Review of Jetstar Airways flight Melbourne Gold Coast in Business

Airline Jetstar Airways
Flight JQ444
Class Business
Seat 1A
Aircraft Boeing 787-8
Flight time 02:05
Take-off 29 Nov 13, 15:10
Arrival at 29 Nov 13, 16:15
JQ 44 reviews
By 6561
Published on 4th December 2013
Hi everyone, and welcome to my second trip report on this site.

It's November 2013, and I'm finally done with my undergraduate degree. Having seen the announcement of its initial domestic service introduction within Australia, my friends and I decided to book ourselves on Jetstar's new 787 service from Melbourne to the Gold Coast (Coolangatta) for a short trip to celebrate the end of university. This would be my first trip as a passenger on a 787, whilst my first time on the aircraft was when Boeing brought ZA003 to last year's Singapore Airshow and held tours during the trade days.

The flights operated by the 787 between Melbourne and Cairns (JQ944/947) and Melbourne and the Gold Coast (JQ444/447) are sold as single class flights, with Business Class seats sold as extra legroom seats available for an additional fee (AUD24), which I thought was good value considering that the flight was 2 hours long, so we selected our seats in the business class cabin, which has a total of 21 seats spread across 3 rows in a 2-3-2 configuration.

Getting to Tullamarine Airport is a pain as usual, made less so on this occasion by the fact that we carpooled and parked at an off-airport site which doesn't charge the obscene amounts the airport long term car park does. A short shuttle ride later and we disembark in the new bus zone at the airport, which is constantly changing the configuration of the drop off and pick up zones in the terminal forecourt. It's then on to a kiosk at Terminal 3 (which serves both Qantas and Jetstar) to try and get some proper boarding passes, but the machine refuses and directs us to collect our boarding pass at a counter, which we decide to ignore and just fall back on our home printed paper boarding passes. We head for a quick bite at the Subway in the neighboring Terminal 2, before finally clearing security (where I was pulled aside for extra screening - which I am frequently accustomed to due to my tanned complexion and Asian appearance).

We take our time and head to Gate 11, which is at the end of the pier, reaching when boarding is underway. We take the opportunity to snap photos of the aircraft at the stand which is fully visible from the gate lounge.
photo 1471258_10151728437716315_100802185_n

The gate has 2 jetways, but only 1 is in use, which connected to door 2L. We proceed to board and are welcomed onboard by the crew, turning left to head to our assigned seats in the forward cabin. The cockpit door was open at the time, so I took a picture just for the heck of it.
photo 1476053_10151728437956315_1775518022_n

The overhead bins were as large as advertised, and easily accommodated the hand luggage our group was carrying. The bins and their handles were easily opened and closed, and were extremely user friendly.
photo 1479126_10151728438731315_574251678_n

A sky blue lighting scheme was displaying as we boarded, with sidewall lighting being a deep red.
photo 1486882_10151728440131315_274777531_n

The passenger service units were positioned directly above the seat, with the air vent and reading light able to be adjusted. Air conditioning was very strong and the airflow was good through the cabin.
photo 1457704_10151728438586315_1518553053_n

I was seated in seat 1A.
photo 1483006_10151728438001315_69751287_n

There is only 1 window at this row, whilst other seats have 2.
photo 1459099_10151728437946315_1213320380_n

Seat pitch was 38 inches, with decent recline and leg rest extending from the bottom. The metal footrest in the bulkhead seats were essentially useless for someone of average height and above, I found that it got in the way and I'm only 1.76m tall, whilst my friend who is even shorter than me shared the sentiment. The seat recline and leg rest buttons were stiff and were not easy to press and operate. The seats would probably be considered as premium economy on a full service airline, and were certainly sufficient for a flight of such a short duration. Legroom in the bulkhead row was generous, but I can't speak for Rows 2 and 3 though.
photo 1459226_10151728439321315_317973551_n
photo 1474584_10151728444321315_258896466_n
photo 1471112_10151728448801315_971440974_n
photo 1461657_10151728449366315_997185158_n

There is a noticeable gap between the forward bulkhead and the cabin sidewall, which allowed light to shine through from the Door 1L window.
photo 1474649_10151728449416315_781315521_n

