Jetstar Fiasco: From Singapore to Taiwan

Just like the first time we went to Taiwan (and due to the belief that budget flights are good enough for short trips less than 5 hours), Jetstar got us to our intended destination. Jetstar, being a budget airline, charges for seats (priority seats cost more), entertainment and meals. So the price you see before the final payment is not the final amount. The average price of a flight to Taiwan (Taipei) can range from S$350-500++. This time however, thanks to DramaQueen we got to save S$100. But those savings were not meant to be...

Similar to the first time, the departure flight supposedly left Singapore from Changi Airport Terminal 1 in the morning (7:10 am) and arrived in Taoyuan International Airport Terminal 1 at around noon time. It was supposed to be so... but we hit a snag... more on that below...

Although this time we did not choose the special seats (i.e. more leg room etc...), which offered us the option to check in online 48 hours before takeoff, it was somewhat complicated (especially if you do not know how many bags you will be checking in until the very last moment) and also a tad inconvenient when you can only check-in online for your return trip IF you had checked-in online for your departure trip. It's just not as simple nor as fuss free as it should be.

Jetstar: From Singapore to Taiwan Hotsprings
You have to know how many bags
Jetstar: From Singapore to Taiwan Hotsprings
You can't check-in online for your return trip if you never did so for your departure trip

Despite the inconvenience and troublesome process, it was a mistake not to check-in online... We were late for the flight *gasps* and missed it! *horrified face* We could have boarded, if only we had checked-in online, there would have been a glimmer of hope. Well, it is the first time and definitely the last time this is going to happen (being late that is); making it an experience to learn from and understand the true meaning of this thing we call 'service'! Ok, from this point on it is just a rant at the service Jetstar provides, it is budget after all but I am still 'traumatized'.

Yes, we missed our flight and the plane probably left (well, not really but check-in closed 15 minutes before take-off). The counter staff that attended to us was unsympathetic and non-nonchalant, not bothering to offer any alternatives other than an attitude that said, 'too bad you were late now can you please go away?'. If we had not asked what was the next available flight and if we could change the departure flight, we would have been left in limbo with more wasted monies and time.

What made this experience memorable was the attitude, I mean I know this budget but do you have to snicker at an already panicking passenger, only to reply in a manner that induces more panic and not offer any prompt solutions? It would have been helpful if the Jetstar counter staff had promptly offered any alternatives and/or politely informing that the changes had to be done at the front counter in a pleasing manner instead of haphazardly brushing passengers us away. What is done had been done, what they should be doing is offer a solution (which would earn them more monies in return anyways) in a helpful and friendly manner. Instead, what they did was simply give a 'couldn't be bothered' attitude and were reluctant to resolve the issue at hand. They kept referring us to go to the next (and the next counter) to buy the tickets if we wanted to and that we had to do so fast because it had to be done within a certain time frame. They could have just politely directed us to the (correct) front counter with a smile, instead of just pointing non-nonchalantly where to go, albeit still twice wrong information. 

In addition to the change of the departure timing, the booking for the return flight was changed as well, moving us a day later than our initial plan and incurring an additional S$575! Sorry LuttiSparrow! :(

Well, though we can't fault the price as we missed the plane, the helpfulness of the staff could have been improved. For those who have been late before, perhaps they already know what recourse they have/can take, but for for noobs who have missed their flight for the first time, it would be a lot more useful if the counter staff know what to do with a smile; even with extra costs a happy assured passenger is better than one who would not likely return. After all, service is the provision of something intangible and it is what leaves a lasting impact on savvy consumers in this day and age. Products can only last as long as the charm lasts, but what sustains a business for longer is good service and good products. A little smile and a whole lot of usefulness helpfulness goes a long way.

Yes, you might be budget and yes you might be cheap minus the frills. But does that mean that since you are budget, we have to pay extra for that bit of helpfulness and stoic faces? If so at least offer an option to select for it as well (just as with all the other extras like food, checked in luggage and entertainment). Without that smile and helpfulness, I might as well pay a little more (S$588-600++) for something a little more value added with food, smiles and a whole lot less stress and more help guidance. After all, it is not that much of a difference between budget airlines without promotions (not inclusive of food, taxes and luggage) and normal airlines (i.e. Singapore Air) when they have their promotions (with taxes); the difference being about S$50-100++ (i.e. S$588++). And for that little bit more you get more luggage weight (30kg vs 15/20kg) at no more additional cost, better service (which was probably included in the cost) and food that you don't have to fuss about. It was definitely a memorable start to a wonderful birthday. Thank you Jetstar for letting me feel 'small' and 'insignificant', and almost not being able to re-book the flight to go just because... I was magically supposed to know what to do...

Ok, so with that out of the way and flights re-booked. We checked-in online immediately after and went to Changi Airport for our flight. After the whole fiasco, as long as we got to our destination and back with everything in tact, I really couldn't be bother anymore.

Oh.. the irony... >.<

Soon, the time for the flight came (again) and we surprisingly made it in time (ha..ha). The personnel manning the counters at night seemed to be on a different pill, they weren't necessarily nice, but at least they weren't rude either. Still that didn't do much to erase the 'bitter' aftertaste what happened earlier in the day. It also didn't help that the air-conditioning on board (before take-off) was producing a 'wonderful' dry ice effect, to which I think I heard one of the crew respond to another passenger's query about the special effect, "The air-conditioning is not working properly". Air pressure within the cabin as usual was not so good, and although I didn't get a headache (like the first time), the slight  smell of petrol seeping into the air was fairly uncomfortable (any more and we would all have been 'gassed'?).

Jetstar Bad Service
The usual seating, leg space and cramp walkway
Jetstar Bad Service
Special Effects

Once we landed, immigration at Taiwan’s Taoyuan International Airport Terminal 1 took about 30-45 minutes and collecting the luggage took less than an hour. Since our last trip to Taiwan, the construction that Terminal 1 was under going at the time has already been completed. It was pretty quiet since it was early in the morning

Taoyuan International Airport Terminal 1
On the way to immigration
Taoyuan International Airport Terminal 1
Money Changer

Upon our arrival, the transport from Volando Urai Spring Spa & Resort (馥蘭朵烏來渡假酒店) arrived right on time and we were promptly driven to our destination for the next 3 days. Volando Urai Spring Spa & Resort (馥蘭朵烏來渡假酒店) provided good service and help rendered when we informed them of the changes in flight schedule. They were able to offer prompt action and solutions for us - true service. So much so that it deserves another post of its own!





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When travel collides with a byte, a unit of information made up of bits, TravelBytez is formed: snippets of ramblings on travel, food, shopping, living and anything else that comes to mind.
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1 comments :

  1. Yes, what a memorable and horrified experience! Jetstar could have assists us in a more helpful and friendly manner. In contrast to the service attitude we received from Taiwan, Singapore sure have a long way to go. The experience in Taiwan trip is pleasant and they gave me a very good impression which makes me want to visit Taiwan again.

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