Review: Qantas 737 Business Class, Brisbane to Christchurch

Qantas offers a solid Business Class service between Brisbane and Christchurch on their Boeing 737.

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Summary

Qantas offers a solid product for Trans-Tasman Business Class travellers with a daily service from Brisbane to Christchurch. It’s not as flashy as Emirate’s A380 super jumbo, but Qantas’ personable and friendly service excels at creating a seamless and enjoyable short haul Business Class trip.

Lounge 4/5

Travellers booked in Business Class with Qantas departing from Brisbane International have access to the newly renovated and fantastic Qantas Brisbane International Lounge. Split over two levels, the lounge offers a bright and open space with made-to-order breakfast items, full buffet, bar and freshly squeezed juices. Lookout for a full review on this blog coming soon.

The daily Brisbane to Christchurch service is scheduled to depart at 8:50 am, a fairly convenient time.

Boarding 4/5

I arrived at the gate fairly late, but there was clear delineation between Economy and Business Class boarding. Once onboard, I was offered an introduction and something to drink. Since I was going on holiday for the weekend I opted for the Champagne.

Cabin Features 3.5/5

Qantas operates a dual-class Boeing 737 service between Brisbane and Christchurch with 12 Business Class seats across 3 rows at the front. All Qantas Trans-Tasman services are currently Boeing 737 aircraft with Sydney to Auckland upgrading to the A330 later this year.

The 737 cabin is fairly run of the mill, and certainly not as exciting as the Emirates A380 Trans-Tasman services. But, in all fairness, most aircraft operating across the ditch are narrow body aircraft similar to this. Infact, Air New Zealand doesn’t even have Business Class on their Trans-Tasman A320s.

Seat 3.5/5

For this flight, there were only 3 other seats allocated when I booked, and I decided to sit in row 2 with a window seat to get views of the Southern Alps when flying over New Zealand.

The seat is essentially the same as the domestic Business Class product Qantas flies around the country, which is fine for short haul sectors like this one. The legroom is good, the seat is fairly wide and there is enough space for a drink on the side table without having to have the tray table down the whole time.

Unfortunately I found that the entertainment screen was beginning to show its age, with a fairly small screen, relatively low resolution and poor touch response. Having recently flown on Qantas’ renovated A330s to Japan, this product is definitely showing its age.

Dining 4/5

Given the morning departure, breakfast was the meal service available on the flight. Menus were distributed before takeoff and consisted of 3 options. I opted for the savoury muffin and poached eggs with sausage and spinach. The meal was good but not the best breakfast I’ve had inflight.

Service 4.5/5

Service on the flight was faultless. The staff took the time to introduce themselves and really made every effort to ensure I was comfortable and fed. I had several glasses of champagne throughout the flight and service was regular enough that I didn’t have to press the call bell.

Entertainment 3/5

Qantas had a good selection of movies and TV shows available for the flight. I always tend to find content I enjoy when flying on Qantas and their selection appears to be more extensive than Virgin’s. As mention earlier, my only gripe was the size and resolution of the entertainment screen. It’s certainly showing its age and would be good to see an upgrade in the near future.

Business Class passengers are provided with over the ear headphones for the flight however I opted to stick with my trusty Bose QuietComfort 35s which are outstanding (I highly recommend).

Conclusion

Overall, Qantas offers a solid Business Class product between Brisbane and Christchurch. The service lacks the ‘wow factor’ that Emirates offers but the staff really help to create a fulfilling and satisfying experience. My only complaint is that Qantas is lacking behind with its outdated entertainment screens.

Review: Digital boarding passes for Qantas international flights

From 1 June 2017, Qantas began offering the option of using digital boarding passes for flights between Australia and New Zealand.  On a recent trip we took it for a test ride.

From 1 June 2017, Qantas began offering the option of using digital boarding passes for flights between Australia and New Zealand. The new feature allows travellers with carry on baggage to completely skip the check-in counter and head straight through security and immigration to the departure lounges and gates.

I tested this feature out on a recent trip to New Zealand and was really impressed at how this helps to eliminate one of the major pain points for international flights. Previously, you’ve had no option but to arrive super early at the airport and wait in line to manually check-in with an agent (or kiosk if you’re in Australia). This is especially frustrating for very early departures where it usually means waking up over 2.5 hours from the time of departure.

I didn’t have any problems with staff at the airport, in the lounge or at the gate by using the digital pass. I was asked several times if I had a paper pass as well, but after saying that I didn’t, they simply scanned the digital pass and allowed me to continue. I was wondering how the security/immigration staff at the airport might respond but it was no issue.

As for the technology, the check-in process is simple but unfortunately it’s only available via the desktop or tablet version of Qantas.com. You can get the boarding pass on your mobile (on Apple Wallet) but it’s a two step process that involves making a check-in on the desktop site and then accessing the board pass in the app. It would be great to see a single and seamless check-in experience within the app. I am sure this is coming.

Overall, really happy to see Qantas investing in new features that help eliminate the major pain points for customers. I can’t wait to see this roll out for more international destinations and come fully integrated into the app.

