Do you fly frequently between the east coast capitals and Perth? Are you tired, crushed, and demoralised with the tight fit cabins now that the bean counters have banned business class, and have been heard muttering such words as ‘Jetstar’ and ‘Tiger’ and ‘Blue Saver’?

For the uninitiated, a ‘Blue Saver’ is where you get to insert your adult sized backside on a Virgin Blue jet if the travel policy fascista has also banned that carrier’s premium economy, which you thought you could get away with because it is, like, really, going to save the company money compared to Qantas business class. (Nice try, but Nooo!).

Well, this morning Qantas put more of its plans to become a ‘new premium carrier’ into the air when the first of its upgraded domestic or Cityflyer configured Airbus A330-200s began flying the Perth transcontinentals.

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QF A332

The two features that stand out are the removal of middle seats in the 36 place business class cabin and an all new inflight entertainment system found throughout the cabin, which includes 265 economy seats.

These features have already appeared on trans Tasman single aisle Boeing 737-800s, and as more of both jets are either converted or delivered to the new standards they will become the norm across the Cityflyer network and to New Zealand for at least the first half of the next decade.

Your next seat to or from Perth, in your dreams. (Qantas image)
Your next seat to or from Perth, in your dreams. (Qantas image)

The seats that leap out of the cabin map in economy are the eight in row 44, but with question mark over 44A and 44K as the emergency slide may limit legroom. And the middle group of seats might sometimes be taken for crew rests. But that aside, row 44 offers legroom that doesn’t appear to be available in business class, which looks nice and wide at only six seats across but not enormously favoured in terms of seat pitch.

Similarly, row 23, the first row in economy, offers some extra legroom, subject to the bulky door mechanism in front of the window seats, and the two bassinet positions which are of course crying baby magnets for the east bound red eye flights. And sure, you can gain a bit of space by moving one leg a little into the aisle on the diagonal in rows 23 and 44, until it gets run over by a trolley.

...and where the company will book you. Qantas image
...and where the company will book you. Qantas image

The sanity saver in the new jet is the inflight entertainment system, which on paper is competitive with those on major international carriers, but I’d keep the iPod charged and handy, just in case.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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