Ballin’ on a budget: are AfterPay flights a good idea? 

I’m not entirely sure when this happened, but I found out yesterday –Jetstar are now doing AfterPay on flights, which makes them the first Australian airline to do so.

For those that don’t know, AfterPay is a service that basically gives you the option of buying something and receiving it almost straight away, however you are charged for it over the next 4 fortnights via a direct debit payment. You pay the same price for the service, the price isn’t hiked up, but you get charges if you miss your direct debit payments. Don’t ask me how AfterPay make their money, I have no idea, all I know is if you need something in hurry and it’s off pay week, they come in handy. You can only use it for certain stores, but the selection is quite good. Personally, I used it to get my heavy winter gear online for Iceland and it was amazing. I got a long-line waterproof down jacket, a whole bunch of merino thermals (pants, shirts, socks, beanies) and waterproof hiking boots, normally buying all of that together has the potential to get a little expensive (the price of snow gear in Australia sucks) but AfterPay made it so its split over 4 pays – so that just made my life a little easier financial wise (i.e. I didn’t have to take a big chunk out of my savings for the actual trip).

Back to the main focus though – Jetstar is doing AfterPay on flights now. At the moment, it’s only for domestic flights. The flights must be between the value of $200 & $1000, and they must be booked 8 weeks or greater in advance. From everything I’ve read though, the company is using these conditions as almost a trial run so that they can potentially from there expand into doing AfterPay on international flights. All of this information popped up on the news headlines yesterday, and it was basically the biggest conversation point at work. I’m in two minds as to how I feel about this though. When I first read it – I was excited! My first thought honestly was ‘Fuck yeah, when they open to international I’m going to japan for the weekend on this’. My colleagues and I had multiple conversations about booking weekend getaways through it. But when I got home from work and thought about it some more – that’s when my mind set sort of shifted.

I’ve had this little peeve for ages now, about how easy it is to get lines of credit these days and to get things right now while paying for them later. But the more I think about it – it makes me wonder whether we should be using AfterPay for things like holidays. Honestly, can we afford it? So many people my age have got severe debt already because of the easy access to credit cards. God knows I fell into that problem for a little while, but thankfully I was able to get myself out of it. Holidays are trendy now, and I feel like this is going to draw people in to using it, because there is that mindset of “Oh I’m not paying now, I’m sure I’ll be able to afford it later”.

But what happens when later rolls around and whoops, there’s the car rego you forgot about. Now you’ve missed your direct debit commitments and you’re hit with extra fees. No worries, just pop it on the credit card, right? Because you’ve all got one. And then – you just got this credit card for ‘emergencies’ so you didn’t read the terms and conditions properly, and fuck! Where did that interest charge come from? What even is that?! I can just see this going into a downward spiral.

I 100% advocate for people to travel as much as possible, and I’ll sound like a hypocrite because I’ve used AfterPay for clothes before, but I would be so wary to put a holiday on that service. It just seems like it could be such a bad idea. What are your thoughts on this? There is a high possibility I’m overreacting with this (it’s been known to happen) but I just feel like flights in particular, pay for them outright. Just do it. Then you don’t have to stress on meeting other commitments. Let me know what you guys think about this, I’d love to hear others point of view on this topic 🙂

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