was, is still not perfect. Not sure why we could not check in for the return journey the following day. I smelt a rat, but ignored it. My mistake.

The weather was balmy at the airport, but also apparently quite severe and Melbourne Airport was only allowing one runway to be used. Well, that is what Jetstar told us was the reason for the half hour late departure.

In front of us and to left of us, was an about five year hyperactive kid. He had a voice so loud, it was unbelievable. He fidgeted constantly and at times was quite manic. Once he turned around and saw me between the gap in the seat back. I gave him the most evil stare I could. Eventually his mother after telling him so many times to keep his voice down, lightly slapped his face, but that only made things worse as he began bawling at 200 decibels. "Mummy, I was trying to tell you something but you wouldn't listen". He had constantly kicked the seat back of the person in front of him, which I think may have been that of his grandmother.  Just as the plane was landing, "Mummy, I need to  wee. I am going to wet myself if I can't go to the toilet now"'. Is it intfacide when a plane passenger kills a child?

Meanwhile, across the aisle and two rows forward was a crying baby, that cried the whole way to Sydney, but with extra strength as we descended with ear pain kicking in. Sister told R years ago when Little Jo was young that it is the time to feed them. The sucking equalises the ear pressure. I could have coped with the crying child, but the hyperactive kid really did my head in.

The exit from the airport was painless and we caught the the train to our accommodation. While it took two calls to the desk, our failed air con control panel was fixed and the lass also brought along a new/old tv remote control that was missing. I was away at that point, but she told R that remotes get lost in bedding and are carried out of the room. Makes sense. We thought theft. I never knew. I suppose they are rescued from the bedding at some point. For the price we paid, I do recommend the Sydney Travelodge in Wentworth Avenue. Although why the room cleaners staff don't have some easy way to communicate to management the couple of faults in the room is puzzling. At my workplace reporting problems is hand written, time consuming and tiresome, and so to be avoided. I expect that is why room staff did not report. Our room was nice and large and not too bad at all.

I had sorted out our Opal public travel cards in advance but the brief flash of the balance on the readers was too quick for old eyes. At least our cards show the card balance for as long as you hold the card there.

The tickets for the opera we saw, obviously more about that later, were cheap. The reason they were cheap was that they were lousy seats. I take full mea culpa for that. Sorry Victor.

Let me cut to the chase.  Our return trip with Jetstar was disastrous. Upon arrival in Sydney, R who had booked the flight, received a text saying we needed to be at the airport by 1pm for our 2.45pm flight back to Melbourne. At 12 we were in Manly at the ferry terminals after brunch and suddenly R was very stressed about getting to the airport by 1pm. I never really looked at the time, as I knew we would be there unnecessarily early. We could not check online as we realised we were on a leg of an international flight. Why weren't we told? We couldn't check in online as staff need to see your ID . We checked in at the counter, went through the speedy immigration for domestic passengers on international flights. Went through the very slow security check and were at the gate lounge in plenty of time. People were queued to get on the plane. I don't know why people do this as you have an allocated seat. The queue dispersed as an announcement was made at our actual departure time. We had kind of worked out by that point that there was a problem and many gave up standing. A maintenance issue with the plane, and then once an hour later we were onboard, a man had lost his wallet in airport and wasn't leaving without it, and so his luggage had to be offloaded. Funny how the better airlines manage to keep their schedules but Jetstar does not. Never mind being home by 6pm to watch the commercial tv news, we were not even home by 7pm to watch the ABC news.

I wondered if there would be a complimentary drink from the trolley on the flight because of the delay. No, and the trolley ran out of cheese and biscuits the seat before we were when R ordered. He made do with a small a glass of wine some Pringles. I simply would not pay for something that would not be needed on such a short flight, even though it had been ages since I had eaten. R would not have either had the flight not been delayed. I did not like the thought of Jetstar making me pay for food and drink because of their lateness.

As we were landing, and announcement was made that domestic passengers would need their boarding pass and ID to clear Melbourne airport. Wow, I thought, lucky that have I learnt from R to shred anything on paper that has your name on it, and I did not chuck my boarding pass in the bin. I needed it twice and I thought I was through domestic international travel, but no. The last time I had been careless, and stuck it in paperwork, so some panic moments as I searched my bag, and just as I was being put aside for further checking, I found it. I overheard someone saying to officials, I just chucked my boarding pass in the airplane bin. We have travelled a bit and in all our travels, we have never needed to retain our boarding passes. This is crap Jetstar. You need to tell us. They are passses to board, not to exit. 

We were both stressed. I screwed up in getting out of the carpark, and even driving home, I went the wrong way on the toll road. We should have been driving home in the daylight and have a light evening meal.

We travelled with Jetstar to Japan a few years ago and it was a rip off disaster. This time it was not good going to Sydney and disastrous coming back. We are booked with them for a brief visit to Tasmania later this month. Surely a 50 minute flight can't go so wrong? In my opinion Jetstar sucks. I probably should add that the airfare was very cheap, $49 from Sydney to Melbourne.

It was a cheap overnight visit to see an opera. I don't know why we always do things on the cheap. We are not poverty stricken and doing the cheap caused so many problems.

43 comments:

  1. Sigh.
    That would have done my head in, and made me a (more than usually) grumpy old woman.

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    1. EC, we were certainly two very grumpy old men and instead of the usual goodbyes from staff as we exited the plane, they were nowhere to be seen. I don't blame them.

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  2. No need to apologise for the Opera seats Andrew, the view was fine. I, on the other hand, am still embarrassed by the Restaurant I recommended (or should that be, suggested) especially to R for the worst Chicken Schnitzel either of us would ever have eaten.

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    1. Victor, it was a good place to eat, even if your and R's food was not. I will get around to posting a Tripadvisor review.

