Review of Qantas flight Melbourne Auckland in Business

Airline Qantas
Flight QF153
Class Business
Seat 1A
Aircraft Boeing 737-800
Flight time 03:10
Take-off 03 Apr 15, 13:35
Arrival at 03 Apr 15, 18:45
QF   #24 out of 142 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 152 reviews
Nathan
By 4344
Published on 11th April 2015
Hi Everyone, as a long time lurker on this site I thought the time was right to submit a report of my own. I know it's not as comprehensive as it could have been but I'll be sure to expand next time. Any advice would be much appreciated.

I decided to use the four day weekend over Easter to go to Auckland with a friend. Qantas had a $1150AUD return fare from Canberra to New Zealand in Business, which we took advantage of. Qantas, through it's New Zealand subsidiary JetConnect flies trans-Tasman routes using 737-800 equipment. There is significant competition on this routes, with Emirates, LAN, China Airlines, Air New Zealand, Jetstar and Virgin Australia offering services from the East Coast of Australia to Auckland. Our Journey began on a Qantaslink 717-200, which arrived in Melbourne at 0930 local time.

Qantas 747-400ER at a remote stand before operating the late afternoon service to Los Angeles
photo 20150403_094006

We were airside by 1015, and thanks to my Qantas Platinum status, we were able to access the Qantas First Lounge. Sharing the same DNA as it's Sydney sister, the Melbourne lounge is smaller, though has the same great service. I had a pre-booked spa appointment for 1200, which I cancelled upon arrival as I had to make a business call. With the exception of the front desk staff who are employed by Qantas, the service staff within the lounge are all employed by Accor. We had breakfast, and owing to the fact we were on holiday we had a martini each.

The lounge was extremely busy, so this photo is from a visit the week before to the First Lounge in Sydney. On both occasions I had the sweet corn fritters with salmon.
photo restaurant

Taking photos in the lounge was difficult owing to the delay of QF93 to LAX, as the lounge was at capacity.
photo 20140413_085626

The First lounges are top-notch, with a selection of boutique Australian spirits. This was a Gin martini made using the brilliant Four Pillars Gin, from a distillery in the Yarra Valley, just outside of Melbourne. The EK A380 in the background was also operating to Auckland.
photo 20150403_112818


Boarding was announced at 1255. Priority boarding was announced though not enforced. The 737 taking us to Auckland was 100% full. We were welcomed onboard and took our seats in the first row.

The standard Qantas short-haul business class recliner. This seat is identical (bar upholstery) to the international long haul Premium Economy seat.
photo 20150403_160312

Qantas has recently started offering Champagne on its trans-Tasman services. I think there is significant pressure to increase the premium product offering on this route given the increase in competition. On today's flight we had the choice between Champagne Duval-Leroy Brut NV, orange juice or water as a pre-departure beverage. A Shanghai Airlines a330 was parked next to us.
photo 20150403_125301

The menu for today's flight.
photo 20150403_125313

Very average headphones, despite the style of the headset they are not noise cancelling. My QC25's had stopped working on the flight down from Canberra, though my very kind friend offered his back-up pair of QC15's which saw me through!
photo 20150403_125425

The Customer Service Manager came and greeted all passengers in the 12 seat cabin, and offered express-path cards and arrival documents. The warmth of this New Zealand crew was evident throughout the flight, and more than made up for the deficit in the hard-product compared to the competition.

The fantastic view of Melbourne following take off.
photo 20150403_131003

A pre-lunch drink was offered, and we both had a glass of the Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.
photo 20150403_132812

Crossing the coastline of Victoria.
photo 20150403_132952

Approximately 40 minutes into the flight the appetizer was served, a seared tuna salad. Sourdough was also offered. It was basic, but enjoyable.
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We both opted for the chicken as a main course. Very well cooked, but essentially a slab of chicken.
photo 20150403_142505photo 20150403_142625

At this point I visited the lavatory. In 2014 Qantas started using Aurora Spa products in it's lounges, on-board amenity kits and lavatories, as well as in the First Lounge Spa. They're decent enough, despite not having widespread brand recognition in Australia. The company is also based in Melbourne.
photo 20150403_142310

The only option for dessert was icecream. Qantas uses Maggie Beer icecream, which continues the theme of the Australian showcase. Maggie Beer is based in South Australia, she's an Australian celebrity chef and her farm is well worth a visit if you ever find yourself in the Barossa Valley.
photo 20150403_144646

After another hour we were nearing our destination. Our friendly Flight Attendant, Andy spent 15 minutes discussing his favourite activities on the North Island of New Zealand, and offering suggestions for our short stay.
photo 20150403_155501

Crossing the New Zealand coastline.
photo 20150403_161400

Downtown Auckland in the evening sun.
photo 20150403_161723

Welcome to the land of the Koru! As we had landed 10 minutes early we had a brief wait while a Jetstar a320 vacated our bay.
photo 20150403_162536

