Review of Bonza flight Melbourne Mildura in Economy

Airline Bonza
Flight AB1037
Class Economy
Seat 28F
Aircraft Boeing 737 MAX 8
Flight time 01:05
Take-off 01 Apr 24, 17:25
Arrival at 01 Apr 24, 18:30
AB 0 reviews
koresh
By SILVER 291
Published on 24th May 2024

Bonza AB1037 Melbourne to Midura


Flight details:
Airline: Bonza
Flight: AB1037 MEL - MQL
Reg: VH-UJK "Sheila"
Aircraft: Boeing 737-8 MAX
Seat: 4A
Depart Melbourne Terminal 4 Gate 19: 05:25PM [Actual: 06.26PM]
Arrive Mildura Airport: 06:30PM [Actual: 07.29PM]
Total time: 0 hour 48 mins


Video: Bonza AB1037 Melbourne to Midura



Introduction


This trip report is from April 2024. This trip continues from Melbourne arrival, Read previous trip - Rex Airlines ZL9 Sydney - Melbourne.

I wanted to fly this airline as it was the newest and also for the Boeing 737- Max 8. I knew Bonza had started a year ago and seen the 1st aircraft in Sunshine Coast when it was awaiting air operator certificate, See report - Virgin Australia VA492 Sunshine Coast to Sydney.

This trip report may be  one and only last flight report for this airline.


Bonza stopped flights and entered voluntary administration on 30th April 2024.


Routing

  • ZL9 - Economy - Sydney → Melbourne - Boeing 737-800 Past
  • AB1037 - Economy - Melbourne → Mildura - Boeing 737 MAX 8 You are here
  • ZL3657 - Economy - Mildura → Melbourne - Saab 340 Coming soon
  • QF1276 - Economy - Melbourne → Canberra - Airbus A220-300 Coming soon
  • QF1510 - Economy - Canberra → Sydney - Boeing 717-200 Coming soon

Pre-Departure


As Bonza did not operate from Sydney. I had to travel to either Melbourne or Gold Coast to fly with this airline.

I checked different route and found Melbourne Tullamarine as the best airport to experience this airline. I didn't want to travel far and Midura was Bonza's shortest route in Victoria.

My original plan was to return back to Melbourne from Midura on return trip. As there was no other departures after this flight. I dropped the idea and booked hotel for 1 night. 

Midura Airport arrival schedule


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Midura airport departure schedule


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Flight Booking


Bonza ticket could be booked only through app on mobile phone. The website was not available, one of the reason why airline was popular with travellers.


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Interface was easy but not user friendly.  I prefer using website while booking as its easier to read the information on bigger screen.


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I entered personal details and paid with credit card. Booking took 4-5 mins.


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Online Check-IN


I completed online check-in through phone on the morning of flight.


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I had no check-in bags, 8kgs was permitted for handbag. I had selected seat during booking process.


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Dangerous good acknowledgement


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I scrolled through the list and then acknowledged.


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Boarding pass was issued and QR code generated.


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I checked the aircraft information, which was not available.


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Bonza had leased 4 Boeing 737-8 Max aircraft's and used to operate 2 times a week to Midura.


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Skybus from City


Skybus operates to Avalon and Tullamarine airport from Southern Cross station.


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Video: Melbourne SkyBus to Tullamarine Airport



Bus ride takes 40 minutes depending on traffic. Most of the route is on Tullamarine freeway. Bus was full on the day of travel.


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Arriving at Airport


I had a return ticket and took bus back to airport. Bus was full as I wasn't carrying check-in bag, it was easier to travel. Bus stops at Terminal 2 and 3.


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Bus also departs from front of terminal 4 and then stops at terminal 3 and 2 bound for city.


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After alighting from the bus at Terminal 3, walked back towards Terminal 4[T4] as Bonza operated from T4.


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I had arrived early to airport and then checked the flight schedule.


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Jetstar check-in counter at T4


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Video: Melbourne Tullamarine Terminal 4



Bonza, Link and Rex at the end of terminal


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Self check kiosk for Rex, Bonza and Link flights.


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Check-in


I had checked online earlier, when to the self-kiosk to print the boarding pass, just in case.


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Staff was present to assist passengers with check-in process and drop bag.


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Bonza kiosk


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Scanned the QR code on the phone and got the boarding pass.


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Security Check


Terminal 4 has security check on upper level, took escalator to departure level. Signs in Australia are clear, easy to navigate.


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Reached the upper level and cleared security without issue. Queue was short and I was in departure area.


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Departure Area


After clearing security, I checked time and looked for food.


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I had booked hotel away from the town and had dinner before boarding.


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Aircraft Information


I checked the flight schedule, which showed AB1037 would be operated by VH-UJK


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Aircraft would be arriving from Port Macquarie, NSW.


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To gate


After dinner, I walked towards the boarding gate, which was on lower level.


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Escalator to lower levels at the end of the corridor


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Aircraft was boarding from gate 19


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Passengers had gathered around the gate. Arriving aircraft was delayed due to heavy rain. Ground crew had suspended work due to thunderstorm, high wind and heavy rain. Announcement was made flight would be delayed due to weather.

I got call from hotel regarding the arrival time, I wasn't sure as there was no information due to weather. I assumed and informed having some knowledge of Melbourne weather, would arrive by 7.30pm, I got instructions how to access the property. I was informed that transport can be difficult to find in Mildura. I searched for taxi and found a number, called and booked from airport to hotel.


