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United Intl to Jetstar Domestic connection

Level Contributor
11,182 posts
73 reviews
United Intl to Jetstar Domestic connection

I need some advice and insight to this please. We are booked on a connecting flight SFO-SYD-HOB with United as our international carrier and Jetstar the connection to Tasmania. My husband booked it using United points and we have business class upgrades.

I had a good look at the itinerary the other day and realized we only have an hour 40 minute layover in Sydney. It's all on one itinerary/ticket. Is this enough time? I realize they are in two different terminals and we need to take a shuttle after clearing CQI. Our flight lands at 9:05a and Jetstar departs at 10:45am.

I called United and they told me minimum connecting time is 75 minutes at Sydney. I kind of think they are out of their mind. They will allow me to change the Jetstar flight to 2pm for a $300USD fee per person. Thanks, but no thanks because I can book the later flight myself for far less and personally, I'd book the Virgin Australia flight that leaves at 2:05pm based on reputation and still save money.

Any advice? I realize if we miss the connection we would be put on the next available Jetstar flight - key word being "available". :/ What is the procedure to get from one terminal to the other and how long will it take?

29 replies to this topic
Level Contributor
124 posts
88 reviews
21. Re: United Intl to Jetstar Domestic connection

I think you will be cutting it really fine. By the time you get off the international flight, collect luggage go through customs/immigration then make your way from international to domestic terminal and then have to check in luggage for tassie flight that it will not be enough time. Also jetstar security point at sydney domestic airport moves a lot slower then the qantas domestis security from my many years of experience with both. Not to mention if there are any delays with landing ect. You would have been better to stay overnight in sydney and fly out the next day to tassie or get a later flight to hobart if available.

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
2,704 posts
145 reviews
22. Re: United Intl to Jetstar Domestic connection

The discussions and information given are very detailed and informative but also very technical. As I see it, the situation boils down to;

You might make the connection BUT.....

If you miss the connection United should step in and sort it out BUT.....

The problem is that they are very big buts and not something you want to deal with after a 13hr flight and will definitely give you a bad start to a good holiday.

Level Contributor
11,182 posts
73 reviews
23. Re: United Intl to Jetstar Domestic connection

So I thought I would come back and tell you our tale of how this all worked out.

Firstly, I called United and pleaded with them to change us to the 2pm connection. They stated it met with MCT (75 minutes) and there would incur a $600 charge for the 2 of us to change it.

Then I called Jetstar. They stated it would be highly unlikely we would make the connection (stating at least a 2.5, preferably 3-hour connection). They did not have the authority to change it and referred me back to United -- who stuck to their guns and wouldn't allow the change.

I pleaded. I asked them to go step-by-step on what formalities and logistics would have to transpire to get me off the International flight and onto the domestic one. The agent seemed rather clueless.

Bags checked through? Yes.

But won't I have to collect them and go through customs/immigration at Sydney? Ummm... Yes.

Is there a bag drop for domestic connections at the International terminal? Ummm.... I'm not sure.

How do I get from the International terminal to Domestic, which are on opposite sides of the freeway at Sydney? Ummm.... I'm not sure.

Is a shuttle provided free of charge? Ummm... You probably.... I'm not sure.... Perhaps you should contact Jetstar.

But I was assured that because we were in business class we would be first off the plane and our luggage would be first off as well and all would be fine.

Due to circumstances, our SFO to Sydney flight arrived at the gate 35 minutes late. My OH and I raced (along with a few others with similar connections) and found the e-passport kiosks. So we whizzed through that process. But waiting for our luggage became the sticking point. We waited about 10 minutes before the first bag appeared. I saw the clock at baggage claim and stated we had 10 minutes to get to Domestic before the half-hour cut-off point. All hope was lost at that point but we scurried at our absolutely briskest pace through the mobs to the far end to the train station. Then fumbled with our credit card to obtain a ticket.

Once in Domestic, we once more dodged the mobs and arrived at the end of the Jetstar queue.... 7 minutes late. For the uninitiated - there is a "closing flights" queue that is at the far end and you can't see when walking into the maze of counters. We didn't see it and didn't hear any announcements. So maybe we were too late for that anyway.

We headed to the Jetstar Customer Service desk and waited in line for 5-10 minutes before being served. The agent immediately stated that United put us on a "ridiculous" connection, further impacted by the late arrival, and put us on their later flight. They did not brush us off and tell us to contact United. Yay!!! So kudos to them. 3 hours at Sydney, could be worse.

The downside was that at the gate for the 2pm flight, they were weighing carry-on luggage and we exceeded the paltry limit and had to pay an additional $60 to check in one of our carry-on bags.

$60 is a whole lot cheaper than $600. But what price the stress?

So, for anyone connecting UA Intl to JQ Domestic at Sydney -- allow 3 hours and don't agree to a shorter connection. Any" alliance" they have really means nothing and you should treat it like it is on two separate tickets.

South Pacific
Destination Expert
for Hobart, Tasmania
Level Contributor
31,134 posts
77 reviews
24. Re: United Intl to Jetstar Domestic connection

Thanks for getting back to us about the outcome. Not surprising really - except for Jetsar's helpfulness in the end. I hope the rest of your connections go well. :)

Orange, Australia
Level Contributor
1,065 posts
7 reviews
25. Re: United Intl to Jetstar Domestic connection

I would be double-checking that your return flight has not been affected by missing the original JQ flight. If you are listed as a no-show your return may have been cancelled.

Level Contributor
1,761 posts
10 reviews
26. Re: United Intl to Jetstar Domestic connection

Sounds like a lot of stress and bother over nothing.

Australian airlines act fair and reasonably. If I had a ticketed connection I wouldn't worry the slightest about connection time as they're always happy to accommodate you on the next flight. Domestic flights to Australian capitals are extremely frequent, and there are always alternate routings available.

Level Contributor
11,182 posts
73 reviews
27. Re: United Intl to Jetstar Domestic connection

>>>I wouldn't worry the slightest about connection time as they're always happy to accommodate you on the next flight<<<

Only if the next flight has availability! Jetstar only has 3 nonstop flights SYD-HOB per day. If the 2pm flight was sold out, the next nonstop flight would be the following day. I suppose a connection would have been possible.

It did not affect our return flights, fortunately. We are home now. I suspect that Jetstar and United don't have enough of a bond that they know what is happening wrt each other's flights/passengers. I doubt United had any knowledge of whether me made our connection or not. Technically, Jetstar is not part of the Star Alliance. United offers Jetstar connections on the same ticket only because Jetstar is a division of Quantas - which IS Star Alliance.

Yes, I was very pleased with the cheerfulness and helpfulness in which the Jetstar agent handled the situation. We found the Australian people all very friendly and easy-going on our trip.

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
2,479 posts
17 reviews
28. Re: United Intl to Jetstar Domestic connection

Qantas is not a Star Alliance member, rather One World. There are no Star Alliance airlines in Australia. I suspect that United and Jetstar have formed a pretty awkward 'marriage of convenience' to provide onwards travel.

Level Contributor
11,182 posts
73 reviews
29. Re: United Intl to Jetstar Domestic connection

Jack, you're right. My mistake.

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