Review of Qantas flight Sydney Perth in Business

Airline Qantas
Flight QF583
Class Business
Seat 5A
Aircraft Airbus A330-300
Flight time 05:15
Take-off 27 Nov 16, 19:45
Arrival at 27 Nov 16, 22:00
QF   #25 out of 131 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 136 reviews
Rewardflying
By SILVER 1990
Published on 5th February 2017
I've always wanted to see Perth in Australia. Being so remote it's easy to form an opinion of what a city in the middle of nowhere would be like. The trip to Melbourne offered the opportunity to visit Perth as well as a Reward Flying version of an Australian airlines throwdown, pitting Qantas vs Virgin Australia. Both of these carriers have vastly improved their long domestic business class offering over the last couple years with new business class cabins. The stage was set, fly to Perth and take Qantas one way and Virgin Australia the other. The surprises to come were many.

The Qantas way had me backtracking to Sydney. So there are 2 flights on this ticket. MEL-SYD and SYD-PER. Double the chance to review the product.

photo qf mel-per cover

The advertisement photos for the new Qantas A330 business class cabin look inviting.

photo qf444 seat 0

One board I was underwhelmed. The cabin lacked any pizzaz.

photo qf444 cabin 2

The color scheme just didn't work for me, not that my opinion matters.

photo qf444 cabin 3

During daylight hours with the window shades up the cabin seemed dark.

photo qf444 cabin 4

And at night it's even darker.

photo qf583 cabin 2

The window seat that hugs the window. There are only 4 of these window seats in the premium cabin, rows 2 and 4. And pre-assignment is blocked by Qantas except for elite members (as is the whole front cabin). For solo travelers these are the best seats. Unfortunately they are hard to get.

photo qf444 seat 1

I called Qantas for these window seats a couple of times and was denied. Qantas opens all seating 80 hours prior to departure. With their mobile app it's easy to change seats. I got a 4A on one flight, but the second flight only 5A, an aisle hugging window seat, was available.

photo qf583 mobile seat selection

The next issue is for couples who travel together and take a middle seat. The big divider doesn't retract.

photo qf444 seat 2

All seats are fairly private as this photo of row 4 depicts the slight offset.

photo qf444 cabin 1

The Australian Aviation Safety agency allows for these seats to be partially reclined on take-off and landing. This photo shows the maximum amount of the recline allowed. The shoulder safety harness is required in all seats positions. Articles have mentioned that you can almost fully recline on take-off, but I was told this was the max.

photo qf444 seat 3

The window seat hugging the aisle.

photo qf583 seat 1

Notice the width of the armrest.

photo qf583 seat arm rest 3

In reality your arm is in the aisle, watch out for carts. I got nailed by one. Definitely a strike against the Vantage XL seat.

photo qf583 seat arm rest 2

While the Vantage XL pod has a nice open space and is well designed for things you might be using during the flight, I think Qantas didn't do as good a job as SAS did with their pod design.

photo qf583 seat 2a

Headphones and power connections are convenient.

photo qf444 seat acc 2

The seat controls are off the armrest so the seat can't be inadvertently moved as is the case with some Vantage seats. They chose a solid front to the shelf with an opening at the bottom. What purpose this serves escapes me.

photo qf444 seat acc 3

The water bottle holder is secure and nicely placed but remained lonely from Melbourne to Sydney to Perth.

photo qf583 seat acc bottle

Flip the armrest and you'll find the video controller along with a mirror. This mirror placement is curious as well.

photo qf444 seat acc 4

The back of the front pod is the rack for safety cards and magazines. Seems more useful if it could hold an ipad or laptop like other versions of this seat.

photo qf444 seat 4

Ample tray that easily slides out from the side table.

photo qf444 seat 5

Plenty of legroom to stretch out.

photo qf444 seat 7

This storage area, for what I'm not sure, is only available on the seats that hug the aisle.

photo qf583 seat 5

I didn't care for the leather on these seats. The domestic version has leather while the international version has cloth. The seat was cold, especially during the night to Perth. For international flights they have a fitted mattress pad which might have made a big difference. As it was I did not like the seat.

