TRAVEL | Qantas operates a daily flight between Wellington and Melbourne. The Boeing 737-800 (“737”) is currently used on the route, and travellers can choose between Economy and Business Class. Being a medium haul flight on the shorter end of the scale, the flight is more akin to a Qantas domestic, rather than international, flight.
You can check in online or using the Qantas app, and bag drop stations at the check in counter mean that even with checked baggage, you’ll be able to avoid lining up to check in with an actual person. Simply show your passport at the gate when boarding.
Checked luggage is included with all Qantas Economy tickets when flying international. You can check-in one bag up to 30kg, and a carry-on bag (115cm) up to 7kg. You can also carry on a small item that can fit under your seat.
Service is friendly and efficient. Being a short flight it’s mostly hands-off, with staff on hand and happy to assist where required.
The Qantas Economy cabin on the 737 that flies from Wellington to Melbourne features 162 seats, in a 3-3 layout. Colour wise it’s black, white and red – in line with Qantas’ branding. The cabin is very clean.
The older-style Marc Newson cushioned fabric seat has dimensions of about 76cm x 43cm, a smaller pitch than Qantas’ newer Recaro international economy seats, but in line with most of their domestic fleet. Like any economy seat, it doesn’t recline that far back (12.7cm in this case). I paid AUD$50 to upgrade to an extra legroom seat, which I feel is always worth it given the additional comfort.
Each seat has a USB A port for charging smaller devices that don’t require much power. It’s good for juicing up your phone while it’s on airplane mode. There’s an AC power outlet if you’re looking to charge a larger device.
Unfortunately, unlike Air New Zealand which also operates this route, free Wi-Fi is not included, although plans are for it to be rolled out sometime in the future.
On the back of the seat there’s a mesh pocket for magazines and other belongings. Inside it, you’ll find the latest copy of “Qantas Magazine”, which is full of interesting articles and destination guides.
The back of each Qantas Economy seat has Qantas’ older generation a 23cm screen, which you can use to access Qantas’ older (versus the new Panasonic eX3) inflight entertainment system. On it you’ll find around 1,500 entertainment options on demand, including around 100 movies, 500 TV programs, 800 music options, and 18 radio channels. Content rotates regularly to ensure that the content remains fresh and current.
Provided headphones are cushioned over-the-eat style headphones with decent sound quality, and basic passive noise reduction. For me it’s my trusty SONY WH-1000XM3 noise cancelling headphones with an adaptor for the headphone socket.
A meal box is included with all Qantas Economy trans-Tasman tickets. What’s on offer varies depending on the time of day. After 9:00am, beer and wine are also offered at no extra charge.
It was a thick Chinese noodle type dish that was in the meal box for my late afternoon flight. After being impressed with Qantas’ inflight meal options over several international and domestic flights this year, this one was a let down. Overcooked and gluggy, I had a few mouthfuls before giving up and closing the box.
As well as the selection of Australian wine and beer, there’s also water, juice, soft drink, coffee and tea. You can also ask for a sweet or savoury snack if you like.
There are no amenities kits offered on this flight, which is reasonable given the short flying time.
Qantas’ 737 cabin on the flight from Wellington to Melbourne is showing its age compared to the new Qantas international cabins. For a short flight like this, however, expectations are lower and it should be viewed more like a domestic flight. From that viewpoint, the offering is perfectly acceptable. It’s a pleasant flight with friendly service that’ll get you from A to B.