Is Jetstar the world’s worst airline?


In a survey pool of over 70 airlines from eight different countries, Qantas-owned Jetstar has ranked dead last in terms of customer satisfaction.

Consumer advocacy groups from across the globe – including Euroconsumers, Consumers International for Europe and CHOICE from Australia – collated results from 11,273 responses and found that Jetstar was the worst-rated out of the 73 airlines. Global powerhouse Emirates was ranked first.

For overall satisfaction, Jetstar earned only one-star – the lowest possible. While there are certainly more than 73 airlines in the world, the survey required at least 100 responses for each airline to be considered valid for critique. Budget airline rival Tiger Air was not included in the results because its sample size was under 100. However, it would have been interesting to see how it fared had the sample size been bigger.

Why was Jetstar ranked the worst?

Common passenger gripes included lengthy flight delays, and lack of cost transparency. Customer service also fared poorly:

  • One in three Jetstar passengers reported delays, and the average delay time was about four hours
  • Recent volcanic events in Indonesia – a popular Jetstar destination – could be partly to blame, but customers were still unhappy with the budget airline’s track record overall

Another reason for low satisfaction could be expensive booking fees and other surcharges, which has come under much scrutiny recently:

  • Jetstar has one of the highest credit card surcharges for domestic flights in Australia – $8.50, versus about $7 for Qantas and $7.70 for Virgin. International flights generally attracted even higher booking fees
  • The Reserve Bank ruled to stamp out these exorbitant surcharges, but evidently consumers are still feeling ripped off

The survey rated airlines for many criteria, including punctuality, checking in, boarding, treatment by staff, comfort, meals, safety and value for money. Jetstar generally performed poorly in most categories.

Where did other Australian airlines rank?

  • Qantas was ranked highest of the Aussie airlines at 36th
  • Virgin Australia was ranked 51st

Generally speaking, Australian airlines rated quite poorly across the board, with Emirates, Avianca (Colombia) and Qatar Airways taking out the top three spots respectively.

  • Eight countries were surveyed, including Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, France, Italy, Portugal and Spain

So, that leaves popular airlines like Air New Zealand out of the equation. Enigmatic North Korean airline Air Koryo was also left out, but we can’t help but wonder how it would have fared against Jetstar. Nevertheless, it seems the only way is up for Jetstar, which has said it was working on improving the low-cost airline experience.

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