Why Rex has ‘Euro-business class’ on its latest 737

Business class flyers will find themselves in an economy seat at the front of the plane.

By David Flynn, December 19 2023
Why Rex has ‘Euro-business class’ on its latest 737

Business class travellers on Rex’s latest Boeing 737 will step on board to find not a wide comfortable recliner but a standard economy seat, although the middle seat between window and aisle is kept empty.

Welcome to Euro-business class, Australian style.

This tenth 737 to take wing with Regional Express is fitted with only economy seats, albeit new ones, having previously been leased by ultra-low cost US airline Avelo.

The jet has been rostered onto Rex’s third daily Brisbane-Melbourne service – specifically, flights ZL233/ZL243 – where despite the economy seating, premium flyers will still enjoy business class meals, drinks and service.

But it’s only a short-term arrangement, Rex tells Executive Traveller, with this just-delivered 737 pressed into service for the busy summer holiday period.

Rex's latest 737 will temporarily sport an all-economy cabin.
Rex's latest 737 will temporarily sport an all-economy cabin.

In early 2024, the jet will be wheeled into the workshop and first few rows of economy replaced by eight new business class seats – and a Rex spokesman says these will be different to the familiar ex-Virgin Australia business class on its first six 737s, which were previously leased to Virgin before Rex swooped in.

Rex plans to continue steadily growing its 737 fleet to not only boost the number of inter-city flights but to eventually establish a truly national network spanning to Perth. 

However, those additional 737s could see a continued fragmentation when it comes to the ‘hard product’ of seats.

Rex’s first six Boeing 737s were previously flown by Virgin Australia and carry the same Virgin seating (which Virgin itself is replacing across its own 737 fleet with new business and economy seats).

Look familiar? Six of Rex's ten 737s carry these Virgin Australia seats.
Look familiar? Six of Rex's ten 737s carry these Virgin Australia seats.

Two more Rex 737s came from Singapore Airlines’ since-shuttered regional arm SilkAir and are fitted with SilkAir seats, while another 737 sports the seats of Indian carrier Jet Airways – and Rex says no has no plans to refit these three jets with new seating.

Since starting its inter-city 737 service in March 2021 on the hyper-competitive Sydney-Melbourne route, Rex has extended its reach to Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart and the Gold Coast

The ‘country challenger’ has established itself as Australia’s third airline, although on inter-city routes Rex is pegged more between Jetstar and Virgin Australia than a direct threat to arch-rival Qantas.

February 2024 will see the recently-launched Rex Flyer loyalty program unlock points-based upgrades from economy to business class, as well as activating its three ‘elite tiers’ of Sapphire, Emerald and Diamond.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2017

Total posts 323

Considering the ex-SilkAir 737s had each 1 row of J ripped out when they entered service for Rex, I would wonder if Rex stored the redundant ex-Silk recliners to install in this specific ex-Avelo/Gol aircraft.

31 Mar 2014

Total posts 382

I tried Rex in business recently and had no issues for the price. However if I got onto this plane with euro business, they wouldn't see my money again.


09 May 2020

Total posts 566

Using the busy summer schedule as justification and with Easter holidays in 2024 in later Mar, early Apr, there will be little chance that the airplane be refitted with J Class seats possibly with SilkAir equipment (as DanV suggested) until late Apr or early May. The question is how much the full pay J pax is willing to put up with that on a 2.5hr flight (REx probably don’t care as much with the Y to J class upgraders as their exclusion from lounge access demonstrates, and then the upgraders find themselves still in Y seats!)

Not sure about bookings between BNE and MEL, but if their schedules are not as usable (as I have found), there may be a reasonable chance of them not fully booked and empty seats next to pax any way (unless the airline is bloody minded to make it feel full for Y class pax by creative seat arrangements)

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