After a short but relaxing stay in NZ for 4 nights, it was time to return home from the weekend break. The flight back is scheduled to depart at 1125hrs and we reached the airport 2hrs prior to departure.
Jetstar's check-in counters in the International terminal was located near the far end, just a few counters beside SQ's which also had a flight back to SIN 1hr after us. Already at 2hrs before departure, the check-in queue for Jetstar was already very long and snaked for a few loops. Only 4 counters were opened to process the passengers, including 1 for Business Class.
By contrast, SQ had 8 counters at the far end opened for check-in with barely a trickle of passengers. Most of the time, their queue was empty with the check-in agents chatting among themselves. Has SQ's business so greatly affected by Jetstar's entry into the NZ market?
We waited for nearly an hour before reaching the front of the snaking queue!! And there was still a long queue stretching almost till the terminal entrance 1hr before departure!!
I asked the check-in agent how the load for the flight was and she said that it was almost fully booked today! Apparently there were a lot of transit passengers connecting to Jetstar Asia and Qantas flights out of SIN. Transit passengers were also given an information card detailing how to transfer in Changi. Just as we were checking in, a fifth counter was opened to handle the large number of passengers. Guess they realised they would not be able to close the flight in time with still so many pax yet to be checked in.
After check-in was done, we went through immigration and security and it was again a very long wait. The security screening line was very long and the wait was almost 30min! When through all these, it was already 25min left to departure. I wondered how we would depart on time since check-in was still not completed yet. True enough, our departure time was pushed back to 1145hrs on the departure screen.
My boarding pass. Upon boarding, Jetstar would always return the bigger portion as it states the services purchased.
Auckland airport departure hall.
Flight display monitor. Best thing was shortly after this photo was taken, the display showed Gate Closed, causing a panic with passengers who has just cleared security.
Air New Zealand B744, a rarity nowadays.
VH-EBE which would fly me back to SIN.
09 August 2011 Jetstar Asia (Operated by Jetstar) 3K 402 Auckland (AKL) - Singapore (SIN) A330-200 VH-EBE Economy Class
Boarding the plane. This time, we do have a push-back truck. Again, a crew member was at the entrance of the aerobridge welcoming passengers.
Boarding in process. We had to wait for the rest of the other passengers to board due to the slow check-in procedure. Jetstar should opened 1 or 2 more counters. 4 counters are definitely not enough for the heavy load today!
We eventually pushed back 30min later than scheduled. Flight time was estimated to be a long 10hrs40min due to strong headwinds. 2 of the crew members serving the aft section of the plane where I was seated was also on my flight up! This was their second trip to Auckland within 6 days! Real packed roster they have! On this flight, apparently the video system broke down as nothing was shown on the screens, including the safety demo. On the way up, the QF-ish safety demo was shown the the screens together with the crew performing the demo manually, just like on QF. No movies/films and flight map was shown throughout the flight too.
Pushback and safety demo.
Starting our taxi to Rwy23L. QF A330 and SQ 773ER at the gates.
Qantas B738 in a special livery.
Thai B772ER. Also saw a MH B772ER and a CX A340 during taxi.
Taxi to Rwy23L.
We took off towards the sea and quickly entered the clouds. Nothing much could be seen except the clouds and the Tasman sea.
Flying over a rainbow!
My inflight entertainment, ipad2 with Glee episodes. Note the generous recline of the seats.
Same service procedures again. Amenity kits, portable IFE sets and then meal service. Crew again were friendly.
3 choices again. Lamb, chicken or vegetarian noodles dish. I had the lamb stew with pumpkin mash and vegetables. Again portion was very big and taste was good.
The other choice was Stir-fried chicken with fried rice and vegetables. The rice was kinda tasteless but chicken were delicious. Huge portion too.
Again orange juice and hot chocolate for drinks. I just luv Jetstar's hot chocolate!
After lunch, nothing much else to do. So on the way to the lav, I took some shots. Here is how Jetstar conceals its crew rest seats, away from the prying eyes of other passengers.
A lavatory shot again. Lavs were kept clean throughout the flight. I observed that crew will regularly clean the lavs (at least 4-5 times on the 10hrs flight). One of the cabin crew was even wiping the mirrors clean!
Water dispenser with disposable cups. 2 of these in the middle of the cabin, so nobody will go thirsty on the long flight. As usual, one can also go to the galley and request the crew to fill up any bottle with drinking water. No extra charges apply, haha.
The mid-cabin view. It was definitely a very full flight!
Over the Australian desert.
Another window view.
Leaving the Australian coast.
The crew also conducted a round of snacks/drinks service (for purchase of course) mid-flight. About 1.5hrs before landing, a light meal was served. 2 choices offered again.
I had the Butter chicken with rice. Nice and filling.
The other choice was the Vegetarian Tortellini. Also quite tasty.
Can't resist a final cup of hot chocolate before landing.
Descending into Singapore. Speedbrakes up.
Overflying Riau islands during sunset.
Final approach over the busy harbour.
Landing in Changi Rwy02L. Touchdown was not as smooth as the previous flight but still one of the better landings.
We eventually landed about 30min late. Well, the cabin crew did apologised for the delay. During the taxi to the gate, some interesting planes were spotted. An Air Niugini B763.
China Airlines B738.
Last look at the comfortable seats during disembarkation.
Other then the usual thanks by the rest of the cabin crew during the disembarkation process, a crew member was also at the end of the aerobridge leading into the arrival hall bidding passengers farewell. What a nice gesture! Changi's Terminal 1 is really Jetstar-ised.
Jetstar Asia Airways
Auckland - AKL
Singapore - SIN
Again a nice flight with Jetstar long-haul. Would I fly them again? Certainly if their prices remain much lower than the competition. I am definitely awaiting the new long-haul routes that Jetstar will be announcing by the end of the month. Hope you readers will now have an idea of the Jetstar long-haul product. Probably it might entice some of you to try flying budget for long-haul?
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