The milk run between Sydney and Melbourne is a pretty routine affair and increasingly the service is like catching a fast bus.
Normally I fly Virgin Australia but as Xero were paying for my flight to attend their Australian convention I was happy to fly Qantas, it’s enough out of my usual routine to warrant a review.
Only having a day bag is an advantage with short hops along Australia’s East Coast and Qantas’ on-line check in is reasonably efficient.
An irritation with Qantas is the opaque way seats are made available. Depending upon your fare and frequent flier status you may not see all the available seats when checking in online so if grabbing a specific seat is important then it is worthwhile manually checking in at the airport to see what has become available.
For all of Sydney airport’s sins, getting to the airport and boarding is fairly straightforward and for an 11am flight the security queues are short and efficient.
Another advantage with flying Qantas out of Sydney is their Heritage Centre in the T3 terminal where you can kill time waiting for a flight while looking at everything from the evolution of cabin crew uniforms to 1920s outback flight schedules. Just watch you don’t get too engrossed.
Boarding a Qantas flight is fairly clunky compared to Virgin Australia. This is partly due to their 767 craft only boarding from the front and not from both the forward and rear doors on the Virgin 737 aircraft. This also means queues down the aisles.
The 767 aircraft are homely and showing their age. It’s surprising Qantas have kept flying them for as long as they have and the operating costs of these planes must be costing the airline a fortune compared to newer craft.
A positive with the older aircraft is the 2-4-2 seating is quite wide and comfortable compared to the equivalent JetStar and Virgin craft. Inflight entertainment is lacking although this hardly matters on a 95 minute flight.
Qantas has a patchy reputation for cabin service, but the crew on this flight were delightfully friendly and helpful.
The inflight snack was a raspberry and white chocolate cookie or an apple (I had both) along with tea, coffee and softdrinks. The super-sweet cookie went well with a cup of tea.
On time performance
Sydney airport can create hell for passengers if the weather or various traffic restrictions conspire against them. This was not one of those days and the flight was away a few minutes late but arrived on time in Melbourne.
With an on time arrival and only carrying hand luggage, there was no need to worry about baggage claim.
An advantage with Melbourne Airport is that cab ranks and bus stops are right outside the terminal although passengers using the Skybus service should note that the city bound buses usually stop at the Virgin terminal first so you may fight to get a seat unless you’re prepared to walk the 200m to earlier bus stop.
Overall QF427 was a comfortable trip and a good re-acquaintance with the flying kangaroo. The 767 aircraft though are desperately showing their age and while for passengers this doesn’t really matter on a short trips, it can’t be good for the airline’s image or operating costs.
QF427 – 20 Jul 12. Dep Sydney 11:00am, Arrived Melbourne 12.35. Economy class ticket $120.
Paul travelled to Melbourne courtesy of Xero for their Australian developer’s conference.