Flight check: Auckland to Brisbane on Qantas

By Nina Fowler

Nina Fowler flies business class from New Zealand to Australia.

The service aboard Qantas' 737 service from Auckland to Brisbane was impeccable. Photo / Creative Commons image by Flickr user Aero Icarus
The service aboard Qantas' 737 service from Auckland to Brisbane was impeccable. Photo / Creative Commons image by Flickr user Aero Icarus

The plane: Boeing 737

Class: Economy but upgraded to business.

Price: I didn't pay for it but it cost $630 for return tickets in economy, booked 10 days before the trip. The price for a return trip in business class starts at $1250.

On time? Yes.

My seat: "Good seat." The knowing nod from the attendant at the check-in counter should have tipped me off. I found myself unexpectedly upgraded from economy to business - first seats, front row.

Fellow passengers: On the way there, a friendly chap in the wedding business. On the way back, I'm returning from five glorious days on a cattle drive in the Outback with scruffy hair, scuffed boots, sunburn and - I imagine - horse-y body odour. I'm glad to be next to an empty seat. Across the aisle, a well-coiffed woman sits with her legs up, idly flicking through glossy magazines.

How full: Fairly full.

Entertainment: I spent the flight typing up notes for my travel story so didn't look into it. A fold-out desk made this a breeze, though - big enough to eat dinner without needing to pack up my laptop. I was offered a decent selection of newspapers on the way over.

The service: Impeccable. This was particularly impressive given my appearance on the way back. The hot towels and frequent refills were great.

Food and drink: Exquisite. I remember fresh tuna and being offered a drink before take-off. Three-course meals, including a cheese plate option for dessert, plus a pre-dinner snack to go with drinks.

The toilets: Clean and well-stocked.

Luggage: No problems.

The airport experience: I had to laugh going through Customs on the way back into New Zealand.

"Have you been near any farm animals lately?"

Only 50 horses and 800 head of Australian beef cattle. I'd remembered to clean my boots and got through without problems. I can't say the same for the elderly couple ahead of me trying to bring in speciality meats.

Brisbane Airport is going through renovations. I've got my fingers crossed that the best things about it will stick around. Those would be the padded bench seats on the ground floor, which are perfect for airport naps.

If you're a New Zealander with an Australian bank, it's worth checking to see if withdrawing money from the ATMs at Brisbane Airport will beat the exchange desks.

Would I fly this again? Yes, definitely, but not on a freelance journalist's budget.

Nina Fowler travelled courtesy of Qantas and Tourism and Events Queensland.

- NZ Herald

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