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Neil_Oz Jun 2nd, 2004 05:13 PM

JetStar check-in policy: be warned
Yesterday it was reported that Australia's new budget carrier JetStar (a Qantas subsidiary) will be enforcing a 30-minute check-in deadline. If you're late you'll forfeit your ticket and have to pay for a new one on a later flight. Cost-saving through better schedule-keeping performance is being advanced as the reason.

Virgin Blue has announced that they don't, and don't intend to, apply such a draconian policy.

In my experience flights are delayed because of late arriving passengers for two main reasons: a late incoming connecting flight, or long lines at check-in counters at busy times, neither of which is the passengers' fault.

JetStar may argue that checking in on time is not an onerous condition, but as we all know, accidents can happen.

In an unprecedented display of tackiness, JetStar is also selling advertising space on its aircraft exteriors. IMO they're not getting off to a good start.

Les Jun 2nd, 2004 05:36 PM

Well I, for one, am delighted with this policy. My experience is different than yours, Neil. I've found that if a connecting flight is anything but significantly late, the airline will hold departure until the connecting passengers have arrived. Likewise for crowded ticket lines; I've seen airlines bring those with imminent flights to the front of the line for check-in. And, at least in China, you can't even check in until your flight number is displayed over the ticket counter (usually no sooner than an hour before flight). How civilized!
No, my experience has been that the stragglers are indeed just victims of their own poor planning, and they know it. Else, why would they attempt to take all their worldly possessions in a "carry-on" bag that couldn't possibly fit under the seat or in the overhead, and further delay the flight trying to figure it out?
Three cheers for JetStar!

Neil_Oz Jun 3rd, 2004 01:24 AM

Les - be that as it may, my main point was that intending passengers should be aware of JetStar's inflexible policy.

I know how you feel - I feel the same way at the movies, watching a procession of no-hopers stumble around in front of me five minutes after the flick has started. All of whom seem to have had time to buy disgusting-smelling popcorn, I might add.

The fact that Virgin Blue hasn't seen fit to match JetStar's policy stands. It's been many a long year since I worked for Qantas, but even in the glorious days when the international airline industry was a cosy cartel, the on-time departure number was one of the metrics you lived and died on. I'd be surprised if it was any different at Virgin Blue in 2004.

SusanInToronto Jun 3rd, 2004 06:00 AM

JetStar policy doesn't seem all that unusual to me now. I know that some (if not all) of the North American airlines are doing the same.

One thing that I did find unusual in Australia was that people other than passengers could go beyond security. Here, the only people allowed past security are passengers. (That's not as a result of 9/11, but has been in effect for as long as I can recall.) I was surprised to see that friends and family members could also go through security after being checked. On our flight from Brisbane to Darwin, I looked around the departure lounge and thought - 'wow, how big is this plane' - only to realize that 80% of the people weren't passengers.

AndrewDavid Jun 3rd, 2004 06:44 AM


Its difficult for me to imagine you saying , " Coffee, tea or milk", eight hours a day when you worked for Quantas .


pb_and_j Jun 3rd, 2004 07:45 AM

SusanInToronto, I haven't heard of any NA carriers who will cancel your ticket if you check in late. If it's their fault (I've experienced this - about 20 of us missed a flight when a check-in line didn't move for 45 minutes) they're get you on another flight, or another carrier. If it's your flight, well, I don't think it'd be pleasant, but I think they would do something for you. Plus, if you just have carry-on you can check-in later than 30 minutes prior at the gate.
And pre 9/11 they DID allow people past the security without a ticket. Haven't you ever been greeted by anyone at the gate when you arrived? After 9/11 you need a boarding pass to go through security.

SusanInToronto Jun 3rd, 2004 10:00 AM

PB_and_J - no I've never been greeted by anyone at the gate. At the baggage, yes, but not at the gate. Are you from the US? Maybe it was different there, but I can't recall anyone other than passengers being allowed on the other side of security here in Toronto. That's my experience at other Canadian airports as well. I'd be surprised if the security people agreed to check absolutely everyone going through - but that's just my experience. Obviously yours has been different.

Neil_Oz Jun 3rd, 2004 08:54 PM

AD, just as difficult for me - I was strictly a backroom boy. Qantas did have male as well as female cabin crew in those days - not out of any sense of EEO, I assure you, I think (could be wrong) that they started with 100%male staff in the days of rubber-band powered biplanes and some time later took the daring step of letting women in on the act. Women were also allowed into office jobs, but only if they could attain a respectable typing speed.

JamesA Jun 4th, 2004 10:47 PM

I agree with Susan that it is amazing that just absolutely 'anyone' can get right up to the boarding gate at Australian domestic terminals!! The security is ultra strict but it is still very tsrange as you say to see just 'anyone' being allowed through.

Neil_Oz Jun 6th, 2004 01:00 AM

And I'm surprised (not), given that our current government has spent quite a bit of our money in an effort to convince us that they're the only people fit to trust with our security in these dangerous times. It appears to me that the available money has been directed at advertising agencies rather than any meaningful security provisions. I'm open to correction here, but ..... whatever did happen to those much-publicised sky marshals?

Alan Dec 16th, 2004 03:06 AM

Topping for skisoc.

MD Dec 21st, 2004 10:18 AM

Oh, I thought they were asking for boarding passes at Sydney security...

I have actually seen Air Canada people trolling the line for people who need to get checked in right away. Maybe they take this "getting out of bankruptcy" thing seriously....

A more bizzarre encounter was being told by AC in Vancouver that soon everyone will be "required" to use the check-in kiosks. OK, except it timed out while we were looking for our passports (have to enter those numbers yourself) and we had to start all over again. It has about a 20-second time-out. Other than that, I love the self-serve kiosks.

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