Future services to Honolulu and Japan might not be as comfortable, as the recline is not what I would consider sufficient for lounging, and the leg rest extension provides little or no support to the legs even when fully extended. Just an extra note, seats 3G and 3J are designated tech crew rest seats, and as such have an extra few inches of recline compared to the rest of the Business Class cabin. These will only be sold as revenue seats on shorter legs.
photo 1470367_10151728442836315_485335277_n
photo 62339_10151728451526315_1738890047_n

We sat at the gate for quite a while whilst the aircraft was refuelled, and our departure time came and went. The cabin manager introduced himself over the PA and informed us that we would depart late but would make up the time inflight, and that we had 3 Captains and 1 First Officer on the flight deck for the flight, which he later mentioned to me in person was for training purposes. The jetway was retracted, and we pushed back 10 minutes behind schedule.
photo 1456610_10151728439811315_546539304_n
photo 996050_10151728439841315_260170290_n

The safety demonstration was carried out by the crew, and we taxied quickly to Runway 16 where we performed an intersection takeoff from about a third of the way down, and we were swiftly airborne.
photo 1474436_10151728447521315_535287818_n
photo 1452457_10151728447471315_1104309286_n
photo 1474521_10151728440631315_688636828_n
photo 1451340_10151728440551315_2072538521_n
photo 1450048_10151728440746315_1759523643_n
photo 1457667_10151728441166315_1040032978_n
photo 1458464_10151728441996315_1323542072_n
photo 1454889_10151728442091315_1508002151_n

We made a 270 degree right turn to head northeast toward the Gold Coast, climbing quickly to our cruise altitude of 43000 feet, the highest I've ever been on any flight.
photo 1426638_10151728448431315_1095563013_n

Despite the high rate of climb, there was no impression of increasing cabin pressure during the ascent, with no popping of ears. The seatbelt was turned off about 5 minutes after takeoff, and the crew closed the curtains to the galley and prepared to start their service. The electronic window dimmers were unlocked by the crew and the cabin quickly darkened as many passengers elected to dim their windows.
photo 1383608_10151728442401315_2118949716_n
photo 1452181_10151728444471315_1484091889_n

I found the dimming to be quick and effective, with the darkness level to be sufficient for someone to be able to fall asleep. From full brightness to maximum darkness took about 40 seconds. The windows are noticeably bigger than any other aircraft I've flown, and especially the A380, which despite the impression of having huge windows on the inside, actually has small exterior windows.
photo 936528_10151728442746315_294612996_n

Being in a bulkhead seat, I released the IFE screen from the left outer armrest, and selected the airshow channel for a start. The IFE system fitted is a Panasonic eX2 system, with regular touch screen monitors fitted in Business and Eco 9i Smart Monitors in Economy. The screens were extremely responsive to the touch, though the graphical user interface was not the most intuitive.
photo 1459073_10151728443071315_223070201_n
photo 1475803_10151728444811315_431002566_n

The headphone jack was situated between the seat recline and leg rest buttons, beneath the small cocktail table situated between the seats. Earbuds were complimentary for all passengers.
photo 1454693_10151728438381315_352154834_n
photo 1459095_10151728449941315_563101904_n

Business Class seats had a IFE controller on the armrest facing forward, in addition to USB and power ports for each seat.
photo 1469807_10151728444031315_1090841125_n
photo 1486707_10151728444516315_379706114_n

The reading light and attendant call buttons were on the controller as well as within the settings page in the IFE.
photo 1456574_10151728452066315_441554578_n

IFE in Business Class was complimentary for the flight, and the movie and TV selection were sufficient for the flight, though with the limited options available, longer flights would probably require a more diverse selection. There was a playlist function whereby songs from the few albums in the system could be added and played, which is what I used primarily together with the airshow channel. An observation that I made was that there were distinct categories for Japanese options on the IFE, perhaps in preparation for eventual service to Osaka.

It was then that I decided to check out the forward lavatory, situated on the left side of the aircraft ahead of Door 1L just behind the cockpit. The door of the lavatory was of a new design, which opened on a sliding hinge, such that it did not obstruct the walkway outside the lavatory as it opened, and instead opened outward with the door sliding along the inside wall of the lavatory. It was a standard airplane lav, though the flush sensor was contactless, just a wave of the hand over it and the toilet would flush. The faucet was also sensor activated, with temperature adjustment on the top side.

