Review: what it’s like to fly with Qantas in the coronavirus era

As Qantas adds more flights and rolls out its Fly Well program, we sample 'the new normal' of domestic travel.

By David Flynn, June 12 2020
Review: what it’s like to fly with Qantas in the coronavirus era

With travel restrictions easing as Australia pulls steadily away from COVID-19, Qantas is adding more flights to its pared-back domestic schedule.

Even with the proven benefits of video apps like Zoom, business travellers will be back on the road. Families will welcome a winter escape during the July school holidays, while other leisure travellers will find a quick weekend getaway is the perfect salve for itchy feet.

But flying – even if it’s a short Sydney-Melbourne hop – is very different in this post-pandemic world, as Executive Traveller discovered.

Pre-flight

We’re doing a Qantas flight from Sydney to Melbourne and back – one leg in business class, the other in economy – to review this new domestic travel experience. Even the timetable is a dramatic illustration of how things have changed.

Sydney-Melbourne is not only Australia’s most crowded air corridor, it ranks as the world’s second-busiest domestic route, averaging 75 flights per day in each direction according to flight data firm OAG.

Yet on the day we travelled – Friday June 12, 2020 – there are just ten flights from Sydney to Melbourne: six by Qantas, three by Jetstar and one by Virgin Australia.

"It’s still early days as we work to get our planes, our people and our frequent flyers back in the air – at least domestically," reflects Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce. "It will be some time yet before things feel truly 'normal'. But there is cautious optimism that we are starting to emerge from what has been a very challenging chapter for everyone."

The day before the flight, an email from Qantas lobs into the inbox and draws attention to the recent introduction of “a number of additional measures to provide peace-of-mind throughout your journey and to ensure a safe environment at the airport and onboard.”

This is part of the airline’s Fly Well initiative, which brings together a number of health measures both on the ground and in the air.

Qantas is encouraging all passengers to use online or app-based checkin.
Qantas is encouraging all passengers to use online or app-based checkin.

From the passenger’s perspective, much of Fly Well is about limiting contact with others at almost every stage of the journey (not every stage, because it’s hard to limit contact with others when the middle seats in economy aren’t left empty, but we’ll get to that later).

This begins with checking-in for your flight online or via the smartphone app, rather than at airport – thankfully, a habit which comes as second-nature to most frequent flyers.

Qantas is encouraging all passengers to use online or app-based checkin.
Qantas is encouraging all passengers to use online or app-based checkin.

At the airport

With the flight to Melbourne departing at 7am and boarding from 6.40am, we arrive at Sydney Airport’s Qantas domestic Terminal 3 around 6am to be greeted by a long line to go through a single security channel.

The snaking socially-distanced security line at Sydney Airport's Terminal 3.
The snaking socially-distanced security line at Sydney Airport's Terminal 3.

Social distancing means that there’s now a lot more space between passengers, which in turn means the queue stretches back to one end of the terminal.

More of the snaking socially-distanced security line at Sydney Airport's Terminal 3.
More of the snaking socially-distanced security line at Sydney Airport's Terminal 3.

A second security lane was opened after several passengers had to make their way to the front of the queue to avoid missing their flight.

The tail end of the snaking socially-distanced security line at Sydney Airport's Terminal 3.
The tail end of the snaking socially-distanced security line at Sydney Airport's Terminal 3.

Lesson: the ‘arrive and go straight to the gate’ strategy is perhaps a little fraught with risk these days, even more so than in normal times.

And there are plenty of other signs to make it clear these are far from normal times. For example, Qantas service desks are fronted by protective plastic screens.

Service desks are now fronted by clear plastic screens.
Service desks are now fronted by clear plastic screens.

There are stickers and markers on the floor to emphasise the correct social distancing, reinforced by a stream of reminders over the PA system.

Social distancing reminders at Sydney Airport Terminal 3.
Social distancing reminders at Sydney Airport Terminal 3.

More signs and stickers decorate the departure gates, and there’s only a handful of food outlets open in the terminal – a situation that’s not changed when we return to Sydney around 11am, and which is also the case at Melbourne.

Social distancing reminders at Sydney Airport Terminal 3.
Social distancing reminders at Sydney Airport Terminal 3.
Social distancing reminders at Sydney Airport Terminal 3.
Social distancing reminders at Sydney Airport Terminal 3.

