For my mother’s birthday, I decided to take her to Norfolk Island for a few nights break. Located 1,680km from Sydney out in the Pacific Ocean, the flight ended up being quite quick as we ended up zooming along at over 1,000km/h thanks to tailwinds.
The island itself has a population of just over 2,100 and its total area is 35 square kilometres. It turned out to be full of history and inhabited by very friendly and welcoming people.
Sydney Airport International Terminal
While Norfolk Island is an external territory of Australia and is classed as a domestic flight, services leave to and from the International Terminal. After checking in, we joined the Passport line at the machines, but were directed to the other end of the space for Domestic departures. Making an error, we actually queued in with all the people who had children, as they can’t use the automatic gates.
After an hour, some others on our flight complained and we queue jumped with them. In actual fact, we should have gone to the big signs that said Air Crew and Domestic and would have been straight through with no waiting. From there it was security screening, which is also a little different for those going to the island in that you are also prioritised.
Time To Fly
Once through, we headed for the Qantas International First Class lounge and had a full breakfast. After relaxing for a bit, we headed on down to the gate and sat waiting to board.
Boarding was delayed a little bit, as the inbound aircraft had not yet arrived on stand. Eventually it was towed across from the donestic terminal, the crew boarded and we followed soon after.
QF179 – Sydney to Norfolk Island (SYD-NLK)
8 July 2022
Boeing 737-838 – VH-XZA – Leeton
Seat: Business Class 1A
Departure: 10:30 Arrival: 14:10
After stowing our cabin baggage overhead, we sat down in the front row and watched as everyone boarded. Masks were still mandatory and the cabin crew were enforcing this as people arrived.
Qantas Business Class
There are 12 business class seats over three rows, as you can see on the seating plan here. The seats are the large recliners, similar to what many airlines in the United States offer in their domestic first class.
Once settled in, boarding was completed and the crew gave the safety demonstration. The pilots announced a short flight time of 1 hour and 50 minutes which was an hour shorter than scheduled, making up for the departure delay. With no further ado, we took to the sky and set course for Norfolk Island.
On Board Meal Service
Qantas have various meal windows domestically. Certain flights have breakfast, lunch or dinner while the others have a meal option called a refreshment. This is what we had on this particular flight, with its mid-morning departure.
The pasty was okay, and it’s served with sourdough bread and a Lindt chocolate for dessert. I had the Grant Burge sparkling wine which I wouldn’t recommend at all. I found it to be very average and you’d probably be best to avoid it.
Zooming Along At Over 1,000km/h!
Flight progress is shown on the moving map, which you can select on the entertainment screen. I like seeing where we are so I was quite surprised when I saw our speed, zooming along at 1,029km/h. No wonder the flight time was so short!
During this time I visited the toilet and later my Mum did. She has never used the bathroom on a plane before and after pressing the flush button she turned to wash her hands. The great unexpected sucking woosh of the vacuum flush apparently scared the life out of her! Anyway, she survived and eventually we landed close enough to on time.
Qantas domestic business class is a decent enough product. I always think it is tremendously overpriced, as a return here cost something like A$1,600 (£922, US$1,118, €1,091). I used British Airways Avios for the tickets, which meant I paid less than the economy class return price, which was A$800 return.
When it comes to the meal service, I think it’s quite stingy to only have a single item on the tray. There is no salad or starter type course, and there is no dessert either. I’m very spoiled by British Airways Club Europe where you always get both in addition to your main. For the prices charged, you would think they would do this here, but alas they do not.
I’d also question the sparkling wine on offer as well. I get that Australia is hardly known for its bubbly, but again, for the prices charged they should probably give something decent. Anyway, it is what it is!
Have you flown Qantas business class before on a domestic flight? Thank you for reading, and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
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Qantas is very dismal at the moment with catering. On a recent trip from Brisbane to Auckland in business class they ran out of champagne. They only load three bottles for 27 people. The crew were amazing and the product on the A330 is good but the catering is sub par.
I would agree, it could be a lot better than it is. The food on the return flight on this trip was much better, even my mother remarked on that fact. No real excuse for it, food is not difficult to get right. I will agree the crews are generally nice and the A330 business class is on par with other airlines around the world.
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