Review: Qantas Business Class 737 Melbourne To Sydney

Filed Under: Qantas

Qantas 438
Melbourne (MEL) – Sydney (SYD)
Saturday, November 22
Depart: 2:00PM
Arrive: 3:25PM
Duration: 1hr25min
Aircraft: Boeing 737-800
Seat: 3F (Business Class)

Upon boarding through the forward door we were welcomed by Grant, who was the cabin manager. He addressed us by name immediately and directed us to our seats, 3D & 3F.

Qantas’ 737 business class cabin consists of a total of 12 seats, spread across three rows in a 2-2 configuration.

Qantas 737 business class

The seats are definitely on the extreme end of being “pre-enjoyed,” and could use some reupholstering/love.

Qantas 737 business class seats

That being said, the legroom was quite good, roughly comparable to what you’d get in domestic first class within the US. Maybe even a little bit better.

Qantas 737 business class legroom

The cabin wasn’t cleaned very well. Just sitting on my seat upon arrival was a used napkin.

Qantas 737 business class leftover napkin

The seat controls were located to the left of my seat, and were manual and intuitive. The seat does have a footrest, though there’s really not enough room to use it.

Qantas 737 business class seat controls

Immediately above the seat controls were the typical old school radio channel controls.

Qantas 737 business class seat entertainment controls

Once settled in, Grant offered us pre-departure beverages. The choices were either water or lemon juice, and I went with the former.

Qantas business class pre-departure beverage

The door closed at 1:55PM, about five minutes before scheduled departure. The flight was totally full in both cabins. It really is impressive how efficiently flights are boarded outside the US. Or perhaps more accurately, it’s embarrassing how long it takes US airlines to boarding their flights.

We began our pushback about a minute after the door closed, at which point the safety video began to play.

View from 3F Qantas 737 business class

Qantas 737 Melbourne Airport

As we were towed out of our gate we had a nice view of the international terminal, including of a Thai 777.

Thai 777 Melbourne Airport

Qantas A330 Melbourne Airport

Our taxi to runway 34 was very long, despite the captain hauling ass. We made it there at 2:10PM, and were immediately cleared for takeoff.

Taking off Melbourne Airport

Our climb out was smooth, and made me appreciate just how “suburban” the area around Melbourne is.

View after takeoff from Melbourne Airport

View after takeoff from Melbourne Airport

While Qantas’ 737s don’t feature personal entertainment systems, there are overhead monitors with generic, non-interesting content.

Qantas 737 business class entertainment

Our flight time was 70 minutes, and about 15 minutes after takeoff Grant was in the aisle with a cart.

Qantas 737 business class service cart

There were three snack options, including a Thai beef salad, mushroom soup, or a cheese selection.

I chose the beef salad, which was fantastic. It was served with two slices of bread and a sweet chocolate tart for dessert.

Qantas domestic business class snack

Qantas domestic business class snack

My dad selected the cheese, which he enjoyed.

Qantas domestic business class snack

Qantas domestic business class snack

I know I have the sense of humor of a 13 year old boy, but I don’t know what it is with Australians and their terms for beverages. My dad was offered an “uncut Australian” wine, and I just ordered a coffee, and was asked if I “take it straight and black.”

Qantas domestic business class coffee

Grant was fantastic, and must have tried to offer a dozen drink refills in the roughly hour long flight.

Soon enough we were already on our descent into Sydney, which made for some gorgeous views.

View on descent into Sydney

View on descent into Sydney

Our approach into Sydney was rather circuitous.

View on descent into Sydney

View on final approach into Sydney

We ended up touching down on runway 16R at 3:20PM.

Landing at Sydney Airport

From there it was a five minute taxi to our gate past some interesting traffic…

Air China A330 Sydney Airport

Taxiing at Sydney Airport

Jetstar A320 Sydney Airport

Qantas props Sydney Airport

Qantas domestic terminal Sydney Airport

Qantas A330 Sydney Airport

We ended up parking at the far end of the domestic Qantas terminal, next to a 767 (which was retired a few weeks later).

Qantas 767 Sydney Airport

Qantas’ domestic Sydney terminal is modern and fresh.

Domestic terminal Sydney Airport

Our checked bags arrived about 10 minutes after we got to the baggage carousel.

Qantas 737 Business Class bottom line

Qantas does domestic business class very well. Australia is no doubt one of the countries with the best domestic premium cabin products. On flights within Europe, for example, business class is just an economy seat with a blocked middle. So having more space along with great food and service is awesome.

And keep in mind this is the least premium product Qantas offers on domestic flights — their coast-to-coast A330s feature a fully flat business class product, which I’m keen to try at some point.

  1. I’m flying Virgin Australia business class from Sydney to Queenstown in a few months. I know they’re overhauling their biz seats, but the route is serviced by a 737 and I don’t remember reading anything about their 737s getting new business class products.

  2. I flew Qantas domestic business class on the 737 between SYD-BNE and BNE-SYD last month. I had the same superb service. And since my BNE-SYD flight was a 7:30am departure, they served us a full breakfast (on a flight of about an hour). I had pre-ordered a fruit plate, and it was enormous. (I can e-mail you the picture if you’d like to post it). And I love that Qantas has a fantastic business class lounge available for domestic passengers in both Sydney and Brisbane with good and plentiful hot food and drinks. Our U.S. airlines could learn a lot from Qantas.

  3. Lucky, slightly off topic, but close – flights from SYD to AKL have some interesting options, such as Emirates (especially first) and LAN – wondering if you had any tips on how to get a good price or via mileage to travel these premium products (LAN seems a bit easier through Avios, but AA never seems to show availability on this route.) Alaska miles can’t be used for Emirates on this route, so I guy JAL can, but there’s no way for me to gain enough JAL miles for this flight. Any other recommendations?

