I normally wouldn’t write a review about a quick Melbourne – Sydney domestic flight. As one of the busiest routes in the world, and at an hour or so long, it’s never going to be a unique experience that you’d die to repeat.
However, I was down in Melbourne for work, and given my employer had booked me on a flexible economy ticket (meaning cheaper points upgrades) and that I hadn’t really tried Qantas Domestic Business before, I figured I might as well blow 5000 points and see if it was worth the upgrade cost.
5000 points is worth anywhere between $75 and $150 to me, so that’s the value judgement I thought I’d consider – is the extra lounge access, food, seat space, and service worth the premium?
After entering the Qantas Club I went to the desk to check on upgrade availability. There was plenty- QF444 was to be operated by a 767, one of the larger aircraft on this route, so it wasn’t much of a surprise that there might be room in the business cabin. I asked for an aisle seat, got my boarding pass and went to check out the Domestic Business lounge which is through some frosted sliding doors within the main Qantas Club.
The Qantas club itself was pretty packed, as you’d expect for late afternoon on a weekday. Expectations for a quieter time in the Business lounge were raised, but soon dashed once I passed the desk and was in the lounge. Essentially it’s the same area as the main Qantas club with just a partition between the two areas, allowing noise to float freely between the two. Not a great design decision.
It was less busy in the Business lounge, as you’d hope, given the access requirements of Qantas Business passengers, Platinums or oneworld Emeralds. Seats and tables were easier to come by.
The food offerings didn’t seem much improved on the Qantas Club, and while the interior was a touch nicer, it wasn’t exactly deluxe – mostly just less used.
You can probably guess by my tone- the lounge was average.
On boarding were offered juice, water or wine. One juice later, I was settled and ready to go, with no seatmate for good measure.
First impressions of the seat were fine – perfectly acceptable for a one hour flight, with enough width so that if anyone were next to me we wouldn’t be rubbing shoulders or elbows, and enough legroom so my knees were well clear of the seat in front. A decent amount of recline too. The seat, and the whole cabin, were definitely getting on a bit though.
The dinner service was up immediately after take off. I went for Tomato soup. A healthy size serving, some nice bread, and good quality food.
Not long after I was done eating, tables were cleared and descent into Sydney began, and approached over the Royal National Park, a beautiful way to arrive into Sydney.
So, was the above worth something between $50 and $150? Maybe. After a shitty day, tired and needing a pick me up, yep. Not for the lounge, but the extra space and nicer food were, well, fine. Certainly not a clear decision though, and I’d hesitate to use 5000 points again in the same way.