Qantas is not the most popular choice of airline to fly between New Zealand and Australia. However, despite its shortcomings, Qantas does have its virtues.

In the eternal race for passenger dollars, Qantas falls miserably in their trans-Tasman route, i.e., the route between New Zealand and Australia. While Qantas often has cheaper fares than many of the other more popular carriers, the difference is not so much that it can always convince travelers to sit through three to four hours with no entertainment on demand.

However, on my early morning June 2019 flight between Auckland and Melbourne, I found the Qantas offering to be spacious because the flight was not complete, the staff to be friendly, and the lack of seatback entertainment was especially conducive to sleep.

Spare Seats on Qantas

Having a spare seat next to one on a flight is like finding gold. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, the sheer good luck makes one want to buy a lottery ticket immediately. Flying off-peak increases your chances of discovering airline gold.


I can recommend the 6:30 a.m. flight on a Saturday morning. If the flight is not complete, you may find the seat next to you has been blocked out for your comfort. Also, having a spare seat next to you makes it more convenient for stashing belongings and empty meal trays.

If you are a tall person, a spare seat next to you may not immediately alleviate the problem of knocking your knees on the seat in front, but it will at least let you splay your knees out wider.

Friendly Staff on Qantas

Qantas has not always had the best reputation for friendly staff. But not on the trans-Tasman route. The Qantas flights are serviced by their subsidiary, Jetconnect, which has a well-earned reputation for attracting quality cabin crew.

Even first thing in the morning, the crew are impeccably groomed and looking genuinely happy to be there. They hit the right note of friendliness and subordination, and of course, their New Zealand accents make kiwis feel right at home.

Entertainment on Qantas

For an airline that services the trans-Tasman route as frequently as Qantas, it seems bizarre that they would be so behind in updating their economy product regarding entertainment. Currently, there is no individual seatback entertainment, although that may change before the end of 2019.

However, for those not keen on watching movies at 6 a.m., the lack of seatback entertainment has several advantages:

  • there are no distractions, which is conducive to catching up on sleep missed from having to get up early
  • Some people find the individual screens too close to view comfortably, so the lack of screens eases pressure on the eyes; just for fun, try watching the movie which will show on various screens suspended from the ceiling, without the sound. You will be amazed at how much you can still follow the storyline.

Fly Qantas Between New Zealand and Australia

If you don’t mind flying off-peak and would rather play sudoku or sleep than watch movies, consider Qantas for your next flight between New Zealand and Australia. You may find yourself lucky enough to have a spare seat next to you, a friendlier cabin crew than you might be accustomed to, and more time to sleep or read instead of individual seatback entertainment.