10th February 2014 at 10:39 #581982
Anonymous10th February 2014 at 10:39 #581983
Gold Coast – Sydney
Qantas. Economy Class. 737-800
Coolangatta/Gold Coast Airport is located 100km south of Brisbane on the NSW/Queensland border and serves Australia’s Gold Coast which stretches for thirty kilometres along the coast. Visitors using Gold Coast Airport are predominantely leisure travellers. Qantas operates three daily services from the airport to Sydney only. In pre-Jetstar days Qantas operated 7 daily flights from OOL-SYD as well as OOL-MEL. When Jetstar appeared on the market Qantas decided to hand the entire Gold Coast operation over to them. However a few years ago Qantas about faced and after an absence of five years decided OOL needed a ‘premium airline’ on the SYD run. Jetstar still operates the majority of OOL-SYD flights as well as direct flights from the Gold Coast to Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, New Zealand and Japan. Virgin Australia also operates an extensive domestic network from the airport. Tiger Airways operates to Sydney and Melbourne from Gold Coast. The only non-Australian airlines to serve the airport are Air Asia X with flights direct to Kuala Lumpur, Scoot to Singapore and Air New Zealand with seasonal flights to NZ.
I booked online on qantas.com where I found a fare lower than that being offered by the low cost competitors. Fortunately I was also able to choose my seat at the time of booking (and a window seat at the emergency exit at that) although i’m not sure if this facility was available to me only as i am a OneWorld Emerald. I downloaded the Qantas app onto my iPhone and checked in on there. Once I reached Gold Coast Airport I simply scanned the app barcode at a self service kiosk which printed my bag tag which I dropped off at one of the bag drop desks. Security was swift and I was in the lounge in minutes.
Qantas has only a ‘Qantas Club’ at Gold Coast Airport which is open to Business Class passengers and OneWorld elites as well as those that pay an annual subscription to be ‘Qantas Club’ members. This differs in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane where Qantas offer both Qantas Club and Qantas Business Class lounges. It was a relatively small lounge however more than adequate for the three 737 services a day to Sydney which are the only flights Qantas operates from the Gold Coast Airport. The lounge was furnished in a similar style to the domestic Business Lounge in Sydney and offered similar food and beverage options. The only thing it rerally lacked was some natural daylight. It has no windows at all.
Gold Coast airport reminded me a little of London City airport in size and set up. Boarding is all done via stairs from a central departure terminal and it takes seconds to get from check in to security to gate. We boarded way ahead of departure time. The 737-800 was a little drab – all grey cloth seats. The bold colours of the new crew uniforms helped add a bit of colour. Despite everyone being onboard way before departure time we didn’t push back until fifteen minutes after STD. I saw some commotion going on up front in Business Class which even involved the Captain coming out to ‘have a word’ with a passenger. Eventually there were some musical chairs and the captain came on the PA and apologised for the late departure ‘due to a seating issue’.
Which seat to choose:
All the seats in economy are standard recliners upholstered in cloth. I was really happy with my chosen seat which was by the window at the overwing exit with extra legroom. The only negative being sat here is that you can have absolutely nothing on the floor, nor under the seat in front of you. We were given a brief by the crew on what to do in an emergency that was so detailed one passenger asked to be moved to a normal seat as they did not want the responsibility. There are two rows of seats at the emergency exit rows. Beware the first row does not recline. And I would definitely avoid the row in front of this. Not only does it have no extra leg room being a standard row but it also doesn’t recline due to the exit row behind.
This was a designated ‘lunch’ flight and I was offered a small tray containing a water cuplet, a warm meat pie with tomato ketchup and a small chocalate. This was impressive for a short sector of one hour. The drinks that followed were not impressive. I asked for a coffee and was curtly told that ‘hot drinks aren’t served on these short flights – well maybe at the end time permitting’. So I replied ‘well time permittimg could I have a coffee later’. This was delivered later on but I did find it odd that no tea or coffee was part of the drinks service. Note also that alcohol is for purchase on Australian domestic flights. It is very inconsistent (for example on some routes at some times of day it’s free) but a mini bottle of wine was AU$6. There were drop down screens every few rows with TV comedies playing (does Modern Family have a department that markets just to airline IFE??) and headsets were free. The all female crew were pleasant enough although very functional which is par the course on a short haul flight.
We made up most of the delay leaving the Gold Coast and arrived in Sydney five minutes late. A short walk to the baggage claim carousel and within ten minutes my bag appeared.
It pays to shop around. Despite Kayak listing Jetstar and Tiger Airways as the cheapest option it was only when I visted qantas.com that I found a fare that trumped the loco’s. In flight service was friendly and efficient and getting something warm to eat on such a short flight was unexpected. I was disappointed about the drinks situation however. If they are wheeling a trolley with an assortment of drinks through the cabin anyway, surely it doesn’t take much effort to put a pot of tea and coffee on top like most airlines do?
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