“Flying is going to be different for a while, " says Joyce, "but we think that people will be more comfortable getting back on an aircraft again knowing all these things are now in place."

Qantas’ preflight email advises “you'll be offered a bottle of water and a snack during your flight”, so our advice to many travellers – especially when setting out on longer routes – is to eat before you get to the airport and/or pack your own meal box: a hearty sandwich or roll, a salad bowl, a piece of fruit and a snack will go a long way.

A hand sanitising station at Sydney Airport Terminal 3.
A hand sanitising station at Sydney Airport Terminal 3.

If you’re wondering about Qantas’ airport lounges, they’ve been shut since mid-March and won't be opening until July.

Even then, unlocking those lounge doors is likely to be a staggered affair: in cities with both a Qantas Club and a Qantas Business lounge, only one of those might open at first and roll out the welcome mat for all lounge-worthy passengers.

Qantas doesn't expect to reopen its domestic airport lounges until sometime in July.
Qantas doesn't expect to reopen its domestic airport lounges until sometime in July.

Visitors will also notice many changes to the loungescape, beginning with more space between seating to comply with social distancing requirements and avoid passengers clustering too close together.

However, this will also mean a reduction in actual lounge capacity and the need to place limits on the number of passengers allowed into a lounge – which could see some lounges declared 'full' even with relatively low numbers, and other lounge-eligible travellers turned away.

Hand-sanitising stations will be located near the entry and dotted around the lounge, while self-serve buffets will be replaced by pre-packaged meals and snacks.

Boarding the flight

Our 7am flight from Sydney to Melbourne is the first one of the day, and it’s well-patronised with travellers headed to the Victorian capital to jump straight into the working day or get an early start to a long weekend. The business class cabin of this Airbus A330 is almost full, with economy class around 70% occupied.

Boarding runs smoothly. Business class passengers, along with Platinum- and Gold-grade frequent flyers, can board at any time, while all other passengers are boarded by row, starting from the rear of the A330 and moving forward in blocks of five rows (a maximum of 40 passengers at a time).

Boarding our Qantas flight from Sydney to Melbourne.
Boarding our Qantas flight from Sydney to Melbourne.

The two boarding lanes are property policed, and every passenger is asked to pick up a Fly Well pack as they board, although more of these are available on the plane if requested.

Passengers pick up a Fly Well pack before boarding the aircraft.
Passengers pick up a Fly Well pack before boarding the aircraft.

The Fly Well kit contains a face mask and two sanitising wipes, in case travellers wish to wipe down their seat belts, trays and armrests for their own peace of mind – although Qantas says it’s already stepped up aircraft cleaning, using “a disinfectant effective against Coronaviruses, with a focus on high contact areas – seats, seatbelts, overhead lockers, air vents and toilets.”

This Fly Well pack is now distributed on all domestic Qantas and Jetstar flights.
This Fly Well pack is now distributed on all domestic Qantas and Jetstar flights.

"We recommend everyone wears a mask for extra peace of mind, which might have seemed odd a few months ago but felt surprisingly normal," Joyce says.

The Fly Well pack contains a face mask and two sanitising wipes.
The Fly Well pack contains a face mask and two sanitising wipes.

PA announcements at the gate and on the aircraft remind passengers of social distancing as they board and make their way to their seats. This generally sets off a shuffling of feet as people take a step or two back – most of us are clearly used to lining up in the old-fashioned way.

Further announcements on the aircraft point out that there’s no inflight entertainment or WiFi – something also mentioned in the Qantas preflight email, a measure taken to conserve all-important cash as the airline weathers the Covid-19 storm – and suggests that passengers download any content they need before the flight departs.

During the flight

Out of necessity, there’s minimal interaction between crew and passengers apart from handing out meals, which have also been stripped back into a ‘single delivery’ item.

Qantas' domestic breakfast served in business class for Sydney-Melbourne.
Qantas' domestic breakfast served in business class for Sydney-Melbourne.

For this morning flight, breakfast in business class is a box containing a bowl of cereal, a container of UHT milk and a small snack bag of dried fruit.

Qantas' domestic breakfast meal in business class for Sydney-Melbourne.
Qantas' domestic breakfast meal in business class for Sydney-Melbourne.

Economy passengers receive a bag of bite-sized biscuits, and everyone gets a small bottle of water, but there’s no tea or coffee service.

