With only a week until a new-look supersized Rex starts flying Sydney-Melbourne from $199 in Business, the airline has also dropped a hint at what it’s upcoming Business Class meals will look like.
Here’s what we know so far from the glimpse of Rex 2.0, from Business Class inclusions to the hint of a revamped ‘Rex Flyer’ loyalty program coming back once more.
Rex takes on Business Class, new inclusive Economy fares
Rex Business Class meals
Here is a glimpse of what the meals at the pointy end will be like. Rex will utilise ‘world first’ single-use airline trays, made of recycled cardboard and paper. There will be a ‘weekly showcase’ of home-style country cooking with gourmet ingredients, such as:
- Artisan cheeses from Bruny Island and Gippsland
- Tasmanian smoked salmon
- Hand-made desserts
- Wines sourced from smaller boutique vineyards across Australia
The sneak-peek image reveals that Business Class guests can tuck into a hot main, side salad, small dessert and complimentary beverages. In keeping with Rex’s mid-market positioning, don’t expect finer touches such as glassware.
But for the low prices Rex are charging, we imagine this will sit just fine with business travelers.
Rex Business Class seat
As Rex is taking the keys of some ex-Virgin Australia Boeing 737s, the regional airline’s new jets will already feature Virgin’s previous 8-seat Business Class cabin, albeit with refreshed black upholstery with ‘rex’ embossed on the headrest.
Rex Business Class fares
When Rex’s shiny new website launched in December 2020, lead-in fares on the Sydney-Melbourne route started from $99 in Economy and $299 in Business Class, one-way.
Fast forward to February 2021, and those prices have been slashed to $49 in Economy and $199 in Business Class. But take note: these special fares are only available for booking until the end of the month, with travel in March 2021.
Rex also boasts the best COVID-19 change and cancellation policy, which guarantees full refunds for any passengers affected by the coronavirus (including border closures), even if the flights themselves are not affected.
Rex Business Class inclusions
Enjoying life at the pointy end of the plane? Your ‘Biz Saver’ ticket includes:
- Food + standard alcoholic beverages
- Lounge access
- 32kg checked baggage allowance
- 10kg cabin baggage allowance
- Free flight changes
- $33 fee for refunds to Travel Bank or cash
- $33 fee for no-shows to Travel Bank, or $99 to the original form of payment
- Free swap to an earlier flight that day
- $55 fee for name changes
That’s a pretty impressive package for a lead-in fare of $299! If you’re wanting to pay more for flexibility, there’s also ‘Biz’ and ‘Biz Plus’ fares to choose from:
- 15kg cabin baggage allowance (1 piece not more than 10kg)
- Free cancellation to Travel Bank (or $33 for refund)
- No fee for no-show credit to Travel Bank (or $99 back to original form of payment)
- Free name changes (Biz Plus only)
Rex Economy inclusions
Economy ‘Promo’ fares include at a minimum:
- Snack, water, tea and coffee
- 23kg baggage allowance for capital city routes
- 7kg of cabin luggage allowance
- Seat selection from $6 per person
- Flight changes from $33 per person
- Same-day airport standby on earlier flights from $55 per person
You also have the option to upgrade to ‘Saver’ and ‘Flex’ fares for additional fare flexibility and perks, such as:
- Purchase lounge access from $33 for two hours
- Free standard (Saver) or front row (Flex) seat selection
- No change fees, fare difference still applies
- Ability to cancel for a fee to Travel Bank (Saver) or refund (Flex)
- Cheaper (Saver) or free (Flex) moves to an earlier flight that day
- 10kg cabin baggage allowance (Flex only)
Want to check it out in more detail? View Rex’s fare rules here.
Rex Flyer loyalty program to make a return?
Although Rex hasn’t formally announced a new consumer frequent flyer program yet, the carrier’s updated website points to the Rex Flyer program making a return in 2021.
Previously, the Rex Flyer program was simple in nature: take nine paid flights and get one for free. It’s unclear whether the revamped Rex Flyer program will return to its roots, or relaunch as a points-based program such as Qantas and Velocity Frequent Flyer.
Currently, Rex only has its Business Flyer program which is targeted at business travellers. It similarly offers two free flights once a business has flown 18 eligible sectors.
Read our Editor’s View: Can Australia sustain three frequent flyer programs?
Rex is coming out with all guns blazing, so it’ll be interesting to see how Qantas and Virgin Australia respond. Qantas is relatively safe in its premium corporate market, as it has an extension premium lounge network and a fleet of widebody jets at its disposal.
Virgin, however, is directly in the crossfire and will need to compete fiercely given Rex has all of Virgin’s old trimmings in its Boeing 737s and is offering the same (if not slightly better) service at a comparable price.
Rex’s domestic city flights start from 1 March 2021 and Virgin is expected to relaunch its own Boeing 737 Business Class in the same month.
Though Rex excels in price, it lacks a decent lounge network and a frequent flyer program. Undoubtedly, Rex is aware of this though and there are plans to address both points.
One other point to note is that with Rex’s limited fleet — 5 Boeing 737s initially with only one in use during the launch week — you may be in for a long wait should there be flight delays, as the airline won’t as much capacity to offer replacement flights.
Rex is also seeking an aggressive expansion, with plans to start flying between most capital cities around Australia this year. But for now, we wait with bated breath to see how Rex will change the playing field when its Sydney-Melbourne flights launch on 1 March 2021.