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Australia Has The World's Best Domestic Service?  
User currently offlineSkystar From Australia, joined Jan 2000, 1363 posts, RR: 2
Posted (13 years 10 months 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 2655 times:

Does Australia have the world's best domestic service?

It's only just dawned on me, but after thinking about it, Ansett & Qantas deliver a product which is hard to beat on domestic services.

For example, this is what you get in Economy Class on a 45min Ansett flight, between Melbourne & Canberra.

Full hot meals.
Full audio entertainment.
Video entertainment - eg, news, short features.
Reading material.
Kid packs.
32" seat pitch

All the above is free of course (in the sense you dont have to pay extra). The ticket can be as low as $55 ($29 USD) oneway.

I don't think European or American airlines can match this.

Interested in hearing your thoughts.



28 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
User currently offlineHB-IWC From Indonesia, joined exactly 14 years ago today! , 4504 posts, RR: 71
Reply 1, posted (13 years 10 months 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 2575 times:

For that price you can get discounted C-class tickets in Indonesia, and you get even more features. Few people seem to know, but Garuda's C-product on domestic flights is actually very nice.

But I agree with you that, if what you state is true, Australian airlines offer indeed a top product.

I have to add immediately, though, that, on my last domestic flight in Australia, which was a 2-hour-flight between Sydney and Adelaide on Qantas, the service wasn't that impressive, and for sure not better than what you would get on a similar European flight.

American companies are not worth talking about. You'd count yourself lucky if you would get get a whole can of coke instead of a cup of ice with some drops of coke on a 2-hour domestic flight.

User currently offlineAirnewzealand From New Zealand, joined Oct 2000, 2542 posts, RR: 6
Reply 2, posted (13 years 10 months 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 2557 times:

You are truly right Skystar!!
New Zealands service is exactly the same on 1hr flightds though. But you do get the Towels, the drinks before takeoff in economy or better known now as pacific class. Air New Zealand truly is a awesome airline as well as ansett. I personally don't like Qantas. Not for the fact that they compete against our national carrier, Air NZ & now Ansett. It is the fact that they never have one return trip where the service is excellent. Sorry if i offened anyone. Just mypoint of view.
PS I do think Aussie and NZ alike do have the best domestic flights.          

User currently offlineAFa340-300E From France, joined May 1999, 2084 posts, RR: 26
Reply 3, posted (13 years 10 months 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 2545 times:


What are the trunkest Australian domestic routes please?
What equipment are flown?

Thank you,

Best regards,
Alain Mengus

User currently offlineTullamarine From Australia, joined Aug 1999, 1569 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (13 years 10 months 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 2531 times:

The busiest trunk route in Australia is MEL-SYD which is amongst the top 5 domestic routes in the world. The other top routes are SYD-BNE, MEL-ADL, MEL-BNE, SYD-PER and MEL-PER.

SYD-MEL is mostly 762s and 763s with AN and QF but AN also uses A320s and 733s whilst QF uses 733s, 734s and the occasional 747. A new entrant on the route is Impulse which uses 717s.

User currently onlineCPDC10-30 From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2000, 4785 posts, RR: 23
Reply 5, posted (13 years 10 months 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 2530 times:

I have not flown domestic service in Australia, but my parents have. They were very dissapointed by the seat pitch on the 747 flight from Sydney-Melbourne.

User currently offlineSccutler From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 5521 posts, RR: 28
Reply 6, posted (13 years 10 months 2 days ago) and read 2513 times:

Get real.

My (granted limited) experience is that the domestic service is a good, solid product. But there were no awesome meals, and the main distinction I saw between the service in Australia and the service on most domestic US flights, was that the cabin staff came 'round asking children if they'd like to have a visit to the cockpit (my son Tommy liked it just fine, wish dad had had the chance).

The Aussie domestics provide good, sound service, the kind of service you generally can have when the frequencies are relatively low, and the market has remained protected. With the yield management practiced by the main-line Australian carriers (Ansett adn Qantas), the low fares are few and far-between. Impulse and Virgin Blue are going to be a good thing for the typical Australian traveler, though I am pulling more enthusiastically for Impulse because they are truly Australian.

