Review of Qantas flight Melbourne Sydney in Business

Airline Qantas
Flight QF440
Class Business
Seat --
Aircraft Boeing 737-800
Flight time 01:25
Take-off 06 Jan 16, 14:30
Arrival at 06 Jan 16, 15:55
QF   #24 out of 142 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 152 reviews
KévinDC
By SILVER 3099
Published on 25th January 2016
Hello and welcome to the next report in this series of flights down under! This report will cover a short domestic Australian flight in Qantas' 737 Business class.

Here is the full routing:

Washington Reagan National DCA ✈ Dallas - Fort Worth DFW : American Airlines, B737-800, Domestic First class [HERE]
Dallas - Fort Worth DFW ✈ Hong Kong Check Lap Kok HKG : American Airlines, B777-300ER, Business Class [HERE]
Hong Kong Chek Lap Kok HKG ✈ Singapore Changi SIN : Cathay Pacific, B777-300, Business Class [HERE]
Singapore Changi SIN ✈ Sydney Kingsford Smith SYD : British Airways, B777-300ER, Premium Economy [HERE]
Melbourne Tullamarine MEL ✈ Sydney Kingsford Smith SYD : Qantas Airways, B737-800, Business Class [THIS REPORT]
Sydney Kingsford Smith SYD ✈ Christchurch Airport CHC : Qantas Jetconnect, B737-800, Business Class [HERE]
Queenstown Airport ZQN ✈ Auckland Airport AKL : Air New Zealand, A320-200, Economy Class [HERE]
Auckland Airport AKL ✈ Sydney Kingsford Smith SYD : LAN Airlines, B787-9, Business Class [HERE]
Sydney Kingsford Smith SYD ✈ Singapore Changi SIN : British Airways, B777-300ER, Business Class [HERE]
Singapore Changi SIN ✈ Tokyo Narita NRT : Japan Airlines, B767-300ER, Economy Class [HERE]
Tokyo Narita NRT ✈ Chicago O'hare ORD : American Airlines, B787-8, Business Class [HERE]
Chicago O'hare ORD ✈ Washington Reagan National DCA : American Airlines, B737-800, Domestic First Class [HERE]

After spending 6 days in Sydney over the New Year holiday, we drove down to Melbourne along the coast. It was a beautiful drive and I definitely recommend doing the coastal drive rather than the inland Motorway if you have a few days to spare. We did the drive in two days and it gave us enough time to visit some sites along the way, but 3 days would be ideal. There will be a tourist Bonus of Melbourne and Victoria at the end of this report. A Sydney area bonus will be in the next report.

We were staying in the Melbourne CBD and left the hotel about 4 hours prior to departure. The drive to the airport is pretty quick, but there is a toll to take the most direct Motorway route. There are lots of tolls in the Melbourne area, in fact, so they're not easy to avoid.

After stopping to get some petrol before returning the rental car we drove past a park across from one of the main runways. I hadn't planned on doing any planespotting in Melbourne, but it was right there, so I couldn't resist!

It was a really cool spot, except that at this time of day, the sun was right overhead, which wasn't ideal for photography.

China Airlines A330-300. Not sure if this flight continues on to New Zealand, but I believe the Sydney flights do.

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Virgin Australia 737-800. The backbone of the domestic fleet, much like Qantas.

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As MEL is a major QF hub, I was expecting a separate Premium check-in area and looked everywhere for one, but couldn't find it. There was also no staff in the domestic check-in hall; they were all behind the counters. Finally, I realized that the Premium check-in line, for Business class and oneworld elites, was right next to the Economy class line.

Check in via the Business class line was quick with a super friendly agent. She offered to put us on an earlier flight as we were early for our flight and there was room. She told us that the wait will be much more enjoyable at the Sydney lounge, as it is nicer than the MEL QF lounge. Very sweet and what nice attention to detail! Sounds good to me. She was right, leaving an hour earlier would give us more time to enjoy the fabulous QF First lounge in SYD.

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Security was a breeze and we were airside in no time. We headed straight for the Qantas lounge. Because we were on a domestic flight, we could not access the Qantas International First class lounge, which is in a different terminal.

