As a family we’ve flown with Qantas to the US on many occasions. We’ve received exceptional service and it’s always been a positive experience. When we are travelling with Braeden on long haul flights every bit of assistance is appreciated and the Qantas crews have always gone above and beyond. In more recent years, when I’ve been travelling solo for work trips, Qantas has been significantly more expensive than their competitors which has led me to book with other airlines. When I compared prices this year for a flight from Sydney to San Antonio (via Dallas) and from Washington DC to Sydney (via Dallas), taking into consideration ease of connections, American Airlines was the best value. The American Airlines flight was operated by Qantas, so although I’d be booking with American Airlines the flight would be in a Qantas aircraft, with a Qantas crew. The flight was good value and I was again impressed by the Qantas staff and facilities on the aircraft. There were some compromises though which I didn’t like. The experience definitely deserves a Qantas economy class review so I can share all the details.
Qantas economy class review – B787-9 Dreamliner aircraft
Being an ex travel consultant myself I see the value of a travel agent and again booked through my friend and ex colleague Sam. Poor Sam, she went through so many options for my flights. Prices were high and all the options came with pros and cons. After lots of research by Sam I decided to book with American Airlines who would be code sharing the flight with Qantas. The airfare was hundreds of dollars cheaper when booked with American Airlines rather than Qantas, even though it would be exactly the same aircraft and flight. The downside to this was that I couldn’t choose seats or book extra leg room seats. If you read my Singapore Airlines economy class review you’ll know that I found the extra leg room seats to be well worth the extra $150 per sector. When booking with American Airlines I could only put in a request for either an aisle or window seat. I found that really frustrating but couldn’t justify the price difference so I just had to suck it up. I guess that’s the penalty for booking the cheaper option.
I was travelling to a travel conference where I needed to take copies of Travel Without Limits magazine so I needed to travel with two suitcases. Many airlines have decreased their economy class luggage allowance to the US to one bag, instead of the previously generous luggage allowance of two bags at 32kg each. It was always bliss to have the two bags included in an airfare for this over-packing and shopping-loving gal. Taking the magazines meant I needed to pay for an additional bag at $150. A hefty price but unavoidable on this trip.
When I paid for my extra bag I happened to mention to the Qantas staff member the frustration I felt at not having the option of booking an extra leg room seat. She took a look in the system, made a phone call and I was lucky enough to get a seat in the bassinette row, just behind premium economy class. The best bit is it was free. So my first tip is to always ask and ask again. You never know your luck. If there are no families booked on a flight, you may just get a seat last minute in this row. The bassinette row is not an exit row so there should be no limitation on who can sit in the row. As you can see from the two photos above, if you can get this row it affords you a significant amount of extra room and you have no seats in front that can recline and invade your space.
On my return flight no-one was able to assist me with changing seats until I was on the plane and asked the flight crew and they quickly assisted providing me with the option of two available bassinette row seats. I had a middle seat in the middle of the aircraft but I was grateful for the additional leg room. Again, ask politely and cross your fingers.
Qantas economy class catering & entertainment review
Keep in mind that if you choose to sit in an exit row or in the bassinette row that your entertainment system will be stowed in the arm of your seat and pull out via an arm.
As far as airline food goes, I am a fan of what I was served in Qantas.
As soon as the flight took off from Sydney we were offered a drink and a snack of carrot sticks, dip and biscuits, followed by a meal. I chose the beef with vegetables and everything was hot, tasty and well cooked. It was served with a choice of drink and a slice of foccacia bread.
Dessert was a bit disappointing as it was a chocolate Paddle Pop. I don’t mind a Paddle Pop but I’m not a fan of chocolate and also feel that it would be more appropriate to serve something with more of a universal appeal. I think of Paddle Pops as a kid’s ice cream.
During the night a snack station was set up at the rear of the aircraft near the galley and offered biscuits, fruit and drinks.
Breakfast was a generous portion. There was a choice of a fruit plate or a hot breakfast. I chose the hot breakfast with eggs, sausage and baked beans. I only ate the eggs but with a yoghurt bowl and a muffin it was quite filling.
On the return journey Dallas to Sydney the breakfast was equally generous.
Throughout the night flight crew circulated around the cabin with cups of water. Snacks were once again available in the galley. This time Kit Kats were added to the snack options. I don’t know why US Kit Kats taste so different to Aussie ones, I assume it is the chocolate. In my opinion Aussie ones reign supreme.
The entertainment choices on Qantas were fine. Lots of new release movies and series on offer. I am yet to find an airline that offers the level of choices that Delta Airlines do. I was seriously impressed with the huge choice of entertainment on that flight. You can catch up on my Delta Airlines review if you missed it.
Qantas economy class review – accessible bathroom on the Dreamliner
The Dreamliner has a bathroom stall which enlarges for anyone who requires wheelchair access. A latch at the top of the internal wall opens up and enlarges the stall to double the size.
It’s always tricky to get images that illustrate how the door works and without Braeden with me I really can’t trouble the airline crew to do it. I’m probably the only person who goes to the bathroom with their phone specifically to take photos of the facilities but I like to share with you all what you can expect on a plane.
Other things to keep in mind when travelling Qantas economy class to the US, only one piece of luggage is included in the cost of the airfare. Of course if you are travelling with a piece of mobility equipment like a wheelchair or walking frame, you can travel with one piece at no extra charge. So you can take one suitcase and one piece of mobility equipment.
If you request a bassinette row seat, you won’t be able to keep your hand luggage down on take off and landing and you are not able to use the entertainment system until the seat belt sign is off. These seats will only ever be available last minute if families are not using them.
Overall I had an excellent experience in Qantas economy class. I’d choose to fly with them again and reluctantly, due to the savings, I would book their code-share airline, American Airlines. If doing so you just need to be aware that you cannot choose your seat.
You may also find our tips on making air travel more comfortable helpful.