Early 2020 AD. Timothy and I embark on a 21st century Odyssey. On the Majestic Princess from Sydney to New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Fiji. Back to Sydney, then to Melbourne and flying back home.
We did this flight before the Big Coronavirus Disruption of Life.
After ending our lovely Princess Cruise it was time to head back to the airport to fly onto the last stop of our Odyssey.
We took an Airport bound train from Circular Quay station and had a very non eventful ride towards Sydney Airport’s Domestic Terminal from where our Qantas flight to Melbourne would be taking off. As the debarkation of the cruise ship and the airport transfer both went very smooth and well organised we were way to early in the airport for our 14:00 flight at about 10:00.
We went to ask at the Qantas ticketing desk in the Qantas Terminal 3 whether it would be possible to switch to an earlier flight, unfortunately our ticket did not allow that.
Terminal 3 is a modern and light terminal, used exclusively by Qantas, the other domestic airlines operate from Terminal 2 across the road.
The check-in procedure is highly automated and there are only a handful of manned desks, you are really encouraged to use the machines to do it yourself.
The first step is checking in at the check in machines, which are very slow to use. After you are checked in and received both your boarding pass and bag tag you go onwards to the automated bag drop where your bag will be sent into the bag system after you have attached the bag tag correctly.
There were no queues at the security check and you could take a bottle of water with you through security on domestic Australian flights.
Airside the terminal consists mainly of one long corridor with gates looking out onto the Qantas maintenance hangars. At the far end there is a rotunda with some more gates and some meeting rooms and an exhibition about Qantas’ history on the upper floor (which unfortunately permanently closed the day before we were flying out).
In between the check-in area and the rotunda there are some more gates on the opposite side of the terminal.
While our flight originally was scheduled to leave at 14:00 we didn’t take off until 14:45 because our original plane had a fuel leak and they needed to perform an equipment swap. This was all a bit chaotic as our gate changed a few times without a clear communication, luckily our flight crew was in the chaos as well so we could just follow them.
At the gate there was a stand with complimentary headphones for you to take and use for the in-flight entertainment on-board.
From Sydney (SYD) 14:00 to Melbourne (MEL) 15:35
Flight Time 1 hours and 35 minutes
Boeing 737-800 VH-VZX Daylesford
Delivered to Qantas in February 2012
In the end a plane arriving inbound from Adelaide at gate 13 was used for our flight. It was one of Qantas’ newest 737-800 equipped with the new Boeing Sky interior, the first time I saw in the flesh. While the first few rows contained some real business class recliner seats in a 2-2 configuration.
We were seated in the back where you had economy in a classic 3-3 configuration. The dark grey coloured seats where very comfortable for economy, with thick and soft padding and an adjustable head rest.
Every seat had a seatback TV with a number of movies and TV shows, next to the screen you had a USB port you could use to charge your electronics. Complimentary headphones for the IFE where available in big bins at the gate or distributed by the cabin crew.
Before take-off the safety demonstration was performed, oddly enough both a video and a manual demonstration where performed which I never saw before, usually it is only one of both.
Take off was a bit bumpy and we soon headed of southwest bound towards Melbourne on flight level 380. During the flight I could see the smoke of the devastating bush fires rising up from the forests below, which was chilling to the bones.
At cruise level the crew served some complimentary snacks and drinks. Non-alcoholic drinks where free but alcoholic drinks where 7 AUD per drink. The snack box had a ‘healthy’ look and feel to it with the crackers, nuts and hummus and was actually quite nice to have.
Thanks to the padded schedule and the straight flight pad we only landed 20 minutes late in Melbourne. The approach gave some nice views thanks to the lack of clouds and was surprisingly bumpy. We touched down on Victorian soil with a firm “boeing”.
The delivery of the bags took quite a while, and even though there where several baggage belts in the baggage area, only one seemed to be used. After getting our bags we took the Skybus into Melbourne to discover our last stop of the trip.
All in all Qantas offered a good and comfortable product for a short flight. The Sydney to Melbourne route is one of the busiest air corridors in the world with several carriers flying on the route but Qantas probably is the most iconic one. Compared to our European experiences they clearly outperform what we are used to.
Have you flown Qantas and how was your experience? Let us know in the comments below!