Amenities, or lack thereof…

The only mention of "amenities" came on a drawer in the lavatory on the SYD-PER flight. So I opened it.

photo qf583 cabin lav 1

Food and Beverage service on QF444 MEL-SYD

The good news is they offered a meal service on a one hour flight. Credit where credit is due. A guava juice upon boarding.

photo qf444 bev 1

Cart service began quickly.

photo qf444 cabin cart

The choice was cauliflower soup. It wasn't half bad sans the look.

photo qf444 food 1

I wouldn't call it filling and/or plentiful however.

photo qf444 food 2

Food and Beverage service on QF583 SYD-PER

This was a dinner flight.

I had the "house" red wine.

photo qf583 food 1photo qf583 menu

A number of things struck me as odd with this menu.

Blue cheese in soup
Blue cheese in big bowl soup (What if they ran out of everything but soup? Then you had soup and soup.)
Beer ice cream ("Maplesyrup" posted a comment on my blog pointing out Maggie Beer is a brand, hello marketing department!)

Needless to say I avoided those items. I first selected the Korean beef noodle salad and was told it was cold. Given the fact I was physically cold already I changed. I flipped a coin between the pork and chicken as neither sounded great.

I wish the coin had landed under the seat.

Salad, make that wilted lettuce.

photo qf583 food 2

Yum

photo qf583 food 3

Yum Yum

photo qf583 food 6

I'm hoping the Hilton in Perth is open late. (They were!)

photo qf583 food 7

So how about the IFE?

It seems as they just bolted a monitor on the back of the pod.

photo qf444 ife 0

Fortunately the pilots had better navigation.

photo qf444 ife 1

You be the judge on the monitor quality.

During the day.

photo qf444 ife 2

At night.

photo qf583 ife 1

For better or worse I got to visit the Qantas Business class lounge in both Melbourne and Sydney.

To get to the Qantas lounge in Melbourne you pass through the Domestic Qantas Club

photo qf444 lounge outside

Until you find the Business Class lounge.

photo qf444 lounge 0

It's run of the mill, 3 or 4 smaller rooms with a view of the airfield.

photo qf444 lounge compositephoto qf444 lounge 7

Both the Melbourne and Sydney lounges were well stocked with wine. Melbourne has a barista as well. (Sydney might have too.)

photo qf444 lounge 2

The food wasn't particularly appetizing.

photo qf444 lounge menuphoto qf444 lounge food

How about Sydney, anything different?

No. A view of the airfield, and maintenance hangers.

photo qf583 lounge 3

But a cool moveable walkway cover.

photo qf583 airport 1

The crew on both flights were nice and did their job. However not one offered a bottle of water during a combined 5 1/2 hours of flight time.

The best memory of the flight:

photo qf583 view 1

Bottom line:
photo qf583 opinion

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Verdict

Qantas

4.5/10
Cabin6.0
Cabin crew5.0
Entertainment/wifi4.0
Meal/catering3.0

Qantas Club - 3

4.5/10
Comfort4.0
Meal/catering4.0
Entertainment/wifi5.0
Services5.0

Sydney - SYD

4.8/10
Efficiency5.0
Access4.0
Services5.0
Cleanliness5.0

Perth - PER

5.5/10
Efficiency6.0
Access5.0
Services5.0
Cleanliness6.0

Conclusion

After this flight concluded I was extremely disappointed in the Qantas product. But the disappointment would turn to shear amazement when I flew Virgin Australia on the way back. Stay tuned.

Related

11 Comments

  • Comment 384597 by
    SKYTEAMCHC TEAM GOLD 7407 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this report. I am very surprised by your comments and rating as I find the cabin quite nice and it seems very confortable. Same for the catering which could be improved but does not look bad at all ! . This shows how personal ratings can be !

  • Comment 384618 by
    Razza_Pr 205 Comments

    Hello, rewardflying, and thank you for this FR.

    I couldn't believe my eyes when I read that menu. Broccoli with blue cheese soup vs BIG BOWL of broccoli with blue cheese soup? Wonder if anyone actually chose both of that, or if there had been a passenger served the wrong tray?

