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JETSTAR: Starts new route to Cook Islands

JETSTAR: Starts new route to Cook Islands

The Cook Islands are a Pacific Paradise, according to some friends who have been there. The issue has always been that it has taken way too long to get there via New Zealand, involving at least one long layover.

From 29 June, according to SMH Traveller you can leave Sydney for the tourist hub or Rarotongo at 9 pm, and arrive the same day at 7 am due to the International Date Line. The flight runs three times a week (Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday) and is operated by Jetstar’s brand spanking new Airbus A321neo LR (Long Range. Meaning you will be trapped in one of Jetstar’s all-economy 220-seat cabins with Rocaro high-density seats for 5 hours 30 minutes, overnight.

Planes and seats

On the upside, the A321neo LR is the widest single-aisle plane on the market, burns 20% less fuel and is 50% quieter. The downside is that the Jetstar version is all economy with 29 inches of pitch (distance between seats), and 17.8 inches of seat width, and has no business class. I view any seat with less than 30″ of pitch and 18″ of seat width as torturous.


Jetstar is offering the only direct route to the islands from Australia. That’s a first in this millennium. The last time an airline offered a direct service it was in 1990, and you would be on the now-defunct Ansett Airlines.

Before this direct route starts, your other shortest option is using Air New Zealand, which takes 12 hours and 40 minutes, because of a five-hour layover in Auckland.


This is possibly the real attraction. Return fares in August 2023 are currently available for less than AU$550, even less if you join the Jetstar club. Mind you you’ll need to add food and luggage to that, so take one of their MAX bundles which will shoot it up to around AU$873, but its refundable, earns Qantas points and is flexible.

a small island with palm trees and blue water
Cook Islands [Adobe Stock]

2PAXfly Takeout

This will be great for Cook Island tourism, and with a base fare of under AU$250 one way in August, not to be sniffed at.

Will I take that flight? Unlikely. As I have said, I am not a fan of Jetstar, and the idea of five and a half hours overnight in those slim seats with little leg room does not entice me. Although the prices are tempting. I think I might stick to a route with a stopover, and spend some time in Auckland before heading off to chill in the Cook Islands.

Still, those turquoise waters at that price are a temptation.

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