Grant Bradley

Aviation, tourism and energy writer for the Business Herald

Flight check: Auckland to Sydney on Qantas

Grant Bradley flies QF146 from New Zealand to Australia.
Qantas subsidiary Jetconnect runs the airline's transtasman business, the crew are New Zealand-based, predominantly Kiwi and very friendly. Photo / Creative Commons image by Flickr user Aero Icarus
Qantas subsidiary Jetconnect runs the airline's transtasman business, the crew are New Zealand-based, predominantly Kiwi and very friendly. Photo / Creative Commons image by Flickr user Aero Icarus

The plane: A Boeing 737-800 with a maximum seat capacity of 168 - 12 in business and 156 in economy. The aircraft was less than three years old and named in honour of New Zealand space scientist Sir William Pickering.

Class: Business.

Price: I didn't pay for this, but website prices range from around $650 to over $1100, one way, if booking in business at the last moment. Corporates do get better deals.

On time? No, we were delayed by 25 minutes. The hold-up was referred to but not explained in announcements although we made up time in flight, arriving just five minutes late.

My seat: 3A, a window seat in the 2-2 configuration cabin. In business there's a generous (94cm) pitch - that's the space between seats - and the seats are 55.8cm wide. A modest recline, but who's complaining? It's less than a three-hour flight, with a footrest. In economy the seats are 43.1cm wide and with a 76cm pitch in a 3-3 configuration.

Passengers: A 50/50 mix of business and leisure for the late afternoon departure from Auckland. Close to full in economy, just over half full in business.

Entertainment: A (26cm) touch screen in business, (slightly smaller in economy) with a good range of recent release movies and TV shows, without being overwhelming.

The service: Attentive and efficient. I was able to get a slightly nerdy question about the plane answered easily. Qantas subsidiary Jetconnect runs the airline's transtasman business, the crew are New Zealand-based, predominantly Kiwi and very friendly.

Food and drink: No shortage, an extensive range of wines, beers and spirits if you wanted to push the boat out. I had a hearty soup and a fairly heavy beef dish so opted for a shiraz to wash it down.

The toilets: The one near the flight deck for the front of the plane was just fine.

Luggage: An impressive 46kg in the hold when flying business class but just carry-on for me.

The airport experience: The Qantas lounge in Auckland was fine, not too crowded. The lounge in Sydney is more swept up with a great view of the city and the airfield and a very pleasant place to work or relax.

Would I fly this again? Yes. Besides the mystery late departure, the service could not be faulted and it's an extremely pleasant way to go if you or your boss have the money to spend.

The writer travelled courtesy of Qantas.

- NZ Herald

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