    The seating configuration might prove somewhat puzzling for people who wish to be directly next to each other and booked the middle seats - would you say that it would be better to book C-E seats if travelling as a duo?

    They will have this configuration on their upcoming 787s as well.. and if the wider cabin of the A330 can be too narrow for the service carts to smoothly move down the cabin without disrupting passengers, I wonder how they will do on the 787..?

    Hmm. No oshibiri service on any of the sectors?

    Thanks again for this FR! Looking forward to reading about your trip with Vee-Oz :)

    • Comment 385207 by
      Rewardflying SILVER AUTHOR 447 Comments

      Hi Razza_Pr, No oshibori? how about a bottle of water....!

      The offset on the seats pretty much cancels out any way to communicate with someone across the aisle. It's just a cost cutting measure to not have a moveable divider. And that was my problem with the seats. You could tell they went for the least expensive model and it showed. American has made the same mistake with the divider on their new super diamond installs on 787-9 and 777 refits. Thanks for reading as always.

  • Comment 384681 by
    ezratheodore 18 Comments

    Thanks for the FR.

    Two small notes regarding catering:
    1) It's not beer ice cream , it's Maggie Beer ice cream. Maggie Beer is a celebrity Australian chef who makes a range of premium food products. The ice cream is delicious, and I haven't seen any flavour containing beer.
    2) The soup option of either and entree or a main course is Qantas' way of letting people know they can have it in either size. I imagine they often get people who want a large bowl of soup as opposed to the other mains and an entree doesn't cut it. Australians quite like a big bowl of soup and it is typical to have at your local cafe.

    -Ez

    • Comment 385208 by
      Rewardflying SILVER AUTHOR 447 Comments

      Thanks for reading Ez and thanks for the aussie cultural info. While I never thought it was actually beer ice cream, someone needs to speak with the marketing department. Let's see, Maggie Beer ice cream or ice cream by celebrity Chef Maggie Beer.... Just saying.

  • Comment 384690 by
    JW19 108 Comments

    I like that honesty from your review once again. I do agree that the menu looks and sounds lackluster and that the simple attention to detail like a bottle of water can really make or break an experience more so when there is so much hype on it. I feel Qantas has been singing the same song for sometime and it starts to get tiring. Aussie culture needs better representation, lucky for the VA is around.

  • Comment 385013 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 4845 Comments

    Yikes, when I saw this report was on the QF Vantage XL product, I did not expect to see such low grades. I see what you mean about the cabin not being a nice or well designed as SK's, but in the context of these seats being used on transcon flights of max 6 hours, I don't think any airline operates a better product on scheduled domestic flights. Even on the premium NYC-LAX/SFO transcons in the U.S., the J hard products don't compare. I will say that the fixed partitions between the middle seats is not a great design choice--it's good for privacy, but it's terrible for couples travelling together. A movable partition would have been better.

    The catering may be somewhat uninspiring to some, though that's always subjective (the curry actually sounds really good), but I commend QF on having 4 choices of mains and 2 choices of appetizers. Normally, even on Premium transcons in the US, you don't have a choice of appetizer and there are 3 choices of mains. So comparatively, Yes, Maggie Beer is a brand, but it's actually a person's name. Margaret "Maggie" Beer is an Australian chef/restaurateur who also owns a food company.

    Too bad the QF Vantage XL product fell short of your expectations. I've been wanting to try it for a while now (I also have a fascination with seeing Perth because of its remoteness), so I hope I am not disappointed when I finally get to experience it. Thanks for sharing!

  • Comment 385211 by
    Rewardflying SILVER AUTHOR 447 Comments

    Hi KevinDC. Yes, another carrier flies a substantially better product on the same route. But to your point, on my website I've rated 22 what I call regional business class flights. The majority of the aircraft are widebodies with some of the A320/B737 variety mixed in. Of course there is no comparison of these Vantage XL seats to those. But you can also take this plane to NRT or HKG. In any case my ratings are from 1-10 and QF fell right in the middle at 5. The lowest was 2.2 (Austrian European BC) and the highest is 8.2 That is next.

    As for Perth. GO!

    Thanks for reading.

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