Qantas' domestic breakfast snack in economy class for Sydney-Melbourne.
Qantas' domestic breakfast snack in economy class for Sydney-Melbourne.

In fact there's no drinks apart from that bottle of water, and that includes soft drinks, wine, beer, or spirits, even in business class.

Qantas says this is also to minimise interaction between travellers and cabin crew, but stresses that these 'dry flights' are only a short-term measure.

A Qantas spokesperson says that while the airline has maintained "a simplified inflight food and beverage service" over the past three months, "we expect customers will be able to enjoy a glass of wine or a beer when they fly with us again soon."

Executive Traveller understands that drinks could be back on Qantas flights sometime in July as Qantas airport lounges reopen.

In addition to the lack of WiFi, TV shows and movies, there’s no inflight magazine: so unless you find safety cards to be a riveting read, we suggest extending the BYO meal approach to BYO entertainment.

For what it’s worth, both at the airport and during the flight, very few passengers wore a face mask: we’d estimate less than one in ten.

Perhaps this comes back to that famously easy-going “she’ll be right” Aussie attitude, or that COVID-19 simply hasn’t cut a swathe through our lives in the way it’s affected many countries overseas – testament, perhaps, to an early move to put strict controls in place.

About those middle seats...

Out Melbourne-Sydney flight is on Qantas’ workhorse Boeing 737-800, and it’s also well-patronised.

This is clearly good news for Qantas as the airline ramps up its flying from a scant 5% of its normal level across April-May to 15% by the end of June and, it hopes, 40% by the end of July.

However, with the airline opting to put all economy seats on sale rather than keep the middle seats empty, it means we’re back to rubbing shoulders with fellow travellers.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce takes the middle seat, flanked by Qantas Chief Customer Officer Steph Tully (left) and Qantas International CEO Tino La Spina (right).
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce takes the middle seat, flanked by Qantas Chief Customer Officer Steph Tully (left) and Qantas International CEO Tino La Spina (right).

Qantas addresses criticism of this on two fronts.

Firstly, the airline’s resident medical director, Dr Ian Hosegood, maintains “the data shows that actual risk of catching coronavirus on an aircraft is already extremely low” due to a combination of factors including a “hospital-grade” air filtration system, that fact people don’t sit face-to-face, and the high backs of aircraft seats acting as a physical barrier.

“As far as the virus goes, an aircraft cabin is a very different environment to other forms of public transport,” Hosegood says.

“Social distancing on an aircraft isn’t practical the way it is on the ground, and given the low transmission risk on board, we don’t believe it’s necessary in order to be safe. The extra measures we’re putting place will reduce the risk even further.

Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy is in accord, saying these flights present “quite a low risk of transmission. We have not seen a clear case of transmission of the virus on a domestic flight in Australia.”

“The airlines were practising good distancing, they are now occupying their seats more fully… that’s one of the circumstances where we think it's not an unreasonable choice if someone chooses to wear a mask.”

Qantas chief Alan Joyce adds a commercial facet to this: blocking all middle seats would add only 60cm between passengers, which he says “isn’t social distancing”, yet would see airfares rise sharply to make up for the missing passengers.

“If we take the middle seat, airfares will probably go up by around 50%… and so, if it’s not needed, and it isn’t needed by the medical advice, it definitely economically will not be justified.”

Summary

All up, our sampling of a domestic flight under Qantas’ Fly Well program proved surprisingly straightforward and relatively stress-free.

The new dictates of social distancing definitely take some getting used to, and it’s clear that flyers need to be a little better prepared when it comes to everything from meals to movies.

The next step in the recovery flightpath will likely include the reopening of lounges, but there could also be speed bumps ahead if the steady increase in passengers collides with social distancing constraints in lounges and at departure gates – so we’ll have to see what July-August brings.

The author travelled as a guest of Qantas

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Jan 2018

Total posts 18

Hmmm...alcohol free wipes won't work against viruses. The package, correctly states "Protects against 99.99% of germs" but that does not include viruses.

The eeriness was perfectly enhanced by the pictures of a dark Sydney departure.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 694

Likewise to cleaning is the lack of use of masks. In woollies at peak times there is more than 10% wearing masks. I will be taking my own mask and alcohol based sanitiser.

