Qantas’ domestic economy product out does what their US based counterparts do for flights of similar duration. The business class lounge in Sydney is a solid option for travelers, with an actual espresso machine and good selection of food and wine.
The Good: iPad IFE for such a short flight for every passenger. They also offered full food and drink service.
The Bad: Small portion of drinks.
The Noteworthy: The A330 had Qantas’ new Business class, and the iPad was somehow connected to the aircraft announcement system.
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We had been in Sydney for three days after flying in on Air China. Our stay was nice, but then we ran into issue with our onward ticket to Melbourne. When it was time to check in, the flight did not appear on the Virgin Australia system. After calling the booking portal, we learned that Orbitz had never issued the ticket order to Virgin, and somehow had billed us. With Virgin Australia washing their hands of any responsibility, and Orbitz’s customer service as useless as a rock, we were forced to purchase new tickets. The cheapest option was with Qantas, on their A330 service to Melbourne. We bought the tickets and they were ticketed within 30 minutes. We eventually received a refund from Orbitz, but that was another story.
We arrived at Sydney’s domestic terminal some 2 hours before departure. Checking in took less than 5 minutes, although the gate agents were not particularly friendly. We were through security and in the terminal under 20 minutes from arriving at the airport.
Qantas Business Class Lounge Sydney:
Qantas’ Business class lounge in SYD is one of the best domestic lounges I have ever seen. Not only did they have a selection of good quality food, but they had showers, espresso machines and a TON of space. The lounge had a self service wine bar, with various Australian wines. The food selection was cold, but very good. The most impressive aspect of the lounge, in my opinion, was the in-lounge store. It offered various duty free items, but it was mostly like a Hudson News bookstore in the US. Prices were similar to what you would find outside, but offered the extra convenience.
Cabin: Economy Class
Route: Sydney to Melbourne
On Time: Yes
Boarding was uneventful, but there were some amenities I should highlight. Qantas offers free newspapers to all passengers, similar to what you see in Europe. I also noticed that the airline offered free headphones for its passengers. This was in stark contrast to what US domestic carriers offer: mediocre earbuds for $5. After Business class boarded, they allowed oneWorld elites to board. Unfortunately, our aircraft did not sport the “New Roo” livery.
Seat and Amenities
I was seated in 26D, an aisle seat in the middle section of seats. The seat offered about 31” of pitch, and I found them to be more spacious that equivalent pitched seats on other airlines. I do note, however, the seat was not the most padded out there. This is fine for a one hour hop to Melbourne, but I would not be very comfortable after 8 hours in the seat. Each seat had an adjustable headrest. The seat back had a clip for personal entertainment devices, such as tablets. In case you did not bring one along, Qantas offers one to each seat in economy. They are iPads equipped with a library of titles. I found it very curious how they were interconnected with the aircraft’s announcements. I assume there was some form of intranet they were connected to. The iPads had a Qantas labeled cover, which I would have loved to have taken, if it hadn’t been attached to the tablet.
Departure and Service
We departed about 5 minutes behind schedule, and took off about 15 minutes later. The 443 mile flight would take us a bit under 1h20m. On most domestic sectors this short, US airlines would only offer a choice of water or juice, as has been the modality on American recently. Given how large this aircraft was, I was only expecting them to offer water. However, I was greatly surprised when they offered a full beverage service as well as a snack. Granted, the snack was just cheese and crackers, I really appreciated the gesture. Beverages were very small, but you could order more than one of a kind.
We arrived about 10 minutes before our scheduled arrival, and deplaned at Melbourne’s domestic terminal. We now had a trek from the domestic terminal to the international terminal. Once there, we would check in for our Air China back to Japan, via Beijing.
Qantas’ economy product for such as short flight blew me away. It was far superior to what US carriers offer, and improved to what most European full service airlines dish out. It blows British Airways out of the park, as well as American. The fact that they offer an iPad to every ECONOMY passenger was wonderful. On 767 flights, American only offers them to premium passengers. Most European carriers don’t care for IFE, let alone iPads at every seat. My experience with Qantas was truly 10/10, and I would not hesitate to fly them again. Bravo Qantas, bravo.
Here is a list of all my flight reviews: The Millennial Traveler Flight Reviews
Here is a list of all my lounge reviews: The Millennial Traveler Lounge Reviews