Jetstar Airways: The Hippopotamus in seat 12C

There is nothing worse than being sat next to a morbidly obese person in an economy airline seat. Except perhaps being sat in an economy airline seat beside a morbidly obese person with serious personal hygiene issues!  I know, it has happened to me and I still have flashbacks.

This letter to Jetstar Airways however was penned by Australian blogger, Rich Wisken, who also wrote the very funny letter to Kogan Mobile also featured on DCR. Rich was flying Jetstar from Perth to Sydney – which is a four and a half hour flight. That’s a long time to hold your breath!

This letter cost me a lot of money. When it first appeared on DCR, it went viral across the globe and very nearly broke the site. I had to upgrade the hosting to cope with the traffic and have been paying through the nose ever since!

Beware, Rich doesn’t mince his words. A lot of people took severe exception to the letter. Sensitive souls, stop here.

Dear Customer Relations,

Jetstar Flight Perth to Sydney

Do you like riddles?  I do, that’s why I’m starting this letter with one.

What weighs more than a Suzuki Swift, less than a Hummer and smells like the decaying anus of a deceased homeless man?

No idea? How about:

what measures food portions in kilograms and has the personal hygiene of a French prostitute?

Still nothing?  Right, one more try.

What’s fat as f@@@, stinks like sh@@ and should be forced to purchase two seats on a Jetstar flight?

That’s right, it’s the man I sat next to (or to be accurate, under) from Perth to Sydney yesterday!

As I boarded the plane, I mentally high-fived myself for paying the additional $25 for an emergency seat.  I was imagining all that extra room, when I was suddenly distracted by what appeared to be an infant hippopotamus located halfway down the aisle. As I got closer, I was relieved to see that it wasn’t a dangerous semi-aquatic African mammal, but a morbidly obese human being.

However, this relief was short-lived when I realised that my seat was located somewhere underneath him.

Soon after I managed to burrow into my seat, I caught what was to be the first of numerous fetid whiffs of body odour. His scent possessed hints of blue cheese and Mumbai slum, with nuances of sweaty flesh and human faeces sprayed with cologne – ‘Eau No’. Considering I was visibly under duress, I found it strange that none of the cabin crew offered me another seat.

To be fair, it’s entirely possible that none of them actually saw me!

Perhaps this photo (right) will jog their memories.

Pinned to my seat by a fleshy boulder, I started preparing for a 127 Hours-like escape.1 Thankfully though, the beast moved slightly to his left, which allowed me to stand up, walk to the back of the plane and politely ask the cabin crew to be seated elsewhere.  

I didn’t catch the names of the three flight attendants, but for the purpose of this letter, I’ll call them: Chatty 1, Chatty 2 and Giggly (I’ve given them all the same surname – Couldnotgiveashit).  After my request, Chatty 1 and Chatty 2 continued their conversation, presumably about how shit they are at their jobs, and Giggly, well, she just giggled.

Jetstar fat and thin

I then asked if I could sit in one of the six vacant seats at the back of the aircraft, to which Giggly responded, “Hehehe, they’re for crew only, hehehe”.

I think Giggly may be suffering from some form of mental impairment.

I tried to relocate myself without the assistance of the Couldnotgiveashit triplets, but unfortunately everyone with a row to themselves was now lying down.  It was then I realised that my fate was sealed.  I made my way back to Jabba the Hutt2 and spent the remainder of the flight smothered in side-boob and cellulite, taking shallow breaths to avoid noxious gas poisoning.

Just before landing, I revisited the back of the plane to use the toilet.  You could imagine my surprise when I saw both “crew only” rows occupied by non-crew members.  I can only assume Giggly let them sit there after she forgot who she was and why she’s flying on a big, shiny metal thing in the sky.

Imagine going out for dinner and a movie, only to have your night ruined by a fat mess who eats half your meal then blocks 50% of the screen.  Isn’t that exactly the same as having someone who can’t control their calorie intake occupying half your seat on a flight?  

Of course it is, so that’s why I’m demanding a full refund of my ticket, including the $25 for an emergency row seat.

I’m also looking to be compensated for the physical pain and mental suffering caused by being enveloped in human blubber for over four hours.  My lower back is in agony and I had to type this letter one-handed as I’m yet to regain full use of my left side.  If I don’t recover completely, I’ll have to say goodbye to my lifelong dream of becoming Air Guitar World Champion.  If that occurs, you will pay.

To discuss my generous compensation package, email me at:, or tweet me at: @RichWisken

No regards,

Rich Wisken.

UPDATE:  Just two days after his ‘Fatstar’ experience, Rich was due to fly Jetstar again – this time from Sydney to Melbourne. However, his flight was cancelled due to ‘engineering requirements’.

jetstar complaint letterhead


Due to Operational Requirements your flight JQ525 15/12/2013 from Sydney to Melbourne has been cancelled.

We sincerely apologise for the disruption to your service today and the inconvenience this may have caused you. It is our intention to operate all services to schedule, however on occasion unforeseen issues can unfortunately cause a disruption.

