airlines · Uluru

Flying JetStar MEL-AYQ

So, Uluru (AKA Ayers Rock) is kind of out of the way! It’s remarkably far from everything (i.e. it’s a 5-hour drive to the next town, Alice Springs), plus it’s in the middle of Australia, which is already quite a way from where I live in the D.C. area. But all the travel time will be worth your while once you arrive. One of the only ways to get there is on JetStar, an Australian airline. If you’re considering a trip to Australia’s “Red Centre,” here’s our experience to help you plan!

Buying Tickets

Domestic travel in Australia is on the expensive side, especially for Europeans. Americans are more used to expensive domestic flights because, like Australia, destinations can be very far apart. The other factor effecting ticket prices is the lack of competition. JetStar, Virgin Australia, and Quantas are pretty much your only options for domestic travel within Australia. As such, Steve and I were a little surprised at just how much tickets to AYQ were. For two round-trip tickets between MEL and AYQ, we paid $1308.05 AUD (currently $886.57 USD).

We used Hipmunk, Kayak, and Skyscanner to find the best ticket prices, and we settled on JetStar, even knowing we would need to pay a little more for an extra 3 kg carry-on luggage allowance and to choose our seats. Aside from the cost, the ticket purchasing process on the JetStar website was easy enough!

First glimpses of the Red Centre!
Read on: How to Find Flight Deals

Baggage Allowance

Other airlines allow 10 kg of cabin luggage split between a carry-on (to go in the overhead bin) and a personal item (to go under the seat in front of you). However, JetStar only allows 7 kg, unless you pay for more. Paying for 3 kg more was going to cost less than checking a bag, so that’s what we decided to do. So we wore our heaviest clothing items and filled our pockets until we were able to get in under our 10 kg limit! Thankfully, there were luggage scales at every JetStar gate so you can check for yourself.

Came in right under 10 kg!
NOTE! You will have to weigh your bag before boarding at the Melbourne Airport. We did not, however, have to get weighed at the Uluru-Ayers Rock Airport.

Checking In

You can check in online up to 28 days in advance! That is not the norm for any other airlines I’ve flown, but it was really nice to be able to check in early, and even better to be able to check in for our return flight before we’d even left on the first flight!

You can check in for domestic Australian flights up to 28 days in advance!

The Aircraft

The aircraft for both of our flights were Airbus A320s, which are full-size jets with good-size overhead bins and a 3-3 seat configuration.

There’s not a lot of leg room or width to the seats, so make sure you like the person you’re sitting next to!

The Service

It’s important to note that there are no free snacks on the flights, and only tap water is complimentary. The flight attendants were actually very kind and customer service-oriented, which we very much appreciated!

Boarding our JetStar Airbus A320 straight from the tarmac! We also deplaned on the tarmac in both locations.

The Views

I highly recommend a window seat when flying in or out of Uluru! Get the same side going both directions so you’re sure to get a view on the way in or the way out. We chose the window and middle seats on the right side, looking toward the cockpit.

View of Kata Tjuta on our way into AYQ!
Views of Uluru on the way from AYQ back to MEL!

Need more info from Down Under? Check out my Australia Page for the visa process, things to know before you go, and more!

Want more about flying, airlines, and airport? Click over to my Air Travel Page!

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