Flight QF873 Qantas Route: Sydney to Melbourne Flight time: 1 hour and 20 minutes. Seat: 4E Business Class Membership: Qantas Frequent Flyer Bronze
As it is again school holidays, this time, I decided to visit Melbourne to see my family again. I wanted to take a QF reward flight as I had some points remaining and my dad who usually flies with VA thought it would be fun to do something different. I booked a VA return reward flight (economy) but won't be doing an FR on it. As usual, FR will be in this structure:
- Intro - To the airport - Check-in - Lounge/airside - Boarding - Seat - Take off/Taxi - Inflight/meal - Descent/Landing - Arrivals
Intro: I planned a quick Melbourne visit between the 28th and 30th September. Whilst googling flights I noticed that QF was operating A330's with the new International business class suite seat in a 1-2-1 configuration. Whilst only for a 1-hour flight it is really worth the experience.
With luck, I found 2 award seats for just 32,000 QF FF points in total along with $70 in taxes which we were happy to pay for. I was rather surprised that availability was open and at first, the flight looked rather empty. With that we booked our seats 4E and 4F (middle pair of seats) only 1.5 weeks in advance of our trip. Score!
To the airport:
We planned to be at the airport at 8:00 so that we could enjoy the lounge and be on time for boarding. As QF departs from its own terminal in Sydney, spotting is relatively limited to only QF metal, so I also took this into account. Usually, we take the train but as there were 2 of us and it was an early morning start (getting up at 6:45!) we caught an uber.
Quick uber took 30 minutes, and we left Sydney's northern suburbs at 7:30.
Compared to rip - off airport train that would have cost $40 overall, the $60 user was worth the premium and the time saved. We arrived shortly at 8am and were dropped just on the departures concourse of QF's terminal 3.
Walking into the terminal hall, we checked in at one of QF's self-service desks as we didn't have any checked luggage. Plenty of staff were around to help anyone in need, and there were proper check-in desks with labelled priority lanes.
The self-service machine was quick and took 3 minutes, we received our boarding passes and headed towards security which is done under the great Qantas sign.
Apologies for the blurry photo, but this was the line to security. There was a premium queue, for Business class, QF Platinum and Gold with OneWorld equivalent, with a QF staff member checking that the right people were going in. The line was quick and we made it airside just 5 minutes later.
Being business class passengers we were invited to use the Qantas Domestic Business class lounge located to the left of security. It is easy to spot and is accessable by QF Frequent Flyer Gold and above, as well as One World Sapphire and Emerald I believe.
Lounge entry and doors
The Qantas Club and several meeting rooms are available.
Staff checked our boarding passes and welcomed us into the lounge. First impressions of the lounge are quite good, with a buffet and barista off to the right. Seating areas are spread around and tables with ottomans are lined up along the windows which give a good view over QF hangars and the gates.
Departures board (flight isn't listed yet!)
Seats are arranged around tables and are good looking + comfortable. Staff was doing their job well and constantly clearing any plates away and clearing up tables.
Plenty of departures boards, and you can see a coffee station off to the left.
As it was the morning and I was rather hungry, I decided to go to the buffet and grab a coffee from the bar. QF has a decent spread with muesli, fruit, eggs, pastries, yoghurt and different pieces of bread. These change around the day for each meal. I had some fruit and granola which tasted very good and fresh. There is also a DIY juice bar available where you can make your own fresh juices with a combination of apples, oranges, watermelon, pineapple and so on.
I also picked up some magazines from the rack available - plenty of newspapers and different articles.
After it was time for some plane spotting - primarily QF metal consisting of 737's and A330's.
QF 747 being towed to maint
QF A330 from Perth.
737 - Wunala Dreaming. A beautiful Indigenous Australian design on the plane.
After some plane spotting, the lounge boarding call was made at 9:08, and we left to board our jet VH-EBD at 9:10. Gate 11 was a short walk to the other side of the QF pier and as we arrived Economy passengers were beginning to board, with J class already underway.
Boarding: As is normal for A330's at YSSY departing with QF, there were 2 jetways for each corresponding cabin. At the gate staff was checking passes and us were scanned at 9:15, with a staff member kindly showing us the way.
Qantas 737 shaped travelator
Boarding Queue for business class and economy
Jetway to the door
At Door 1L a staff member welcomed us and addressed us by names, giving direction to our seats. First impressions at seat 4E are very good - the seat is spacious and large and there is plenty of legroom and compartments to put whatever you want wherever you want.
The cabin steadily filled up with some business travellers and one large family. Flight attendants Katherine and Janine came around welcoming us by name with a PDB of either water or apple juice. They also took everyone's coat when accepted except they seemed to miss/ignore me :/.
Noise cancelling headphones provided.
Attendants preparing the cabin for departure.
PDB of apple juice.
The seat: For a 1 hour flight, this seat is really all you want. The 1-2-1 configuration is really spacious and the seat itself gives you plenty of space. On the left is the flip out table, with a headphone compartment and a USB + 3 Prong jack. The headphones use a standard 2 plug adapter but themselves are 1 prong (adapter provided).
Seat control and compartments
Plenty of foot space
Divider on the right with the other seat - it gives you a good amount of privacy but isn't too obtrusive.
