Well, where do I start . . . The beginning is a good place to start. Having flown Jetstar quite a number of times and having had issues every time, one would think it is high time to fly with an airline that actually flies. Not this boy! I kept fooling myself that maybe this was their last stuff-up. Anyone that has flown this poor excuse of an airline (i.e. Jetstar) would be well aware that this is not really an airline service but a dis-service to its customers.
Now for my current issue. On the morning of 18 December 2012 I had a flight booked to fly out of Newcastle for Melbourne at 0815. Having been dropped off by a colleague at the airport 1.5 hours early I proceeded to the check-in counter. On presenting my online booking printout I was informed that my flight was cancelled and that the next flight leaving for Melbourne was due to depart 6 hours later at 14:30 (2.30 pm). No excuse or reason was given - they could not find one! The check-in person informed me that "they" had sent me an SMS notifying me of the cancellation, but, I had checked my messages and found no trace of an SMS from them. And on further consulting with the other angry, disgusted and some stranded passengers - Surprise surprise - I discovered that they had not received an SMS either. On asking the assistant if a message had actually been sent by SMS to anyone, her convenient answer was "Sorry sir, I cannot discuss other passenger matters with you". We all know this was one of her 'Oops, shit! I've been caught out in my bullshit and I better find my way out of it' moments. As a pilot of some experience, first of all I cannot fathom how it is that they are still operating, and secondly if I was a Jetstar pilot, I would have serious concerns for my job security. These stuff-ups have far reaching consequences for the job security for all of the Jetstar staff.
Anyhow, having already once bothered my mate to drive me to the airport, I now had to bother him a second time within thirty minutes to pick me up from the airport. Luckily for me he didn't mind. So having been picked up I then headed back home only to return a second time for a flight at 2:30pm, hoping like the blazes that this time we'll actually get off the ground.
This is my last attempt at flying with this airline. I have concluded that, as the old saying goes, 'You get what you paid for'. So, it's better to pay a little extra knowing that you'll actually not only get off the ground but also get somewhere.
Just when I thought this was the end of this story, the Jetstar gremlin struck again. Follow closely here, this is the stuff of novels and movie scripts. Anyhow... We were supposed to be boarding at 2:30pm, but finally at 2:40pm we boarded. Believe it or not, this is far from the end of the nightmare. We began taxiing towards the take-off point at 3:10pm, eventually arriving at the beginning of the runway and lining up for take-off, and for a fraction of a moment I foolishly thought 'Oh yes, here we go'. But it wasn't to be. As the take-off power was applied, the captain announced that they have only now discovered an electrical fault. So as if my day wasn't stuffed up enough, back we taxied to the terminal where aircraft engineers tried to find the electrical problem. This nightmarish scene went on for 40 minutes while we sat in our seats. Finally, the captain announced "Ladies and gents, we've rectified the problem, and we're going to be on our way shortly, and should be airborne in 10 minutes". You'd think you've heard the end of this. I have some bad news for you, the nightmare continued. To rectify the electrical fault required the obvious paperwork which somehow took another 15-20 minutes. In the words of the famous Tim Shaw, "But wait, there's more..." An elderly lady at this point decided to do what the rest of us wished we had done, and that was to leave the flight and go home. Now we have the problem of locating her luggage in the hold. This took another 10-15 minutes. By this stage I'm thinking this flight is going nowhere. However, miracle of miracles, finally at 4:10pm we were actually airborne.
P.S. The moral of this rather prolonged story is - if you are serious about getting anywhere by plane, it's a good idea to fly with an airline that actually does fly. Jetstar, you suck, and I'll see to it that as many people as possible hear about your incompetence and unreliability. Your handling of this crisis situation is nothing short of abysmal, and it's God's miracle that you suck in unsuspecting passengers who think they're getting a good deal, not the least of whom happen to be me. But this is the final chance you'll ever get to screw me around, as from now on I'm happy to pay even double the price if I have to, and get some actual service.