Flight review: Qantas economy Sydney to Los Angeles

THE PLANE

Boeing 747-400

THE ROUTE

Sydney to Los Angeles 

LOYALTY SCHEME

Qantas Frequent Flyer (One World) 

CLASS 

Economy – window seat 49K.  

DURATION

Just over 13 hours. We depart half an hour late – adding to the stress of having just two hours, 10 minutes to make a connecting flight at the notoriously busy LAX – but as the captain promises, we land on time. I'm on the list for an express pass, and easily make my flight to Seattle.    

FREQUENCY

Qantas flies twice daily from Sydney to Los Angeles.

THE SEAT

Qantas' B747-400s that have been reconfigured with A380-style interiors feature a seat pitch (distance between rows) of 78.7 centimetres, a seat width of up to 44.9 cm and a 15.2 cm recline, with net footrests (which I love but some tall passengers don't). The cabin features a 3-4-3 layout.

ENTERTAINMENT

The touch-screen monitor, measuring 26.9 cm, is easy to figure out. There are enough enticing recent-release movies that I turn the flight into a four-movie marathon, interrupted only by a short sleep before breakfast service. 

BAGGAGE

Two pieces of checked baggage up to 23 kilograms each, with one carry-on bag up to 7kg​.

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COMFORT

A blanket and pillow are provided for this overnight flight but no amenity kit. A note at the bottom of the menu states: "A selection of amenities are available on your flight, please ask your flight attendant". I don't ask for them, neither does my neighbour in the aisle seat, prompting me to wonder how much Qantas saves with this move.

SERVICE

Efficient and cheerful; otherwise unremarkable.

FOOD 

Qantas rolled out its new economy dining experience on this route last December. I have mixed feelings about the tiny tray that lobs in front of me. Gone are all the little extras: the salad and dressing, the butter pat, the cheese and crackers, all those drinking vessels. Instead the tray only holds a substantially bigger main with a garlic bread roll on top; chocolate mousse is served on the side. My yellow barramundi curry with beans and rice is delicious and filling. Pulled-beef sliders and ice-cream bars are served mid-flight. The hot breakfast option is scrambled eggs with chicken snags, hash brown and roast tomato, with a muffin and yoghurt/granola​ on the side.  

ONE MORE THING

As part of the new dining arrangements, Qantas has extended the Select on Q-Eat online pre-ordering system to economy passengers. Although I pre-ordered my curry, the flight attendant still asks what I'd like for dinner. 

THE VERDICT

The streamlined meals are a noticeable step up in terms of flavour and portion sizes, yet I feel nostalgic for the days when you could spend a good half-hour fiddling with the dollhouse-sized bits and bobs on your tray. 

Reviewed by Katrina Lobley who flew to the United States on Qantas courtesy of Scoot.

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