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Jetstar review: Sydney to Ho Chi Minh City

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What it's like on a budget night flight from Australia to Vietnam

My fiance's cousin decided to have her wedding in Ho Chi Minh City and, since I hadn’t been to Vietnam before, I was quick to put my hand up for the “destination do”.

After delaying booking flights for possibly too long, we finally jumped on a Jetstar sale, booking a one-way from Sydney to Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) for $256.92 per person including 25kg of checked luggage between the two of us.

Our flight left late on a Tuesday, meaning I wouldn't have to take the day off work, and got us in on a Wednesday morning, giving us two days to see the city and adjust before spending the weekend drinking, partying and drinking some more.

Flight details

Route: Sydney to Ho Chi Minh City, direct
Date travelled: 16 January 2018
Class: Economy
Flight number: JQ61
Aircraft type: Boeing 787 Dreamliner
Frequent flyer program: Qantas

What I liked

  • Cheap fare: My travel is often driven by cheap fares and with Jetstar being one of the few airlines to offer direct budget-priced flights to our intended destination, this one was a no-brainer. Sure, the tickets can go down to under $200 each way but with checked luggage added, we weren't paying too much more than rock-bottom for the privilege.
  • Night flight: You've got to love a night flight that lets you save an extra day of annual leave, and with our flight taking off at 7:45pm there was more than enough time to finish up work on time (OK, maybe I left slightly early) and get to the airport with no panic dramas.
  • Direct flight: Jetstar has the monopoly over budget airlines, offering non-stop flights between Sydney and Ho Chi Minh City. In fact, outside of Vietnam Airlines it's the only airline that flies this route direct. No changes meant no second check-in or having to get off the plane, which is a godsend when you're flying at night and all you want is a little shut-eye.

What I didn’t like

  • Night flight: While there's no denying the benefits of a night flight, the journey between Sydney and Ho Chi Minh City is just shy of 9 hours and the time difference between the two is 3 hours. In other words, we arrived at our destination just after midnight. This meant we had to organise a driver to pick us up from the airport instead of my usual means of transfer – public transport. It also meant we had to book an extra night's accommodation (Monday night) because of the arrival time. Just some food for thought.
  • No Qantas Frequent Flyer points: Because we purchased a saver fare, my loyalty to Qantas and Jetstar did me no good here with no points earned on this leg of my trip (though I did get 800, plus 10 status credits, on my flight between Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang which was miles shorter and cost me about $40).
  • Long check-in queue: We got to Sydney Airport with a fairly good buffer time of 2 hours to check in but we were met with a line that snaked beyond the maze barrier. In the time that we waited we each managed to hit the bathroom, take some cash out of the ATM and snack on some food. This peak period was probably due to the flight leaving outside of work hours, but it's never fun to have to wait in the check-in line for long.

Would I fly Jetstar again?

I've flown Jetstar numerous times and am a huge advocate of budget travel and budget airlines and have no reason to not fly the airline again.

This route in particular has so many benefits, from being cheap and direct to offering a well-timed service for the working commuter seeking to keep as many annual leave days in their pocket as possible. Plus, if you purchase your flight outside of the sale there's the chance you'll actually earn Qantas points on your flight, which is always a bonus.

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