Some more NZ birds as we walked toward security.
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Verdict

Qantas

7.1/10
Cabin6.5
Cabin crew8.0
Entertainment/wifi7.0
Meal/catering7.0

Qantas First Lounge International

8.9/10
Comfort9.0
Meal/catering9.0
Entertainment/wifi8.5
Services9.0

Melbourne - MEL

6.5/10
Efficiency7.5
Access5.0
Services5.0
Cleanliness8.5

Auckland - AKL

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

Conclusion

A decent hop across the Tasman, though essentially Qantas provides consistent, predictable service. The lack of surprises is largely a blessing, though the lack of theatre is a blessing and a curse. The 737 service is comfortable, though not in the same league as partner Emirates offering on the same route. Qantas has the benefit of a comprehensive Australian domestic network feeding into their trans-Tasman services, and has taken some steps to improve the product onboard (Champagne in place of sparkling wine, amenity kits on flights departing after 1800). Whether it will be enough remains to be seen. The service was very good; personalized and professional. These services are well suited to road warriors, though leisure travelers may enjoy trying something a little out of the ordinary such as EK service, or even a NZ widebody.

Many thanks for taking the time to read my first report, and all criticism is welcomed.

Information on the route Melbourne (MEL) Auckland (AKL)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 3 reviews of 2 airlines on the route Melbourne (MEL) → Auckland (AKL).


Useful

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

The average flight time is 3 hours and 3 minutes.

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7 Comments

  • Comment 133822 by
    lagentsecret GOLD 12015 Comments

    Thanks for sharing your first FR and welcome aboard

    Great pictures all along the report

    It's more pleasant when the comments are above the pictures

    You could also add the lounge menu if available

    The appetizer looks great, more than the main course

    Anyway you seem to have enjoyed your flight

    See you soon for a next report

    • Comment 313876 by
      Nathan AUTHOR 5 Comments

      Thanks for your comments! I've changed the format so the captions are above the pictures. I didn't get a photo of the lounge menu on this occasion, but I'll be sure to get a picture when I'm there in a few weeks.

  • Comment 133839 by
    NGO85 1622 Comments

    Welcome to the site and thanks for sharing this report!

    There is a lot of competition on the trans-Tasman routes, but QF doesn't seem to offer a very competitive product sending these narrow-bodies (even on the SYD-AKL route). That said, the seat looks appropriate for a narrow body, very similar to US domestic F, but better IFE.

    That's probably where the similarities to US domestic F end, lol, because the menu looks much better. The starter looks good, but the chicken could do with some serious presentation improvement. As you said, it's literally a slab of chicken. They could also do with some sort of paper on the tray so it doesn't look so economy.

    Nice aerial shot of Auckland on arrival.

    • Comment 313915 by
      Nathan AUTHOR 5 Comments

      Thank you for you comment! I agree that the QF product is not competitive. I feel that the hard-product deficiencies could be mitigated by providing an outstanding soft-product. Unfortunately this is yet to be achieved.

      The menu is indeed better than domestic F (I fly Delta domestically in the States, and AA on occasion). Qantas' celebrity chef, Neil Perry, is apparently meant to deliver accessible luxury cuisine, which from my point of view generally means very basic food with a sprig of parsley or something similar! For instance, my last two flights in J from SYD to PER have had the hot meal options of a chicken parm or Cornish pastie. Although there's nothing wrong with this approach, I prefer something with a little theatre in premium cabins ;)

      It was certainly a nice afternoon to arrive in Auckland!

  • Comment 133884 by
    jetsetpanda 2294 Comments

    Welcome and thank you for sharing your first report. Great aerial pics of both cities.

    The lounge experience surpasses anything that you would find in the U.S. and it seems that you dined well.

    QF offers a decent product. The nice appetizer is the highlight of your meal. As others have said, the main dish is not at the same level as the first course. Choices are good, but I find that offering a salad for the vegetarian option on top of the salad appetizer is a bit redundant. Personally I would have preferred a hot dish instead. Perhaps a curry dish or pasta.

    • Comment 313916 by
      Nathan AUTHOR 5 Comments

      Thanks for your comments! The Qantas lounge experience is always great, and the dining in the international lounges is certainly world class. I agree that having a main-course vegetarian options on a trans-Tasman route is unnecessary; especially given the lack of wide based appeal to a dish such as the one on the menu.

  • Comment 133940 by
    SKYTEAMCHC GOLD 8172 Comments

    Thanks for this report. I have only flown Qantas twice in Business and I really like this airline. They are not pretentious and offer a very good service. The lounge is great ! Too bad they did not use a larger aircraft that provides more comfort even on short / medium routes.

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