Boeing 737-800, there are 75 in the fleet
Sydney to Denpasar (Bali)
THE LOYALTY SCHEME
Qantas Frequent Flyer, part of the Oneworld alliance.
Business class, seat 3A
Six hours, 10 minutes
This service is a seasonal flight operating daily until March 25, 2017. The full-service route was reintroduced after a successful launch last year and the flight (QF43) departs Sydney at 5.10pm daily, arriving in Denpasar in time for cocktails at 8.50pm. From March 26, 2017, the service becomes year round with four flights a week.
There are three rows of the 2:2 seat configuration in business class with the stylish and comfortable Marc Newson-designed Recaro seats in claret-coloured leather. The seat is 55.8-centimetres (22 inches) wide with a 94-centimetre (37-inch) pitch. There is an extendable leg rest and fold-out footrest.
A generous 46 kilograms. Carry-on is two pieces at seven kilograms each.
The oversized pillow and comforter add to the comfort factor, as does the Kate Spade amenity kit – which doubles as a handy clutch back on land. Men receive the Jack Spade amenity kit; both are packed with the Aurora Spa ASPAR range. There is one bathroom available for the 12 business class passengers with Aurora products for use inside.
Design lovers will appreciate the Marc Newson tableware at mealtimes.
The seatback touch screen (though in the first row of seats it extends from the armrest) features a good selection of 33 new release movies as well as full seasons of TV favourites. The documentary selection should be noted as being exceptional with recent releases screened at the Sydney Film Festival. Trivia, music, radio, podcasts and news are also available. The tray table is wide enough for a large laptop and seats have power and a USB adapter should you wish to watch your own pre-loaded entertainment, or do some work.
Service is the standout on this flight. Flight crew member Susan is welcoming and intuitive – how did she know that I would welcome a third Valrhona chocolate after dinner, snuck from under her hand like magic? Addressing each passenger by name, she has a glint in her eye and seems to be able to read every passenger's mood. I needn't have asked for more champagne, it just appears.
Also excellent is the Rockpool-inspired menu designed by Neil Perry.
"Small plates" (instead of entrees) included a choice of tomato soup or Vietnamese prawn salad with green mango, lemongrass and vermicelli noodles. The prawns were the freshest this reviewer has tasted in the air. My main course choice of roast lamb rump with potato gratin and ratatouille is generous and delicious. For dessert, a fruit platter was favoured over the vanilla cheesecake or cheese selection only because this reviewer was lucky enough to sample Neil Perry's famous pavlova in the lounge before boarding. Snacks offered before landing include pastizzis and stir-fried duck.
ONE MORE THING
This service is a popular option for Frequent Flyer redemptions. Qantas' fares to Bali include a checked baggage allowance, inflight entertainment and food and drinks as standard with prices starting from $299 one way for economy and $885 one way for business class. The visa on arrival in Bali has now been scrapped so getting through Denpasar's Ngurah Rai International Airport is now speedier.
While it's true that the seat does not lie flat, the late afternoon timing of this flight – just in time for dinner and a couple of movies – means it was comfortable and enjoyable for a relatively short international flight.
Tested by Andrea Black, who travelled as a guest of Qantas.