The change policy when you don't have a change policy.

So.... 1 week and multiple lengthy phone calls later I learn the harsh lesson that if you are planning on being ill, busy, having unavoidable circumstances in life occur or just in general intend to live a relatively normal life - don't book with Jetstar.

Aside from the absolute frustration of trying to manage a difficult situation with people that do not have a strong command of the English language and the 42 minute wait to speak to someone that does, an automated online assistant that is frustratingly useless, a website that does not correctly show the Jetstar terms and conditions, a booking system that does not show the correct terms and conditions, an actual booking that does not display the correct terms and conditions, a online booking change facility that does not allow you to make changes for up to 12 months in advance although the fare rules state that you can, Jetstar WILL refund you the applicable change fees when you change your booking.

However, don't put your party hat on just yet. You cannot use the online booking change facility to make your changes because in order to receive the refund you need to book through the telephone service. Once you get sucked in this far Jetstar has saved a special treat for you. You are now a victim to the horrendously over the top telephone booking fare prices which mean that instead of paying for a normal market priced fare you will pay the equivalent of an around the world air ticket - for two.

A multi tasking savvy individual will quickly ascertain that the same change could be made online for the original price paid OR to add insult to injury - an entire NEW ticket could be booked for $100 less.

Because Jetstar are having so much fun kicking your head in between dangling you on the phone line while forcing you to listen to the same godawful song for a lengthy period in your life that you will never ever get back - and consistently reassuring you that you are next in the queue while secretly pushing you to the back of the line - because they can - they then take enormous pleasure in informing you that you cannot book the dates that you require because those airfares are not released yet - so please make a temporary change and incur the fees - then in a few months time line up to do it all again and make further changes when the fares are released, and book the actual dates that you do require. Naturally extra fees will apply.

If you're still sane and haven't morphed into a purple faced, pulsating, perspiring tyrant that wants to rip limbs off anyone within a 50km radius and can do the maths you'll work out that the cheap return flight you originally booked is now the equivalent of an all expense included around the world tour of the major capitals with luxury accommodation, meals and fabulous sightseeing tours of every attraction for family of sixteen people. Go Jetstar. Way to build your coffers.

Jetstar of course welcomes feedback. In fact when you are on your 9999th call to the telephone office from hell they'll very generously offer to call you back to obtain your feedback. Of course as you are an absolute simpleton or mug (your choice) that has issues with comprehension you will be told that 'You need to understand that any flight changes are subject to availability so there's really not much Jetstar can do to help.'

For the slower witted amongst us it's at about this point that we realise that we have paid hundreds of dollars for a level of service that a frozen fish could improve on. It's then that you surrender. You stare defeat in the face and recognise that Jetstar, the airline that seats passengers with their knees crunched beside their ears and a baggage allowance fitting for a gnat, obviously needs the money more than you do to pay all the people whose miserable job it is to draft intricately crafted policies designed to send the most sane person to anger management classes.

And for Jetstar passengers? Next time you're flying somewhere take a gander out of your window at the ocean below. If you see anyone paddling in a canoe you'll know that it is a peed off ex Jetstar client who would rather brave shark infested waters and the perfect storm than ever, ever book a flight with Jetstar.

New Zealand-Christchurch