Jetstar's Boeing 787 Dreamliner begins flights between Melbourne and Auckland this month, and due to a loophole in Jetstar's booking system you can book a business class seat on this route for around the same price as an economy ticket.
That's a double treat for trans-Tasman travellers. Not only do you get to fly in the very modern Dreamliner instead of a regular Airbus A320, you'll do so in a lot more comfort.
We're the first to admit that Jetstar's business class is more like a premium economy seat – that's par for the course with most low-cost airlines.
For one thing, it's a recliner rather than a flat-bed design.
There's also less legroom and storage space around the seat than its 'business class' label may lead you to expect.
But that's still better than sitting in economy class – and when it costs about the same, well, why wouldn't you choose the pointy end?
Jetstar's Boeing 787 business class loophole
The 'loophole' which lets you score business class at economy prices about because Jetstar usually doesn't have business class on its Melbourne-Auckland flights.
As a result, the airline's online booking system has no provision for separating business class seats from economy seats on this route and selling them at a much higher fare.
As far as Jetstar is concerned, when the Boeing 787 flies between Melbourne and Auckland, every seat is an economy seat – even though its Dreamliner has 21 business class seats.
But what Jetstar does offer are 'Extra Leg Room' seats – and on the its Boeing 787 flights, those seats happen to be in the Dreamliner's business class cabin!
The Extra Leg Room seats cost an additional $30 per flight, but that's a small price to pay for upgrading from economy to business class.
Here's a step-by-step guide to getting a business class seat on Jetstar's Melbourne-Auckland Boeing 787 flights for little more than the cost of an economy ticket.
1. Choose your dates
You'll need to be travelling Melbourne-Auckland between Wednesday February 26th and Friday March 28th.
That's Jetstar's trans-Tasman Dreamliner service is just a one-month deal – after which the Boeing 787 will shift onto a new direct Brisbane-Bali flight starting April 16th.
2. Choose your days
You'll also need to be flexible with your travel schedule, as the Boeing 787 doesn't run every day.
Jetstar's timetable currently shows the Dreamliner flying from Melbourne to Auckland only on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. The Auckland-Melbourne leg gets a 787 only on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Thankfully, Jetstar's website shows a little Dreamliner icon on the schedule so you know you'll be flying on Boeing's next-gen jet.
3. Stick with a Starter fare
Note that you don't need to choose the more expensive Plus bundle or Max bundle – the standard Starter fare will suffice.
Of course, for $49 extra a Plus ticket will earn you Qantas points and status credits on the trip, as well as give you $10 credit for buying inflight food or drink and remove the change fees in case you want to fly on different dates.
But it's not a must-have, so here's a dummy booking summary for a Melbourne-Auckland return trip in mid-March, flying on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner both ways.
So far the tally is a mere $251 – not too shabby for a very long weekend in The Land of the Long White Cloud.
4. Smack down Jetstar's extra charges
Here's something to watch for: on the next page, Jetstar has automatically added 'optional' checked luggage at a cost of $28 per passenger per flight.
If you're a savvy 'carry-on only' traveller, click the Remove button to get your fare back down to the basics.
Once you've filled in your personal and contact details, click on to the next page.
5. Choose an Extra Leg Room seat
Now it's time to choose your seats, and this is where the magic happens.
Once again, Jetstar has added a cost-extra option to your booking – in this case your seats have been pre-assigned, which costs another $10 per flight.
These are not the seats you want, so click the Remove button.
The seats you want to choose are the Extra Leg Room seats in the first three rows, which correspond to the Boeing 787's business class cabin.
In the screenshot below we've highlighted this option in blue so you know exactly where to look.
An Extra Leg Room seat will cost $30 per passenger for each flight, but it's worth it. Click any of the seats with the orange arrow icon and you're set.
6. Bonus tip: choose seat 3G or 3J
Here's an expert tip when it comes to Jetstar's Boeing 787 business class – the most comfortable seats are 3G or 3J, on the far right side of the third row.
The reason? Both of these sport an extra two inches of recline because they have been designated as 'crew rest' seats for the Boeing 787's flight deck team.
That translates to a more relaxing 11 inch rake compared to the 9 inches of the other business class seats.
However, 3G and 3J will only be used by the crew when Jetstar launches the Boeing 787 onto its long Melbourne-Honolulu service – on all shorter flights including Auckland, Bali and Phuket, any passenger can book them.
Repeat the process to select an Extra Leg Room seat on the return flight and you're done.
7. Mission accomplished!
Now you're ready to fly on Jetstar's brand new Boeing 787 for a Melbourne-Auckland return trip in business class for just $311.49 – only $60 more than if you were sitting economy.
That's a pretty sweet deal on its own, and for just shy of $100 more (by upgrading to a Plus bundle) you'll rake up Qantas frequent flyer points and status credits.
Thanks to Keith at PointHacks for tipping us off on this trick!
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About David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.