Grant Bradley flies aboard Qantas flight QF150 from Auckland to Melbourne
A six year old Boeing 737-800. Qantas has close to 80 of these planes for domestic and short-haul operations.
Fellow passengers: This was a 6.45am departure on Boxing Day, the first day of play between New Zealand and Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, so about a third of the plane were in the beige or teal of Black Caps uniforms of the past. They were subdued, with steely determination to get to the 'G for the first ball.
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Seat: 6C, an aisle towards the front but able to sidle across to a window seat on the other side of the aisle where I had a row of three to myself. Bliss. The seats have a 76.2cm (30in) pitch, 12.7cm (5in) recline and 43.7cm (17.2in) seat width.
This is high-season travel around an event that attracted thousands to Melbourne - $1325 return. QF150 is a seasonal flight put on around Christmas.
Baggage: Thirty kilograms in the hold, a 7kg bag on board.
Entertainment: There's a 23cm (9in) seat-back inflight entertainment touchscreen, and a USB port. The movie selection was compact but excellent, three new releases I'd been tempted to see at the movies. The wellness section is also worth exploring - I dozed off listening to a podcast.
How full? Of 162 Economy seats 127 were taken - only two of 12 Business seats empty.
On time: Yes - but a wait of a few minutes on the apron at busy airports at both ends of the 2600km journey.
Airport experience: It was lively at Auckland but a breeze getting airside. I was able to access the Qantas lounge - quiet and peaceful respite and plenty of breakfast options if needed. Tullamarine, like many airports around the world is undergoing a revamp so a bit of a building site. We bused from the tarmac.
Two at the back and one at the front mainly for Business passengers. Compact but clean and tidy throughout.
Food: A hearty omelette, juicy tomato, chicken sausage and a hash brown served with a muffin, yoghurt and a great range of beverages. Water offered throughout the flight.
The five flight attendants, all Jetconnect crew based in NZ, couldn't do enough for passengers. The narrow body planes compete on the Tasman against some more passenger-friendly twin aisle aircraft operated by Air NZ and Qantas itself with A330s on some flights. The crew on QF150 talked about the importance of ''making a passenger's moment,' those often small, but memorable interactions.
The bottom line: Like any plane, it's much more fun when not full and with narrow-bodies, particularly so. The pilots got us there right on schedule with every chance of making it to the MCG for first ball. The food was tasty and the crew was similar to how the Aussie bowling attack turned out to be — hard to fault.