With Regional Express set to challenge Qantas and Virgin Australia for business travellers on the popular Sydney-Melbourne corridor, here's a first look at what greets passengers in business class.
At first glance, you've seen this all before: in Virgin Australia business class. That's because Rex's Boeing 737 fleet comes direct from Virgin Australia's stable of surplus aircraft, so with a few tweaks for the change of operators, they're good to fly.
Rex has, of course, removed the "Virgin" branding from these seats, and imprinted its own logo into the headrest, as part of its $150 million play to enter the domestic jet market.
As Regional Express is keeping the configuration the same as Virgin Australia, this means eight business class seats at the pointy end, arranged in a 2-2 configuration.
In terms of legroom, expect the same as you'd get flying Virgin, with 38 inches of pitch in business class.
As the first row comes with a bulkhead – and the need to place all your bags into the lockers for take-off and landing – travellers with longer legs or laptop bags in tow may prefer the second row.
Down in economy, those expectations should also match Virgin Australia, with Rex keeping Virgin's five extra-legroom "Economy X" rows (now dubbed "Rextra Legroom"), as well as the cabin's standard economy seats.
In fact, Rex is even keeping Virgin Australia's signature "royal purple" divider at the rear of business class. As Perspex is currently in high demand due to COVID-19, it remains to be seen whether this will be changed at a later date.
One thing worth highlighting, is that because these planes were among the oldest in Virgin Australia's fleet, they arrive without AC power in business class.
While the need for a power point on a quick 'golden triangle' flight is less pronounced – particularly with Rex having lounges in both Sydney and Melbourne – we'd hope these would be considered should Rex expand into longer domestic routes.
Rex's debut on the Sydney-Melbourne route is fast approaching, taking off on March 1.
It's a big step up for Rex, which to date flies only Saab 340 turboprops on regional routes, although its subsidiary Pel-Air already operates a small number of jet aircraft, including Learjet 35/36 and Westwind 1124 business jets.