Review: Rex Boeing 737 'Rextra Legroom' economy (Melbourne-Sydney)

Rextra Legroom is your ticket to greater comfort: and for just $15 extra on Rex's jet routes, it's terrific value.

Overall Rating

By Chris Chamberlin, April 23 2021
Rex Boeing 737 'Rextra Legroom' economy (Melbourne-Sydney)
Route

Melbourne to Sydney

Aircraft Type

Boeing 737-800

Airline

Regional Express

Flight

ZL142

Cabin Class

Rextra Legroom economy

Seat

3D (aisle)

Notes
The Good
  • Enjoy more space to stretch out, without the business class price tag
The Bad
  • Unlike Virgin's Economy X, this is a legroom-only package
X-Factor
  • Upgrade your economy experience for only $15 per flight
Service
Meals
Seating
Overall

Introduction

Being the Rex equivalent of Virgin Australia Economy X, Rextra Legroom offers more space and comfort on your Regional Express flight, but without the price tag of business class.

In fact, from any fare type, you'll pay only $15 to swap your standard economy seat for one with extra (sorry, Rextra) legroom: either at the front of economy, or at the overwing exit rows.

Executive Traveller stretched out aboard a recent Regional Express flight from Melbourne to Sydney to see how Rextra Legroom stacks up.

Check-in

  • Checked baggage allowance: 23kg
  • Carry-on baggage allowance: 7kg on Promo and Saver fares, or 10kg on Flex tickets.
  • Online check-in: Available between 48 hours and 60 minutes prior to scheduled departure.
  • Airport check-in: At Melbourne Airport Terminal 4, Rex travellers can check-in via kiosk or staffed lanes until 30 minutes prior to departure. Online check-in passengers without checked baggage can head straight to the gate.
  • Boarding passes: Can be printed after online check-in, saved to Apple Wallet on iPhone, or obtained at those kiosks or check-in desks at the airport. Mobile boarding passes for Android phones aren't supported by default, but can be saved and used after installing the WalletPasses app via Google Play.

Lounge

Regional Express operates a Rex Lounge at Melbourne Airport, and while access isn't included with a standard economy class ticket, there are many ways that passengers flying economy can gain access.

Firstly, members of the paid Rex Lounge program can stop by prior to Rex flights, with one complimentary guest.

These members can also bring a second guest at a cost of $22 per visit.

Travellers with Priority Pass or a Diners Club card have access as well in line with their personal membership inclusions – and that's whether flying from Melbourne on Rex, or any other airline.

Separately, any Rex passenger booked on an economy Flex fare can purchase entry on the day for $16.50, while those on Saver fares can purchase entry for $33.

We took the Priority Pass route (see staff at the nearby service desk for processing and access), and found the space to be a quiet place to work and enjoy a simple pre-flight snack.

The lounge offers tea and Nespresso coffee facilities, a selection of chips and light bites, cheese and crackers, yoghurts, soft drinks, juices and water – and from 3pm each day, complimentary beer and wine.

Review: Rex Lounge, Melbourne Airport Terminal 4

If it's your first visit to the Rex Lounge, follow the terminal signs towards "Rex Business Lounge", which you'll find down the escalators at gates 30-33.

Flight

Rex offers multiple flights between Melbourne and Sydney each day, and departure times vary by day of the week.

Whether Rex's schedule suits your own will depend on when you plan to depart, with Sydney-bound flights typically leaving Melbourne at 6am, 7am, 10am, 12pm, 4pm (and/or 5pm, as varies), and then 8pm.

We'd originally booked for 12pm, but this was cancelled the evening prior due to operational requirements, which Rex advised via SMS.

Rex automatically rebooked passengers onto the next available departure – 4pm – but gave the option of 10am as well, with travellers able to call and request that earlier flight if required.

While it's never great to have a flight cancelled, particularly when there's a six-hour gap between the alternatives, being aware of that cancellation the day prior certainly beats learning about a cancellation once you're at the airport, and allowed us to plan our day accordingly.

In any case, all Rex flights between Sydney and Melbourne are operated by Boeing 737-800 aircraft: being the very jets formerly flown by Virgin Australia, making the cabin a rather familiar sight.

Seat

Once on board, you'll find Rextra Legroom in rows 3-5 on the airline's Boeing 737s, along with rows 13-14 at the emergency exits.

