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Sunday 13 October 2019

A cheap flight does not equate to a good flight

Airlines like Jetstar and Tiger in Australia and Ryanair and EasyJet in Europe offer some ludicrously low fares.

They also sometimes offer dreadful service; proof of the old adage that you get what you pay for.

Juanita Phillips, the ABC newsreader and journalist posted on social media this weekend: "A Jetstar Airways planeload of people including elderly and young families have been stranded at Ballina all day, flight currently 9 hours late, no customer service personnel, no info, just an $8 food voucher. Dreadful."

And that followed a Jetstar incident in the Cook Islands a week earlier that saw Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna ordering tourism officials to investigate the cancellation of a Jetstar flight that left 60 passengers stranded.

Passengers said they were "abandoned" by the airline early on the morning of October 5, with no accommodation and no information and no Jetstar staff to help.

Passenger Kim King said the airline failed to find most affected passengers accommodation, forcing her and many others to spend the night on airport benches.

King said her family spent some 18 hours at the airport.

Jetstar blamed the unscheduled cancellation on crew sickness.

Here are my rules for using budget carriers for whom passenger satisfaction might not be a priority.

1. Always follow the rules. Do not try to check in late, or carry extra luggage. You will be penalised.

2. Do not book with a budget airline if you absolutely must be somewhere at at certain time (a football match, a wedding, a wine tasting). These flights are cheap, but not always reliable.

3. Be prepared for a shit fight if something goes wrong. It is very hard to get money back from these carriers. 

4. Carry a pillow and/or blanket if you think you might one; and take on something munch in case you get hungry.  
5. Don't expect to read much about your flight woes. These airlines are big media advertisers and adept at sidestepping poor publicity.  

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