As a gesture of goodwill, we have arranged a Jetstar Travel Voucher to the value of AUD$100 for you to redeem on future Jetstar services. Please refer to the ‘How to Access your Jetstar Travel Voucher’ section below for details on how to obtain this voucher.

He was re-scheduled to fly the next day, but that Jetstar flight was also cancelled.  On the third day, his Jetstar flight was delayed by two hours.  He received the email below from Jetstar and wrote a reply on Jetstar’s Facebook wall.  Unfortunately they deleted it after it got 200 likes in just a couple of hours.

So Rich contacted them again:

Awesome work, Jetstar!

Two of my flights in the past two days have been cancelled. You’re so lucky that my favourite pastime is wasting both time and money getting to and from airports.  Imagine how annoyed someone who doesn’t LOVE wasting time and money would feel about this situation.

Man, I’d hate to be that guy…

Whilst I appreciate your email and the $100 Jetstar voucher you gave me as a “gesture of good will”, I can’t help but wonder who “good will” is.  Are you talking about the two-time Oscar winning film, Good Will Hunting?  That’s a great movie, but I don’t understand what it has to do with my flight cancellations and subsequent voucher. Perhaps you meant “goodwill”, that’d make more sense. Maybe you should spend my $100 voucher on employing a competent copywriter with an elementary grasp of the English language.

Have you seen Good Will Hunting? Robin Williams was great, but Matt Damon really stole the show.  My favourite scene takes place in a bar.  I don’t want to ruin it for you in case you haven’t seen it, but basically, some preppy douchebag gets schooled by Matt Damon for embarrassing his lover, Ben Affleck.

If you have seen it, then you’ll understand this reference.

Me: “Do you like apples”?

You: “Yes”.

Me: “Well, I’m never flying with Jetstar again…  HOW DO YOU LIKE THEM APPLES?!”

No regards,

Rich Wisken.

P.S. If you’re wondering what Matt Damon is calculating on the blackboard in the picture below, it’s how much Jetstar sucks.

Jetstar matt damon

  1. 127 Hours’ is a 2010 biographical survival drama film directed, co-written and produced by Danny Boyle. The film stars James Franco as real-life canyoneer Aron Ralston, who became trapped by a boulder in a remote canyon in south-eastern Utah and escaped by breaking and then amputating his own arm. 

  2. Jabba Desilijic Tiure, better known as Jabba the Hutt and often called the “Bloated One,” though never to his face, was one of the most notorious Hutt crime lords in the galaxy, who governed a large criminal empire located in the Outer Rim Territories from his desert palace on Tatooine. At the height of his power, Jabba was one of the most powerful crime lords in the galaxy, even having contact with Prince Xizor, the head of the Black Sun Syndicate. He was also in Star Wars 

5 thoughts on “Jetstar Airways: The Hippopotamus in seat 12C”

  1. This guy is clearly a complete and utter a** hole, I feel sorry for the ‘baby hippo’ sitting next to him and everyone else on the flight that had to put up with his self-absorbed wailing. The ‘famous blogger’ doesn’t deserve the publicity he’s received from being such a moronic waste of place.

  2. Never flown jetstar. They are cheaper than Qantas who has, what I consider, the worst customer service in the world – so I’m not surprised by jetstar complaints. Even with medical certificates a month in advance Qantas can’t feed you on international flights and then abuse you and accuse you on the flight. visits to desks at stopovers and international destinations (I love spending a day of your precious time dealing with them) assure you it will be fine on flight home. It isn’t. Domestic is worse. Fly virgin – at least they are well trained and polite.

  3. Wait a minute… He’s flying a terrible budget airline and complaining?

    Stop being such a cheap ass and purchase tickets on a decent airline. Then you won’t waste all the time and money with CrapStar.

  4. I didn’t get Chatty 1 or 2 or Giggly, I had their sister ‘clueless couldntgiveashit’. Husband and I were boarding a flight with our 12 month old twins and carrying bags and the cabin crew were up the back chatting and one called over her shoulder, ‘small bags only in overhead compartments’. My husband didn’t hear and with baby crying in one arm he was trying to push a backpack into the overhead compartment. Rather than offer help the flight attended came barrelling up to him and shrieked “I said small bags only! That one goes under the seat!” My husband (ex-flight attendant) calmly responded with, “well maybe if you stopped talking and gave me a hand with the bags or the child, I wouldn’t have made a mistake.”

    Rather than taking a hint and helping, she turned tail and used the phone in the back galley to call the supervisor in the front galley of the plane and had a loud conversation, “oh my god! There’s a man back here who is being so mean to me. He’s rude. What can we do about it?”

    Well I have no idea what the answer was but I had my own answer… How about you DO YOUR JOB!?!

    The remainder of the flight we were treated horribly (even though the kids both ended up sleeping the entire time). No assistance was offered when leaving the flight either. Anytime I’ve travelled with kids on other airlines I have flight attendants asking if we need anything, every step of the way.

    That was the last time we flew Jetstar. There were other incidents with their horrible service leading up to this but this was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

    Their staff are in dire need of service training.


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