Although rows 4 and 5 offer some additional space compared to a standard seat, row 3 (below) is the choice pick, followed closely by the exit rows.

Taking a seat at the front of the cabin, the Rextra Legroom experience certainly provided more space to stretch out, and with the 'upgrade' costing just $15 per flight, it's an easy price to justify for the significant gain in comfort.

In row 3, you'll find storage pockets positioned just above your feet – being large enough for water bottles and the like – while in the other rows, expect a standard seatback pocket. 

It's also worth considering that on quieter flights, the middle seats in these rows are less likely to be occupied than elsewhere in the cabin.

That's not an advertised perk or even something you should expect on every flight, but logically, when travellers can choose between paying extra to sit in a middle seat, or selecting a free window or aisle seat further back, most would lean towards the latter.

Meal

Beyond having extra space, passengers in Rextra Legroom seats receive the same cabin service as those travelling elsewhere in economy.

This sees guests offered a complimentary snack, along with tea, coffee, and water.

On our 4pm flight, a coffee with milk provided a much-welcome energy boost towards the end of a busy day, while the soya crisp and cashew treat was one of the better bites we've had on a domestic economy snack flight.

Passengers can also purchase soft drinks for $4, light beer for $6, and other beers and wines for $7.

That said, payments on board are cash only: and with credit cards and contactless transactions being so prevalent in Australia, it'd be great to see Rex accept card payments on board, as many people (including this writer) no longer carry cash.

Alternatively, being able to pre-purchase a premium drink as a travel add-on with a reservation – which could then be noted on a passenger's boarding pass, and shown to a crew member at service time – would also be a welcome move, encouraging (and indeed, allowing) purchases from more passengers.

Beyond the complimentary snack, there's no other food available for those in economy, even for purchase: but at barely one hour from gate to gate, the snack service should more than suffice.

Entertainment & Service

While interactions with crew are always brief on quick flights like this, staff were friendly, professional, and commenced the cabin service quickly after take-off.

If you're looking for inflight entertainment, you'll find Rex's True Blue magazine in the seat pocket – well worth a read in the air, or online, on the ground.

Otherwise, entertainment is whatever you bring with you.

The verdict

All things considered, the Rextra Legroom experience offers a low-cost but high-impact comfort upgrade when travelling with Rex, and is without a doubt worth the $15 fee.

Given the airline regularly offers rock-bottom economy fares, you could well find it cheaper to book with Rex and pay the extra for Rextra Legroom, versus the base price of a standard economy fare on a competing airline.

Even without a frequent flyer program, that makes Rex a compelling choice – provided there's a flight time that suits your schedule.

Chris Chamberlin travelled as a guest of Regional Express.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 926

Given the current state of its loads on the MEL-SYD route, I assume operational requirements was code for "we hardly had anyone booked for the flight so we thought we'd better save some money and cancel it."

Delta Air Lines - SkyMiles

16 Oct 2017

Total posts 125

Row 3 looks like a good deal, otherwise...yeh nah.

BA Gold

01 Apr 2012

Total posts 168

Cash only payments?  WHAT are they thinking? 

It seems with REX is almost as blase about bringing in extra revenue as Virgin is with their unattractive BOB menu in Y.

flew them last week & have to say there's very little difference between Qantas, Virgin & Rex on domestic flights. Rex just need a few more flights a day & not in middle of the day.

Joe
Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 603

My gut tells me this is all just going to be too much for Rex to sustain.

my gut tells me that there are so very dirty & illegal tactics going on & that eventually Rex will gain market share as long as they stay cheaper than qantas. Most of the corporate market flies Mon-Fri 6am to 8am & 4pm to 7pm.

Think they should concentrate on getting more peak hour flights on eg. SYD/MEL/SYD before opening new routes.

I would imagine rex are throwing lots of free or cheap tickets at corporates. Once the financial controllers realise the savings by flying rex, they will get more business.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 926

REX doesn't have the network to attract corporate traffic.  Businesses aren't interested in an airline that only flies a couple of routes.  

Another website has reported load factors on the first 4 REX flights yesterday from MEL-SYD as 4%, 9%, 9% and 15%.  Break even would be around 70% at least.  At the same time VA was reporting load factors at about 95%.  If this is true, REX's foray into triangle routes is an unmitigated disaster. 