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Flight estimate departure time was not available.


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Aircraft arrived late at 5.09pm and passengers began deboarding at 5.30pm


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Boarding


I had to reschedule the taxi booking as flight got delayed. Boarding for the flight began at 6.00pm


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Aircraft in view behind the glass


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Seeing the queue, I knew flight was full.


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Boarding pass was scanned and then allowed towards aircraft. Aircraft was named "Sheila". Ground crew directed passengers to board from front or rear stairs according to seat number.


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Onboard


I was seated in row 28, boarded from the rear. Crew welcomed passengers at the door. Flight being full, aisle was congested due to passengers loading bag in overhead bin.


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I reached allocated seat and got settled.


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Clean aircraft and purple seats.


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Phone based menu through app or QR code, USB charger below the literature sign.


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SEat Pocket COntent


Seat pocket contained safety card


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Bonza Boeing 737-8 Max safety card


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Full view


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Aircraft was not cleaned, found a boarding pass from previous passenger.


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Individual air vents and lights. Head rest was adjustable. Seat on this aircraft was comfortable.


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Window view with rain still falling, boarding was completed.


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Pushback and taxi


Flight was full and boarding was completed in 15 mins. Ground crew disembarked, door was shut and cabin crew made announcements regarding delay.


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Pilot provided flight information. Pushback commenced and crew conducted safety demonstration manually.


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Moodlighting was turned on during pushback


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Taxi was not too long as aircraft was parked close to runway in operation. View of International section as aircraft taxi in front.


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Virgin Australia departing


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Qantas departing


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Runway 34 was used for departure. Took off towards the North and then turned West.


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Air was turbulent and seat belt was kept on.


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Crew announced that they would commence service after seat belt sign was turned off. After few minutes, another announcement was made that service would not commence due to turbulence.


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Aircraft experienced frequent turbulence, seat belt sign was on throughout the flight.


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Seat pocket view


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Power socket between seat. Leg spacing was enough for me.


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Approaching Mildura


As the flight time was short, pilot announced descend would commence shortly. As the seat belt sign was on throughout, passengers nor crew did not left their seat.


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It was raining in Midura.


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Darling river below on approach


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There was heavy rain at the airport and aircraft was high on approach.


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Pilot conducted a go around as aircraft missed landing point.


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Sun setting with rain clouds creating beautiful view like in movies.


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This lead to another 20 minutes spent in air, second approach was attempted.


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Landing was successful.


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Reduced window view due to rain


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Disembarkation


Being a regional airport, aircraft has to turnaround on the runway to taxi towards the terminal.  5 minutes more required to reach parking bay. Passengers getting ready to disembark after aircraft stopped in bay.


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I waited for others to disembark before exiting from the front door. Crew organising seat after passengers had disembarked.


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It was raining, had to walk in rain to the arrival terminal. I had covered myself with beanie and hoodie to protect from getting head wet.


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View of aircraft from distance.


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ARRival in Mildura


Passing through man trap to enter arrival area.


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As I had no check-in bag, I walked towards the exit.


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Exiting Airport


I waited in the taxi shelter for taxi. I called the company but was informed that booking was cancelled due to unavailability of drivers to drive to airport. I had to call a different service to book a taxi. Other passengers without transport were waiting as well for taxi as there was no waiting taxi . Most passengers had personal transport to their destination.

I was able to book a taxi and waited 20 minutes for taxi to arrive, I heard from others its better to book through 13cabs app. Those going to town centre was car pooling to reach faster.

I got the taxi and reached hotel by 8.10pm. Owner had gone to sleep, I organised my stuff for next day and went to sleep.


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Aircraft Flight and Route Information


Bonza aircraft - VH-UJK "Sheila" operated AB1037 to Mildura


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Video: Bonza AB1037 Melbourne to Midura Route



Aircraft rotation on day of travel.


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Hope you enjoyed this trip report. Thanks for reading.
:)


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Verdict

Bonza

6.0/10
Cabin6.5
Cabin crew6.5
Entertainment/wifi6.0
Buy-on-board menu5.0

Melbourne - MEL

7.0/10
Efficiency7.5
Access6.5
Services7.0
Cleanliness7.0

Mildura - MQL

6.6/10
Efficiency7.5
Access5.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness7.0

Conclusion

I flew on Bonza for the experience of a new airline. Due to weather, flight got delayed and that affected the experience which had nothing to do with airline. Airline was quick to start boarding service as the weather improved.

Due to delay, flight was not cleaned in Melbourne. Crew seems to be friendly, didn't see much interaction with passengers as seat belt sign was on throughout the flight.

There is no personal entertainment screen in the seat,entertainment was through streaming. Wifi was available but I didn't check.

Melbourne airport was efficient as it wasn't that busy. I had dinner at the airport and then boarded the flight, I didn't buy anything onboard due to cancelled service.

Mildura being a regional town, transport is not easily accessible. As I didn't have a check-in bag, I could walk out within minutes of arriving.

Bonza was a good airline, it had chosen routes where demand was high. Unfortunately, they didn't last long enough due to lack of frequency nor aircraft.

I was happy I did this trip as they stopped flying at the end April. I had a good experience with Bonza.

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