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    2. For good chicken schnitzel, you need to come to my place.

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    3. Thank you for the invitation River, but we would not want to upset Lola or take her seat. Perfectly good schnitzels are had at home.

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    4. Oh, and Victor, let's just call it a cafe.

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    5. Thanks for the tip River and agreed Andrew.

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  3. Ooh what a trip - hope it wasn't to celebrate a 'special occasion'. That would of just rubbed salt in the wound.
    Like EC I would not have been a happy chappy, well the female version lol. Our cruise to Hawaii this time last year included air fare home - on Jetstar - now way I told our TA so somehow or another she managed to get it changed to Hawaiin Air. Which was another unforgettable flight experience.

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    1. Cathy, Hawaiian Air not good?

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  4. This is why I only fly broomstick :P

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    1. Jayne, I am sure your broomstick is very reliable.

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  5. "Cheap" sounds like a euphemism for poor standards and no accountability by Jetstar :(

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    1. You said it Hels, and I agree.

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  6. Anonymous11:46 am

    Just repeat the phrase cheap and nasty over and over until it sinks in. Then be glad it wasn't Ryan Air.

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    1. Ian, I guessed it was you. Those British and cheap European carriers do sound bad, but at least there are spelt out compensation procedures. We flew Vueling last year and it was ok.

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  7. Anonymous11:46 am

    Anonymous at 11.46 was Ian. Sorry.

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  8. Apart from that, Mrs Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?

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    1. Marcellous, I give up. Mrs Lincoln? We are not great opera fans and seeing La Boheme did not change our minds, but we enjoyed the whole experience in a wonderful setting. More later.

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    2. Hint: John Wilkes Booth shot Abraham Lincoln at Ford's Theatre during a performance of a play.

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    3. Sorry Marcellous. While I am now well educated on the assassination of Lincoln I am still missing the cryptic point, and of course I am intrigued to know.

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    4. It's just a joke, based on an imaginary interlocutor of Mrs Lincoln. I heard it from my father but I think of it as a kind of mirror image of the WWI joke - Horribly wounded soldier asked: "Does it hurt?" Answer" "Only when I laugh." (Which became the title of a Len Deighton novel)

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    5. Marcellous, I know that line, but now you are so off tangent you are making me really horny. What's your Grindr, Recon, Gay.com nick?

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  9. This is why we need a "fast train" to all points in Australia and the boat to Tassie is better too.
    Thank god you did not have that kid on the return flight!!!

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    1. Lady J, the contrast between train and plane travel is enormous. One means relax and the other means stress. No, no child to smother on the return journey.

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  10. Sound like a right proper mess Andrew.
    Dreadful really.
    Let's hope that the next trip is ok.

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    1. Margaret, so do we. Really!

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  11. Airlines really need a shake-up. My wife travels a lot (I'm a hermit), and the angst it causes her is amazing. Booking her flights is the worst bit; I have to leave the house and sit in the garden for a few hours! Her language is terrible! Time for change.

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    1. Cro, why has what should be a good experience turned so bad. Everything to do with airplane travel is unpleasant, and I don't think it was as bad in the past.

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  12. My parents had just as bad an experience with Qantas a couple of months ago. They ended up having to pay $700 to get home on a direct flight, even though they had tickets already, their flight was cancelled and the airline wanted to send them home via Melbourne and they would not have got back to Sydney until 9pm. They were due to land in Sydney at 2pm on the original flight.

    They're all pretty bad. I think one just has to expect the worst and hope for the best.

    We've made that mistake of going domestic via international before, never again. Though I mostly enjoyed it myself. :)

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    1. Snoskred, was there not another Qantas flight to the same destination that could have transported your parents? To my way of thinking, if an airline fails to transport you in a reasonable manner, then they have arrangements with other airlines in place. Not for our lesser delay, but certainly for your parents delay.

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  13. Here's a tip: stop going cheap. pay a bit extra and have more enjoyable flights/rooms etc.

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    1. River, that is exactly what our post mortem resolved, bus as Snoskred said, Qantas is not immune, as we well know.

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  14. Having been at the end of a lengthy queue, waiting to board, and being told the aircraft was now full and not taking any more passengers, I've stopped using Jetstar. Clearly, they oversold.

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    1. James, how were you compensated and what then happened? Did you threaten Jetstar with national media exposure?

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  15. It was a stressful journey on me just to read about, Andrew. I feel my blood pressure going up.

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    1. Strayer, perhaps it is the blood pressure transfer to you that makes me feel better after writing.

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  16. I cannot abide kids on a flight!! I get cranky like you and am very good at giving the evil stare.
    We flew Jetstar in Australia and it was pretty good I must say.
    I have finally learned to spend the money (now that we have it) and will pay for comfort.

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    1. Jackie, for our bigger holiday later this year, we were teetering on the edge of travelling premium economy as the cost was not that much more, but sadly the flight times did not suit. Still, we are paying a little more to go by the very nice Singapore Airlines.

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  17. I learnt my mistake when we flew Tiger airways a few years ago. We were slugged an extra fee for checking in at the airport and then endured a 5 hour delay. Given the time it took to prepare, wait, and then finally fly, we worked out we could have driven to Canberra in the same time.

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    1. Ad Rad, I think you may have written about that at the time. We've used Tiger twice and it was fine for us. Just the luck of the draw, perhaps.

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  18. I'm past the stage of wanting to travel...battling traffic to and fro airports etc., etc; although I could become a professional people watcher at airports. Watching people is fun.

    On second thoughts...I prefer to stay at home!! :) (That just the way I am)!

    I appreciate others are far different to how I am...which is probably a very good thing!!

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    1. Staying home has great appeal to us too Lee, but hopefully we will have time for that in years to come. R is determined to do things while we can .

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