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The Qantas lounge is separated into two sections. The "Qantas Club" for passengers with oneworld Sapphire status travelling in Economy and for those holding Qantas Club paid memberships. Qantas has a paid club membership plan similar to the U.S. carriers.

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oneworld Emeralds travelling in Y and Business class customers have access to the more exclusive Qantas Business class lounge.

We were directed through the Qantas Club to the Business class lounge, where more staff greeted us and welcomed us to the lounge.

Walking through the Qantas Club. It is large, but the decor is not easy on the eyes.

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The Business class/Emerald section in much nicer. It is also quite spacious.

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For a domestic lounge, there was a nice selection of food and drink. All wines were Australian, including sparkling. I had a glass of the Australian sparkling with some food. I didn't really look at the label, but it was not the same as I'd had at the Singapore lounge. It wasn't quite as good, but I imagine this is because we are in a domestic lounge. I'm certainly not complaining, as Business lounges in the U.S. charge for any kind of sparkling wine!

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Boarding passes for the next 2 flights.

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There are very nice tarmac views from the lounge, both the Qantas Club and Business Class sides.
Unsurprisingly, Qantas dominates.

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After a short, but pleasant stay in the lounge, we headed to the gate and arrived about 30 minutes before departure. I found it odd that the Boarding pass showed boarding only 20 minutes prior to departure for this domestic flight. Boarding began right as we got to the gate so the BP was not entirely accurate.

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We were greeted by two very friendly and energetic Flight Attendants, showing that sunny Aussie disposition!

We did not get the new leather seats on this flight, but the older seats were perfectly comfortable.

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Seat pitch is a little tighter than AA Domestic First class, but certainly acceptable for a domestic Premium cabin.

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Choice of Orange juice of water for pre-departure drinks.

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The older 737 cabins have overhead monitors whereas the new 737s with Boeing Sky Interior have PTVs at every seat in both J and Y.

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Even boarding 30 minutes before departure, I was surprised we left the gate a few minutes early with a full flight. Yet more anecdotal proof that boarding takes longer in the U.S.

China Eastern A330 as we taxi past the International Terminal



The taxi time was short and we were treated to some awesome views of the Melbourne CBD on takeoff. I wasn't expecting to see the CBD as the airport is a bit far from downtown, unlike in Sydney.

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I picked the good side of the plane without knowing it!

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Winglet shot

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Seat controls

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Nice view of the Australian countryside out the window

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The cabin as we reach cruising altitude.

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Some entertainment in played on the overhead screens.

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Contents of the seatback pocket.

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Route map of Qantas & Jetstar (Including partners)

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The extensive domestic Qantas & Jetstar route network

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The Qantas fleet. As you can see, with 75 aircraft, the B737-800 is the backbone of the Qantas domestic fleet.

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I was pleasantly surprised to get an actual meal on such a short flight. There were two choices (both cold) from what I remember. I chose the Chicken Caesar salad. It was served with some good bread and a coffee éclair for dessert. Not bad for 65 minutes of flying time!

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Sparkling wine to accompany the light lunch. It was decent, drinkable. I has visited the Yarra Valley a few days earlier and had tried some better sparkling wines.

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Our cheerful FA was very attentive and promptly asked if I'd like another sparkling wine as soon as she saw my glass getting low.
Interestingly, nuts are served after the meal. I'm more accustomed to nuts as part of an apéritif service, but perhaps this is due to the short duration of the flight.

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There was also a coffee and tea service after the meal. The coffee was served with a cookie.

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Our lovely FA offered another Sparkling wine before landing. Sure, why not? :-)

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Before I knew it, we we over Sydney. Despite having mostly beautiful sunny weather during our Holiday in Australia, every time we flew in and out of SYD, it was cloudy and rainy.

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The famous Sydney Harbour bridge and Opera House



Sydney Central Business District

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It was cool to see the neighbourhood in which we had stayed while in Sydney upon landing. We stayed in the building behind the tall building in the foreground.

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SYD ATC Tower with Jetstar A320

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Air China A330-300

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I like the new MH livery on this A333

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QantasLink Q400 in the hangar

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We arrived at the gate a few minutes ahead of schedule

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Our 737-800 at the gate in SYD

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Upon arrival we headed for the International Terminal and the Qantas First class lounge. A visit of the lounge and the Trans-Tasman flight to New Zealand will be in the next report.

