‘Worst’ airline fights back

It’s been a long time since I flew Jetstar. In fact, when I last did, the Qantas subsidiary still had unallocated seating — an “innovation” it very quickly abandoned.


But from what I’ve heard and read, it comes as little surprise that Jetstar has been has named the world’s worst airline in an international survey. Equally, it’s no surprise that it is fighting back, because the methodology was clearly flawed.

First, a little context. The “worst airline” tag is based on a survey conducted by 11 consumer watchdogs around the world, including the Australian group Choice. The survey polled 11,000 passengers who had travelled in the past year and were asked to rank 73 airlines.

In its response to Choice, the low-cost carrier notes that only 100 of the 11,000 respondents actually commented on the airline — a far cry from its annual passenger count of 34 million people.

I agree with Jetstar that it seems unfair that its main rival in Australia, Tiger, wasn’t included — although Choice says this is because the survey size for Tiger was too small.

It seems to me that the whole survey is a case of apples and oranges. Emirates, a full-service airline, was named world’s best — but I would argue that Etihad is better, and so are Qantas and British Airways on a good day. This is based on my own recent experiences of premium-class travel.

While I enjoyed the Emirates service and appreciated the work of its very attentive crew, I note that their business-class seats are smaller than some other airlines, and that they don’t offer direct aisle access for all seats in the premium cabin on all their aircraft.

And, of course, Jetstar is a budget airline with low prices and no frills. It ought to be in a completely different survey where it is objectively compared to the likes of Tiger, RyanAir, EasyJet, Flybe, Eurowings, Wizz and Wow.

“Objective” is the key word here, because the problem with surveys is that they are often only completed by people with an axe to grind or a bouquet to toss.

The simple fact is that, in most cases, you get what you pay for. On that count, Jetstar is probably no better, or worse, than its true rivals.

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