An important point to note - for an aircraft that carries 335 passengers at full capacity, there are only 6 lavatories. 1 for Business in front of Door 1L, and 5 in economy, with 1 ahead of Door 2R, 2 in the centre at Door 3 and 2 at Door 4. I think that this could be an issue on longer flights, especially during the toilet rush before landing.
photo 1486671_10151728443516315_330371177_n
photo 1488296_10151728443456315_452293933_n

Exiting the lavatory, I had a short chat with the crew, who were preparing to start the buy-on-board service. One flight attendant shared her opinion with me that whilst these domestic legs were great, she feared that the lack of galley stowage and storage space on the aircraft would cause problems on longer flights in the future, especially on a full flight with 330+ passengers, with only 3 galleys - half galleys at Doors 1 and 2, and a full galley at Door 4. That being said the ceiling lighting and design in the galley areas is certainly impressive, and has a very open feel. By this time, the lighting scheme in the cabin has changed to a pale yellow, almost like a sunset.
photo 1479066_10151728443281315_150815705_n
photo 1484181_10151728445496315_702585705_n
photo 1452152_10151728450116315_394345568_n
photo 1451977_10151728450286315_1580745380_n
photo 1463521_10151728450531315_1274317414_n
photo 1461152_10151728451476315_595547658_n
photo 1422572_10151728451401315_439379082_n

Despite not buying anything during the service, I opened the tray table for the purpose of this report, extracting it from the centre armrest.
photo 1451584_10151728451671315_554542388_n

It folds in half, and can slide forward to give more room when seated.
photo 936041_10151728451846315_1839552192_n
photo 1486757_10151728451926315_745617727_n

There is however an issue in the bulkhead seats where the IFE screen is attached to the opposite armrest instead of the back of the seat in front, as the gap between the table and the screen when extended does not leave much space for any food to be left on the table, so it becomes an either or if consuming a meal during the flight, as the screen will be in the way.
photo 1489252_10151728452176315_161967505_n
photo 1486860_10151728452296315_1529149190_n
Looking out the window, the wingflex on this flight was not as extreme as I've seen on other trip reports and photos, but was still impressive nonetheless.
photo 1476469_10151728449321315_2042258788_n

The pilot then came on the PA for the first time the whole flight, welcoming us onboard (1.5 hours into a 2 hour flight) and then announcing the start of descent and advising us of the weather at Coolangatta. We commenced our descent about a half hour out of Coolangatta, whilst the cabin crew prepared the cabin for arrival. We descended with spoilers partially extended for the better part of 15 minutes. The windows were centrally brightened to full brightness and locked, which was extremely glaring, and the cabin lights quickly brightened to white.
photo 1426706_10151728453116315_966574995_n
photo 1450972_10151728453326315_1350657758_n

Similar to our departure from Melbourne, there was no noticeable change in cabin pressure as we descended, so again no popping of ears.
photo 1452449_10151728453616315_1573555237_n
photo 1489098_10151728454066315_798453127_n
photo 582047_10151728454051315_992592978_n
photo 1458620_10151728454251315_1399180140_n

We flew out to sea off the NSW coast before a straight-in approach to Runway 32. The approach was bumpy, and the landing was the same, which was reminiscent of SQ's early 777 crews who used to slam their planes onto the runway. The reverse thrust kicked in, and that was the loudest sound from the engines the whole flight.
photo 1466152_10151728454606315_1588608341_n
photo 1472019_10151728454781315_1905426445_n
photo 1455024_10151728454941315_1594260104_n

We exited the runway at the end and taxied to the stand, where stairs were connected to Door 2L.
photo 1459154_10151728455241315_961629558_n
photo 1425795_10151728455401315_879687467_n

