On the busy link between Western Australia and Victoria, Qantas and Virgin Australia dominate the skies with multiple daily departures. Jetstar is comparatively smaller, with two or three flights a day – but some of them are on the airline’s new Airbus A321neos.

Despite being Australia’s resident budget carrier, Jetstar offers three ‘Bundles’ to enhance the flight experience. For savvy Point Hackers, the Max Bundle (a $90 upsell on the Perth-Melbourne route) is worth considering.

Jetstar Max Bundle
Lead-in fares from Perth to Melbourne with Max Bundle start from $289, all-inclusive.

Apart from including extra legroom seating, a 30kg luggage allowance and a $15 in-flight credit, it also earns Qantas Points and Status Credits at the Flexible Economy rate. That’s 4,400 Qantas Points and 40 Status Credits from a one-way flight on the Perth-Melbourne route – one of the cheaper ways to earn Qantas Status Credits.

And because Jetstar’s fares are relatively lower, you can often snag a ticket with a Max Bundle for less than the lead-in fare on Qantas or Virgin Australia. So that’s exactly what I do for two recent work trips over to Melbourne.

Give your Qantas Points a further boost with this sign-up offer.

Check-in, lounge and boarding

Jetstar operates out of Terminal 3 at Perth Airport. It’s conveniently co-located with Terminal 4, where the Qantas lounges are. There are self-check-in kiosks, but without an automated bag drop area, I still need to line up to check in my bag.

On one occasion (prior to JQ977 in the afternoon), this takes around 10 minutes. On my most recent flight (JQ973 in the morning), there’s no wait at all.

Jetstar Perth check-in
There can be a bit of a line for bag drop.

Of course, Jetstar Economy fares don’t include lounge access. But if you hold a Qantas Club membership, complimentary digital lounge passes or have Qantas Gold status and higher (not partner or Oneworld status), then the Qantas lounges await.

Lounge access is mentioned as it’s relevant to our readers, but it does NOT contribute to the overall score for this Economy review as it isn’t included with the ticket by default.

It’s off to the Qantas Club for most lounge-worthy guests, which is located up the escalators in T4. But if you do hold Qantas Platinum status or higher, then the Domestic Business Lounge is your haven instead.

Before JQ973 in the morning, a freshly brewed cappuccino and some fruit hit the spot. Before JQ977 in the afternoon, I opt for some fresh pizza slices and a salad instead.

(It’s worth noting that the lounge situation isn’t convenient in Sydney and Melbourne, where Jetstar operates out of a different terminal. You’d need to clear security at least twice to access the Qantas lounge and get back to the Jetstar gate).

Boarding for Jetstar flights is usually in Terminal 3, which is a few minutes walk from the lounges. As these flights only have Economy Class, the plane is boarded by rows from back to front (or simultaneously if the rear stairs are also in use). Don’t expect priority boarding here!

Jetstar Airbus A321 boarding Perth
Ready to board the new Jetstar Airbus A321neo.

Jetstar Airbus A321neo Economy seat

When I step onboard the Airbus A321neo, which has 232 Recaro BL37010 seats in a 3-3 layout, there’s a new plane smell. Don’t expect seatback screens or anything snazzy like that, but the seats do have a USB-A socket and a tablet/phone holder. It’s good enough for DIY entertainment.

Jetstar says the overhead lockers are 40% bigger than before. From a quick glance, it does seem tall enough for suitcases to be stacked upright, freeing up more space for everyone.

On JQ973, I choose a seat in Row 1 that has a bulkhead in front. It doesn’t restrict my legs too much, and the tray table has a built-in phone/tablet holder that works with the table half or fully extended.

But I do much prefer the extra legroom seat in Row 19 on my second flight. There’s so much pitch that my knees are nowhere close to hitting the seat in front, and my legs have plenty of space to stretch.

For good measure, I also briefly try out the back row of Economy while waiting for the lavatory. Despite there being 29” (73.7 cm) of pitch on paper, I definitely have more knee space than on the Qantas Boeing 737 in Economy (30″ pitch), which I flew a day earlier. Colour me surprised.

The seat padding is not as cushioned as before, which probably contributes to the greater perception of knee space. I do feel the 18″ (45.7 cm) wide seats are a bit on the firmer side now, but not to the point of being uncomfortable after 3.5 hours. Perhaps I might feel differently on a longer flight.

Jetstar Airbus A321neo Economy food and drink

Unsurprisingly, all food and drinks are chargeable. The Max Bundle does include a $15 credit for this route, which is good for a light meal ($11) and a soft drink ($4). You can order more and pay the difference via a physical credit/debit card if you prefer.

It’s cheaper to pre-order food online if you desire. For example, a light meal with coffee or tea is $12 online versus $15 onboard. Or, buy the $15 inflight credit for $14 online.

Over the two flights, I sample three of the light meals on offer: the pie/sausage roll duo, the toasted ham and cheese sandwich, and the chicken wrap.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with any of the dishes. Both the hot pastries and the toastie are reheated well and quite tasty. The wrap tastes fresh (the tortilla isn’t stale) and is generously filled with chicken.

My go-to drink on Jetstar flights is the lightly flavoured sparkling water – refreshing and relatively guilt-free.

Our verdict

I genuinely can’t fault Jetstar across these two flights – I get exactly what I pay for. Earning a serve of 40 Status Credits (and 4,400 Qantas Points) after each flight is the cherry on top.

Both flights leave and arrive on time. The extra legroom seats are spacious, and even the standard seats give me enough room to move. While toasties, wraps and pies are hardly going to excite anyone, they’re perfectly fine as light meals on this route.

The cabin crew are switched on and engaged on both flights. On JQ973, in particular, one of the crew members is enamoured with a young baby onboard and helps carry him around while the parents get a quick reprieve.

Can I offer my Jetstar wish list? It would be nice to have adjustable headrests for comfort and chargeable inflight Wi-Fi onboard so I can remain as productive as I am on Qantas and Virgin Australia flights. That’s an important consideration when flying for work during business hours.

Jetstar Airbus A321neo aisle
Looking down the length of the Airbus A321neo.

Photography by Brandon Loo, who travelled at Point Hacks’ expense.

Jetstar Airbus A321neo Economy Max Bundle (Perth – Melbourne) was last modified: March 11th, 2024 by Brandon Loo