Bonza has made waves in the Australian aviation scene since it launched at the start of 2023. The independent carrier aims to set itself apart from other budget airlines with its ‘All-Aussie menu’, commitment to sustainability and unique plane names. For the record, the latter includes ‘Shazza’, ‘Bazza’, ‘Sheila’ and ‘Malc’.

I flew onboard Bonza’s first flight from Melbourne Tullamarine to Sunshine Coast, and back. In case you’re wondering, ‘Bazza’ had the honour of this inaugural flight between Bonza’s two bases.

If you want to take advantage of Bonza’s cheap flights to regional destinations or are curious about what Australia’s new airline brings to the table, here’s what to expect.

Check-in and boarding

In a move unseen by any other airline, Bonza is the first carrier ever to launch solely on an app. The FlyBonza app is your ticket to making new bookings, modifying existing bookings, checking in for your flight and accessing food and entertainment onboard.

I’ve got no bags to check in and the 8kg carry-on allowance suffices for this trip – though I do pre-book my seats on the app for a fee. Note that the FlyBonza app only accepts payment by Mastercard or Visa debit or credit cards and POLi bank transfers. American Express cards aren’t accepted on the app at this time.

Bonza flights out of Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport depart from Terminal 4, which also houses Jetstar, Rex and a handful of Virgin Australia flights. There’s a dedicated Bonza check-in area in T4 with self-serve kiosks and bag drop facilities, but I bypass this as I’ve checked in and acquired my boarding pass on the app.

While this speeds up my check-in process, I still face a sizeable security line at 8 am on a weekday. Bonza doesn’t operate any airport lounges, but with minimal time up my sleeve I make a beeline for the gate at the far end of the terminal.

When it’s time to board, I simply open the Bonza app, retrieve my booking and tap on ‘boarding pass’. The entire boarding process is seamless. The energy is pumping onboard and once we’re wheels-up, the cabin breaks into applause as Bonza’s first flight from Melbourne takes off.

Bonza Boeing 737-8 MAX seating

There’s only Economy Class onboard Bonza flights with a 3-3 configuration. But not all seats are created equal.

When checking in via the app, I’m presented with seating options for a small fee. On my Melbourne to Sunshine Coast leg, I trial the ‘Pick’ seats – Bonza’s standard seat selection at the back half of the plane for $5. Coming home, I pay $13 to treat myself to an extra 10cm of legroom and a faster exit with a ‘Stretch’ seat at the front of the plane. There’s also the option of ‘Prime’ seats up the front (without the additional legroom), or ‘Stretch Plus’, which provides the ultimate legroom (up to 20cm) in row 1 and the exit rows.

For someone who’s 5’4″, the ‘Pick’ seat is fine for my 2.5-hour hop to the Sunshine Coast. Not to mention that I’ve got an entire row to myself after purposely pre-selecting a seat in an empty row and hoping for the best. If you don’t want to rely on luck or prefer some extra space, it’s worth paying a few dollars more – as I discover on my return flight.

‘Stretch’ seats are the best of both worlds – extra legroom and I’m poised for a quicker exit. I appreciate these conveniences when flying so the $13 fee is incredibly justifiable. I also forgo suffocation from my tray table, and I’m so relaxed that I manage a bit of shut-eye in my window seat.

Additionally, each row of seats is fitted with two international power sockets and every passenger has access to a USB charging port. Handy if you need to work on the go.

Bonza Boeing 737-8 MAX food and beverage

As is the norm for low-cost carriers, food and beverages come at a fee. Bonza’s ‘All Aussie menu’ features snacks, drinks and light meals sourced from Australian suppliers. Most of the menu – including alcohol – remains the same throughout the day, with minor tweaks to the light meals.

My Melbourne to Sunshine Coast flight departs at 9:30 am, so I peruse the breakfast offerings. The ‘Getting Hangry’ combo piques my interest. For $17.55 – a 10% saving off individual menu items – I enjoy a ham and cheese croissant, a bottle of Saxby’s cola, an ANZAC biscuit and a packet of crunchy cheese bites. I’ve paid $10 for a ham and cheese croissant inside an airport terminal before. In comparison, this combo is exceptional value.

Flying from the Sunshine Coast to Melbourne in the late afternoon, I’m inclined to order an alcoholic beverage and a light meal. A chicken wrap, sandwich and ‘snag in a bag’ replaces the croissant. I opt for the latter – which is quite literally a hotdog in a bag – for $5.50, served with tomato sauce. This is paired with a can of local craft beer for $9, and a banana bread waffle for $5.

Continuing with Bonza’s app-only method, there’s no physical menu in the seat pocket. Instead, I connect to the in-flight Wi-Fi to view the menu and order items via the FlyBonza app. Onboard payments can only be made with a physical card, and pleasingly my American Express card is accepted.

