Jetstar review: Sydney to Tokyo

Discover the highs and lows of booking with the budget airline to Tokyo and back.

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I'm a stickler for a good Jetstar deal, and one of the airline's best and most popular deals is its Japan return-for-free sale.

The sale occurs a few times per year and sees you pay for your outbound flight and then pay nothing to return. That's right, nix.

So when the opportunity arose to jump ship for a week to Tokyo, Japan, for under $527 return, including 15 kilograms of baggage, I couldn't resist.

Flight Details:

Flight Numbers: JQ952 and JQ025 (outbound), JQ026 and JQ957 (inbound)
Aircraft Type: Airbus 321 (domestic) and Boeing 787 (international)
Route: Sydney to Tokyo via Cairns, return
Class: Economy
Dates travelled: 24 February - 2 March 2018
Frequent Flyer: Qantas Frequent Flyer

Jetstar: What I liked

  • Cheap fares. For $527 return out of Sydney, including limited luggage, it's difficult to find anything cheaper. I had to sacrifice in-flight meals to keep the fare this low, but unlike other budget airlines, Jetstar doesn't ban you from bringing your own food on board, so you can pack a meal to save your dosh. I also sacrificed the in-flight entertainment; however, it only costs $10 per flight and includes the latest blockbusters, making it a steal for those who need TV time to fall asleep or are unable to sleep on planes.
  • Comfortable seats. I'm not a tall person by any means, though I have been in cramped quarters in planes, and Jetstar is one of the few budget airlines that provides me with enough leg room to allow for a relatively comfortable sleep. This was true for both my domestic and international flights.
  • Solo traveller perks. I experienced both perks and disadvantages of travelling alone on my flights. When travelling from Sydney to Cairns I was lucky enough to have a row of three to myself and from Cairns back to Sydney, I was bumped up to seat 1C (the exit row), right at the front and again with a row of three to myself. I've had this occur before due to the flight being empty and the airline needing to "balance" the plane by upgrading single passengers to the front of the plane where you'd otherwise have to pay more for the privilege. Needless to say, both were comfortable flights.
  • Online and self check-in. Jetstar emails you when online check-in is available enabling you to check-in and receive your boarding pass before you arrive at the airport. This cuts your time spent in line as you can head straight to the bag drop counter or through to screening and security if you've only opted for carry-on luggage. Unfortunately, for this flight, I could only self check-in my domestic leg and not the international portion of my flight (see below).

Hello exit row/legroom!

Jetstar: What I didn’t like

  • Having to check-in twice for my flight. Jetstar doesn't fly direct from Sydney to Tokyo, so all flights are via Cairns or the Gold Coast. While this breaks up the flight, it meant I was travelling one domestic leg and one international, so I had to collect my luggage at Cairns Airport, walk from the domestic to the international terminal (not far) and line up to check in again at Cairns for my international flight. For my outgoing flight, this was seamless as the check-in counter was already open, but for my return journey, I had a four-hour wait from 5am, which meant milling around in the wee hours of the morning waiting for the counter to open. Not the most desirable experience.
  • Solo traveller disadvantages. When checking into my return flight from Tokyo to Cairns, I was left stressed and confused. The lady at the counter said that since I hadn't paid to reserve a seat, I would have to wait until all passengers in line had checked in before they could determine where to place me on the plane. This is something I've never experienced before; however, she was lovely and gave me a seat from behind the counter to sit on as I waited, hoping Jetstar hadn't overbooked the flight and were bumping me off. She called me up immediately after the line cleared and found me a seat between two other solo travellers. While it all worked out, I had to run to the gate since I wound up checking in just one hour before my flight due to the delay.
  • Strict luggage weight limit. Refusing to allow you to check your bag in if it's over your purchased weight is fairly true of budget airlines, but Jetstar follows this rule to a "T". It will either charge you for the excess kilograms or insist you pull every piece of clothing out of your bag until it meets your purchased checked-luggage weight. Luckily, I weighed myself both ways so I didn't have a problem with my bag; however, I saw passengers who were forced to open up and take out their stuff at the counter next to me.

Would I travel with Jetstar again?

As a budget traveller, I'm content with any seat on a plane to get me from A to B, and for the price I paid, I wouldn't hesitate in returning back to Jetstar for another sojourn through Japan.

The booking process was easy, the check-in was smooth and the service was friendly. Just be prepared to walk between terminals if you're travelling between Sydney and Japan and weigh your luggage well before hitting the check-in.

Top Jetstar flight deals to hop onto:

KayakKayak
FLASH SALE

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Australia flights from $80 return

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Australia-wide flights from $65 return

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Flights to USA from $412 return

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Flights to New Zealand from $265 return

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Singapore flights from $366 return

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Australia flights from $98 return

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Cairns flights from $173 return

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Gold Coast flights from $112 return

Available on select travel dates in 2021. Sample fare departs from Newcastle with Jetstar. Other flights depart from Sydney, Melbourne, Cairns and more.

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Brisbane flights from $112 return

Available on select travel dates in 2021. Sample fare departs from Newcastle with Jetstar. Other flights depart from Sydney, Cairns, Townsville and more.

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Sydney flights from $109 return

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Flights to Townsville from $185 return

Available on select flights in 2021. Sample fare departs from Brisbane with Jetstar. Other airlines include Virgin Australia from $364 and more. T&Cs apply.

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Byron Bay flights from $110 return

Available on flights until March 2021. Sample fare departs from Sydney with Jetstar. T&Cs apply.

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Flights to Perth from $315 return

Available on select flight dates in 2021. Sample fare departs from Adelaide with Jetstar. Other airlines include Virgin Australia from $543 and more. T&Cs apply.

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New Zealand flights from $307 return

Available on select flights in 2021 to Christchurch, Queenstown, Wellington and more. Sample fare is Melbourne-Auckland with Jetstar. Other airlines include Air New Zealand from $542 return and more. T&Cs apply.

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Adelaide flights from $98 return

Available on flights until February 2021. Sample fare departs from Melbourne with Jetstar. T&Cs apply.

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Auckland flights from $265 return

Available on select dates in 2021 to Christchurch, Wellington, Queenstown and more. Sample fare departs from Coast with Jetstar. Other airlines include Air New Zealand from $549 and more. T&Cs apply.

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Queensland flights from $76 each way

Available on select flight dates from January - March 2021 to Brisbane, Cairns, Hamilton Isaland, Gold Coast and more. Sample fare is Sydney-Sunshine Coast with Jetstar. Other airlines include Virgin Australia from $113, Qantas from $123 and more. T&Cs apply.

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Cairns flights from $91 each way

Available on select flights in 2021. Sample fare departs from Brisbane with Jetstar. Other airlines include Qantas from $159, Virgin Australia from $199 and more. T&Cs apply.

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Adelaide flights from $55 each way

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Expedia.com.auExpedia.com.au

Gold Coast flights from $62 each way

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Sunshine Coast flights from $80 each way

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Perth flights from $176 each way

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Popular Flights coupon codes

Last checked Code description Code
2 Dec 2020 Up to 10% off international flights with code MAS****
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2 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    NoniJanuary 23, 2019

    Can I travel Sydney/Japan/Borneo/Sydney with anyone? Thanks

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      ValJanuary 26, 2019Staff

      Hi Noni,

      Thanks for leaving a question.

      Yes, you can travel with anyone, just please note rates are per individual – bookings will be separate. Please read the T&C if checking on deals.

      Cheers,
      Val

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