It’s taken Rex a few years to steadily build its Boeing 737 network to what it is now – big enough to head west. Despite the less-than-ideal night flight timings to fit around the daytime Eastern States schedule, a packed plane in both cabin classes on my journey to Perth shows that passengers are still out for a great deal.

If you’ve flown domestic Business Class before (particularly on Virgin Australia), the experience will be broadly similar. But does Rex have a point of difference to stand out from the crowd?

Check-in, lounge and boarding

Most of Rex’s flights are during the day, so there are no lines to contend with at check-in when I arrive at 6pm. Economy passengers can use the kiosks, but there’s also a single priority check-in counter for Business Class passengers, Rex Flyer Emerald and Rex Flyer Diamond members.

A Business Class ticket grants you a 32kg baggage allowance and an orange priority tag, which I’m happy to say works flawlessly later in Perth (mine is the second bag out). But note that if you upgrade from Economy, a higher allowance isn’t part of the deal, so you’ll still have 23kg.

Over at the Rex Lounge, you’ll find a small range of wines, beers, soft drinks and snacks – plus some fresh wraps if you want something heartier. Apart from some workstations and a massage chair, there’s nothing else to do except relax, so there’s no need to rock up too early.

Rex Lounge access is included with Business Class cash fares. If you redeem with points or upgrade, you’ll still need to pay a supplement of $33 to enter the space. A Priority Pass membership works as well.

Gate 11 is bustling when I make my way over from the lounge. Clearly, the recent $99/$149 promo fares have helped to drum up awareness of Rex’s new route, as Economy looks almost sold out. Business Class, Rex Flyer Emerald and Diamond passengers are called first for priority boarding.

It’s a full cabin of eight passengers up the front today – many of which have scored paid upgrades through the Rex Bid Up program. Some readers on Australian Frequent Flyer have reported being successful with bidding just under $150.

Seat and layout

Having previously flown with Virgin Australia, Rex’s Boeing 737-800 Business Class cabin holds absolutely no surprises for me. It’s the exact same seat, down to the purple perspex divider. What’s different are the re-upholstered chairs that add Rex’s logo to the headrest. There are two rows of seats in a 2-2 layout.

Rex also flies ex-SilkAir Boeing 737s with a different style of seat in Business Class, though the basics are all the same.

Unfortunately, these older Virgin Australia seats don’t have AC charging outlets. What they do have is a pitch of 38″ (95cm) and a seat recline of 5″ (12.7cm).

I’ve got no issues with legroom at all, particularly in my favourite spot in Row 2, as I can stretch out my legs fully and also keep a bag under the seat during taxi, take-off and landing. Behind Row 2, Rex keeps the same coat racks as before so passengers can neatly hang up their jackets during the flight.

Before departure, we’re looked after by Zhaklina (the cabin manager) and Jackson, who offer a choice of sparkling water and lemon or orange juice before take-off. In a first for me, Jackson also comes around with cookies in case we want a nibble while we’re still on the ground.

The infused sparkling water is actually very refreshing and an equally lovely way to start the journey. The last goodie we get is a voucher for free streaming Wi-Fi, valued at $14.99.

Food and beverage

Today’s flight has two choices: black vinegar tofu with rice or a Ploughman’s Plate with cold cuts and boiled egg. I choose the tofu, and I have to say it’s not my favourite dish. Black vinegar is a divisive flavour and not something I’d rate as comfort food – give me a hearty pie, curry, or casserole any day!

The rest of the tray is excellent, especially the bread roll. Because it’s heated in an individual bag, it’s both warm and super-soft. Delightful. To finish, I’ve got a cheesecake, chocolate and a bottle of water.

Later, Zhaklina comes by with a range of snacks, including cookies and salsa dip with corn chips. I pair it with a second cheeky bottle of Yves Premium Cuvée, Rex’s sparkling wine of choice. Other beverage options include white and red wines (poured from full-size bottles), beer, soft drinks, juice, tea and coffee.

It’s more than enough catering for this 3.5-hour flight. Rex’s website also mentions that the airline rotates its menu weekly, so chances are you’ll find a main dish that’s to your liking.

Service and amenities

The crew sets the tone of the flight, and this one couldn’t be better. It’s their first roster to Perth, and they’re all in very high spirits. The CM, Zhaklina, is clearly proud of how the airline is growing. At the end of the flight, I also overhear her telling the crew what a great job they did. Airlines need more of her! I can’t fault the service at all.

This Boeing 737 has inflight Wi-Fi and free streaming entertainment. Unfortunately, the entertainment isn’t loading properly when I fly. Hopefully, Rex will fix it soon. On the other hand, the Wi-Fi works extremely well, with a blazing download speed of 78 Mbps. I have no issues streaming Netflix on my phone to my wireless earbuds.

How to book this flight with points

You’ll need 49,900 Rex Flyer points + $37 per person for a Biz Ultimate reward. Unfortunately, this is significantly higher than the 35,500 Velocity Points and 41,500 Qantas Points that Virgin Australia and Qantas charge, respectively.

If you’re upgrading from Economy, you’ll need between 12,400 and 34,400 Rex Flyer points, depending on the underlying fare. But the smarter play might be to put a bid through Rex Bid Up, where a bid in the range of $140-190 could be enough to swap your Economy seat for Business Class.

But comparing Business Class cash fares, Rex’s $999 price point easily wins over Virgin Australia (from ~$1,500) and Qantas (from ~$1,750). There’s plenty of availability at that price every month.

Rex’s $999 fares are a bit high in points but offer unbeatable value with cash.

Our verdict

Rex Airlines’ foray into the lucrative Melbourne-Perth route presents a compelling option for travellers seeking comfort and value. Whilst I wasn’t completely wowed by the catering on this specific journey, Rex differentiates itself in a crowded market with a strong emphasis on service, and I’m sure alternate menus will serve up tastier fare.

While seat amenities and entertainment improvements could enhance the experience further – such as adding AC charging ports and ensuring the streaming entertainment is working properly – Rex’s offering remains a solid choice for those seeking great value when flying Australia’s vast distances.

Also read: Rex Embraer E190 Economy, Perth-Adelaide →

Photography by Brandon Loo, who travelled as a guest of Rex. All opinions remain his own.

Rex Boeing 737 Business Class (Melbourne – Perth) was last modified: July 11th, 2024 by Brandon Loo