Airline review: Qantas economy, Melbourne to Singapore

THE PLANE

Airbus A330-300. 

THE ROUTE

Melbourne to Singapore

THE LOYALTY SCHEME

Qantas Frequent Flyer (oneworld)

CLASS

Economy, seat 24J. 

DURATION

Seven hours, 30 minutes

THE SEAT

31-inch (79-centimetre) pitch, 17-inch (43cm) width. There are 269 economy seats in a mostly 2-4-2 layout.

BAGGAGE

Checked bag up to 30 kilograms, one carry-on bag up to seven kilograms. One additional personal item may be taken aboard.

COMFORT

My seat is in the first economy row. Legroom is slightly reduced by the bulkhead in front of me, and my seat width is narrowed by the fixed armrests. However, having no one in front means no one can recline into my space. I'm in a bulkhead seat so my entertainment screen swivels out from beneath, and my tray table from a recess in the arm. Both seem a decent size.  I'm lucky to have an empty seat next to me: otherwise known as the poor man's business class.

ENTERTAINMENT

The entertainment screen is impressively responsive; a quantum leap from the not-so-old days of jabbing furiously and hoping it'd register a selection by the third go. There's a broad collection of movies to watch, from recent releases to older hits such as Hairspray and Sideways. There's an Australian film section too, though with only six choices. There's plenty of good TV on offer as well, including recent hot dramas. A wide selection of music is accompanied by radio stations and games.

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THE SERVICE

Staff are friendly and efficient as they move around the cabin.

FOOD

I've selected lunch using Qantas' Select on Q-Eat service, which enables passengers to order online before boarding. It's a big plus, guaranteeing you'll receive your meal choice; you can even see an image before locking it in. I've gone for the vegie option, which on this flight is stir-fried tofu with black funghi, rice noodles and soy beans. It's tasty and textured, if a touch too salty. There are Australian wines on offer, but I order a gin and tonic on a whim. The creme caramel for dessert hits the spot. Towards the end of the flight, there's a further snack: ​hokkien noodles and vegetable dumplings.

ONE MORE THING

Qantas recently upgraded its economy dining options, with larger portions and up to four choices per flight. It's a welcome improvement.

THE VERDICT

A comfortable experience for a short to medium-haul flight.

Reviewed by Tim Richards, who was hosted by the Singapore Tourism Board.

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