  4. The picture that says “Taxiing at Sydney Airport” looks more like
    “Landing at Sydney Airport”. Jus sayin.

  5. An interesting tidbit, considering your comment about boarding. Did you notice that the flight attendants perform the boarding duties at the gate for QF domestic flights (at least they used to)? Perhaps that helps with efficiency…

  6. “there are overhead monitors with generic, non-interesting content.”

    Yeah, who needs football/soccer when they could have shown Gay Satan refereeing a RH catfight instead…;)

  7. @Lucky – I’m visiting Australia in early March and will be using Avios for a MEL-SYD-MEL trip during my stay. Both flights would be morning flights. My gut tells me that on a 70 minute flight, a quick breakfast and coffee in J probably isn’t worth the additional 4,500 avios per segment. Agree or disagree?

  8. Compared to short haul business class is Asia, we have a pretty weak offering for short haul business down under. Imagine getting stuck on one of those planes for the flight from the east coast to Perth!

  9. @ pointie — LAN releases a ton of award space on the route, so is a great option. You have to call American to book, though, since they don’t show space on

    As far as Emirates goes, I think unfortunately paying might just be the best option. The fares aren’t that high, and I don’t know of any lucrative programs for booking it.

  10. @ Zach — There’s no right or wrong answer. I value 4,500 Avios at ~$60, so personally I find that to be worthwhile for priority boarding and deplaning, better service, lounge access, something to eat, etc. But can just as easily make the argument for it not being worthwhile. Sorry for not having a clear cut answer.

  11. @ Miles Down Under — I don’t have to. I take longer domestic US flights on 737s with a similar product all the time. 😀

  12. @ Abdel Rahim Abdallah — Hah, because that seemed like a long way to go to get from Melbourne to Sydney, especially since we were already traveling rather circuitously.

  13. Speaking of Australian habits: Flew MEL-CNS and CNS-BNE in C a couple weeks ago with QF and on the second flight, just before pushback there was a palm-sized Huntsman-spider hanging on the overhead bins, where two off-duty QF-pilots sat. The steward tried to catch her with a towel but she ran away and jumped down between two seats (geez, those spiders are FAST!). The two guys there just said “oops, that bugger sneaked away”, but nobody showed any other reaction.
    As my girlfriend and I were the only non-Australian in C and even the biggest spider in Switzerland does not grow as large as this Huntsman, our faces looked a little bit confused. So the one pilot turned to me and said with a smile: “you know, if we Aussies don’t panic, it’s safe for you guys from Europe. Otherwise you should run.” Still, my girlfriend kept her feet on the footrest and observed the floor during the whole flight. She was the first passenger to disembark the plane … 🙂

    The whole story reminded me a little bit of the movie “Snakes on a plane”…

  14. @pointie @Lucky Just to check, is it also necessary to call BA to redeem LAN seats using Avios? (In the same way it’s necessary to call AA)

    I seem to recall reading somewhere that not all LAN availability shows up online for Exec Club (I did a quick check on and couldn’t see any award space between SYD and AKL over multiple random dates in November)

  15. @ Daftboy — There are some routes on which they don’t show space because the airport codes aren’t recognized, but SYD-AKL isn’t one of them. You should see space there if it’s available. They release a lot of space last minute, if nothing else.

  16. The new A330 business class product is good. Flew this just after New Year SYD-PER – offered orange juice or water pre taxi (in a glass, not plastic mind you!). A few years ago it was sparkling white on offer, no doubt recent losses have accounted for the change. Seats have a preset recline for taxi / take of with a cross-chest strap. Fully flat (and level) is good fot eh 4+ hours to Perth.

  17. “While Qantas’ 737s don’t feature personal entertainment systems, there are overhead monitors with generic, non-interesting content.”

    Errrmmm…..I think you might have missed out on some Aussie Rules Football there by the looks of the screen. Further investigation will reveal it’s definitely worth paying attention to, if for nothing else than their incredibly short-shorts!

  18. Wow that’s ancient business class. Qantas have a much nicer business class being installed in some planes now. I haven’t seen that sort for ages.

  19. For those playing at home:
    (a) I’m assuming the “lemon juice” was actually a lemon soft drink, or rather an infused juice with lemon in it. Basically like a lemonade without the fizzy stuff. My guess.
    (b) The “uncut Australian” wine is, I am guessing, actually referring to Gemtree Uncut Shiraz, i.e. a red wine made by Gemtree. Australians like to give their wines names, and unusual ones from time to time, e.g. in this case “Uncut”. Other examples include “Squealing Pig”, “Sweet Lips” and “Two Fat Ladies”. Usually on board you can get away with just asking “red” or “white”, and for those in the know, the grape type.
    (c) Some of the 737s have now a refurbished Business product with red leather seats, in-flight entertainment screens stored in the armrest.

  20. I’ve flown domestic J with QF several times & can verify that the lemon juice is actually incredibly nice, and very refreshing. It is not a soda or carbonated in any way. It is juice, but slightly sweetened to make it more palatable.

    The A332 coast to coast flights are all being progressively upgraded to the new Business Suite; exactly the same as what the refurbished international A333 fleet is getting. All red-eye coast to coast flights now have this; the remainder of the flights/fleet is roughly almost half-way through the refurbishment programme.

    This older-style of domestic J is almost totally gone and rarely seen now; all the seats are black & red leather and totally refurbed, as others have previously noted.

    We skips down under certainly do like a lot of names for our good quality coffee. Our large Italian and Greek communities (Melbourne has the largest Greek population in the world other than Athens) owing to massive immigration from those countries in the fifties and after have had a lot to do with this 🙂

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