‘Jetstar International looking swift!’ I tap into Instagram. Now for the hashtags. I glance around looking for inspiration. Aside from the usual #jetstar #jq18 tags, my eye catches the in-flight safety card #boeing787. Posting… Done. I switch off my phone.
Pounding my fingers on the touch screen at Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport, I’m frustrated that I can’t check in. Sighing loudly, I wait in line impatiently for the service desk. My colleague has suffered the same fate.
“Your flight’s departing from the international terminal. You must check in there and show your Australian Drivers licenses to clear immigration both here and in Sydney.” Sounds annoying but simple enough, however there is a problem. My colleague is a US citizen. He doesn’t have an Australian licence. “Can I see your passport then sir?” The girl behind the desk receives blank stares in response. Passports on a flight from Melbourne to Sydney? My colleague is bumped onto a later flight as he will not be able to clear immigration. Not happy Jan.
I scuttle over to the International terminal, bags flapping and bouncing around as I dodge luggage trolleys and aimlessly roaming children.
I slide into my unusually comfortable and smooth charcoal leather seat. It looks new and the aircraft has the rich scent of new leather. Like cowboys and horses combined with that luxury new car smell. I glance across the aisle and notice all the seats are looking extremely well maintained. For a low cost carrier, this plane is looking quite swish.
The interior seems oddly brighter than usual. Are there windows in the ceiling allowing soft sunlight to peer in? Vibrant LED mood lighting trims underneath what appear to be befittingly larger overhead lockers. Splashes of Jetstar orange feature on the ends of arm rests and the knobs of tray tables which show no signs of grotty, sticky fingers.
I’m suitably impressed. Perhaps I should consider flying Jetstar internationally if this is what their aircraft are like.
I relax into my leather-bound seat and tap the oversized LCD touch-screen imbedded in the seat in front and am amazed to see the latest new release films, current TV series and more importantly – for free.
The first officers voice echos through the plane as he explains the windows on the aircraft will be ‘set to clear’ for take-off. What? I look at the abnormally oversized windows and notice there are no shades.
Curiosity has bitten me. I shuffle and fidget impatiently waiting for us to take off. I want the seat belt sign disabled so I can see what the deal is with these windows. But wait. We’ve already taken off?
Ultra silent and smooth, I hadn’t even heard, let alone felt us rumble down the runway and shoot into the sky. ‘Bing.’ The seatbelt sign is off. I touch the window with the pad of my finger. It slightly dims. I touch it again. It dim’s again. I repeat this procedure continually until my window is a thick opaque. Am I having the worlds most advanced in flight experience? What is going on? This isn’t how low cost carriers are meant to be.
The inflight catering service commences. Flicking uninspiringly through the catalogue, I’m astounded to see that the menu is not your usual low cost carrier sugar-fuelled meals for $20. Gourmet wraps, fruit, salads and hot meal options; not to mention an extensive beverage menu.
The captain signals we will be commencing our decent shortly. I head to the bathroom to freshen up. There is nothing worse than feeling like a prune after a flight. I peer into the oversized mirror to find that my skin is surprisingly hydrated.
In this pod-like cubicle I can turn around and take a few steps without having to worry about my legs brushing the toilet. This bathroom is light, fresh and somehow airy.
I’m confused. Did this plane accidently get branded Jetstar? This plane looks like it should belong to the fleet of a premium airline, not a low cost carrier.
Reclining in my spacious seat, I listen to my favourite podcasts from Nova. Is this what all Jetstar International aircrafts are like? Before I can answer my own question, we have landed almost without a nudge let alone the hidden roar and grunt of reverse thrusting engines. As softly and quietly as a cloud this flight was. It was like a dream.
“Welcome to Sydney. If your mobile phone is within reach, you may now switch it on.” My phone is bombarded with social media. Comments flitter one after the other as I disembark. ‘OMG! You’re on the Dreamliner!’ ‘How was the new Dreamliner??????’ ‘Are you seriously on the Dreamliner?’ ‘More pics pleeeeeeease!!!’
I had just travelled on Jetstar’s brand new Boeing 787 Dreamliner and did not even realise it. #Fail.
This category of tours involves light trekking, walking, cycling, rafting or kayaking for a few hours each day with a small amount of inclines and declines. You will require a reasonable level of fitness and good health to participate. It is important to note that due to the nature of some of our trips, they may take place in remote areas (with basic facilities) and can involve long travelling days on various modes of transport.
Suggested preparation : At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake aerobic exercise (this may include jogging, cycling or fast walking) for 30 minutes, three times a week. It is also advised to walk on variable terrain and in variable weather conditions. For a cycling adventure, road cycling twice a week is recommended and for adventures which involve paddling and kayaking, it is important to gain confidence and rhythm rather than speed prior to departure.
This category of tours involve trekking, kayaking and cycling for period of 6 to 8 hours a day at a fairly consistent pace. Ideal for people looking to slightly increase the heart rate. For our moderately rated tours, you must have a good level of fitness and also be in good health. It is also important to be prepared for variable weather conditions. Altitude may also come into play. This category of tours may involve visiting remote areas where facilities can be quite basic. Accommodation may also involve camping, homestays or basic accommodation where facilities may not be considered of western standards. To enjoy this style of travel, it is suggested for travellers to have a reasonable level of fitness and health, a positive attitude, as well as a fairly active lifestyle. An open mind is also required.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake 45mins – 1 hour of aerobic exercise, three to four times a week. Some potential exercises that could be beneficial include hill walking with a backpack on over variable terrain and weather conditions, as well as running and cycling dependent on the activity you plan on undertaking.
This category of tours involves trekking, kayaking, cycling or other adventure activities in remote areas for up to 8 to 10 hours a day. It is important to note that with the remoteness of some regions comes a variety of other challenges such as variable weather conditions, accommodation as well as facilities. You must have an excellent level of fitness and good health to be able to partake in this category of tour. You must have confidence in your own ability and be in good physical condition. Includes extended periods of endurance.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 to 4 months of strenuous exercise, four times a week. When preparing for treks it would be beneficial to participate in hill walks with a weighted day pack (approximately 5-8 kg) once a week for aerobic fitness and strengthening of leg muscles. It is also important to do this on variable terrain to prepare for challenging adventures. When preparing for cycling adventures, regular bike riding (at least 4 to 5 times a week for 1-4 hours is essential). It is also important to cycle on uneven surfaces or even participate in other aerobic exercises such as running or swimming to build up strength and stamina. Altitude may also be a factor in these tours.
This category of tour often involves extreme trekking, cycling or other extreme adventure activities. It is important to expect remote and poorly defined tracks and to be prepared for variable weather conditions for 10 to 12 hours per day (may sometimes be more depending on weather and altitude). These adventures are suitable for travellers who have prior experience in strenuous travel and activities, are extremely fit and have excellent health. It is also important to note that some of the terrain on these adventures will involve trekking in snow, at high attitude levels and may require technical equipment.
Suggested preparation: It is important to note that physical fitness should be an ongoing activity, commencing around 5-6 months prior to departure, or even before if you have no prior fitness. Exercise should focus on building maximum endurance and stamina. Four to five hard sessions of 40-60 mins per week should be completed and can include exercises such as going to the gym, running, swimming or cycling to focus on building aerobic stamina. It could also be beneficial to prepare by hiking on rough terrain, in extreme weather conditions or partake in altitude training.