Is it really cheaper to fly with a budget airline?
We look into whether or not it’s worth saving some money by booking a flight on a budget airline compared to a regular airline.
Not only do we compare prices but we also look at baggage restrictions, airline ratings and much more to determine whether or not you should spend the extra money for a non-budget airline.
Qantas vs Jetstar
|Where does it fly to?||70+ destinations in these regions:||80+ destinations in these regions:||While Jetstar flies to more destinations, Qantas flies to more rural and long-haul destinations.|
|What star rating is it?||4-star||3-star||Qantas has a higher airline rating.|
|What classes are available?||First class, business class, premium economy and economy classes.||Business and economy.||Qantas has more classes.|
|What is the baggage allowance?||Economy allows one 7kg carry-on and one 30kg checked bag.||Economy class allows one carry-on bag that is 7kg. Checked baggage carries an additional fee.||Qantas offers a larger baggage allowance and doesn't charge for checked luggage.|
|Are in-flight meals included?||Yes, Qantas is a full-service airline.||No, in-flight meals need to be purchased prior to or during your flight.||Qantas includes meals for every passenger.|
|Where does it fly from in Australia?||Qantas flies to and from more destinations in Australia.|
|What's the in-flight entertainment like?||Qantas offers movies, TV, entertainment app, Qantas magazine, radio and more.||Movies, TV, games and music are available on international flights for a fee.||Qantas offers entertainment on all of its flights.|
|Can I make changes/cancellations?||Yes, on most tickets, though fees apply.||Yes, depending on the ticket type purchased. Fees apply.||You can cancel or change flights on bookings with both airlines.|
|What type of plane will I fly on? Do they have an A380?||Qantas flies:||Jetstar flies:||Qantas flies more types of planes including the A380.|
|Which frequent flyer programs is it with?||Qantas Frequent Flyer||Club Jetstar||Jetstar’s frequent flyer program allows you to also earn points to use through Qantas’ frequent flyer program.|
|Is there Wi-Fi?||Wi-Fi is in the process of being rolled out on select planes and domestic flights.||No.||Only Qantas offers Wi-Fi on select flights.|
|Can I price match?||Yes. If the same flight on another site is cheaper, Qantas will refund the difference. Qantas frequent flyers will also receive 1,000 Qantas Points.||Yes, Jetstar will refund you the difference plus 10% if you find a cheaper flight on a third party site.||Jetstar will price beat by 10% and beats sale fares found on third party sites.|
|Does it serve alcohol?||Yes. On international flights a welcome drink is also served.||Yes. Beer, wine, ciders and spirits are available for purchase.||Both serve alcohol. However, Qantas has it included.|
|Is there online chat?||Contact is available by email and phone.||Yes, contact is available by email, phone and online chat.||Only Jetstar offers online chat.|
|Does it charge for infants?||Infants under two years are charged 10% of the adult fare when they are accompanied by an adult and are sitting on the adult’s lap.||A fee is required for infants who are two and under. The fee depends on the flight destination and the infant must sit on an adult’s lap.||Both offer discounted infant fees. However, Jetstar has set fees.|
|Does it fly pets?||Yes. Service dogs are permitted in the main cabin. All other animals must travel as cargo.||Jetstar does not fly pets but service dogs are allowed.||Only Qantas flies pets.|
|What are my payment options?||Qantas has more payment options.|
|Can I book round the world fares?||Yes.||No.||Only Qantas offers round the world fares.|
|Can I book multi-city fares?||Yes.||Yes.||Both airlines offer multi-city fares.|
|Any features to find the best price?||Qantas offers Flight Deals.||Jetstar offers discounted flights on its Deals page.||Qantas offers deals to more destinations globally.|
Who offers the best price?
You would expect a budget airline to be cheaper than a regular airline, so we put it to the test to find out which airline really is the cheapest. We compared flights from Sydney to Phuket during peak season in January to see if one airline could significantly beat the other in price.
Though the winner is the airline we expected, Jetstar, the price difference is surprisingly not large, especially if you need to add baggage, meals and/or entertainment onto your Jetstar flight price. Jetstar only beat Qantas by $100. This may also be due to the fact that Qantas included sale flights where Jetstar did not.
Of course, prices are still dependent on demand and on which offers the better sale at the time.
Is it a good airline to fly with?
Qantas is in the lead in this category with a 4-star airline rating while Jetstar has a 3-star rating. If we look further into customers’ feedback, we get an even better idea of which airline is best.
Qantas continues to have higher star ratings than Jetstar when it comes to customer satisfaction, with a 7/10 and almost all 4-star ratings for each category such as inflight entertainment, seat comfort, staff service and value for money. Jetstar lags behind with an overall 5/10 rating and a mix of 2- and 3-star ratings in each category.
Any other differences worth noting?
Since Jetstar is a budget airline, all extras must be purchased. Extras are considered anything other than the flight itself and a carry-on bag. All checked baggage, food and drinks must be bought in advance or on-board. Purchases can be made in bundles while booking the flight online to save money. Qantas serves snacks or meals on every flight and these are included in the original flight price along with carry-on and checked baggage.
What are the deals like?
Although Qantas and Jetstar both offer discounted flights online, we looked into which airline has the best offers. Qantas’ deals page is easier to navigate, giving you the option to choose where you would like to look for deals to and from. Jetstar limits you slightly by not giving you the option to search for exact destinations. However, Jetstar does offer deals on holidays.
For ease of use if looking for a specific deal, Qantas wins this round. But if you’re looking for the best price, Jetstar has the best deals, sometimes beating Qantas with flights that are one-third of the price to and from the same destination.
Top deals with Qantas and Jetstar:
|Australia-wide flights from $39||
|Valid on select dates until March 2019 with Jetstar. Destinations include Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, Cairns, Townsville, Ballina Byron, Gold Coast and more.||
|66% off luxury Thailand escape + 1 Qantas point per $1 spent||
|Valid for stays until 31 October 2019 at Mai Khao Lak Resort & Spa, Thailand. Choose from 8 or 10-nights package inclusive of daily buffet breakfast, 1 Thai set dinner, four 30-minute massage to share and more. T&Cs apply.||
|Asia flights from $115 each way||
|Valid for travel on select dates from July 2018 - March 2019 with Jetstar. Destinations include Bali, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, Osaka, Manila and more. Sample fare is Darwin-Singapore.||
|$10 for $125 toward Europe flights||
|Valid for travel on select dates and any destination in Europe with Qantas, Etihad, Emirates, Singapore Airlines, Virgin, Qatar and Delta. T&Cs apply.||
|$5 for $100 toward North, Central and South America flights||
|Valid for travel on select dates and any destination in North, Central or South America with Qantas, Etihad, Emirates, Singapore Airlines, Virgin, Qatar and Delta. T&Cs apply.||
|Earn more Qantas points||Earn more Qantas points when you ride with Avis. Get (4) four Qantas points for every $1 spent on eligible time and kilometre charges.||