@patrickk

I think you'll find that alcohol based sanitiser is a flammable liquid and as such might be banned from the cabin.

vaf
vaf

15 Jun 2020

Total posts 2

I always carry a small (50ml) bottle of alcohol-based sanitiser in my pocket when travelling whether domestically or internationally, never had a problem at any airport with any airline.

29 May 2020

Total posts 8

It is an anitmicrobial which kills viruses.

08 Jun 2020

Total posts 4

Fortunately you're incorrect. Check out Zoono and how their antimicrobial technology works and has been tested to kill surrogates for Sars-Cov-2.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

12 Dec 2013

Total posts 13

Sorry rnicky but there are many products other than alcohol that kill viruses. The germs claim on the label will be to do with TGA requirements and specific claims. Killing viruses in the body is completely different to killing viruses on a surface. Peroxide, available chlorine for example are 2 very effective ways of combating Covid which from an environmental surface perspective is very easy to kill.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

12 Apr 2017

Total posts 56

It's great to see people flying. Time to stop being scared and get back in the air. Too many people think the world should stop until every single case has been eliminated. That is ridiculous, humans have and always will catch viruses. Simple precautions, as shown here, and avoidance if you are high risk and the world can travel again. Open the international borders as well please!

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 694

Richard this virus is particularly nasty and infectious so good to be cautious, and there is a myth about high risk. High risk people are more like to die. The rest of us can spend up to two months at home very sick. Note most cases now come from international travelers in quarantine. Happy to see international borders open as you suggest but with appropriate quarantine and testing measures.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

16 Jul 2018

Total posts 16

Fascinating review.

QFP

22 Jan 2013

Total posts 56

Thanks David, great update. Keep them coming please.

23 Jul 2011

Total posts 4

The mask in the Flywell pack is good!

But Mask and mid flight meals, mean you have to remove it to eat while inhaling the droplets from the person next to you who might be the carrier of the virus!

Middle seat not empty, someone with the virus could spread it well with the person sitting next to them.

29 May 2020

Total posts 8

unless you are facing the person or talking to them how do their droplets move sideways to you?

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 694

Silver wing that is easy ... through a cough or a sneeze hence the need for masks.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jun 2017

Total posts 32

Thanks for the review. Interesting to see the changes but as a P1 who used to fly around the world monthly I'll stay remote working. Joyce is doing all he can but at the end of the day you're shoulder to shoulder with someone who just may be sick (and not know it). It's unfortunately selective social distancing (I.e distancing except for flights) which due to economics is the best he can do. Unfortunately the situation is over a risk threshold for me, so it's road trips and zoom. But that's just me and my family. Thanks again though for the report. Incredibly valuable.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 Nov 2019

Total posts 32

Alan is saving some serious punt on those business class meals.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jun 2020

Total posts 2

It's like what economy used to get

"... we sample 'the new normal' of domestic travel ...". The new normal ... I doubt that. Perhaps 'the temporary normal', but I'd be very surprised if you haven't joined (probably on a state by state basis) the current NZ 'old normal' domestic air travel standards (albeit on reduced schedules due reduced demand) fairly soon. Perhaps it may have even been in unison with us (some states at least) if your CV19 control progress hadn't been compromised by 'me too' protesters breaking social septation standards and then finding they had a 'carrier' in their 'team'.

NZ

13 Aug 2016

Total posts 50

Think you'll find this new normal changed very fast, NZ is already back up to 60% of pre-Covid19 domestic capacity.

With pretty much all new normal onboard measures removed, flying NZ domesticity now is back to normal apart from slightly less choice of flights.

PPE is an thing on the fast on NZ.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 694

Cave and it will be a thing of the past in Australia when we go a month with no new cases. Until then....

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Jun 2019

Total posts 5

When I see these Qantas exec's on another publicity stunt I want to throw up.

Qantas has been appalling in their treatment of loyal customers in regards to cancelled flight refunds - waiting more than 70 days and all we get are disingenuous pro forma email replies and nonsense excuses.

I received 6 cash refunds from American Airlines in the height of the crisis all promptly and efficiently within 10 days. They had many more to deal with than Qantas!!

Qantas continue to be No. 1 in worst customer service org's in Oz. (ps have you ever tried to call them...........)

29 May 2020

Total posts 8

Remind me what Virgin are doing with refunds.... and then come back and say who is No1 in worst customer service.

