WLG: Wellington, New Zealand to SYD: Sydney, Australia QF164: Scheduled Departure: 15:55 Arrival: 17:40 Distance: 5,689 km -1,387 miles
Auckland to Sydney is a route rich with options. China Airlines (Skyteam), Air New Zealand (Star), Latam and Qantas (One World), Emirates and Virgin Australia all offer flights across the”The Ditch” (which is how Aussies and Kiwis refer to the Tasman Sea). I have flown every one of these airlines in the past few years. However, between Wellington and Sydney, only two airlines fly and only Qantas offers Business Class seats.
Qantas booking engine is much improved. There are still a few small things that irritate me but all in all, it works well. I could easily choose seats and (if I wanted) special meals.
Check In: 7/10
I was unable to check in on line. Using my computer and the Qantas phone app both gave me the advice to “Check in at airport”. Without questioning, this is what I dutifully did.
Two hours before departure, there was no wait for the Business Class agent. Our agent was very friendly and accommodating and shared she had just come back from vacation in the Cook Islands. More importantly, she found an error in the booking. It seems my booking was registered twice on their system. This was speedily fixed but there was no explanation as to why I had two bookings! This probably explains why we could not check in online!
There was no wait at Security or Immigration so 17 minutes after arriving at the airport, we were in the Qantas Wellington lounge!
Wellington airport has a very low key, pleasant and peaceful Qantas lounge. It has plenty of space and I have never ever found it to be crowded as they only have two departures a day.
Food selections are a little limited but fresh and with plenty of variety.
Drinks are all “self-serve”. Coffee machine not in a happy space!
I often like to have a shower before boarding a flight. Today, after exploring the city and travelling to the airport I really appreciated the freshen up in one of the lounge’s two showers. Towels, soap, shaving and toothbrush kits are available free of charge from the reception.
Make sure you sample the Kapiti ice cream, my favourite New Zealand brand. It has won several awards.
One of the lounge’s best features is that you exit directly into the Boarding gangway!
Qantas is really good at making you feel welcome as you come aboard one of their services. The New Zealand Qantas Jetconnect staff were terrific. A champagne came pretty quickly (or you could have a sparkling water or Orange juice).
On Board: 5/10
Jetconnect’s fleet consists solely of 737-800s. I said, a few months ago, after my 299th time on a 737, that it is my least favourite aircraft. Several flights later and my opinion had not changed!
Qantas has 12 seats up front arranged in three rows of 2/2. Each seat is 22″ wide and 37″ pitch. They have a 10.6-inch seatback touchscreen, plus power and USB outlets. Row 1, if you can get it, has slightly more than 37″ so is the most comfortable leg room wise but has no bag stowage in front of you and the overhead bin is often used for airline equipment.
My preference is Row 2.
Some people like to make themselves comfortable…
In Economy, the pitch is 30″ and the seats are arranged 3/3. Each seat is 17.2″ wide.
Qantas Jetconnect uses the standard Qantas Aussie scenes safety video. Crew stand by demonstrating whilst the video is playing. It is a comforting hallmark of Qantas that they take their safety seriously.
Disappointingly we had a very boring take off out of Wellington into grey clouds. Disappointing because Wellington can be quite a challenging airport to operate out of. I have had some exciting take offs and landings. Wellington regularly appears on lists of the most challenging or dangerous airports. I look forward to what challenge the city will hold up on each trip.
We had a fair amount of slight bouncing for most of the crossing.
The meal started with a zesty Potato and Leek soup with fresh bread. Yes fresh! Often airline bread is a little dry. A selection of red and white wine or non-alcoholic drinks was available.
There were five main course choices. I went for a pasta dish which was surprisingly very delicious despite its unappetising appearance!
Dessert was another Kapati ice cream!!
Followed by a Whittakers Chocolate!
All Jetconnect aircraft have AVOD systems (Audio-Visual On Demand). I was able to watch multiple episodes of Big Bang Theory and Modern Family.
A smooth landing into a darkening Sydney sky brought an end to a comfortable flight. The crew were delightful up to their farewells to us.
My Flight Rating: Overall 84%
My overall rating of QANTAS: 92%, the same as Singapore and Virgin Australia ahead of Turkish at 90% but beaten by Air New Zealand with 98% and Lufthansa with 96%.
Frequent Flyer Program: I accumulated points with Qantas Frequent Flyer which is part of the One World program
Positives: Staff from start to finish, Lounge
Negatives: The plane
Would I fly them again? Yes. But on the Auckland to Sydney route, I would choose Emirates 380 over a Qantas Jetconnect 737