Should you fly with a local or international budget airline?
There’s no need to second-guess your flight purchase with this airline comparison between two top budget airlines flying out of Australia, Jetstar and AirAsia. We looked at flight prices, destinations available, customer reviews and extra bonuses offered by the airlines.
By the end of this article, you’ll know if it’s better to fly with a local or international airline for the journey you're planning to take.
Jetstar vs AirAsia
|Where does it fly to?||80+ destinations in these regions:||130+ destinations in these regions:||AirAsia flies to more destinations.|
|What star rating is it?||3-star.||3-star.||Both are rated 3 stars|
|What classes are available?||Only business and economy classes are available on Jetstar but the airline offers a variety of fares in economy class.||Economy and premium flatbed (business) classes are available. Select fares are available in each class. Quiet zones also available for passengers 10+ years.||Both offer the same classes.|
|What is the baggage allowance?||Economy class allows one carry-on bag that is 7kg. All checked baggage carries an additional fee.||Economy class passengers may have one piece of carry-on luggage that does not exceed 7kg. All checked baggage must be purchased on top of the flight price.||Both have the same baggage restrictions.|
|Where does it fly from in Australia?||Jetstar flies to and from more Australian destinations.|
|What's the in-flight entertainment like?||Movies, TV, games and music are available on international flights for a fee.||Movies, TV, music, magazines and games are available with the Xcite Tab that is available for rent.||Both only have entertainment available on select flights.|
|Can I make changes/cancellations?||Yes, depending on the ticket type purchased. Fees apply.||Changes can be made to flights but there is a fee. Cancellations cannot be made.||Only Jetstar allows cancellations.|
|What type of plane will I fly on? Do they have an A380?||Jetstar flies:||AirAsia flies:||Jetstar flies more types of planes than AirAsia.|
|Which frequent flyer programs is it with?||Club Jetstar||AirAsia BIG||AirAsia BIG can only be used when booking direct to collect points. Club Jetstar lets you use points on Jetstar and Qantas flights, giving you more options.|
|Is there Wi-Fi?||No.||Yes, Wi-Fi is available for purchase on select flights.||AirAsia offers Wi-Fi on some flights, Jetstar offers none.|
|Can I price match?||Yes, Jetstar refunds you the difference plus 10% if you find a cheaper flight on a third party site.||AirAsiaGo, an online portal connected with AirAsia, offers a price match guarantee. You can claim via this link.||Both airlines price match but Jetstar will give you an additional 10% discount.|
|Does it serve alcohol?||Yes. Beer, wine, ciders and spirits are available for purchase.||Yes. Beer, wine, ciders and spirits are available for purchase.||Both airlines have similar beverage offerings.|
|Is there online chat?||Yes, contact is available by email, phone and online chat.||Yes, contact is available by email, phone, Twitter and online chat.||AirAsia has more ways to contact help.|
|Does it charge for infants?||A fee is required for infants travelling who are two and under. The fee depends on the flight destination and the infant must sit on an adult’s lap.||Yes, a fee is required for infants travelling with an adult and sitting on the adult’s lap. The fee depends on the destination.||Both airlines have fees for infants travelling.|
|Does it fly pets?||Jetstar does not fly pets but service dogs are allowed.||AirAsia does not fly pets. Service dogs are not allowed.||Neither flies pets by cargo but Jetstar allows service dogs.|
|What are my payment options?||Jetstar has more payment options.|
|Can I book round the world fares?||No.||No.||Neither airline offers round the world fares.|
|Can I book multi-city fares?||Yes.||Yes, up to six flights can be booked at a time.||Both airlines offer multi-city fares.|
|Any features to find the best price?||Jetstar offers discounted flights on the deals page.||AirAsia offers a promotions page for flights from each country to select destinations.||Both offer options to find better flight deals.|
Who offers the best price?
To determine which budget airline really does have the lowest price, we compared flights from Sydney to Bali during a popular time of the year for visitors – February – on the exact same dates.
Here's what we found:
Jetstar flight price:
AirAsia flight price:
Jetstar comes in with a round-trip price that is $188 cheaper than AirAsia. Those are big savings when comparing two budget airlines in this case.
As this fare was determined on and for a set date, it may not be reflective of any sale fares either airline may have. If you've decided on dates and are driven by price it may be worth browsing both to see which offers the better deal at the time you wish to book.
Is it a good airline to fly with?
Since both airlines are rated 3=stars, we reviewed what customers had to say about each airline on Skytrax to see how Jetstar and AirAsia rated amongst passengers.
When judging by overall ratings, AirAsia comes out on top with a 6/10 compared to Jetstar with a 5/10. In this round, AirAsia wins as it has a high rating – 4 out of 5 stars – for value for money, even though it lacks in other categories such as 1 star for inflight entertainment. It rates average for food and beverages, seat comfort and staff service. Jetstar is average across the board with 2–3 stars in each category.
While both rank in the top 10 for World's Best Low-Cost Airlines with Skytax, AirAsia has continually won the gold spot for 9 years running.
Any other differences worth noting?
AirAsia offers the Asean Pass which allows passengers to fly to over 70 destinations in the Asean region without worrying about fluctuating prices as flights are booked using fixed credit. BIG points can also be earned and there are no processing fees. Passes can be bought for 30- or 60-day periods.
What are the deals like?
Both airlines offer deals so that travellers can find a better flight price. We took a look at each to find out which one has better prices. Both pages give you the option to choose your flight origin and destination and allow you to set a maximum price that you want to spend.
When comparing the functionality of the search availability on each airline’s site, we found that Jetstar’s deals page was much easier to use. AirAsia’s promotions page was more limited in searches. When it comes to prices, Jetstar wins with better deals to the same destinations as offered by AirAsia.
Top Jetstar and AirAsia sale fares:
|Beach destinations from $45: Jetstar sale||
|Valid for travel on select dates from May - December 2018 with Jetstar. Destinations include Australia, Bali, Malaysia, Thailand, Hawaii and more. Sample fares include Sydney-Gold Coast and Sydney-Ballina Byron.||
|20% off AirAsia base fares||
|Valid for travel from 26 February - 31 July 2018. Destinations include Bali, Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Langkawi, Phuket, Kathmandu and more. T&C's apply.||
|Bali flights from $143 return||
|Valid for travel on select dates from April - September 2018 with Jetstar. Sample fare is Darwin-Bali,||
|Maldives flights from $395 return||
|Valid select dates from March 2018 - July 2018 with AirAsia. Sample fare is from Perth-Malé.||