21 Feb 2020

Total posts 6

Hi Gms5. I have had nothing but excellence from Qantas when canceling flights, both full fare business and classic flight rewards. I just hope here is a corresponding increase in regional flights along with capital to capital.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Jun 2019

Total posts 3

What's the point of all the social distancing measures at the airport when everyone is rubbing shoulders on a packed flight?

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 694

rob indeed unless everyone wears a mask as is required on public transport elsewhere. While surfaces are one source air droplets are another.

29 May 2020

Total posts 8

Because you don't catch COVID19 from rubbing shoulders?

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 694

I am presuming the shoulders are covered and not bare but if you are rubbing bare shoulders in a pandemic the more fool you.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Jun 2019

Total posts 3

Not meant literally

12 Dec 2018

Total posts 12

On a flight last week BRIS > MELB the usual crush in the aisle for bags on landing combined with a delay getting off meant (like the old days) dozens of people were rubbing shoulders / swiveling un-masked faces / breathing all over seated passengers for several minutes before disembarking. I truly hope there is some truth in their on board filters being as effective as they claim. The irony of some things never changing will be the catalyst for things getting better quickly or not.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Sep 2012

Total posts 25

A 1hr domestic flight with these cutbacks in services is probably barely noticeable..what will it feel like on a 10hr+ flight overseas where they're talking about a similar elimination of in-flight services :(

29 May 2020

Total posts 8

I doubt we will be going on 10 hour flights until things are back to normal.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Sep 2012

Total posts 25

@Silverwings yet those flights ARE happening now...so perhaps it will be a 'new normal'..and a very basic one at that :(

Velocity

19 Jun 2013

Total posts 50

@findjeremy... what it will look like, is my AC YVR/SYD flight back on 18 Mar. in PY. That being, no pillows or blankets for a 15-hr overnight flight! At least we still got a full (and credit where it's due... very tasty with large servings) main meal then an OK breakfast. My guess is that they - along with the inflight mag - will go.

I'd love our govt. to let us leave again without having to go cap in hand and ask permission. But only from a philosophical civil liberties & freedom perspective. I wouldn't be rushing to get on a long haul flight until there is a universal vaccine, so services can return to normal. In other words, most likely never. Sad.

I reckon I've got more of a chance of catching C19 at my local jam packed Coles or Bunnings or Office Works or Dan Murphy's than I have sitting on an airplane, even sitting next to someone I don't know. A nice buffer seat front and rear and the person sitting next to me is facing the same way as me. Open the domestic boarders and bring it on I say.

16 Dec 2016

Total posts 36

Gms5 I'm sure it's frustrating but your rant about Qantas having the worst customer service in Australia is just rubbish. Perhaps try a DM on their Socials as I had a brilliant experience. Also perhaps consider how your business would run on a 95% cut in output. I think Qantas are doing a great job to protect customers, staff, shareholders and Australians in a once in a lifetime event. I hope that everyone who was a regular flyer like me supports this AUSTRALIAN airline as it heads out of this and helps lay the foundations that will secure the future of Australian aviation. Many airlines are going to disappear and i for one am going to use my dollars to support Qantas and it's workers.

27 May 2020

Total posts 2

Am i the only one who cringes when i hear the term SOCIAL DISTANCING? Why can't we use the English language as it is supposed to be used and NOT use Oxymorons like social distancing. Even UN agencies are now realising the error and the term PHYSICAL DISTANCING is becoming the official message. If we want people to understand what is being said i suggest that physical distancing is a much more accurate and descriptive term to use!!!!
We do not want people to become socially distant or to become unsociable, we simply want people to stay physically apart for a while until the virus is brought under control!!!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Sep 2018

Total posts 134

It's become THE buzzword now I'm afriad... doubt people will change now we all know what it means.

12 Dec 2018

Total posts 12

Watch it be included in the next dictionary updates.

23 Jul 2017

Total posts 55

I shall gladly accept my Fly Well Pack along with my bottle of water and a little bag of bikkies on my flight to Longreach. I'll even take some fruit and a filled bread roll from home to go with them. I'll stand on the little 'distance' markers and keep physical distances as requested.

I'll separate myself from other customers in the lounge (something I've always done) and ditto for wiping around my seating area on the plane. It may not kill viruses, but it'll give other nasties a bit of hurry up. People used smile wryly at me in the past for doing that. I', having the last laugh, but wish it all didn't happen and unfortunately it has.

