Flight check: Sydney to Manila on Qantas

By Mauricio Olmedo-Perez

Mauricio Olmedo-Perez flies QF141 from Australia to The Philippines.

For the most part, Qantas' cabin crew were great, says Mauricio Olmedo-Perez.
For the most part, Qantas' cabin crew were great, says Mauricio Olmedo-Perez.

The plane: Airbus Industrie A330-300 - said to provide superior, 21st-century best-in-class comfort.

Class: Economy.

Price: $1027 return, including connecting Qantas flights to Auckland.

Flight time: Eight hours.

My seat: D, right in the middle! I couldn't see my seat online, I wanted a window so I called up Qantas. Operator assured me a window was reserved but she wasn't able to give specifics. Auckland check-in said they couldn't check either and I'd have to confirm in Sydney. It seems crazy they can't link their computers. On return I paid extra online and reserved an emergency row window seat. I even had the reservation and seat number on my phone, but I was told the seat was taken at Manila check-in. Really disappointing.

Fellow passengers: Mostly Filipino, very friendly.

Comfort: Like me, Filipinos aren't big, but unfortunately I was stuck between two of the biggest on the plane in the middle seat. Fortunately the seats were big and comfortable with loads of leg-room.

How full: Packed to the brim. But it didn't take long to board.

Entertainment: With 500 entertainment options - loads of movies, quite a few good ones and really nice big screens - this was probably the best I've seen. Power points at every seat, but no wi-fi. Coming back from Manila, however, there was a malfunction with the system and we were delayed 45 minutes while it was fixed.

Service: Most flight attendants were great except one on the way back who seemed more interested in talking with colleagues and never made eye contact. I wouldn't take anything from his stuck-out hand until he looked at me.

Food: Because I'm a frequent flyer I was able to pre-order a roast on the way there, what a fantastic option. One of the best flight meals I've had. The normal options looked good too. Nice Aussie wine selection, good extra touches such as chocolates on offer.

The toilets: Clean and spacious.

Luggage: 30kg, which is plenty and fantastic for an Asia-bound flight.

The airport experience: Auckland airport was easy as always. Quite a walk for the transit in Sydney but that's a good thing before a long flight. Manila is crowded and ageing, with very bad wi-fi in the airport. Duty-free shop says alcohol can't be taken on Qantas flights, even though Sydney Customs said you could as long as it was in a sealed duty-free bag.

Would I fly this again? Yes. I'm a Qantas frequent flyer and I think it's really stepped up its inflight service lately and its modern planes are great. Hopefully my pre-flight service was a one-off. When a simple thing like confirming a seat number online can't be resolved on the phone or at check-in perhaps IT needs a call.

After almost three weeks I'm still waiting to hear back from Qantas about why it happened and waiting for a refund on the seat reservation.

- NZ Herald

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