Fine products, yes, but "world's best" presumes a bit much. Settle for "top-tier," and acknowledge that there are too many variables to truly define, "best."

...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
User currently offlineMx5_boy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (13 years 10 months 2 days ago) and read 2505 times:


Another American than cannot stand to know that poor little Aussies can do it a lot better than yourselves.

The American product stinks. Overcrowded skies, bad serivce and an on time running that makes our public trains look bloody great.

""Fine products, yes, but "world's best" presumes a bit much. Settle for "top-tier," and acknowledge that there are too many variables to truly define, "best."""

That reads like yankee sour grapes.

mb (*sneer*)

User currently offlineAirnewzealand From New Zealand, joined Oct 2000, 2542 posts, RR: 6
Reply 8, posted (13 years 10 months 2 days ago) and read 2502 times:

You are truly right. Yankees are jealous that WE can do it better. The one thing i must complain about though is that you left out the New Zealand domestic.

User currently offlineRepublic From Canada, joined Dec 2012, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (13 years 10 months 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 2489 times:

How about this:

Valet parking at curbside

Six boarding gates that each look like a hotel lobby, each with workstations

Complimentary beverages and newspapers

Jets with four across (not six) leather seats with lumbar supports, sleeper wings, footrests, computer ports, 24channels or DirecTV, meals served on china and created by Grady Spears and other celebrity chefs; four pieces of carry on luggage allowed instead of two

46" of space between rows instead of the 33" industry standard

And at fares no higher than the competition.

Guess who?

Guess Legend Airlines (unfortunately, not Australian)


User currently offlineFlyPNS1 From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 6608 posts, RR: 24
Reply 10, posted (13 years 10 months 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 2481 times:

As an American, I would have to say that I am a little jealous of the domestic service in Australia. Your service definitely beats ours without a question.
Unfortunately for the US carriers, that type of service is impossible. It's not about quality in the US, it's about quantity. US airlines are in the business simply to move as many people as possible. If you can't move large numbers of people, your chances of survival are slim. You will either be merged into another airline or be forced out of business when the next recession comes along.

For last year, here are passenger numbers for major Australian airlines and major US airlines (these numbers do not include regional feeders):

Ansett Australia: 13,399,000 psgrs
Qantas: 17,599,000 psgrs
United: 87,000,000 psgrs
American: 84,700,000 psgrs
Delta: 107,000,000 psgrs

Additionally, I think Australian airlines have an advantage in that their domestic route system is relatively small in comparison with the US. It is far easier to provide good service on a relatively small network than on a massive network that serves hundreds of airports.

User currently offlineMattNZ From New Zealand, joined Sep 2000, 150 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (13 years 10 months 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 2475 times:

I have to agree that both NZ & AU have the best domestic.

My bad experience on United "Shuttle" 733 from LAX-SFO 1hr flight was I got my "Nuts & Coke" when we had landed at SFO! Very bad service.

User currently offlineMx5_boy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (13 years 10 months 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 2471 times:


I don't know where you got your figures from but the above figures come out roughly at:

AUS 18M Population - USA 260M

USA: 1.06 pax per capita per year.

AUS: 1.72 pax per capita per year.

The fact that your service in some cases is reprehensible, an archaic radar system, absolutely dreadful airports and workers who have been shafted continuously over the years does not make for a pleasant flight domestically in the USA.

Perhaps Australia is very fortunate in that being a very small country in population, big land mass and very isolated internationaly we rely on air services to a huge degree.

Another example (just to shut your mouth) on the issue, is if you calculate the dreadful air disasters that your nation has endured over the past thirty years to Australias record (per capita and hours flown) and I don't think you could possibly criticise us at all. To add insult to the injury look at the reasons why..........


Sorry, we forget Tassie all the time.. LOL only kidding. I know NZ is just like us! (*yay*)


User currently offlineFlyPNS1 From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 6608 posts, RR: 24
Reply 13, posted (13 years 10 months 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 2450 times:

I don't know where you get your figures from either but in 1999, the US carriers all combined moved 670 million people. Divide this number by 260 million and I get 2.57 pax per capita per year.