The funniest part of the good article about "what's to come" is the staged photo of Joycey and co all palsy walsy in the economy seats. What'll be next - Father Christmas, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy all in full costume sitting side by side in economy seats? I'll believe the latter before the former situation.

Flying customers and staff, stay safe.

Velocity

19 Jun 2013

Total posts 50

@Ladtsmt... Your "next" just won't happen. Santa travels by corporate sleigh only; the Easter Bunny ... well, hops along, but in any case, is a VERY seasonal worker, and one hopes that by next Easter, this will all be over. And the Tooth Fairy has their own wings, like all fairies. So, that just leaves Joyce & Co.

30 Apr 2020

Total posts 14

People have overreacted to the possibility of virus transmission on planes. The facts clearly show negilable transmission on plane, we've had hundred of thousands returned travellers, some with the virus yet no clusters on planes. Good to see the real facts revealed to stop people's paranoia.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer P1

23 Aug 2014

Total posts 55

I might have missed it, but are the airfares lower for business given the pared back experience?

23 Apr 2020

Total posts 1

Thank your lucky stars you can fly. Here in W.A. we are still not allowed to leave the state.

Gms5 i agree with you i am still waiting for my refunds as well now 91 days and petty excuses.Forget trying to call them unless you have hours to spare.I have never liked their smug CEO or their arrogant staff on the ground and on board the plane i just hope Virgin survives in any format as they are far much human than QF in all all aspects.

07 May 2020

Total posts 3

Michael Kearney - I agree 91 days is pretty sub-standard - my own experience though with cancelling international partner flights (combination of points and cash) hotel bookings as well as Qantas Travel (NIB) Insurance premium all went remarkably hassle free and all ( except the travel Ins) done and dusted in a week or so. The insurance took a little longer but I was kept informed as to the status at regular intervals.

I am really cross when Joyce speaks nonsense and thinks he can get away with it

Only booking the aisle and window seat would NOT increase fares by 50%

1. The business class revenue would be unaffected and have the highest revenue return

2. Most flights are less than full and the seats that are not taken up are the middle ones. Leaving the middle seat free would generally lead to a small drop in passengers per flight. And the flights that are full are the most profitable.

No doubt Joyce could supply your column with a spreadsheet indicating the %ages of flights that are 100%, 99%, 98% full going down to 66% full or less. This would make it easy to see what percentage of ticket revenue would be lost in economy

As someone who has been to Asia many times, I am used to people wearing masks. I don't like the tip-toing around the issue of masks and the argument that they are culturally different. The point is that they developed a readiness to wear masks after previous epidemics. If we are to be less than 1.5m away from others, then masks should be compulsory absent a doctor's certificate that there are good health reasons against wearing it

23 Oct 2014

Total posts 181

I wonder if the new norm is PR “yoga classes” in the now filled B737 middle seats. Maybe social distancing with gyms and running tracks in the cargo holds of B737's or PR “sunrise” flights ML-SY.

26 May 2011

Total posts 15

Grest review - even with the distancing, to have such a long line at security is ridiculous. I am sure those flying wouldn't have expected a line like that, particularly because there is only one lane operating.

Velocity

19 Jun 2013

Total posts 50

@VHOEJ... hmm. Just when you think that flying can't get more unpleasant, along comes this. Maybe we'll come to think of the period from 9/11 to 2/20, as another Golden Age of air travel. Heaven help us!

@27mrpc27... oh jeez!!! Maybe the HEPA filtration only operates when the engines are running; but maybe with the APU as well. It's a point worth considering. Can anyone with that knowledge enlighten us?

The HEPA filtration is part of the air circulation system for the air conditioning. If the latter is on it will work. However, it will not suck up aerosols that come with the coughs and sneezes of those who are too close - especially on boarding and disembarking. This is where face masks are absolutely necessary but should be backed up by protocols to avoid people being too close. We will probably have to have boarding and disembarking to follow a seat by seat call with those who are not ready waiting until the end. This might add 10 minutes each end of the trip

Velocity

19 Jun 2013

Total posts 50

Hi. Interesting, if depressing. Thanks for that fast info. It comes back to my point about flying being made more & more unpleasant if that were possible , doesn't it. Bottom line: the trip, be it business or leisure will really have to be worth the pain and risk of getting there.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 May 2014

Total posts 10

I have a word of caution, about how well the QANTAS boarding procedure works at the moment. I've just got off a MEL-SYD flight on B737 aircraft. They announce boarding by rows, starting from the back to the front. Because of the crowding at the gate there were people like me up and down the terminal corridor, so I am not sure if they announced any premium boarding based on FF status or not, but they certainly didn't make it obvious, as only 1 access lane for boarding pass scanning was open.

