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Flight Details

Flight Number: QF63

Date: 08 May 2023

Seat Number: 41K (Economy Class)

Aircraft: Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner

Baggage allowance: 30kg

Flight time: 13 hours 30 minutes.


I must admit I approached this flight with some trepidation. I usually book my flights months in advance, choose my seat, and pay a bit more for some legroom. On this trip, the ticket was booked two weeks prior to flying and there were no seats remaining in which I could better stretch my legs.

I fully expected to spend north of 13 hours wedged into an unmoveable position with my knees embedded into the tray table. The idea was not a pleasant one.

On arrival at Sydney Airport, I was met by a plethora of Qantas check in machines and an equal number of bag drop conveyers. Check in was seamless and there were plenty of staff to assist. Although the airport was busy, I was through to security within five minutes.

Passport control at Sydney is now mostly automated. These were working well so it was a quick zoom through passport control. At security there is no longer a need to remove electronics from bags before scanning.

High winds at the airport caused some delay and we boarded thirty minutes late, before remaining on the tarmac for a further hour due to “a passenger issue” and some faffing around with the in-flight entertainment system.

The good news was that they loaded some extra fuel and flew faster than normal so that lost hour was made up in the air.

Our plane was the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. Compared to an A380, the Dreamliner looks small and compact. Inside the plane also felt cosy, with seats arranged in a 3-3-3 pattern. I was sitting in an aisle seat in the centre 3 section.

The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner’s Economy cabin is arranged in a 3-3-3 layout.

Knowing many passengers bring their own devices onboard these days, seats on the Dreamliner come with a personal pocket for storing said devices, which is big enough for a phone and air pods. The fold out shelf provides a spot to place your handheld device at eye level if you are watching a download.

The seat pitch is 32 inches and felt spacious. I found that if I removed everything from the seat pocket, I could still move my knees after the lady in front had reclined her seat (which was for most of the flight).

The seats are quite substantial and there was some space between the seat back and the head of the person in front, meaning I was able to position my pillow on the back of their seat and rest without disturbing its occupant.

The in-flight entertainment system is outstanding, with a large touch screen and a user-friendly interface. Alongside a huge number of movies, tv shows, music and games, Qantas also provides a selection of audio books. The flight path is accessed directly from the home screen and the flight time remaining shown in large characters, should watching the clock claim your fancy instead.

While Qantas is working on a solution, for now there remains no inflight WiFi on the Flying Kangaroo’s international flights, so while you can’t download more or stream, you can keep your devices juiced via an electrical socket that angles downward.

The inflight dining menu is also available via the entertainment system, something I haven’t seen before. In addition, just prior to meal service, there is a cabin announcement summarising the choices.

One hour into the flight, lunch was served – a choice of garlic pepper chicken, braised beef or a vegetarian option of Risoni with mushroom and cauliflower. The next main meal was served around two hours prior to landing, which meant a 10-hour gap in between. It felt like a very long wait between meals, and it was.

On a daytime flight, this was quite a slog. Mid-flight snacks were available, but you had to go and find them. Overall, in my opinion there was enough food on the flight, but the second meal would have been better served five, maybe six hours from landing with snacks available towards the end.

Backed by friendly, professional cabin crew, the time ticked by uneventfully, with the flight smooth and the ambience quiet. We landed in the South African capital and were at the gate in five minutes, ready to embrace what the country had in store for us.