Qantas will retire its last two elderly Boeing 737-400 planes plying the trans-Tasman routes with New Zealand subsidiary Jetconnect later this year, meaning travellers will see upgraded planes with on-demand touchscreen entertainment, power points and more comfortable seating.
A Qantas spokesperson confirmed to Australian Business Traveller that the planes' last gasp will be when the Rugby World Cup, hosted by New Zealand, ends in October.
The planes -- nearly 20 years old and first delivered to Qantas' now-defunct Australian Airlines subsidiary in 1992 -- are smaller and more cramped than the newer Boeing 737-800 planes that make up the rest of the Jetconnect trans-Tasman fleet.
Australian Business Traveller flew on one of the older 737-400 clunkers from Auckland to Sydney in May, and it was noticeably more cramped and dated than newer planes. Since then, we've actively tried to avoid the 737 Classic flights (marked 737-400 or 734 on more detailed schedules) wherever possible.
Qantas' newer 737-800 planes on the trans-Tasman are roomier, with newer seating, on-demand in-flight entertainment and power points in both business and economy.
Business class seats on the newer planes are 22 inches wide and set at a 37-inch seat pitch (the space between your seat back and the one in front), while economy seats are 17 inches wide with 30 inches of pitch.