I am Platinum, and sitting in row 5, so I waited until they called rows 4-10 to board, making our group last on, but as you'd expect on a full flight, the overhead lockers were already full, and people were already seated in rows 4-8 when I got to my seat. So clearly people hadn't followed the boarding by rows announcement, or heeded the advice to put soft bags underneath a seat and nor was it being enforced by QF to do so with the red tag / 2nd bag system QF uses.

So, as I walked to row 19 and found no space, I went back to row 2 where it was suggested as per qantas policy that because it might not fit in the overheads it might be offloaded to another flight. This was super annoying as they made it seem like it was my fault for having 1 overhead bag and I was doing ecaxtly the same as every other punter on the plane ! But it seemed as though I was penalised for being last group to board, and last to find a locker spot - bag ended up under a seat in row 19, making it slow to disembark at sydney. Crew manager apologised on the way out, but I politely said their boarding by rows penalised anyone sitting at the first 5 rows, who follows their boarding rules, and who are usually their premium flyers !

I will be less likely to follow any boarding “by rows” announcements in future, and certainly won't be waiting until last again. It was a very poor experience. I can only hope that more flights is going to mean a return to more normal boarding very soon !

07 May 2020

Total posts 3

Well spoken Andrew1970. Qantas (as well as quite a few International Airlines) need to get serious with ensuring boarding protocols are strictly followed by selfish queue jumpers. I would suggest a very well muscled security person being there to escort the recalcitrants to the back of the queue.

Velocity

19 Jun 2013

Total posts 50

@Andrew1970 and @macmozzie... that sounded like one really bad trip, handled with customary aplomb & tact by The Roo.

On one level, I agree with macmozzie. But having an “enforcer” present? Hmmm... we are being pushed around enough by government, and any organisation in any position of control over people. Enough. We don't need any more of it, IMO. Inconsiderate travellers have long been a feature of flying. We've all found ways to make the trip uncomfortable for such people. Let's stick to that.

Can confirm that, as of yesterday, a hot meal was offered in business class (Syd-Mel) and passengers were asked if they wanted anything else to drink other than water. Tea and coffee were served in paper cups, however.

Notably the free mask doesn't come with any instructions on which side should face out and which goes against your face.

13 Mar 2020

Total posts 3

Just read the website as will be travelling on QF859 (Economy) then QF858 (Business) and now has that a limited bar service will be available on flights to the East Coast from Perth or Darwin. 858/9 is DRW to SYD via ASP and return. They also have a limited number of main meals for business class and special meals will be provided.

Thai Airways International - Royal Orchid Plus

15 Jan 2013

Total posts 293

one can buy wipes for $2 currently a box at any cotton on mega store and as for a meal buy something at the airport and put in your lunch box for the plane drink bring your own bottle.i see sportsgirl are doing cheap lunch boxes adequate enough to fit a meal for a flight in so go there for that.

01 May 2017

Total posts 2

Flew to Qld from Sydney over the weekend. A few points of note-

Qantas business lounge in Sydney very well ran. Only negative was when I asked the staff at lounge counter about Qld border declarations and whether this was something we did on arrival, got given on the plane or needed to do online. They had no idea and said they had nobody they could call to ask. So we did them online which was definitely the right answer and then showed the email on the phone to Qld police on arrival. There were no wellness packs / masks at the gate when boarding (unless some turned up after we boarded). We therefore had to ask onboard and were given masks but by that point we had not been socially distancing for quite a while. Most of the passengers wore masks on the flight but not the crew. I was expecting a very clean airplane given the extra deep clean that qantas had been referring to but didn't really notice any difference. Had to ask crew member for a wipe to clean tray table as was dirty from a previous flight. WiFi situation was confusing. Qantas website says progressively turning back on, so didn't know what to expect. Screen in the qantas lounge had the wifi symbol next to our flight number so looked good and therefore I planned to work on the plane. Unfortunately after boarding the announcement was made to download anything needed before take off as there was no wifi on board.


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