6th February 2014 at 23:10 #581976
Anonymous6th February 2014 at 23:10 #581977
Sydney – Melbourne
We booked online on qantas.com which is a very easy website to navigate. You are also able to select your seats online at the time of booking for no charge. We checked in online and printed our boarding cards before heading to the airport.
Qantas has brought airport automation to a level I haven’t seen before at it’s domestic terminal. Although we had bags to check in we were still able to do so without dealing with a single human. We scanned our boarding passes in the automated bag drop machine which printed out our bag tags. We tagged our own bags and off they went. All done within minutes. We proceeded through security (feel free to bring litres of liquids there are no restrictions on australian domestic flights) which was a little busy as family and friends seeing people off can also clear security and go right to the gate to wave goodbye. There was a dedicated lane for Business Class and top tier Oneworlds though so we were through fairly swiftly.
Qantas has two lounges at Sydney Domestic terminal. A Business Lounge for those ticketed in Business Class and also OneWorld elites. As well as a ‘Qantas Club’ Lounge which the aforementioned can also use as well as paid members of the Qantas Club. The domestic Business lounge was impressive. A vast space sectioned into zones with plenty of available seats. The decor was neautral colours and the place was spotless. We arrived just after midday for our 1:30pm flight and the lunch options were just being set out. There were cold cuts, salads and a hot dish of beef tagine. There was a barista for freshly made coffees. Wines were help yourself, spirits have to be served by the staff (I believe this is an Australian law requirement). There was a very cool machine with some high quality vintage wines available for purchase using your qantas frequent flyer points if the free stuff was not satisfactory for you. You inserted yourmember card and the clever machine poured your wine and debited your points. There were also plenty of Imacs around, free fast wifi and loads of power points.
Boarding/pre departure/first impressions:
From my experience Qantas domestic works like a well oiled machine and today was no exception. At precisely the indicated time on our boarding pass, boarding commenced. What I find amazing though is at NO point are you asked to present any ID when travelling domestically in Australia. Not at check in. Not at the gate. You could literally book a ticket and give it to anyone to travel. The incharge crew member greeted us warmly by name and directed us to our seats. The cabin had been refurbished with the leather covered seats throughout and equiped with ‘Q streaming’ IFE. The crew also looked very smart in their new uniforms. First impressions of the cabin were good. Qantas has ‘proper’ Business Class seats on their domestic aircaft and on this 767 consisted of five rows arranged in a 2x2x2 configuration. We had seats 1J and 1K (a window pair). The seats are comfortable with decent recline and a good sized legrest. Ipads are located in the seatbacks of all seats throughout the aircraft. We were offered a pre departure drink of cloudy apple juice or water. We pushed back bang ontime and were airborne shortly after.
Which seat to choose:
Row 1 would be preferable as the you have no issues with a seat reclining in front on you. The only downside of row 1 is that everything needs to go in the lockers above you. The service also starts from row 1 so you are pretty much guaranteed your choice of the three options on offer. I would probably avoid row 5 as it looked like it’s recline may be a little less than the other seats.
This was a designated ‘lunch’ flight and for a flight time of 60 minutes was pretty impressive. Options were a roast chicken salad, a beef cannelini soup or a cheese plate. This was served with the most delicious fresh warmed bread i’ve ever eaten in an aircraft. We were offered wine and water with our meals. Qantas seems to pay attention to the small things in Business. For example the crew offer freshly ground pepper from a large grinder with the meals. There was only one choice of red (australian of course) but it was the way it was presented and poured that was most impressive. A small cake was also on the tray and tea and coffee was served before clearing the trays in.
Was was most impressive about the service were the crew. Absolutely superb. They balance an informal friendly approach with an extremely professional one. Our names were used at all times. We were always asked if they could get us anything else. Continually in the cabin. And used good humour.
The Q-streaming IFE was equally impressive. A vast amount of TV, music and movies streamed to your individual Qantas issued iPad. It is a clever system, even when the captain made a PA inflight it interrupts the content playing on your ipad and displays ‘PA announcement in progress’ on your ipad screen. The only limitation really is that the system is only active from when the seat belt sign is switched off after take off until the cabin is prepared for landing. So on a 60 minute flight I basically had time for one Family Guy episode. Still, much more than what we would get on a 60 minute european flight!
We had to hold above Melbourne for around ten minutes before landing and arrived five minutes late at the gate. Obviously no immigration to clear being a domestic flight and our bags appeared on the carousel within ten minutes.
Absolutely superb. From the check in options, to clean modern terminals and lounges and refurbished aircrafts the flight was excellent. The service onboard from the crew was outstanding and they all really seemed to enjoy their jobs and providing exceptional service. The IFE was a treat and the food options unexpected on such a short flight. It really is the kind of short haul service we can only dream of in europe and in my honest opinion is superior even to most of the asian carriers regional Business Class services.
Hopefully the service levels will stay so high. It’s no secret that Qantas is not performing great financially. They recently stated that they wanted to bring their domestic flights operating costs to within 5% of it’s competitor Virgin Australia (Qantas’ are currently 15% higher). Hopefully this won’t be at the expense of the great passenger offering.9th February 2014 at 16:54 #581978
Excellent review rferguson.
Your experience is totally consistent with the experiences Mrs JH and I had on our recent holiday in Australia.
Qantas really do a good job with their domestic business class service which I believe is profitable.
It’s interesting that at one time they too joined the race to the bottom but then got off and started to offer a decent standard of service in both business and economy on domestic sectors both of which are now profitable.
If only the European legacy carriers would take note, they have a much bigger market than Qantas do and yet they are all still in the race to the bottom.
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