Into the wild blue yonder…

I’ve now made the five hour long flight between Perth and Singapore twice, on two different airlines – Qantas the first time, and Jetstar Asia the second. Quite a number of people have commented to me over a number of years that the see no point at all in paying extra to fly with the likes of Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, etc when for half the price you can get a ticket with Tiger, Jetstar, Air Asia, etc. Well, I’m about to make a case as to why the extra money is well spent.

Firstly, leg room. Now, this is less critical for Asians, as they tend to be shorter. But for Caucasians, especially those of us six foot or over, having all of three inches of leg room is incredibly uncomfortable, especially when some of the planes, like the Jetstar Airbus A320 I flew to Singapore on, no longer allow the seats to recline. And when you get three relatively large people in a single row, it makes for a very, very uncomfortable trip. By contrast, Qantas seats are bigger, with at least six inches more leg room. Doesn’t sound like much, but over five hours you definitely notice the difference.

Next, entertainment. Sitting in your seat staring at your hands for five hours can get incredibly boring. There’s not even any music to listen to on Jetstar, and if there was they’d no doubt charge for the headphones. Qantas on the other hand have screenings of movies usually not long out of the cinemas, with some flights (usually A380’s or 747’s) have individual screens in each seat. There are also twelve channels of music – and of course, free headphones.

The food on Jetstar is honestly not worth the tin foil they serve it on. Added to the fact that they charge around AU$25 for it, and it’s the biggest rip off of all. AND they charge for soft drinks. Qantas not only has free soft drinks, but free beer and wine for the adults as well – and their spirits are considerably cheaper than in Singapore! The food on a Qantas flight is not only edible, but sometimes actually borders on quite good – no mean feat for notoriously bad airline food.

Last, but certainly not least, from a Caucasian who is not all that bad with the Singaporean accent (more or less by necessity), the pilot and cabin crew were completely and utterly incomprehensible. The pilot may as well have been speaking Greek for all anyone could understand once his already strong accent had been filtered through the intercom, and the only member of the cabin crew between two flights that could remotely be understood was the Indian woman on the flight home.

So, no leg room, tiny seats, terrible food, no entertainment, and completely impossible to understand a word anyone is saying. All this might be fine for short distance flights, but for international?

I’ll be paying the extra and flying with Qantas, thanks.