Qantas launches its own credit card

Today Qantas launched its own credit card offering 1 Qantas Point per dollar on domestic spend, two lounge invitations per year and travel insurance.

As rumoured Qantas launched its own credit card today – the Qantas Premier Mastercard. At first glance the card appears to offer fairly reasonable valve and is similar to the existing HSBC Qantas Platinum Visa Credit Card with 1 Qantas Point per dollar spent on domestic purchases, two lounge invitations per year and travel insurance.

 

 Qantas Premier Mastercard
Qantas Premier Mastercard

 

International spend will yield 1.5 Qantas Points per dollar but unfortunately customers will be slapped with a 3% transaction fee. The full earning table is presented below and is fairly competitive for a Mastercard.

After $10k per statement period, the earn rate will drop to 0.5 Qantas Points per dollar, making this card attractive for all but the most heavy spenders.

A unique benefit of Qantas’ card is up to 20 percent discount on selected domestic companion fares once a year when booking with the Qantas Premier credit card through the Qantas Premier Concierge. In addition, spend on Qantas products and services will generate 2 Qantas Points per dollar but credit card fees will still apply.

The card will cost $299 a year with a reduced annual fee of $149 for the first year.

Qantas Economy award seats 25% off until 29 May 2017

Qantas is offering a 25% discount on eligible Economy Classic Flight Rewards.

Qantas is offering a 25% discount on the points required for eligible Economy Classic Flight Rewards for bookings made before 29 May 2017. 

The promotion is valid for travel between 18 July 2017 to 6 May 2018.

I usually find Economy flight redemptions to offer poor value however on certain routes (such as regional) it can make sense. An extra 25% off could certainly tip the scales.

Earn double Qantas Points with Qantas bookings before 3 April 2017

Qantas is offering double Qantas Points on eligible Qantas bookings made between now and midnight on 3 April 2017.

Qantas is offering double Qantas Points on eligible Qantas bookings made between now and midnight on 3 April 2017 for flights between 15 April 2017 and 28 February 2018.

To be eligible, all passengers must register separately for the promotion.

Eligible flights include Qantas operated domestic or international flights, or Emirates operated flights with a Qantas (QF) flight number between Australia and New Zealand.

Qantas’ Brisbane Domestic Premium Lounge Entry is now open

Qantas opened its new Premium Lounge Entry and Business Lounge in the Brisbane Domestic Terminal earlier this week.

Not to be outdone by Virgin’s Premium Entry in Brisbane, Qantas has pulled back the curtain on its very own version of curbside terminal entrance. 

In a move to one-up Virgin’s offering, Qantas allows frequent flyers the ability to check-in baggage, something not currently available to Virgin flyers using Premium Entry. 

Qantas’ new entry opened earlier this week in Brisbane and takes customers to a new Lounge Preccint that provides access to the newly refreshed Qantas Domestic Business Lounge and Qantas Club. The Qantas Club is Qantas’ next Brisbane lounge due for renovations, with a new lounge expected to open later this year. 

 Qantas Brisbane Domestic Business Lounge
Qantas Brisbane Domestic Business Lounge
 Qantas Brisbane Domestic Business Lounge
Qantas Brisbane Domestic Business Lounge

Qantas unveils Boeing 787 Premium Economy seating

This morning Qantas announced details on their new Premium Economy seating for the Qantas Boeing 787 Dreamliner which will commence flying in December 2017.

This morning Qantas announced details on their new Premium Economy seating for the Qantas Boeing 787 Dreamliner which will commence flying in December 2017.

 Qantas 787 Dreamliner Premium Economy seating (Source: Qantas)
Qantas 787 Dreamliner Premium Economy seating (Source: Qantas)

At first glance, the seat appears similar to the offerings from Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific, but Qantas has added some ‘under the hood’ innovations to increase comfort.

Qantas’ 787 Premium Economy product offers:

  • A separate cabin of 28 seats, configured in a two-three-two layout to improve aisle access for middle passengers.
  • A seat that is almost 10 per cent wider than Qantas’ existing Premium Economy (and as wide as Business Class on other airlines) as well as increased recline.
  • An ergonomically designed headrest that can be fitted with a specially designed pillow and a re-engineered footrest that significantly increases comfort when reclining.
  • High-definition Panasonic inflight entertainment seatback screens that are 25 per cent larger.
  • Five individual storage compartments and two USB charging points per seat, as well as shared AC power and a personal LED light designed to minimise disturbance of other passengers.
 Qantas 787 Dreamliner Premium Economy - Front (Source: Qantas)
Qantas 787 Dreamliner Premium Economy – Front (Source: Qantas)
 Qantas 787 Dreamliner Premium Economy - Back (Source: Qantas)
Qantas 787 Dreamliner Premium Economy – Back (Source: Qantas)

Overall, I think this looks like a really solid product and its great to see Qantas investing in innovation that will hopefully lead to increased comfort in flight. I’m excited about Qantas’ first 787 taking to the skies later this year and will be keen to try out this cabin and their Business Suite as soon as I can.