Melbourne to Sydney
Rextra Legroom economy
- Enjoy more space to stretch out, without the business class price tag
- Unlike Virgin's Economy X, this is a legroom-only package
- Upgrade your economy experience for only $15 per flight
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.