The plane went up, the plane went down. The point of this 293-mile economy class flight review is to ask whether Qantas is worth the premium over its low-cost competition.
Qantas remains a full service airline, even on short Australian domestic routes. Our flight left in the middle of the afternoon and landed less than an hour later. Even so, Qantas still managed a full service in economy class aboard the fairly full 737-800.
Melbourne (MEL) – Canberra (CBR)
Monday, June 03, 2013
Seat: 14F (Economy Class)
After a nice lunch in the Qantas domestic lounge, we were amongst the last to board the 737-800.
We were assigned an exit row (14), which featured extra legroom. Standard legroom on the Qantas 737-800 is 30 inches.
After takeoff, FAs sprang into service offering complimentary beverages and snacks.
I enjoyed a bottle of water, hot tea, a delicious green apple, and great cookie. Not bad at all for such a short flight outside of a traditional meal window. I liked that Qantas provided a personal garbage bag for each passenger.
During the short flight, a TV show I did not recognize played on the overhead IFE screen. Headphones were not offered.
I enjoyed the views as we approached Canberra.
Canberra airport was remodeled in 2013 and is quite modern. We were stuck using taxis during my trip, but Uber is now legal.
Is Qantas Worthwhile?
Take a look at pricing on this route (date picked at random): you can see that Qantas commands a premium.
Is it worthwhile for a seat with more padding, a complimentary snack or meal, IFE, free checked baggage, and a generally more pleasant experience?
I used British Airways Avios to pay for my flight. The flight was 4,500 miles plus $27.25 in taxes. I value Avios at 1.5 cents each, meaning that 4,500 points was theoretically valued at $67.50. Thus, my one-way flight was about $100. I could have traveled on a budget carrier for about $65. We had only carry-on baggage.
But what made it worth it for me was the lounge access. At the time I had Platinum status with American Airlines, which granted me complimentary Qantas lounge access even though I was traveling in economy class on the short domestic flight.
Without this access, I likely would have opted for a low-cost-carrier.
The afternoon flight on Qantas was pleasant and comfortable. But was it worthwhile? That’s for you to decide.