After expanding beyond its traditional regional roots with the launch of a Boeing 737 jet service in March 2021,Rex(shorthand for Regional Express) has become a worthy challenger to Qantas and Virgin Australia in the domestic business class stakes.
A steadily-growing fleet of Boeing 737s now darts between Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Adelaide, with more planes headed for the hangars and the promise of more cities – including Perth and Hobart – to join the Rex jet network.
Wherever you're headed, here's what to expect of Rex's Boeing 737 business class.
Where you can fly Rex business class
Business class is available on all Rex Boeing 737 jets, but only on those 737s; the smaller Saab 340 turboprops which dominate regional and country routes are an all-economy class affair from tip to tail.
At the time of writing Rex has seven Boeing 737s in its jet fleet, covering the following routes as at October 2022:
Rex plans to add more aircraft and destinations in a measured, ‘slow but steady’ approach over the next 12 months.
“Every time we see an opportunity to grow that fleet, we’ll take it,” says Regional Express director Chris Hine; the airline has previously outlined its intention to operate as many as 30 Boeing 737s in a nationwide network of intercity routes.
Rex business class fares
Regional Express typically offers three categories of business class fares on its Boeing 737 flights, and generally prices those business class fares well below those of Qantas and closer to Virgin Australia.
All Rex business class fares include a meal, 32kg of checked luggage and lounge access, plus a handy Get Me Home option where there’s no charge to shift to an earlier flight.
Rex Biz Saver fares are the most affordable but are more restrictive in areas such as flight changes and cancellations
Rex Biz tickets hit the middle ground for price and flexibility, while Rex Biz Plus carries the highest price but affords the most flexibility if your travel plans change.
Rex business class baggage allowance
If you’re flying with only carry-on baggage, pay close attention to Rex’s cabin luggage allowances, as they vary between business class fares.
- Rex Biz Saver cabin baggage: two bags up to 10kg combined total weight.
- Rex Biz, Biz Plus cabin baggage: two bags up to 15kg total (max. 10kg in a single item).
When it comes to packing your suitcase, all three Rex business class tickets provide a flat 32kg of baggage.
That’s in contrast to the 23kg allowance in economy class on Rex’s jet routes, giving you more wiggle room for shopping or other heavy items like business samples.
However, the standard 32kg allowance in Rex business class is only half as generous as on Qantas and Virgin Australia, which both cover at least 2x32kg bags, or more for eligible frequent flyers.
Rex business class seating
As most of Rex’s Boeing 737 jets were previously leased to Virgin Australia, they have the exact same business class seats as you’d see on a Virgin flight – unless of course you step onto one of the 737s where Virgin is trialling its proposed next-generation business class.
The eight comfortable business class seats on each Rex Boeing 737 are spread across two rows in a 2-2 layout, with a recent recline but lacking the leg rest of Qantas’ Boeing 737 business class.
Also missing is an inflight entertainment screen – so be sure to load your own device with content, or pack a good book – and AC/USB sockets for charging up your tech during the flight.
Rex business class meals and drinks
All food and beverages served in Regional Express’ business class cabin are complimentary.
On the food front, travellers are provided with a hot or cold dish atop a cardboard tray, along with a pastry, sweet item, and bottled water.
Tea, coffee, soft drinks, juice, beer, white wine and red wine are also available, but are again served in plastic or cardboard cups.
This sees Rex's overall food and beverage presentation being a notch below Qantas and Virgin Australia, which both use tableware.
Rex business class inflight WiFi
All Rex Boeing 737s offer free WiFi for business class passengers for the length of the flight, using asatellite-based Internet service with speedsup to 15Mbps.
Travellers in economy class on Rex Boeing 737 flights can choose between a basic browsing package “suitable for simple Web browsing, email, instant messaging and social media” at $6.50 for 30 minutes or $10 for the entire flight; and a faster streaming package, which costs $9.75 for 30 minutes or $15 for the entire flight.
Rex business class lounge access
All business class passengers receive complimentary lounge access, although keep your expectations realistic: these are not the snazzy lounges of Qantas or Virgin.
Instead, they are more modest affairs in keeping with the airline’s regional routes and heritage.
Rex business class upgrades
With Regional Express yet to launch its promised Rex frequent flyer program, there’s not the traditional path to a business class upgrade from economy based on frequent flyer status or spending points.
However, economy passengers can bid for a business class upgrade under the auction-style Rex Bid Up program, with bids starting from as little as $10.
And just like a real auction, they’ll be able to increase their bid to beat out other passengers in competing for the premium seats.
Read our guide to the Rex Bid Up business class upgrade program for all the details.
Rex frequent flyer program
Yet to be revealed, but definitely in the pipeline, is the all-new Rex frequent flyer program.
This will help round out the airline’s ongoing competitive push against Qantas and Virgin Australia, although there’s scant detail on areas such as partners for earning points, status levels and perks – although Virgin has confirmed its frequent flyer program will link up to the SkyMiles loyalty platform of US partner Delta Air Lines.
We do know that Rex has high hopes for its rewards scheme: a 2020 presentation to investors and sighted by Executive Traveller listed the launch of the Rex Frequent Flyer program as a ‘strategic milestone’, with an eventual value between $1 billion and $1.6 billion “in 3-4 years” after capital city flights commenced in March 2021.