QF 490 Review MEL to SYD

Flight Number: QF 490

Departing: Melbourne Domestic Airport T1 MEL 20:00 (20:04)

Arriving: Sydney Domestic Airport T3 SYD 21:25 (21:10)

Operated By: Qantas

Class: Economy (Y)

Type: ‘Red E Deal’ Fare

Seat: 24A

Aircraft: Airbus A330-202 VH-EBS

Frequent Flyer Program: Qantas Frequent Flyer

After sampling the Qantas International Business Lounge at Sydney and JQ38 to Melbourne, I decided to try the true Qantas domestic product on the way home. Where possible, I like to fly on Qantas’ A330 aircraft over their 737 product, as the seats are slightly wider and are arranged in a 2-4-2 layout compared to 3-3. On this trip, I decided not to upgrade to Business Class, as the flight time was around an hour and I had already tried the new Business Class seats on the A330, which are amazing!!  If you do feel like upgrading though, it’d cost you 5,000 points from Flexible economy and 10,000 from standard economy; on this flight there were only 3 people seated in the J cabin.

I hate waiting in line to check-in at the airport, even in the priority line! This morning, I had no choice as it was an ‘international’ flight (JQ38 Review) though when travelling Qantas from the domestic terminal you can check-in on-line or through your phone if you have the Qantas app. I usually use the Qantas app on my iPhone as it allows me to check-in and download my boarding pass straight to my phone in the ‘Wallet’ app. Once you get to the boarding gate, you present the boarding pass to be scanned and you are issued with a paper stub at the gate.

I arrived to the airport at around 6pm and thought there would be a large line for security; to my surprise the wait didn’t take too long and I quickly reached the front of the line. Once I collected all my items from the scanner, I was selected for baggage test which took no longer than one minute, from there it was off to the lounge before my flight.

To access the Qantas lounges,  after security, turn right and follow the walkway where you will see the entrance to the Qantas Lounges on the left, from there go through the doors and up the escalator where you will need to present your boarding pass before entering. If you are a Business Class passenger, Platinum or Platinum One FF you walk through the Qantas Club lounge, another door and into the Business Lounge; today though it seemed to be quite busy, so I decided to sit against the window in the Qantas Club lounge area instead and go back and forth between the two lounges to get food as the Business Lounge has better options.

Though I prefer the Business Lounge at Melbourne, the Qantas Club is still nice and it looked suspiciously empty compared to the Business Lounge. The Qantas Club has one long line-up of food which is ample, as well as a bar area and a self-serve soft drink area; there is also a business centre with Apple Mac computers and a printer which is towards the front, right-hand side of the lounge.

View from the Qantas Club Lounge, Melbourne

©TBIBC

View from the Qantas Club Lounge, Melbourne

©TBIBC

Boarding was scheduled to begin at 19:4o, so we left the lounge about 10 minutes before and headed all the way over to our gate, which couldn’t have been any further away! In the picture above, you can see my plane’s tail in the right hand side.  Although it took me 5 minutes to walk there at a leisurely pace, it seemed that boarding was close to finishing, with only two people in the line, once my boarding pass was scanned and ticket stub printed, I found out that there were what looked to be no more than 30 other passengers on the flight, that’s a pretty small number for an A330, everyone could have their own row if we were on a 737!

As it only took 5 minutes to board everyone, the plane was ready to go and the flight crew were in good spirits as we waited for our push back to begin. Once it began, the crew performed the safety demonstration and quickly reached the runway where we were immediately cleared for take-off to Sydney. The engines roared as we ran along the runway and headed up into the sky, an amazing sunset greeted us once we were airborne…

View from seat 24A

©TBIBC

The view of the sunset was amazing, I even went to the back of the plane to get some photos as there wasn’t anyone seated back there and I thought it would be nice to get some photos from behind the wing, though I prefer to be seated in front of it. 🙂

Sunset from QF490

©TBIBC

The crew on this flight were really nice, they always had a smile and enjoyed sharing a conversation and some jokes with the passengers. Maybe it was because this flight was extremely empty, but the crew were one of the best I’ve ever had in economy class, in fact the best crews I’ve had for International and Domestic travels were always with Qantas. The meal service was served quickly after the seatbelt sign was turned off, with only one option available, it was a lamb pasta which was pretty good and better than what I expected. Drinks were served also and we were allowed to select two options if we wanted. For dessert, we were served a Lindt Chocolate ball. Below is the meal presentation.

QF490 Meal

©TBIBC

For this flight, I had selected seat 24A, in the second row of economy on Qantas’ refurbished A330-200 aircraft. The legroom was ample and the seat was wider than that of a 737 aircraft. If you’d like extra legroom, I’d recommend row 23 as it is the bulkhead and there is a wall seperating you and Business Class, though the curtain may get in your way as it is on an angle across the aisle, not in a straight line. Qantas use these A330-200 aircraft with the same cabins on International flights also, so it’s good to see how comfortable they are on a short haul flight to decide whether or not you’d choose it for a long-haul flight. I would think that the A330-200 seats are adequate for flights from Sydney to Hawaii which is about 9 hours; it is certainly the best option compared to a Jetstar 787 or Hawaiian A330. For flights longer than this, I would look at upgrading if possible but making sure that it is an A330 aircraft with the new Business Class which is simply amazing!

The entertainment service on the A330 was pretty good also, and more than adequate for a 1 hour flight. Upon entering the plane, the screen displays the seat number and flight statistics which is helpful (shown below). Compared to the 737 entertainment system, I found this one to be superior and offer more options including movies and tv shows, as well as content which was quite new, though I am starting to get sick of watching ‘Taken 3’ on my flights.

As we began our descent into Sydney, the captain made an announcement that we would be landing into Sydney from the north; this made me so excited, maybe a little too excited as the person across the row looked at me as if I were crazy! As I was seated on the left hand side of the aircraft, it meant that I would be able to see us fly over Sydney Harbour and the city, this is my favourite way to end a short trip or holiday and from the air, Sydney looks truly amazing!

This would have to have been one of my favourite domestic flights and I’m really thankful to the crew for being so nice throughout the flight and allowing me to take pictures of the cabin. The excellent service coupled with the views of the sunset and of Sydney easily made for a great experience and I would not hesitate to recommend this flight during the summer months at least for the stunning sunset and the almost empty cabins. I was tempted with an upgrade opportunity before the flight but decided not to and I would recommend not upgrading on short domestic flights as the points can go a lot further for a lot better on an international flight for a longer period of time.

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