Jetstar changes are a ‘step in the right direction’

The changes may increase the number of flights that depart on time.

The changes may increase the number of flights that depart on time. Photo: Getty

Jetstar has announced changes to the airline’s check-in, bag check and boarding gate closure times, and it’s being seen as a positive move.

The changes mean passengers will need to get to the airport slightly earlier.

From May 23, domestic check-in and bag drop will close 40 minutes before departure and the gate will close 20 minutes before take-off.

Currently, check-in closes 30 minutes before take-off and boarding gates shut 15 minutes before departure for domestic flights.

For international flights, check-in and bag drop will close 60 minutes before departure and the gate will close 20 minutes before departure.

Speaking to The New Daily, Dr Garth Lean, a senior lecturer in tourism and heritage studies at Western Sydney University, said the changes are a smart move.

Jetstar’s staff will benefit most from the changes to check-in, bag check and boarding gate closure times, Dr Lean said.

When travel resumed after COVID-19 lockdowns and travel restrictions, there was a keen interest in travelling domestically and overseas.

The sheer number of people, coupled with permanent lay-offs and the casualisation of the workforce, added to the pressure airline staff were under.

Pictured is the Jetstar check in

The changes might benefit Jetstar staff most. Photo: Getty

“It’s good they’re going to be under less pressure and that they have more time to put in place safety and security checks and all the things they need to do on their side,” Dr Lean said.

“I don’t think it has direct focus on customer benefits, but indirectly the customer may benefit from that – maybe it is a step in the right direction for helping reduce delays and ensuring a safer travel experience.”

However, he thinks it might also help get Jetstar back on track in terms of delays.

Intrepid Travel managing director Brett Mitchell told The New Daily he was also optimistic about the changes.

Jetstar’s decision to change the timings for check-in, bag drop and boarding gate closure will hopefully ensure planes take off on time and reduce flight delays,” he said.

“While late passengers can cause take-off delays, there are other contributing factors that can impact take-off times, such as adverse weather conditions, air traffic congestion or mechanical issues.”

The only concern Mr Mitchell has is that some passengers may not be aware of the changes, which may lead to them missing their flights or connections.

Not ‘up to scratch’

In a statement, Jetstar’s chief operating officer Matt Franzi recognised Jetstar’s performance hadn’t “been up to scratch”.

“To improve our performance, we’re also recruiting more airport staff, cabin crew and engineering team members, and making changes to our check-in, bag drop and boarding times to bring them in line with other low-cost carriers around the world,” he said.

“Everyone across the airline is committed to getting Jetstar to its best while delivering the lowest possible fares so our customers can fly to more places, more often.”

Jetstar said the changes were in line with other budget airlines.

Bonza allows for bags to be dropped off 90 minutes before departure and closes 40 minutes prior to departure.

However, boarding for Bonza closes strictly 10 minutes before taking off.

Ryanair, a low-cost carrier from abroad, has check-ins close strictly 40 minutes before departure and boarding closes 20 minutes before departure.

Most passengers are likely to get to the airport well before their scheduled departure time anyway, Dr Lean said.

Although the changes mean passengers will need to allow for a little extra time, it could also be a win for their safety and security.

“I guess it’s appreciation of that when we fly, we want to be safe, and we want to ensure that baggage has been screened correctly, and maybe it will have that greater effect of less delays and flights as well,” Dr Lean said.

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