Qantas, The ONLY Way To Fly To and Around Australia!!
Written: Aug 21, 2012 (Updated Aug 23, 2012)
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Professional service, good food, fine entertainment for such long flights.
Cons:On a diet. Didn't take advantage of all the food and drink offered. ; )
The Bottom Line: First time flying Qantas. We did seven legs on seven planes with seven crews and we were VERY pleased all the way through. We do want to fly them again!!
Just returned from a trip to, from and around Australia using their services on seven different planes and with seven different crews in a 23 day period of time. They were excellent!!
Checking the Internet and Booking By Phone
My wife made most of the travel arrangements for our trip to see our son, his new wife and brand new #9 grandchild. We started making plans some two months out checking the Internet prices and places we were planning to visit.
My wife had a basic itinerary and then called Qantas direct. That's something we always do when we have the destination, to-n-from dates set and see the prices available. We generally book right over the phone with them in control of all paperwork and then have the receipt and itinerary with flight times and numbers emailed.
This time we got more than we were first looking for. We first see if there's anything we missed as far as better price. Sometimes we get a better price and sometimes not. The agent went through our basic thoughts and went day to day with us seeing if earlier or later flights along with any flexibility on dates was possible. We were flying from NY to Sydney and wanted to take shorter flights within a little over three week period to Cairnes, Ayer's Rock and back to Sydney before flying back home to JFK. In the agents doing so along with our flexibility we saved about three hundred dollars per person!
We had our paperwork in email minutes later. One thing however, that I never checked was detail as to seating and how long were the layovers at LA. They never were listed and my wife never bothered to ask them to send that to us. The layover was well timed both ways including enough time for customs and immigration when we were returning with what seemed like priority service on that leg, while on the ground.
Checking In and Boarding
At every leg of our trip we had a prompt polite experience. We checked in bags no problem and were allowed two each for check-in for international AND domestic flights that were part of the full itinerary.
Luggage was quick to come out each time. I liked that!! On one leg the gate associates deemed my wife's carry-on too big or heavy and tagged it, after she removed some personal items needed on the flight, for pick-up after the flight. There was no problem with that.
We were booked on very large planes for our international flights and went down to 737 and a 717 on the shorter flights within Australia.
On our trip from Sydney to Cairns the flight was not filled so the agent blocked off the third seat in our row to give us a little more room. That was appreciated by this big guy.
The seating seemed much the same on all flights. These diddin't seem any roomier than the Jet Blue flights we take in the US East but were comfortable enough for me for the long flights and shorter jumps.
On Board Entertainment
The larger international planes offered a complete entertainment line with live action of the Blue Moon Group, Jay Leno doing an in person comedy act, and a full production of the play Les Miserables. OK, just checking to see if you are reading.
The entertainment, set up on small personal screen in the back of the seats in front of each passenger, had many, many selections of new movies, old classics, Australian films and much more. TV shows were available as were news stations, music of all kinds and games to be played. Of course one could just click in and check the flight status for hours on end.
I did watch the Godfather l and ll but also tried the Hunger Games and three different Australian films that were quite entertaining and very educational in following aboriginals and their struggles within that vast country.
It seemed to me that every electronic in the planes seem to be working correctly, or at least all of those close by.
One of the smaller planes, the 717 diddin't offer any entertainment as I recall. The jet that we took from Sydney to Cairns was testing an ipad system for all passengers. We all used them and they were returned to the seat pocket in front of us. I suppose they worked well but were cumbersome to have to hold and balance through the flight, especially when food was served. It's my guess that if the system works, they would be mounted. Still though, of that, I am not certain.
Meals and Snacks
As a big food eater with a wife that is more demanding in her choices of well prepared foods, neither of us could complain. In fact we both can rave about the food and service.
The international flights offered much more in caloric intake than anyone needed. Food, even if portions are small, was plentiful with a fine choice of wine and beer and spirits included.
The food was truly well prepared and good enough portioned. The choices were perfect for us. Though we did see special meals brought out to some folks, we were happy with the regular menu. Coming home it was roasted chicken of salmon. I had the salmon and can tell you it tasted very fresh and prepared under the eyes and nose of someone with fine cullinary skils.
I was particularly amazed at how good and fresh the morning muffins were. They came with fresh fruit, yogurt, juices, coffee or tea, along with a choice of a continental breakfast of Special K cereal and milk or a hot breakfast of scrambled eggs on an muffin with sausage with a side of sauteed mushrooms and spinach. Mmm! Excellent it was.
Fresh fruit and drinks were available all through the flights after our first meal.
pops Final Thoughts
We did seven flight in 23 days on seven different planes with seven different crews and each was excellent.
It started with the Qantas representative booking our flights and working with us to save money. We were accomodated well with our grandchild and other seating. The entertainment helped us through the long hours and the food was much more than I expected.
Though we were delayed leaving on one flight, we were never on the ground for an unreasonable time and we were always on time of a few minutes early. All our luggage followed us well and were timely delivered.
We received fine service and prompting through our connecting flights including LA coming home when we had to clear customs and immigration.
Though there are other carriers that do the Australia runs, I will stick with the company that had us walking off each of our seven flights with pleasant memories. I can recommend Qantas Airlines for their international flights from NY and LA as well as their domestic flights that flew us to three airports.
Australia, as viewed by an American Tourist
Sydney, Australia as reviewed by a NY Tourist
Getting there by Qantas
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