No Australian carrier comes even close in moving the shear volume that US carriers do. The larger the volume an airline carries the more difficult it becomes to keep up the levels of service that Australian carriers have.

Once again, I don't doubt that your service is better. It clearly is.....but there are reasons why the US carriers can't meet your levels. If every US carrier tried to imitate the Australian carriers they would be bankrupt quite quickly.

User currently offlineSccutler From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 5521 posts, RR: 28
Reply 14, posted (13 years 10 months 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 2447 times:


Read what I wrote, and un-wad your panties.

Most of the factors that you cite are precisely the reason you can't compare Australian and US domestic service.

I wish we had the uncrowded skies and better on-time results that come with them.

In many ways, Australian air service now reminds me a lot of what it used to be like in the US in the sixties- much lower density and volume, more governmental regulation and (on any given route) very limited competition.

My whole point is, while you can certainly state that the domestic travel experience on Australian airlines is better, on average, than in the US, I can also analogize by stating that travel between secondary markets in the US is a completely different exeperience than traveling (say) DFW-LAX, which at best, still sucks. And very little of what makes it suck, is under the control of the airlines themselves.

In any event, I'll assert that no insults or put-downs were intended- or conveyed- and I'll stand by my belief that the expansion of the air travel market in Australia will benefit Australian consumers greatly.

Remember, the vast majority of your countrymen are not International Equities Traders, and few of them have the privilege of traveling on company or client dollars. An overall reduction in fares, with a modest reduction in certain, unimportant service elements (eg, meals), will serve the masses well.

...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
User currently offlineSkystar From Australia, joined Jan 2000, 1363 posts, RR: 2
Reply 15, posted (13 years 10 months 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 2440 times:

I've noticed that this has become a US vs OZ competition.

Where are the Europeans?

User currently offlineSkystar From Australia, joined Jan 2000, 1363 posts, RR: 2
Reply 16, posted (13 years 10 months 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 2429 times:

"Airnewzealand" - prior to the introduction of Ansett New Zealand in the 80's, domestic travel within NZ wasn't crash hot. According to AN New Zealand (now QF New Zealand), you didn't have basic features such as airbridges and decent terminals. Some good ol Aussie influence?

NZ I'm sure has fine domestic service, the product in the NZ's Products & Services brochure is pretty nice.

My main point with Australian Domestic service is that we get a lot of things that you don't get.

In Europe, mainline carriers such as LH & SK don't offer you video/audio entertainment on their Euro routes. Often only cold meals are offered.

In the US, you have the charges for inflight entertainment on some carriers, you get limited catering and your service is hardly world renowned.

Asia is probably the closest, but even so (using SQ as an example), you don't get IFE on flights shorter than ~2hrs.

In Australia, we get all of this, but for free and on flights as short as 45mins. We have quite good frequencies IMHO, MEL-SYD between 3 carriers has about 130 flights per day, that's not bad.

On a smaller route such as SYD-CBR, we have more than 30 flights a day just on Ansett alone. There would be QF & VQ (Impulse) to also take into account.

I think we do very well, quite frankly.

I'm interested to note that noone else has put up a competing product. I'm interested to hear, which other countries have good DOMESTIC products.

One point, are cheaper fares an excuse for poor service? Product maybe, but not service.

In Europe, they don't have particularaly cheap fares on mainline carriers, but their product is frankly quite ordinary. Catering on some of the smaller regional carriers is probably the strongest point.



User currently offlineSccutler From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 5521 posts, RR: 28
Reply 17, posted (13 years 10 months 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 2422 times:

Most of the dynamics which allow for the better domestic service by Australian carriers are unique to Australia, quality-of-life issues which cannot be reproduced here in the USA.

If we get mad, it may be that many of us are envious.

There are clear advantages and disadvantages to each country (and others, of course) and its way of life, including airline service.

So it's not all about US v. Aussie, but remember that the differences include many issues with which the Australian carriers simply need not deal.

