Let me state this right away – Qantas has some shocking business class catering. While it was fun flying Boeing 717 business class for perhaps the last time, the food was hardly premium or good. However, I am getting ahead of myself.

Tasmania is a large island south of mainland Australia and I decided to head down for a visit. I booked the flights with British Airways Avios, which cost 12,500 per person and €25. Purchasing the flight with cash would have cost in excess of AU$600 (€363 or £300) so using points is smart here.

Sydney Airport

If you overlook the traffic congestion, Sydney Airport does a good job and the Qantas terminal is very nice. I used the self-service kiosk to print off bag tags, popped them onto the luggage and sent them on their way. From there it was a short wait at security before heading to the Qantas Business Lounge.

I have reviewed this space before and it hasn’t changed a bit. Spying chia pots, I grabbed two of those and settled into a table by the window. They made for a nice snack, while I alternately viewed the ramp action out the window or people watched in the heaving facility.

Boeing 717 Business Class

After a little while, it was time to leave and head down to the gate to wait for boarding to commence. The Qantas Heritage Collection seems to be gone, or at least, it is no longer signposted. Staff arrived at the gate and after an announcement it was off to the plane.

QF1563 – Sydney to Launceston (SYD-LST)
11 February 2024
Boeing 717-200 – VH-NXE
Seat: Business Class 2C
Departure: 09:45 Arrival: 11:30

Qantas Boeing 717 business class is quite comfortable and we settled in straight away. Oh, you might wonder who “we” are – I was travelling with my Mum. Seats are arrange two by two, which you can see on the aeroLOPA seating plan.

Water was handed out before departure and soon enough all passengers were on board. After the manual safety demonstration, the engines spooled up and we headed off into the Australian sky.

A Toilet

The Boeing 717 started life as the McDonnell Douglas MD-95. When Boeing and McDonnell Douglas merged, the MD-95 was renamed. Unfortunately the Seattle based manufacturer never really had their heart in marketing the plane, so it didn’t really sell as much as it could have.

A flight is never complete without a visit to the bathroom, so I popped in there before the meal service. Everything was ship shape, as is to be expected.

Now, About The Food…

On this particular flight, the food was not great. On the return, it was abominable, but that’s for a later review. Since it was post breakfast and pre-lunch, we could choose between a ham and cheese croissant and a quiche. We both chose the croissant, and we both wished we hadn’t.

What was served was a giant croissant which had the ham and cheese on one side of it and was an endless desert of dough on the other. Ugh!

The salad it came with had two pieces of tomato and was otherwise rocket, the world’s most boring green. You could also select a danish, which frowned up at you from the plate. Not the best meal, by any means and not a patch on that served back in 2017 when I last flew on this plane.

Once done, we flew along in the noisy cabin. You really can hear the wind rushing over the fuselage on the 717, a stark contrast to the quiet current generation of jets such as the Airbus A380, A350 and Boeing 787. We landed on time and headed for baggage claim, where it was announced a bunch of bags had been left behind due to a band with lots of equipment travelling. Luckily our bags weren’t among those!

Overall Thoughts

Boeing 717 business class at QantasLink will not last much longer, as the planes are currently being retired and replaced by the far superior Airbus A220. It was nice to get on board the old Douglas once more.

The less said about the meal, the better. It was not the airline’s finest moment and reenforced the fact that Qantas domestic business class is overrated, overpriced and comes with crappy catering. Things are far more superior in Europe as you can see on this SWISS A220 flight a couple of years ago, a similar length. The Australians don’t know what they’re missing.

What do you think of the QantasLink Boeing 717 business class experience? Par for the course or was this unusual? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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