They are reporting fairly good loads on their Gold Coast services so maybe that is their future filling the leisure route services previously operated by Tiger.  The only issue is Jetstar is aggressively chasing these routes already and REX is too busy losing a fortune on its doomed attempt to tackle VA and QF on triangle services.

if you are a small business person who pays for their own flights & you regularly need to fly SYD/MEL or MEL/SYD you'd definitely look at Rex. I do.

In the last 20 years, I've needed to change a domestic Australian flight exactly once(that equates to 1 in about 800 flights), so no sense buying any sort of flexible ticket.

I have enough qantas & virgin frequent flyer points, that I'll probably never ever use & not really interested in status credits.

Lot of vested interests in talking down Rex's success, (tell everyone they are going broke, so people won't book them)

Good on Sharp for coming out & reminding everyone that Qantas is insolvent.

However, I do think Rex should try something new, or, old.

Famously, in the early days of Southwest, probably the best U.S. airline, they only flew 3 routes around 1973. Dallas/San Antonio, Dallas/Houston & Houston/San Antonio, if my member serves me. Braniff tried to kill them on one route by offering a cheaper fare. Instead of a race to bottom, Southwest offered a free large bottle of booze, to everyone who paid the higher fare & business types loved it.  It was claimed, that at the time, Southwest was the largest supplier of certain type of booze in Texas.

 

08 Feb 2018

Total posts 125

unless you're a business in the regions.

REX is still a regional airline, only now if you're in a NSW city/town served by REX and need to get to Melbourne you can on a single ticket. Their first business plan isn't to get market share, its to provide a regional airline operation. The triangle routes add to that business plan and will, over time, become more of a standard option for inter-capital flights.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1293

I flew Rex to Canberra and it was full each way at $99 on a Saab which is probably uneconomic at that price, but for me is cheaper than the train plus a hotel etc. but double that fare and it doesn’t make sense.

how do you know $99 is uneconomic & also did all passengers pay the same ?

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1293

Regular as it is a half of their regular fare and one third Qantas, so it is probably uneconomic (depends on the yield) and no not everyone paid it but as it is available on mostly all flights even tomorrow, then quite a few would pay it. The measure will be if they increase flights to match QANTAS’ seats. At the moment it is a little bit more than a blip that has little cause for QANTAS to drop prices that much, yet.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 926

With Alliance soon to start operating SYD-CBR for VA using F100s, Rex is likely to find its attempt on the route somewhere between short-lived and disastrous.

BA Gold

01 Apr 2012

Total posts 168

What has to be factored in is how COVID will change the demographic of travel.

I'm not sure of the Australian situation but here in London as COVID is finally drawing to an end locally (thanks Pfizer/AstraZeneca) offices aren't necessarily bringing back their workers.  In fact, many are doing the opposite - ending leases on large, expensive offices and continuing with the 'work from home' option which started by lockdown necessity has generally become very successful for organisations.

Corporate travel will definitely be the hardest hit.  By how much, who know.  10% or 90% we will have to wait and see.  But it will absolutely take a long long time (if ever) to return to pre-pandemic levels.  Travel is always the first budget cut by large companies and as many have discovered tech driven ways to meet the number of face to face meetings will definitely reduce.

Non-corporate travel will likely bounce back pretty quickly.  And airlines will adjust their networks and schedules accordingly.  And there is no reason why REX won't do well in this area and slowly expand when and if corporate travel returns.

Which airline i'd pick would be down to many factors.  Price would definitely play a part.  As a OneWorld Emerald i'd obviously choose QF Y over Rex or Virgin purely for the added perks of lounges etc.  If I had no status, price would be a bigger consideration.  Comfort wouldn't factor in much on a SYD-MEL/BNE sector but would on a SYD-PER/DRW one.

As unexciting as I find the onboard REX (and Virgin) proposition, it is something that can be changed overnight if need be.  What's included in a fare, what food is served, whether it's free or not etc etc.  What QF does have in its arsenal that REX and Virgin don't is wide bodied aircraft with flat beds.  On long domestic routes these can be very attractive.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1293

I like you suspect online work will continue and I will use Rex for the work trips I can’t do online until Qantas and Rex prices align more then back to Qantas as lifetime Gold and platinum do have benefits.


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