Category Archives: Flights

Jetstar [Weekend] Fare Frenzy

Jetstar seems to be extending this week’s Friday Fare Frenzy through the weekend. The booking window for sale fares usually lasts from 2pm to 5pm every Friday, but yesterday’s JetMail newsletter contained a link to sale fares on six routes good for travel during two periods: September 9 to October 29 and October 30 to November 12 (why not September 9 to November 12? Beats me). The sale lasts until 11:59 pm on Sunday. When this Friday’s Fare Frenzy went live at 2pm, the same sale fares were on offer.

No telling whether Jetstar will keep up the generosity, but it might be worth signing up for JetMail to find out.

The deals are (one-way Jetsaver Light):

Ha Noi – Da Nang: 200,000 VND

Ho Chi Minh City – Da Nang: 200,000 VND

Ho Chi Minh City – Ha Noi: 450,000 VND

Ho Chi Minh City – Hai Phong: 450,000 VND

Ho Chi Minh City – Hue: 300,000 VND

Ho Chi Minh City – Vinh: 400,000 VND

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Jetstar: Stewardess Strike?

Forgive the politically incorrect title, but flight attendant strike just doesn’t have the same zing.

I had a momentary bout of panic when, just a day after booking my flight to Hue on Jetstar, I pulled up Thanh Nien and saw the lead story: Budget airline staff threaten to strike.

After shooting over to the Jetstar office, a helpful Vietnamese man who spoke impeccable English helped me work out that it was only the flight attendants who were threatening to strike (Thanh Nien referred to them in the obtuse term “workers”). Among their grievances are overtime payment, increased benefits and travel insurance. One flight attendant cited the fact that Jetstar only gives her and her colleagues an annual 500,000 VND (about $30) allowance for cosmetics.

Anyone who has flown Asian airlines enough understands the severity of this particular grievance.

So it looks like planes will still be leaving the tarmac, but Jetstar might still be in deeper trouble. The same article reports that the company is hemorrhaging money–roughly  1.3 billion VND (about $77,000) per day. The losses are largely due to Jetstar’s “‘ineffective’ and expensive promotional programs that included offering super-discount fares,” says Thanh Nien’s source.

Consumers would be wise to check Vietnamese dailies Thanh Nien and Vietnam News before booking.

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Filed under Flights, Vietnam

Jetstar Crosses New Borders

Jetstar Pacific Airlines began flying once daily from HCM City to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport today and will launch its HCM City-Siem Reap route on Monday, November 3. The new routes expand Jetstar’s existing international route map, which includes connections between HCM City and Australia, Singapore and New Zealand.

Bottom rate Jetsaver Light fares begin at US $12 to Bangkok and $40 to Siem Reap. The fares allow for carry-on baggage only, though passengers can tack on a 20-kilogram bag by upgrading to a JetSaver fare for an additional US $20.

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Filed under Cambodia, Flights, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Jetstar to Launch Saigon – Darwin Route

Out with the old, in with the new. Jetstar is scrapping its thrice-weekly service between Ho Chi Minh City and Sydney, and replacing it with a new Ho Chi Minh City – Darwin route, which will operate five flights a week. The changes will take effect on September.

The schedule change is part of Jetstar’s bigger plans for Darwin. Jetstar is gearing up for more international flights, and is setting up Darwin to handle the increase. The change will also facilitate increased traffic between Darwin and domestic destinations Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide. Return flights from these destinations to HCMC and Singapore will pass through Darwin.

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Filed under Australia, Flights, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Cutbacks at Qantas

Qantas announced this weekend a series of measures meant to keep out of the red in the face of sky-rocketing global fuel costs. On the chopping block are 22 of its 228 plane strong fleet, as well as Jetstar’s pilot and cabin crew base in Adelaide. The route, however, will remain in service, with flights manned by staff based out of Sydney and Darwin. Some routes will see capacity reductions, but no routes are currently slated to be cut outright.

Despite its most recent fuel woes, Qantas says it will go ahead with plans to replace older crafts with more fuel-efficient A380s and B787s, roll out new customer service initiatives and launch its direct service from Sydney to Buenos Aires in November.