The seat functions are also very comprehensive - there is a massage feature, angle or bed setting, with different ajustments available for height, base and back. Even for takeoff it can be angled enough to sleep or just relax.
At 928, the last cabin door shut. Cabin manager Darren came on the PA to welcome us and also mentioned a complimentary morning tea service for economy. After that, the First Officer Grant came on to announce a flight time of 1 hour and 5 minutes, along with a cruising altitude of 40,000 feet. We would be taking off from 34R with a right turn over the Northern suburbs to straighten us for the flight to Melbourne.
Pushback was at 9:30 and engines started 2 minutes later. Unfortunately I couldn't get any photos as I was in the aisle seats. A video and manual safety demo began at 9:32 which was very Australian, showcasing all aspects of culture and life. Flight
10 minutes later, we took off from 34R. Traffic was light at this time as most internation departures had left and their was a gap in the business routes which most Australians fly on. Turning right over the beaches, we had a quick climb so that the cabin crew could begin their service.
Inflight/meal: At 9:50, the seatbelt sign was turned off and a couple of passengers got up to use the toilet and get stuff out of overhead lockers. The crew passed through the cabin shortly after at 10:00, to offer a morning tea of fruit salad, tuna mix with a salad or a ricotta plate. I asked for the tuna mix (sounded interesting) and a glass of orange juice and some lemonade, to which the crew obliged. Beats VA's 2 choice offeringc for a meal I guess!
Whilst I waited for the food, I started watching a really interesting show about Nazi submarines. I also checked out other parts of the IFE - QF really excels in this with documentaries, different TV shows, and 30 movies which are up to date and all pretty good. The moving map feature is also excellent with statistics and 3D images, and there is the option for live news and flight information. The monitor was HD, and 13'' I belive.
At 10:10, my meal of tuna was served. Bread and a salad, along with yoghurt, water + drinks of your choice were offered. At the same time, staff came through with options of apple turnovers or sourdough to go with our meals. I asked for both and they happily obliged. :)
Just over Canberra, nearing the 1/2 way point of the journey.
Detailed info from QF's next gen IFE.
The food was great - tuna refreshing and zesty, and the salad was well seasoned and oil. The yoghurt served on the side was also decent and of a good berry flavour. The turnover and bread were warm which was decent. Great catering by QF out of Sydney.
The flight attendants were proactive in refilling drinks and making sure we were happy and fed. At 10:30, the captain came onto the PA to announce a delay as ATC wanted us to reduce speed and circle earlier than usual - however I wasn't certain that this was the case as we were supposed to be at FL400 yet we were currently at FL325, and at cruising altitude.
Anyway, I continued to watch more TV shows including some Family Guy and I was listening to some classical music which was nice. The cabin was really quiet in terms of activity, but the FA's were still appropriately attentive and collected my tray at 10:35. It wasn't before long that we started our descent into Melbourne.
We had what felt like quite a long approach over Melbourne's North Eastern suburbs. We made a left handturn off a straight approach before doing a long right turn to line up with Runway 27. Our descent actually began at 10:37 with a gradual loss of altitude.
Yes, these photos are rotated (still don't know how to fix this issue) and there is no decent view outside, but i tried. Next FR I promise to be on a window seat!!!!! Any advice how to fix the photo issue?
We landed at 11:03, with a smooth touchdown at Melbourne's runway 27. We had a short taxi to Gate 7 (I believe!) amd reached the gate at 11:07 with a QF 737 on either side of us.
Door 2L Was opened at 11:11, and FA's stood at the economy class section to allow J class to deplane at their leisure. A nice touch.
Final cabin shot, thanks VH-EBD!
Walking through the terminal was easy and signage takes you to either cabs, parking or the Skybus which I used. The terminal was again rather quiet for a Wednesday morning.
I headed off to the Skybus where I headed to Melbourne's Southern Cross station which is right in the heart of the city - $9 for a oneway student ticket, with free Wifi. Made it there just 30 minutes later.
Not a bad flight I suppose! Please comment and give me feedback for my next reports, safe travels!
Qantas Business Lounge International
Sydney - SYD
Melbourne - MEL
For 16,000 QF points, this flight to Melbourne was a steal considering the comfort of the A330. The seat was amazing - would love to use this for an international flight, and the food was of excellent quality for just a morning tea. Service and the lounge were also a win for me. Whilst this retails for $600 at least one way and I wouldn't pay for it, it's a great deal for points. Stay tuned for my next FR which will be my trip to France and Switzerland in December - SYD - ABX - CDG - GVA - ABX - MEL - SYD. 6 flights, and I will review all of them. Cheers for reading, comments appreciated.
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Qantas Gold and oneworld Sapphire passengers only have access to the (lesser) Qantas Clubs. Qantas business class, Platinum/Platinum One and oneworld Emerald passengers have access to the Qantas Domestic Business Lounges.
The B738 you saw in special Aboriginal livery is not Wunala Dreaming but Mendoowoorrji.
Minor note to add:
The aircraft is an A330-200 instead of an A330-300. All A333 were configured with international cloth covered seats in business. Yours were in leather which means it's a domestically configured A332.
Good report! Looks like QF offers a nice Business product on their domestic flights. I'm impressed as well by the meal served on an hour flight! Very nice.
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