Rex can be a great-value option to fly within Australia. Even if you have elite status with another Australian carrier, Rex can be quite appealing in its own way. For instance, today, I’m flying at the beginning of a long weekend. I’m also booking at short notice, but I’m able to use points to fly Rex Boeing 737 Economy Class for less than $35 in real money.

Speaking of points, the redemption rates in Rex Flyer are rather attractive for Economy travel. A one-way flight from Melbourne to Brisbane starts at 8,900 Rex points. You still need to pay taxes and fees, although Rex doesn’t levy a carrier charge. This keeps the co-payment at $34.88 – including Rex’s credit card surcharge for the card type I used.

But what should you expect when flying in Rex’s main cabin as a passenger who’s booked using points? I’m glad you asked, because I was curious myself.

Check-in and boarding

I use online check-in for my Rex Boeing 737 Economy Class flight. This is quick and easy, although Rex only provides Apple Wallet support – not Google Wallet. If you’re in the Android camp, there’s a trick. Download the Stocard app from Google Play. Then, during Rex check-in, click the Apple Wallet boarding pass link. If you open this link in the Stocard app, you’ll be sorted.

At Melbourne Airport, physical check-in is super swift. I have two suitcases and can quickly print the baggage tags for these at the kiosks. A staff member nearby isn’t busy and hurries over to assist. (I wouldn’t have needed to make this stop with my online boarding pass, if not to tag the bags).

That’s one thing to remember about Rex’s baggage allowance (23kg in Economy). The allowance is based on weight, not pieces. While Qantas and Virgin Australia both allow 1x23kg bag on standard Economy fares, Rex is a blanket 23kg. As the combined weight of both of my bags doesn’t exceed 23kg, I’m all set with nothing extra to pay.

At the gate, passengers in Business Class are called forward first. Then it’s Economy, and we’re underway.

Lounge options in Melbourne

Naturally, airport lounge access doesn’t come as standard in Rex Boeing 737 Economy Class. But when you’re flying Rex from Melbourne, Sydney or Adelaide, you do have options.

The easiest path for many will be to use Priority Pass. Some premium credit cards and charge cards offer a complimentary Priority Pass membership, so you might even have this card in your wallet already. For instance, two Priority Pass memberships are gratis with the American Express Platinum Card. One is for the primary cardholder, with a second membership for a nominated additional cardholder.

Alternatively, you can purchase an annual Rex Lounge membership. Or for those on eligible fares, paid access is available for either $16.50 or $33. On my ‘Ultimate’ reward seat, paid access would have cost $33. But as a Priority Pass member, a quick scan of my card has me sorted, with nothing to pay.

It’s a quiet, rainy afternoon in Melbourne. There are only a few other people in Melbourne’s Rex Lounge. I settle in with a snack and a refreshment – and quickly migrate to the sofa to watch some tennis.

Read more: Rex Lounge review, Melbourne

Rex Boeing 737 Economy Class seating

Rex’s Boeing 737 Economy Class cabin will look quite familiar to many. Right down to the purple Perspex divider – on some of its planes anyway… ahem. But nonetheless, Rex Economy comes in a standard 3-3 layout.

On this flight, the front row and the exit rows can be pre-selected at an additional charge, branded as ‘Rextra Legroom’. But I know where many of Rex’s planes came from – and how they’re set up. This means I always aim for row four of five when flying Rex, because the airline now classes these as standard seats. But compared to the other standard rows, you get a little more legroom.

As it happens, the crew need to do some shuffling around the exit row seats. They notice that I’m flying alone and seem suitable for exit row duty. (I may have been down an aircraft slide once before, so if they had to ask somebody…) The seat on offer is 13F. It’s still a window seat, still has a vacant seat beside as I had next to 4A, but gives me even more legroom. Okay, done.

For a two-hour flight, the seat is fine. And, if you haven’t picked up on the hints or noticed it from the photos, it’s the same seat as you’d find in Economy on most of Virgin Australia’s Boeing 737s. Just be aware that row 13 doesn’t recline due to the second exit door just behind – there’s literally no recline button to do so. But I’ll be working on my laptop anyway, and sitting upright is perfect for this.

