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JETSTAR: Don’t be late – earlier check-in, bag drop and boarding cut-off times

JETSTAR: Don’t be late – earlier check-in, bag drop and boarding cut-off times

To solve some of its on-time problems, Jetstar is looking at laggard passengers as well as its own processes. From Tuesday 23 May, you are going to have to do things 10 minutes earlier than before.

Previously . . .

Jetstar currently allows you to arrive up until 30 minutes before your domestic flight departs. If you are traveling internationally, then it’s longer at 45 minutes. Except if you are traveling on a Boeing B787 Dreamliner, where the cut-off is 60 minutes

And now . . .

From Tuesday 23 May, domestic passengers must arrive 10 minutes earlier for check-in and bag drop. That’s a minimum of 40 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time. You then need to join the herd at the boarding gate 5 minutes earlier. That’s 20 minutes prior to departure.

For international flights, check-in closes 60 minutes before departure. You need to be at the boarding gate well before because gates now close 20 minutes before the scheduled departure

You can find all the new rules on the Jetstar Website.

Jetstar Business Class on 787 Dreamliner
Jetstar ‘business class’ on Dreamliner [Jetstar]

Check-in starts . . .

In case you were wondering how early you can check in, that hasn’t changed. You can check in 2 hours before a domestic flight and 3 hours for international.

Why the changes?

Funny you should ask. I think it might have something to do with the Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics. They recently designated Jetstar as the country’s least reliable carrier in March 2023. It scored 7.1% on canceled flights. Less than 60 % of flights completed taking off as scheduled – give or take 15 minutes.

Overall, Jetstar had its worst year for on-time performance in 2022. The bad figures were attributed to staff shortages, COVID, aircraft maintenance, and lack of capacity issues. Basically, Jetstar, just like Qantas didn’t adequately plan for the return to flying. Instead of planning for a range of demand possibilities, they planned for one scenario – which proved to be inadequate.

Australian Domestic Airline Check-in times

Here is a handy list of deadlines for domestic check-in:

40 Minutes before scheduled departure:

  • Jetstar
  • Bonza

30 Minutes before scheduled departure:

a group of airplanes parked on a runway
Jetstar planes lined up [Jetstar]

2PAXfly Takeout

I am not a fan of Jetstar. For most of my flying, it is less convenient but just as expensive as ‘full-service’ Qantas. And more expensive than Virgin Australia. Having said that, a large number of Australians would disagree with me, given the passengers they carry.

I don’t think these additional times allocated for check-in are outrageous. However, it looks to me like they are handing the responsibility for their tardiness over to passengers. Instead, they should be making their flight and aircraft turnaround procedures more efficient. The change certainly should improve their on-time performance figures, while, probably not changing the time it takes to turn around their aircraft. It also relieves them of the responsibility to make any additional investment in efficiency.

I predict there will be more than the usual number of screaming ‘Karens’ of both sexes at the check-in desks (if they still had them) and the departure gates. Well at least for the first few months.

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