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Filed under Australia, Flights, Transportation

More Fuel Woes for Qantas

This week, Qantas announced service cutbacks on Australian routes due to unprecedented global fuel costs. Most notably, Newcastle will be cut off indefinitely from both Melbourne and Sydney — the route had previously only been suspended. Qantas customers departing from Newcastle will have to depend on Jetstar‘s 56 flights a week to Melbourne, Brisbane and the Gold Coast. Meanwhile, Aeropelican will represent Qantas on the Sydney – Newcastle route with 8 flights daily.

Qantas’s Melbourne – Wollongong route will be scrapped outright on July 18th. In addition to disappointing fare sales, fuel costs have rendered it untenable to keep eight aging 36-seat Dash 8 100s in the air.

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Jetstar: Hue Routes Axed, Highlands and Dalat Delayed

Jetstar Pacific recently confirmed my suspicions: the delay on the Hanoi – Hue route missed its simultaneous launch with the Nha Trang and Danang routes due to rising global fuel costs. Now, the Ho Chi Minh City – Hue service has been axed, as well. Add to the list of bad news that the HCMC – Buon Ma Thout (Central Highlands) and HCMC – Dalat routes will miss their scheduled first flights originally slated for August.

In related news, Airbus announced that increased production on its A380 line will be delayed, which will likely complicate Jetstar’s plans to get wheels up on thirty A380s in Vietnam by the projected 2014 deadline.

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Filed under Flights, Ho Chi Minh City, Transportation, Vietnam

Jetstar: Turbulence en route to Vietnam expansion?

Oz Traveller recently posted on Qantas Group’s reduced and cut Australia routes, as well as on the grounding of one of its recently acquired Airbus A320s. The first A320 is due to arrive in Vietnam in August and is slated to support additional service between Ho Chi Minh City – Dalat and Ho Chi Minh City – Buon Ma Thuot (Central Highlands). No word yet on whether Jetstar’s Airbus woes will affect the HCMC increase, but Jetstar is behind schedule on the new Hanoi – Hue direct route.

Qantas cited high global gas prices for the reductions on low-demand routes. The price of gas products in Vietnam will remain fixed until June 30 in order to combat inflation, but hoarding in the lead up to the cap’s expiration is already becoming a problem. Here’s hoping that fleet of fuel-efficient A320s makes it here before the shaky economy goes haywire.

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Filed under Flights, Ho Chi Minh City, Transportation, Vietnam

Three New Vietnam Routes on Jetstar Pacific

Jetstar Pacific is scheduled to expand its domestic route map today to include three new direct routes connecting Hanoi to Danang, Hue and Nha Trang. However, as of this morning, jetstar.com‘s booking engine yields no results for the Hanoi-Hue route. Meanwhile, wheels are up on the Danang and Nha Trang flights. A JetSaver Light (carry-on only) ticket starts at $35, while a full-priced boarding pass costs about $47. JetSaver Light tickets to Cam Ranh Airport, 28 miles (45 km) from Nha Trang, average $52 for weekday travel and $72 on the weekends. Regular fares hover at $82.

Jetstar Pacific is poised to corner the market on cheap flights in Vietnam. The partnership between Quantas Group’s Jetstar and Pacific Airlines, which launched Jetstar Pacific on May 23, has introduced the nation’s first budget airline.

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Filed under Flights, Transportation, Vietnam

A Spendthrift You Can Count On

It would be difficult to find a travel writer with so comprehensive an understanding of European budget airlines, better experience penetrating local Caribbean culture, and more evolved opinions on Europop than Alex Robertson Textor.

For these, and many more reasons, any budget traveler looking for cheap flights in Europe or an affordable Caribbean getaway should bookmark Alex’s blog, Spendthrift Shoestring. Alex is just recently back from the Caribbean, where he was scouting out travel gems for Rough Guides, and he’ll soon be off for an extended summer stay in England.

Expect top-notch UK dispatches and cheeky humor à go-go.

The best thing about the blog is the mix of the practical — like a rundown of French-style Gites in Martinique and Guadeloupe — and the peripheral — like Alex’s unbelievable visit to time-frozen (and way off-limits) volcano-ravaged Plymouth. And you’ll quickly find yourself hooked on Alex’s short lists.

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Filed under Caribbean, Europe, Flights, Media