Introduction: New Years In The Maldives, Summer In New Zealand
Review: Etihad Airways Lounge New York JFK
Review: Etihad First Class A380 New York To Abu Dhabi
Review: Etihad Airways Arrivals Lounge Abu Dhabi
Review: Etihad Business Class A340 Abu Dhabi To Male
Review: Returning To The Park Hyatt Maldives
This Is What A $570 Per Person New Year’s Eve Hotel Gala Is Like
Review: Etihad First Class A380 Abu Dhabi To Sydney
Review: Park Hyatt Sydney
Review: Qantas Business Class 737 Sydney To Auckland
Review: Hilton Auckland
Review: Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland
Review: Hilton Queenstown
Review: American First Class 777-300ER Sydney To Los Angeles
After a rainy day in Sydney, we headed to Sydney Airport at around 3PM, plenty early for our 6:35PM flight to Auckland.
Perhaps the best part of flying to Auckland on Qantas as a oneworld Emerald is that you can use the excellent Qantas First Class Lounge, which is one of my favorite airline lounges in the world. I won’t be reviewing it again this time around, given that I’ve reviewed it before.
Our flight departed from gate 60, which was about a five minute walk from the Qantas First Class Lounge.
While boarding was scheduled to commence at 6:05PM for our 6:35PM departure, boarding was delayed by about 25 minutes due to the plane having a late inbound arrival. So we only boarded at 6:30PM.
Boarding began with business class, so we were among the first people aboard.
Sydney (SYD) – Auckland (AKL)
Wednesday, January 6
Aircraft: Boeing 737-800
Seat: 2D (Business Class)
At the door we were welcomed aboard by the customer service manager, Andrew, and pointed towards our seats.
Qantas’ 737s feature a total of 12 business class seats, spread across three rows in a 2-2 configuration. In terms of seat pitch, the seats are almost identical to what you’d find in domestic first class in the US (37″ of pitch).
However, I’d note that legroom was a bit worse than what you’d find in domestic first class in the US, given that the seats are “thicker,” and also have footrests, which takes up legroom and also limit how much you can store under your seat.
Seat controls were located on the center armrest, and were manual. On top of the footrest there was a legrest, which seemed like an overkill, since there wasn’t really enough room for the legrest to be extended.
On the plus side, waiting at each seat was a comfortable pillow and blanket, as well as the menu for the flight.
There was a good size console between seats, which also housed the personal televisions.
The entertainment controller was located in the center armrest.
The tray table for the aisle seat folded out from the aisle-side armrest.
Once settled in, Andrew came by with pre-departure beverages. I just had a glass of water. I was impressed that they at least served pre-departure drinks in proper glassware.
By 6:50PM boarding was complete, with just about every seat on the plane taken, best I could tell. The captain made his welcome aboard announcement, informing us of our flight time of 2hr34min. Despite the late departure, he was confident we’d still arrive on time.
At 7PM we began our pushback, at which point the safety video began to play.
This might be a good time to mention that this wasn’t actually a Qantas flight, but rather a JetConnect flight. I only mention this because it’s a fairly controversial topic among Australians. Basically Qantas’ flights between Australia and New Zealand are operated by a subsidiary with New Zealand based employees who are paid significantly less. It’s no different than how the big US carriers use regional airlines for cost savings, as their employees are paid significantly less.
Here’s a parody ad about JetConnect, to give a bit more context:
Our taxi to our departure runway took about 15 minutes, and during our taxi we saw the Etihad A380 taxiing in upon arrival from Abu Dhabi, the exact flight we had taken the day prior. Isn’t she pretty?
By 7:15PM we made it to runway 34L, where we were immediately cleared for takeoff.
Our initial climb out was quite bumpy, due to a pretty thick cloud layer.
It wasn’t until we passed about 20,000 feet that the weather got nicer.
About 25 minutes after takeoff the seatbelt sign was turned off, at which point the meal service began.
The menu read as follows:
And the beverage list read as follows:
To start, Andrew offered us drinks. I had a gin & tonic, which was served with snack mix consisting of nuts and pretzels.
For the main, Ford had the chicken salad, which he said was pretty good.
I had the pan fried snapper, which was excellent. It was accompanied by fennel, garlic potatoes, and green peas.
It was also served with a roasted carrot and thyme soup, which was excellent.
Personally I’ve never really liked Qantas’ bread selection, which seems to be the same in international first class as regional business class. That’s probably a good thing, since it means I don’t end up consuming unnecessary carbs.
For dessert we were offered vanilla bean ice cream with a biscotti.
Lastly, to finish off the meal we were offered orange Lindt chocolates.
The two flight attendants working business class did a great job throughout the meal service, and constantly offered refills and paced the meal to each person’s preference. They also referred to each passenger by name at almost every interaction, from memory. I was impressed.
The meal was done about 90 minutes into the flight, at which point I turned on the entertainment system.
The selection was fairly good, though given what a short flight it was, I decided just to watch a couple of sitcoms.
I also appreciate that Qantas has an airshow feature on their 737s. That’s possibly my favorite part of having a personal television screen, since it’s nice to be able to track your progress.
About 30 minutes before landing the captain came on the PA to provide updated arrival information, and shortly after that the seatbelt sign was turned on.
We had a smooth descent, and touched down in Auckland at 11:40PM. From there it was a 10 minute taxi to the gate, so we arrived at 11:50PM, just five minutes behind schedule.
Qantas 737 business class bottom line
Overall this was a perfectly nice product for a three hour flight.
I didn’t love the seats as such. Each seat has the same footprint as a US domestic first class seat, but Qantas tries too hard. A legrest and footrest in such limited space is far too restrictive, in my opinion. The seats also weren’t in very good shape, with a lot of wear and tear.
However, the service on the flight was excellent, and the food was above average, certainly better than what you’d get in the US.
Do keep in mind that Emirates operates an A380 between Sydney and Auckland, and LAN Chile operates a 787 between Sydney and Auckland as well, which offer fully flat beds in business class. So for this trip the Qantas flight worked out perfectly due to the timing and award availability, but in the future I’d make an effort to try one of the above flights.
If you’ve flown Qantas 737 business class, what was your experience like?