Thanks for reading!


______________________________________________________________________

Tourist Bonus of the Melbourne Area.

View from our hotel room in the Melbourne CBD

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The Beautiful Melbourne Central Railway station

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Sunset views of Melbourne



Melbourne by Night

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The Yarra Valley wine country, near Melbourne.

TarraWarra Estates

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Dominique Portet. This was my favourite–it felt like we were in Southern France.

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The Great Ocean Road, about two hours Southwest of Melbourne. Amazingly beautiful cliffs and rock formations along the coast of the Southern Ocean.

See more

Verdict

Qantas

8.1/10
Cabin7.5
Cabin crew9.0
Entertainment/wifi7.0
Meal/catering9.0

Qantas Club - Domestic

8.0/10
Comfort8.0
Meal/catering8.0
Entertainment/wifi8.0
Services8.0

Melbourne - MEL

8.6/10
Efficiency8.5
Access8.5
Services8.5
Cleanliness9.0

Sydney - SYD

9.0/10
Efficiency9.0
Access9.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness9.0

Conclusion

Qantas lived up to their reputation of quality service! This was probably one of the best short-haul flights I've ever had in a Premium cabin. There was a meal on a flight with a flying time barely over one hour. The service was impeccable, thank to the great cabin crew who were very cheerful and attentive. I general don't expect much on a short domestic flight like this, but Qantas made it a memorable flight. A great experience with Qantas!

Information on the route Melbourne (MEL) Sydney (SYD)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 24 reviews of 4 airlines on the route Melbourne (MEL) → Sydney (SYD).


Useful

The airline with the best average rating is Qantas with 7.9/10.

The average flight time is 1 hours and 55 minutes.

  More information

16 Comments

  • Comment 159095 by
    K2World 1888 Comments

    Thank you for this report.
    Good point for the ground agent to put you on an earlier flight so that you can enjoy the lounge in SYD.
    QF flies a lot of A330 on this route, too bad you didn't get to fly one, it would have been a much better cabin than the one on this 737.
    What a bad weather in Sydney :(
    Nice bonus at the end.

    • Comment 336111 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 5257 Comments

      Thanks for your comments! Yes, there are a lot of A330s on the route, but the closest A330 flight was too early for me. Some of the A330s have a 2-3-2 config with the same seats as on the 737s, so they're not much better.

  • Comment 159108 by
    aussenrist 224 Comments

    Thanks Kevin for sharing this report! Nice spotting from the flying kangaroos at the MEL tarmac to the travel bonus of Melbourne^^

    Although it is a domestic lounge, QF Lounge's food offerings look good and I like their spacious and bright design!

    The cabin looks like the same with those in standard US domestic flights. But for this flight the crew and catering services are very good (maybe your Emerald Status also contribute it :P) The only awkward thing is the timing of nuts distribution (crew forgot it? :P).

    BTW Australia is also a popular place for HK teenagers because many of them go there for working holidays. And recently QF battles against CX for the Australia market (so many airline price wars in HK @@)

    Look forward to your next trip!

    • Comment 336112 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 5257 Comments

      Yes, the cabin is very much like domestic First class in the U.S. Much better thank European-style Business class. Not sure about the timing of the nuts, I think it might be because the flight is so short to make sure the meal gets served first.Thanks for stopping by :-)

  • Comment 159120 by
    SMilano 1292 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this nice report !

    QF Lounge look nice.

    The cabin looks good, sad you didn't have the A330 on this flight because QF flies a lot with them between MEL and SYD !

    Really nice bonus at the end, who remember me a lot of memories !

    See you

    • Comment 336113 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 5257 Comments

      Thanks for your comments! Yeah, it would have been cool to get an A330, but no A330 flights worked for my schedule. If this brought back memories, wait until you see the New Zealand stuff :-)

  • Comment 159141 by
    lsmick3 35 Comments

    Been looking forward to the next segment in this series! Amazed at the meal service on such a short flight... When we fly RIC-CLT, which is also roughly 60 mins, we are lucky to get two rounds of drinks in F.