Food and beverage in Rex Boeing 737 Economy

Rex positions itself as a full-service carrier. Along with checked baggage being included with every fare, you also get a complimentary snack. On today’s flight it’s a mix of pretzels and soy crisps. Tea, coffee and water are gratis too.

For anything more, there’s a ‘buy on board’ menu. And I’m pleased to report that after years of being cash-only, Rex finally accepts credit card payments for these inflight purchases – including Amex. I spot a $10 espresso martini on the menu and have to give it a try. This is a sparkling version – not unlike a coffee tonic. Personally, I prefer the more traditional and creamier type of espresso martini. But hey, a cocktail on Rex is more than I was expecting.

On this flight, the menu doesn’t offer food items. So if you’re peckish, consider asking for a second snack. And if you’re flying at mealtimes, have a bite to eat at the airport or in the lounge, if you qualify.

Inflight entertainment and service

When it comes to entertainment, you may find this available on your Rex Boeing 737 Economy Class flight. In my experience, it comes down to the aircraft. Not every plane seems to have the hotspot – or has the hotspot working. Of my two Rex flights in recent months, one had streaming available – and one did not.

On today’s journey, streaming content works like a charm. The content library is very, very small. For instance, there are just four comedy movies. But if you’ve boarded without anything else to do, it’s still something.

Personally, I’m more excited by the inflight Wi-Fi – and today, it’s also present and flawless.

While Business Class passengers receive complimentary access, those in Economy need to pay. And it’s fair to say, the cost is quite steep. On this hop of two hours and 10 minutes, access is $6.50 for 30 minutes or $14.99 for a flight pass. If you want the fastest available speed, it’s even heftier – $9.75 for 30 minutes or $19.99 for the whole flight.

I have work to do and won’t be streaming video, so I roll with the standard flight pass. I imagine I’m one of the only passengers connected to the service, as the download speeds well exceed the requirements for HD video streaming. In fact, the speed would be fast enough for 4K.

The Wi-Fi doesn’t cut out and works until we land. By creating an account during the purchase process, I’m also able to move the connection between devices, and back again. That’s handy when I need to check something on my phone before restoring the service on my laptop. You can just only have one device connected at a time with a single pass.

As for service, crew are polite and efficient. When I’m asked to switch to the exit row, I’m greeted by name – a nice personal touch. And when the same crew member comes past with the drink trolley later on, I’m thanked again for agreeing to the switch. It seems somebody else wasn’t comfortable with that responsibility. And given the number of people on board, somebody had to be sitting right at the door or we couldn’t take off. Hey, I really didn’t mind the extra legroom!

The verdict

I’ve flown Rex Boeing 737 Economy Class a number of times before, so I generally know what to expect. But even so, this flight still had some pleasant surprises.

The weight-based 23kg baggage allowance meant I could check in two lightly loaded bags for free. Lounge access via Priority Pass made the overall journey more enjoyable – and avoided feeling like I was ‘missing out’ on anything. My trick of selecting a seat in row four worked out rather well in the end. And being able to make inflight purchases by credit card avoids the need to use cash – which I generally don’t carry around anyway.

But what pleased me most was Rex’s reward seat availability. I was flying on a Thursday afternoon, where Friday was a public holiday. In other words, at the beginning of a long weekend. And I only thought to book my flight 10 days before departure.

I searched for reward seats on Qantas and Virgin Australia, but understandably, there were none at this state of the game. But on the day I needed to fly, Rex had two flights from Melbourne to Brisbane with paid tickets for sale. And both of them had Rex’s best-value ‘Ultimate’ reward seats available for booking too.

With ample Rex points in my account, my journey was all sorted. And by using these points – which I’d earned previously without paying anything ‘extra’ to do so – I got myself from Melbourne to Brisbane for under $35. Even if you include the drink and the Wi-Fi pass, my total cash cost was still under $60. That sure beats paying hundreds for a short-notice Economy flight.

I just wish you could earn Rex points from credit card spend… but who knows what 2024 has in store.

Also reviewed: Rex Boeing 737 Business Class (Brisbane – Sydney)

Feature image courtesy of Rex. Other photography by Chris Chamberlin, who travelled at his own expense using Rex Flyer points.

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Rex Boeing 737 Economy Class (Melbourne – Brisbane) was last modified: February 9th, 2024 by Chris Chamberlin