Interestingly, Bonza also sells merchandise onboard. At the time of flying, the merchandise range extends to Bonza-branded budgie smugglers only. A practical solution if you’re flying to one of the airline’s many coastal destinations unprepared.

Overall, the menu provides enough variety to cater to the masses, with a strong emphasis on sourcing all food and beverages within Australia. Taste-wise, the hot food is definitely passable, though the locally-made snacks and drinks are a delicious highlight.

Bonza Boeing 737-8 MAX service and entertainment

Bonza stays true to its roots by providing a laid-back, albeit professional, in-flight service. The crew are friendly and cheerful, and the in-flight announcements include Aussie slang like ‘g’day’ and ‘sit back and chill’.

I access the onboard entertainment via the FlyBonza app. If your device’s battery isn’t particularly enduring, I’d recommend bringing a charger and making use of the charging ports available in each row.

There’s a selection of podcasts via LiSTNR plus videos with tips for travel photography. For the young ones and the young at heart, there are puzzle games and classics like chess and solitaire. And if you forget your Kindle, don’t fret. Classic books like The Great Gatsby and a selection of children’s comics round out the in-flight entertainment.

The entertainment menu is extensive enough to tide you through a couple of hours of flying. But in this instance, Mother Nature is serving up an incredible sunset as I depart from the Sunshine Coast.

View from Bonza flight MCY-MEL
The Sunshine Coast to Melbourne flight departs just in time for sunset.

Summing up

I enjoy a fuss-free return flight from Melbourne Tullamarine Airport to the Sunshine Coast. The locally-sourced onboard menu is the standout, and is just one of many facets of the experience that encompass Bonza’s strong commitment to connecting Australia.

And with one-way fares from Melbourne Tullamarine to the Sunshine Coast starting from $80, I’m confident it won’t be long before I’m chasing the sun up north again.

Also read: Bonza Airline routes: where will Australia’s new airline fly?

Bonza airline plane over clouds
With Australia’s newest airline, you can fly direct to regional cities across Australia.

Photography by Victoria Kyriakopoulos, who travelled as a guest of Bonza.


What is Bonza’s food like?

Bonza’s in-flight menu includes snacks, light meals, non-alcoholic beverages and alcoholic beverages, all sourced from Australian suppliers. Kick back and relax on your flight with craft beer, brownies, or a ‘snag in a bag’.

How much does food cost on Bonza?

Bonza’s menu includes snacks and light meals, with prices ranging from $2 to $9.

How much is baggage on Bonza flights?

Bonza has a carry-on weight limit of 8kg. Checked baggage starts at $28 for 15kg, while oversized items can be checked in starting from $50 for 23kg.

Can you earn frequent flyer points on Bonza flights?

While Bonza doesn’t have a frequent flyer program, you can still pocket points from your booking. Using a points-earning credit card is the way to go – both Mastercard and Visa are accepted when you book via the app. Yes, you’re technically not earning benefits with Bonza. But you can still make your booking count towards a frequent flyer program or flexible bank rewards program.

Where does Bonza fly to in Australia?

The airline operates hubs out of Sunshine Coast Airport and Melbourne Tullamarine Airport and flies to regional destinations across Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.

Does Bonza fly to Adelaide?

Bonza does not operate any flights in or out of Adelaide or any airports in South Australia.

Does Bonza fly to Albury?

Bonza operates two flights per week between Sunshine Coast and Albury.

Does Bonza fly from Bundaberg to Melbourne?

Bonza operates two flights per week between Bundaberg and Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport.

Does Bonza fly to Canberra?

Bonza does not operate any flights in or out of Canberra or the Australian Capital Territory.

Does Bonza fly to Newcastle?

Bonza operates flights from Newcastle to Sunshine Coast, and between Newcastle and Whitsunday Coast.

Does Bonza fly to Mackay?

Bonza operates a number of routes to Mackay, including from the Sunshine Coast, Melbourne Tullamarine and Cairns.

Does Bonza fly to Melbourne?

Bonza operates flights to and from Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport, where it has a base, and also Avalon Airport.

Does Bonza fly to Port Macquarie?

Bonza operates flights from Melbourne Tullamarine and Sunshine Coast to Port Macquarie.

Does Bonza fly to Sydney?

Bonza does not operate any flights in or out of Sydney. It does, however, fly to other destinations in New South Wales, including Newcastle, Albury, Port Macquarie, Tamworth and Coffs Harbour.

Does Bonza fly to Toowoomba?

Bonza operates a number of flights to Toowoomba Wellcamp, including routes from Melbourne Tullamarine, Townsville and Whitsunday Coast.

Bonza Boeing 737-8 MAX Economy (Melbourne – Sunshine Coast) was last modified: April 14th, 2023 by Victoria Kyriakopoulos