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Is Jetstar really that bad?

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I need a flight from Cairns to Darwin on a Friday in late October. We are planning to take a 3 day 2 night tour to Kakadu leaving Saturday morning. Jetstar has a direct flight that would arrive in Darwin around 1 pm Friday, which would be perfect. However, I have read numerous reviews about nightmare cancellations and delays with Jetstar. Qantas has a later direct flight that day, but wouldn't arrive in Darwin until 9:15 pm. I really don't want to get into Darwin that late but with all the terrible reviews of Jetstar I am afraid to book with them. Is Jetstar really that unreliable? I don't want to waste a precious day waiting at the airport for a delayed flight or even worse; they cancel the flight until the next day and I can't make my tour. I also saw Airnorth. They have a flight that arrives earlier in the day than 9pm but has a short layover somewhere (total 3hrs 45min instead of 2 hr ?? min direct). Would that be a better option than Jetstar? For this short flight, I'm not really worried about the frills, just need timely, safe transportation for me and my luggage.
Thanks in advance

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