Monday, March 19, 2012

TRIP REPORT - Brisbane to Melbourne - Qantas Airways - Boeing B737-800 - Business Class

TRIP REPORT – Brisbane to Melbourne – Wednesday 4 January – Qantas Airways – QF617 – Boeing B737-800 – VH-VXH.

This trip was my opportunity to see how the upper class live! I've always travelled in the Economy Class section of an airplane - although I have recently travelled in Virgin Australia’s Premium Economy section (Trip Report HERE) – and I've always thought that the Brisbane-Melbourne sector would be about the right flight time and cost to try a Business Class flight. Looking online, I was very pleasantly surprised to see that for around 20000 Qantas Frequent Flyer points - yes I know that is a lot – plus some payment for taxes - I could see what travelling in Business Class is like.

Overall, I was quite impressed, but was consistently thinking that on the whole, the cost - about 8 times a standard economy fare on this sector - is probably a little steep for the overall experience.

I had earlier flown to Brisbane from Mackay on an Alliance Airlines operated QantasLink flight (Trip Report HERE), so had my boarding pass for this flight and thus simply walked through the Brisbane Domestic terminal to the Qantas section. The departure gate was down the end of the Qantas Domestic terminal in the CityFlyer section.

I was assigned seat 2F. The Business Class section of the Qantas B737-800 has 6 seats in a 2x2 arrangement. At first glance, the seat is very spacious, and it is a lot wider, especially when compared to the seats in the economy cabin of a Qantas Boeing B737-800 - which are in a 3x3 arrangement. Legroom was quite ample as well.

The other passengers in Business Class were a mix of crew, older people, and one famous cricketer who happened to be sitting next to me!

Push back started a little late due to late bags and connecting passengers.

Taxi was via Bravo and as we followed a B777-300 out, Air Traffic Control (ATC) made us taxi all the way to the end of Runway 01 - so it was a longer taxi than normal.

Cabin service started as we taxied, with a glass of water or juice offered in a glass actually made of glass! Then a hot towel was offered. The rubbish was collected and we strapped in for departure to Melbourne off Runway 01 at Brisbane.

After the usual series of right-hand turns that is the Laravale SID out of Brisbane, we were over the Southern suburbs including Brisbane City and Archerfield, where Brisbane’s general aviation Airport could be seen. A lovely clear day!

Wine and nibbles came out next, with the choice of red or white wine. I went with the red - a nice Shiraz - and apparently a new addition to the menu. One good thing about this glass of wine was that it was 'bottomless' with the two cabin crew assigned to Business Class constantly on call and refilling nearly empty glasses! Bottles of water were also offered.

After a couple of glasses of wine, lunch was served with the choice being a salad with prosciutto or chicken and cous cous. I went with the hot chicken meal which was accompanied by a slice of fresh sour-dough bread and a mini-muffin for dessert! See picture below.

This was a lovely meal and certainly different to what was being offered up in economy – which looked like a simple muffin snack and the usual tea/coffee service.

I settled back to complete a bit of work on my laptop while my glass of wine was still being refilled! There were also some nice views of rural New South Wales and Victoria.

Descent commenced into Melbourne Airport and the captain came on and stated that we had made good time and would land about five minutes early. It seemed like a long slow descent with only a couple of right-hand turns before we turned left and thus were established onto finals on Runway 16 at Melbourne.

Off the runway, past the crossing runway, and then taxi to the Qantas terminal past the Virgin Australia terminal and International terminal where most of the afternoon heavy jet departures were parked.

Being up the front of the aircraft, I was off the plane fairly quickly. The Qantas terminal at Melbourne consists of two terminal fingers, and our arrival gate was about half way down the Western finger. At the end of the finger, there is an exit and so I proceeded downstairs to collect my bag, which, even though it had business class labels and tags, still was one of the bags to come out last! All up I waited about 15 minutes. I also collected my hire car from the nearby desks.

As I said, in all honesty, I probably can’t justify paying the substantially more money to fly Business Class, unless of course, it is a special occasion to take the flight! Sure, the service, and the food and drink are of a lot higher standard then what I would normally receive in the economy class section, but I question whether it is worth the extra money? Business class would of course be much nicer to take on longer and overseas flights, of course, I would much rather sit in a Business Class seat and receive much nicer meals over a 4 or more hour flight than I would have received in Economy Class!

1 comment:

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