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    Qantas exit row a happy option to New Zealand

    9/10

    From 3 editor reviews

    Steve Creedy

    Cabin: Economy
    Route: Sydney-Queenstown-Sydney
    Aircraft: Boeing 737

    8/10

    Having a bit of space makes the world of difference and airlines have quickly twigged to the fact people will pay extra to avoid what is increasingly becoming the purgatory of standard economy.

    It’s worth paying for the extra legroom if it’s reasonably priced and the roughly three-hour trip between Australia and New Zealand is long enough to warrant the outlay. Be aware though, seats are limited and you may need to book ahead.

    Qantas review queenstown
    Photo: Queenstown.co.nz

    The experience was complemented in this case by better than expected food and service.

    The airport experience was mixed. Qantas now has self-check-in kiosks for international flights in Sydney and that all worked fine as did security and border control.

    Then came the trip to a hardstand in a packed, sweaty bus with a broken air conditioner.

    It was a cool relief to settle into the exit row on this Boeing 737  and discover it had ample room for even my long legs. Qantas is still full-service between Australia and New Zealand with luggage, food and drinks included in the price of the ticket.

    Seat and Amenities

    The seat came equipped with a touchscreen inflight entertainment system, a USB charging port and was relatively comfortable with an adjustable headrest.

    There was nobody in the seat next to me between Sydney and Queenstown but the limitations of the 17.2-inch width became apparent with somebody sitting in the seat on the way back.

    Qantas New Zealand review
    Plenty of room in these seats. Photos: Steve Creedy.

    SeatGuru says Qantas now has a 30-inch seat pitch in standard economy on its 737s but buying an exit row allowed me to avoid that. Not feeling like you’re being progressively knee-capped makes the world a sunnier place.

    The battery on my ageing Samsung was down to 10 percent and had recovered to 62 percent after about three hours connected to the USB port.

    Customer service on board

    The staff were friendly and efficient. There seemed to be a few Kiwi accents and I saw Jet Connect on badges.

    I was impressed when the flight attendant who helped me with me temporarily indisposed IFE offered to get me a drink while I  waited for it to reboot.

    As befitting one of the world’s safest airlines, they were diligent about safety. I was told to unplug my phone during take-off and another passenger was asked to put their shoes on.

    Catering

    I later learned you could choose a meal before you fly but I don’t remember seeing that on the Qantas website.

    Breakfast was good and would not have been out of place in premium economy.

    There was choice a spinach and herb frittata with bacon and kale or a fruit platter.

    I chose the frittata, which came with bacon, a sausage and potatoes. There was also juice, a mini-muffin and a mango yoghurt with crunchy granola stuff.

    Qantas New Zealand
    A decent breakfast was welcome.

    On the way home, it was a tasty beef curry with vegies and a pre-buttered bread roll. This was followed by a Tip Top ice-cream bar and a Whitakkers chocolates Drinks were complimentary and it was a full bar that included spirits. A couple of drinkable reds helped wash down the curry.

    Qantas New Zealand review
    Lunch on the way home.

    Inflight entertainment

    Qantas gives you a set of half-way reasonable over-the-ear headphones but they are not noise-canceling and quite a few in the economy cabin had brought their own.

    Qantas New Zealand review
    Quite a few people brought their own headphones.

    However, you can use the supplied gear if necessary.

    The Q Entertainment system is one of the better offerings – when it works.

    I’ve had problems with headphone sockets on recent flights and the flight to Queenstown was no exception. You could get it to work properly if you jiggled it the jack and held it in place.

    Some sort of software problem caused the sound to drop out on the way back and it had to be rebooted.

    There is a good selection of recent movies, TV series and audio podcasts and radio.

    Extra information

    It  was a pleasant experience in both directions  with a few extras that I didn’t necessarily expect in these days of airline Grinches.

    That was probably as much a result of economy class expectations that have too often been lowered into a dungeon of despair but it was a nice surprise nonetheless.

    Steve Creedy paid for these flights.

    Sharon Petersen

    Cabin: Business Class
    Route: Perth to Hong Kong
    Aircraft: A330-300

    10/10

    Seat and Amenities

    We were on one of the last flights out of Perth to Hong Kong before the route was ceased. Seats came with a full size pillow with a cotton cover, thick, large blanket and an amenity kit including socks, eyemask, eye, face and hand moisturiser as well as toothbrush and toothpaste. The seats transformed into a completely lie flat bed. Being in a “shell” gave you more privacy from the person next to you.

    Customer service on board

    The customer service was without a doubt some of the best I had ever received

    Catering

    Catering was superb with a very tempting selection of main meals. The rack of lamb which was most probably the best I’ve ever tasted. The beverage list was impressive and comprehensive. Feeling very full after the generous meal service I was surprised at the “snack” service that came around four hours later. The snacks were like another main meal and just as delicious!

    Inflight entertainment

    The international Qantas in flight entertainment is excellent. There are many choices for adults and kids with a wide variety of movies, games, music and TV programs. Being an Australian carrier you will find some classic Australian TV series and movies on offer which after a period of time overseas is very comforting. Kids packs are also available and handed out by the cabin crew.

    Sharon Petersen

    Cabin: Economy Class
    Route: Perth to Sydney return
    Aircraft: A330-200

    9/10

    Seat and Amenities

    A comfortable seat with a 32 inch seat pitch and 5 inch recline. Blankets and pillows available up on request. No amenity kits provided on domestic Economy flights

    Customer service on board

    Excellent customer service

    Catering

    The meals were tasty however I don’t find them to be particularly filling especially on the five hour Sydney to Perth flights. The main meal is served with a bread roll, cheese and crackers and a brownie or piece of cake. Beverage service is done with the main meal service. About an hour before landing a fruit and nut “energy” mix is handed out to passengers. Staff go through the cabin multiple times throughout the flight offering non alcoholic beverages with alcoholic beverages served free of charge upon request. I had a child next to me with a kids meal and it looked pretty good!

    Inflight entertainment

    Excellent in flight entertainment with all domestic A330 aircraft having seat back screens and Audio Video on Demand. There is a wide selection of movies and TV shows with a good selection for kids.

    Extra information

    Without a doubt one of the worlds best domestic product offering

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