Jetstar Boeing 787: how to fly in business class at economy prices

By David Flynn, January 15 2014

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.

Read: Review, photos – Jetstar Boeing 787 business class

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!

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter – we're @AusBT


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards (Plat)

21 May 2012

Total posts 28

*Almost* enough to convince me to fly CrapStar.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 May 2011

Total posts 335

Well that comment adds such value to the article. You must feel pretty proud of yourself coming up with that all by yourself.

19 Jan 2012

Total posts 427

As does your materially worthless response, aklrunway

Personally won't fly Jetstar because of my personal negative experiences including a big fight when they attempted to change contracts of sale in changeover from "Starclass" to "business class".

Good luck fellow travellers putting your trust in the Joyce mobile.

Will be flying EK next weekend to AKL.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 May 2011

Total posts 335

You think flying EK across the Tamsan distances you from what you call the "Joyce mobile"? Enjoy your Emirates flight offered in conjunction with Qantas where profits are shared between the two airlines on that very route.

Have a wonderful day :)

19 Jan 2012

Total posts 427

I don't think JQ or EK or QF or QF are going to profit since I'm using QF points up before they inevitably are devalued following two devaluations already thus year. Given my liking for a bottle of Dom I'm sure QF will attributing another few hundred dollars to their expected near one billion dollar annual losses for my efforts....yep have a wonderful day! 

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 744

Actually you can do (more or less) the same thing on Air New Zealand, actually, I've done it on my last few trips.

Most trans-Tasman flights are on A320s, but there's one or two a day on 777s (or occasionally even a 747), and on these flights they don't sell the premium economy cabin separately and instead fill it with economy passengers. If you're Velocity or Star Alliance gold you can just nab one. If you're not, there are (for some bizarre reason) just a few in the cabin which they deem "preferred" and sell for a bargain price of an extra twenty bucks. 

Of course that's "premium economy" and not "business class", but Jetstar's labels ain't fooling anybody.

19 Jan 2012

Total posts 427

Spot on Hugo...

Cathay Pacific - Asia Miles

25 Apr 2013

Total posts 544

All I could say after reading this was "wow".

If I ever have to do a Trans-Tasman trip in the future from MEL to AKL, I know what to do. Thanks for your generosity and ingenuity.

09 Jan 2014

Total posts 1

After recently travelling to Europe, I can't help noticing that Jetstar's business class is almost the same as Qatar's standard economy. 

19 Jan 2012

Total posts 427

Relax, Alvin, AusBT just had a great run to Seattle and Hawaii to fire up the pro 787 and pro Jetstar angle....

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1137

Great article.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2014

Total posts 1

I did something similar on a Melbourne to Gold Coast flight when they were operating the sector and got seat 3G for an extra $24 on top of my fare. Loved it.

I was due to fly Sydney to Auckland in March. As a VA frequent flyer I normally use VA/ANZ but this was to good to say no to! I have to get up at the crack of dawn to fly to Melbourne but still cheaper than VA economy. 

Great advice AUSBT!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

12 Jan 2014

Total posts 15

Just booked from Melbourne to Auckland in mid-March.

Fare was cheap .. including the $30 to sit in row 1.

$55 departure tax? wtf

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 May 2012

Total posts 582

19 Jan 2012

Total posts 427

yes, so absolutely amazing, you can sit in a seat that isn't really business class at all ( more like a poor persons premium economy) pretending you're crew getting prefential treatment in row 3 with a couple of inches of extra recline .

...seem to remember paying around $400 courtesy of VA website to travel Air NZ business class AKL-BNE (a service highley rated on this esteemed and unbiased website) on a 777-3000 with all the extras included...meals, drinks, excellent service, lie flat seats = real business  class at a bargain price.

Good lick with -----star when they cancel the flight or try to change the contract on you after purchase.



04 Nov 2010

Total posts 674

  • "you can sit in a seat that isn't really business class at all ( more like a poor persons premium economy)" - something which AusBT makes effort to point out
  • "pretending you're crew getting prefential treatment" - ??? Where did you pull that one from?
  • "in row 3 with a couple of inches of extra recline" - well why not, if this is the best seat in JQ's 7876 business class? Kudos to AusBT for finding out about this and sharing it with us!

PLATY, I was going to say that if you're happy to fly JQ 787 economy MEL-AKL then that's fine by me because it leaves more business class seats (especially those two R3 ones) available for the rest of us for just $30 extra each way. But I figured you probably don't fly JQ anyway. I wouldn't either but if I'm already going Melbourne-Auckland in March anyway then I'll definitely use this trick just to experience the 787!

19 Jan 2012

Total posts 427

"but I figured you probably woundn't do Jetstar anyway"

Al, you are now making a personal comment/assumption about a person you have never met or know anything about.

Yes, obviously, thanks to AusBT you can choose to fly on the JQ  787 MEL-AKL and sample their low cost airline business class cabin, presumbly enjoy the excellent QFi first lounge (if you have the status).

Note this "trick" was already covered by the national press (no problem - maybe also written by David).

I'm sure you'll very much enjoy the experiene - please let us know how you find it.

May I also recommend for the return sector riding the EK A380 in biz or first (maybe you've already done this) or the Air NZ 777-300 (if it's servicing MEL at that time) in biz - obviously the former available on QF points (as covered by AusBT) and the latter somtimes available as very cheap biz fares through VA website (not that I can recall covered by AusBT).

Also consider, that my personal opinions about both QF and JQ are based on over 20 years of loyalty to QF in which time I hardly flew on another airline - also initial support for JQ before some bad experiences involving myself and some other friends put me off them completely.



04 Nov 2010

Total posts 674

More back and forth eh PLATY?

  • "Note this "trick" was already covered by the national press (no problem - maybe also written by David)." wrote it up but they based it on the AusBT story (see

  • "you are now making a personal comment/assumption about a person you have never met or know anything about"

Not quite, PLATY, I was making an educated guess based on your previous posts. That's why I said "I figured" you don't fly JQ.

And I'm not sure why you are upset because I was correct, as your last comment indicates: "also initial support for JQ before some bad experiences involving myself and some other friends put me off them completely."

19 Jan 2012

Total posts 427

Al, whether you were correct or not doesn't alter the fact you were making a personal statement. I'm not upset just disinclined to continue to air personal opinions and try to share advice with folk on AusBT so travel  safe and enjoy the Dreamliner.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 May 2011

Total posts 335

You don't "try and share advice" on here PLATY, you push your personal views on others and get annoyed when they don't agree.

19 Jan 2012

Total posts 427

Nobody is forcing you or any reader to agree with my opinions let alone even read my posts, so, no, I'm not "pushing" my personal views on others.

There are many readers on AusBT who have expressed their thanks for advice I have offered as options on various frequent flyer issues.

You own contribution, by example above:

" You must feel pretty proud of yourself coming up with that all by yourself" just plain rude.

Al has been previously admonished by AusBT for personally rude posts addressed to my good self.

Fly safe and enjoy your travels.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 May 2011

Total posts 335

Always a victim...

29 Jun 2015

Total posts 1

Thanks for the article

Would this be the same case for the flight from Sydney to Hawaii? It is through Jetstar and it is the Boeing 787 Dreamliner 

Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Jetstar Boeing 787: how to fly in business class at economy prices