  • Comment 159156 by
    beijinner 166 Comments

    Thanks for the report and the great pictures.

    Nice job from QF on this domestic leg, the cabin looks really nice.

    Hope to read you soon!

  • Comment 159205 by
    NGO85 1622 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this FR with us Kevin!

    China Airlines A330-300
    - I've spotted this special livery before :)

    I like how your boarding pass says catering not assured. Nice little catch all for legal reasons ;)

    Great spotting from the lounge, too bad the windows have that nasty blue tinge. The lounge offering is good for a domestic lounge. I didn't find the Qantas Club section that ugly, but I may have been neutralized by all the crappy NH/JL domestic lounges.

    boarding only 20 minutes prior to departure for this domestic flight
    - All Japanese domestic flights are 15 minutes, but from the US perspective it is a short time since they need 30+ minutes to board a plane, lol.

    Seat controls
    - An labeled with words^^ Normally only the pictograms forcing you to guess sometimes. The old cabin doesn't look as nice, but more than enough for this short flight. The old B737 cabins with the squarish windows are always a disappointing to see, but NH still receives new B737s with them.

    with 75 aircraft, the B737-800 is the backbone of the Qantas domestic fleet.
    - Close to 50 Dash8s, that is also quite a few.

    Not only do the offer catering on the short domestic flights, but they give you an option between two meals. I think this is where their service really stands out.

    Interestingly, nuts are served after the meal.
    - This happens on the Japanese domestic flights too, they always serve them with your drinks after the meal. I think it is to ensure they can complete the meal service on short flights.

    Excellent arrival shots, even if the weather sucked.

    Great spotting as always Kevin^^

    Fantastic sunset shots in the bonus, a beautiful bonus! Overall a good performance by QF with a great crew. I think this really helps cover up the deficiencies of an older cabin.

    • Comment 336116 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 5257 Comments

      Thanks for all your comments :-)

      Wish I had gotten a better (as in not just belly view) of the special CI livery. Yeah, too bad about the dark tinge on the windows in the lounge--better than back spots.

      I like how your boarding pass says catering not assured. Nice little catch all for legal reasons ;)
      - The ticket agent who checked us in even told us that there may be no catering so I wasn't expecting any, making the meal an even more pleasant surprise.

      This happens on the Japanese domestic flights too
      - I was thinking the same thing about making sure to have time to serve the actual meal first. Good to know!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  • Comment 159276 by
    mognut 20 Comments

    Great report! I hope you enjoyed my country. And as an Aussie not from Victoria I have to put in my obligatory fuck Melbourne! If your not an Aussie you won't understand, but basically everyone not from Victoria hates Victorians. Especially Queenslanders like me. Great report tho loved it.

    • Comment 336117 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 5257 Comments

      Thanks! I LOOOOVED Australia. I could see myself living there. Haha, I didn't know Australians disliked Victorians so much. I've mostly heard them make fun of South Australians for their accents. Glad you enjoyed the report!

  • Comment 159791 by
    socalnow GOLD 980 Comments

    What fantastic photos KevinDC, thanks for sharing. The wineries and ocean road...I must plan a trip.

    The lounge looks very adequate for the domestic J class offering. Great ramp views too.

    Even boarding 30 minutes before departure, I was surprised we left the gate a few minutes early with a full flight. Yet more anecdotal proof that boarding takes longer in the U.S.
    -And they charge how much for a checked bag..? ;)

    A choice of two meals on a 65 minute flight...it seems so bizarre when you're used to choosing a salty item form a snack basket on a flight twice as long!

    The views of Sydney from above are special. Harbor cities like Sydney and Hong Kong are so photogenic.

    Thanks again for sharing all these great photos. Happy flying.

    • Comment 336705 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 5257 Comments

      Thanks for your comments! The Melbourne area is often overshadowed by Sydney for tourism, but has a lot to offer. I definitely encourage you to plan a trip!

      Yes, people outside the US don't try to carry their houses on board with them to avoid checked bag fees so this makes boarding much faster.

      Having a choice of 2 meals is definitely better than a choice of sweet or salty snack from the snack basket.

      Sydney is a gorgeous city. It's too bad every time I flew in to SYD, it was rainy.

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