Whilst waiting for the stairs to arrive, I struck up a conversation with the cabin manager, who shared his thoughts on the aircraft and then kindly demonstrated to us the functions of the high comfort jump seat that Jetstar optioned for Door 1L and 1R, which deploys and extends into a bed of sorts along with armrests and a tray table, and has a recline function to allow the cabin crew better rest on longer flights, as the aircraft is not fitted with dedicated crew bunks, which the cabin manager said was something he would have liked.
photo 8264_10151728455461315_807740084_n
photo 1460056_10151728455551315_1664578479_n

These were the bulkhead Economy seats immediately aft of the Business Class cabin.
photo 993464_10151728455671315_1839902315_n
photo 1455051_10151728455731315_1057219989_n

The crew on this flight were generally friendly, and more than willing to take time to discuss the 787 and their experiences flying it domestically over the last 2 weeks since its introduction into service with Jetstar. They were looking forward to its first international service to Denpasar starting in mid-December.

We then disembarked from the aircraft and walked into the terminal.

A gratuitous cabin shot in the mid-Economy cabin
photo 1480667_10151728466241315_1655051173_n

For the return leg in Economy:
Jetstar Economy Class OOL-MEL

See my previous trip report here:
Emirates First Class SIN-MEL
See more


Jetstar Airways

Cabin crew8.0
Buy-on-board menu7.0

Melbourne - MEL


Gold Coast - OOL



The 787 is an absolutely wonderful aircraft to fly as a passenger, regardless of its issues. The cabin interior is far beyond anything Airbus has developed, the cabin pressure and humidity are much improved from the 777, and particularly the cabin noise is much less than any other aircraft except probably the A380. The mood lighting is very pleasant, and adds an additional element to the already beautiful cabin. Whilst the Jetstar configuration is extremely dense, the aircraft still felt very spacious. My only complaint was that the ceiling was very low at the window seat, with the PSU forcing me to bend down every time I stood to leave the seat.



If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 94409 by
    Durian 1168 Comments

    Thanks for this report! However I think you're still high of completing your degree (congrats!) and flying on a new aircraft to write that the 787 is far beyond anything Airbus has developed :)
    You can congratulate Jetstar for their choice of cabin but this has not much to do with the 787 product itself. As a passenger, other than the large windows and automatic flushing in the toilets, this aircraft has really nothing special, I think it's mostly a breakthrough for airlines, not for passengers.
    As far as the cabin noise is concerned, remember you were in business in front of the engines, so obviously that has to be quiet.
    The whole passenger experience can be entirely different, only due to airline choices... I have yet to translate my reports in English but my trip HND-HIJ-HND on ANA's 787 domestic was plain terrible, all due to cabin layout by the airline, boring seat color, no indidivual IFE, ...

    • Comment 284918 by
      lammified AUTHOR 14 Comments

      Probably a bit high, but I stick to my statement that Airbus cabins pale in comparison to that on newer Boeing aircraft, especially those with the Sky Interior. Airbus cabins just look so industrial, whilst Boeing cabins give passenger a sense of awe, particularly when first boarding an aircraft. And Airbus overhead storage, especially in cabins with pivot bins is absolutely useless (the A380 upper deck being a case in point) As for the cabin noise, my return flight in economy was right over the wing just behind the engine, noise wise was probably similar to an A330 or so, certainly less quiet than the A380 but definitely more quiet than the 777. Economy at 3-3-3 was comfortable despite the supposedly 30 inch seat pitch, so no complaints from me.

  • Comment 94438 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 6105 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this first report on the JetStar 787! This seat would most certainly be considered as Premium Economy on a full service Asian carrier, but is a good value on an LCC like Jet*. I'd hate to be in economy for a long haul to HNL, it looks tight (maybe not for you at 1m76). Thanks again for sharing and congrats on graduating!

  • Comment 94458 by
    lagentsecret 12308 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this comprehensive FR

    Congratulations on graduating

    787 is a nice aircraft but I'm quite disappointed by the airlines' choices : there are often tight pitch and seat width.

    I don't think it could offer a confortable way of fly :(

  • Comment 94466 by
    KL651 TEAM 4527 Comments

    Thanks for this FR.
    It's interesting to see this low cost version of the 787.
    I'm not impressed by JetStar premium class offering on long haul flights, the seat doesn't look very wide and the recline is average. But on a 2h flight and for 24$...
    Nice info from the crew!

Login to post a comment.