...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
User currently offlineBrissie_lions From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (13 years 10 months 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 2420 times:

The reason US carriers have poor in-flight service, is because it isn't required by some stupid, unofficial, unwritten law, that you have to tip the reservation agent 10% for making the booking for you, or tip the check-in agent 10% for processing your boarding passes, or tip the flight attendant 10% for bringing you your meal, or tip the pilot 10% for getting you to your destination in one piece, or tip the baggage handler 10% for getting your bags off the plane...etc...etc...etc

User currently offlineSccutler From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 5521 posts, RR: 28
Reply 19, posted (13 years 10 months 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 2416 times:


First, let's get this straight. I love the Australian way, charging fair prices and paying fair wages and leaving the whole tipping thing out. It really confused me when I was in Australia; I couldn't stop thinking I was cheating (of course, if I visit next month or two as I'm planning, the exchange rate may have the same effect).

But, the only place in the airline travel landscape in the 'States where tipping comes into play is if you choose to check your bags with the curbside skycaps, whose assistance is very much appreciated, especially when the check-in counter is some ways from the curbside drop-off. None of those other folks that you mentioned get tipped.

Now, I can't speak for what happens in New York, where I've seen policemen at airports overlooking illegally-parked cars at the airport in exchange for a "tip." But neither New York nor California is representative of the USA.

...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
User currently offlineMx5_boy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (13 years 10 months 22 hours ago) and read 2399 times:


No offense really, I was just being cheeky. The whole point of Brissies post is that rampant capitalism and deregulation are not good for certain markets.

The different way of life that we experience here in this country is legendary amongst the rest of the world, to those who have been fortunate enough to visit.

A very simple and prime example is how we did clever things in work environments to alleviate the cost of having a high minimum wage. A supermarket checkout clerk is not necessarily just a "bar code scanner" he or she is also responsible for packing the groceries in specialy "Australian" designed bag holders without the need for separate grocery packers. This has been calculated to save supermarkets loads of money in wages and they spend it in other areas.

Some may say it deprives the poor of jobs which is ridiculous in this country. No-one wants those jobs because everyone is entitled to a good education and everyone gets that here.

Quality not Quantity is what happens in Australia versus the USA.

Over the past few months we have seen flights in Australia by the new entrants as well as QF and AN at prices that forced the Government run railways to lower their prices for comparitive travel.

Cheap and affordable travel has been available in this country for years, you just have to book ahead.


User currently offlineSkystar From Australia, joined Jan 2000, 1363 posts, RR: 2
Reply 21, posted (13 years 10 months 21 hours ago) and read 2396 times:

Do the Europeans have anything to say?

Seeing I'm flying on several LH and potentially SK sectors, I'm interested to hear what you have to say about your own domestic, intra Europe products (given that Europe is not that large).



User currently offlineJrebel From Sweden, joined Aug 2000, 174 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (13 years 10 months 19 hours ago) and read 2389 times:

"Do the Europeans have anything to say?"

Well, I guess we don't have much to brag about when it comes to domestic and intra-continental service. Mediocrity, or worse, seems to be the norm.
In certain domestic markets, e.g. Sweden, an almost complete lack of serious competition means that the dominant carrier has no incentive to provide even halfway decent service.
In others, e.g. Holland, geography dictates that domestic services are few, sectors very short and service almost non-existent.
Where competition is strong, especially from no-frills carriers, the general trend seems to be to compete on price, not service.
In my experience there has for years now been a gradual and steady decline in the level of service offered by many (but not all!) carriers in the European market.


johan rebel

User currently offlineSkystar From Australia, joined Jan 2000, 1363 posts, RR: 2
Reply 23, posted (13 years 10 months 18 hours ago) and read 2381 times:

Thanks for your response, it's good to hear that our European colleagues are still alive. I'm off to Europe to try your services, both longhaul & shorthaul.

Do you think that Europe is heading down the same way as America in regards to airline service.

The only positive sign I have seen from the US is the AA more legroom intiative - truly commendable, certainly helps compensate for whatever deficiencies there are in product.

In Australia, maybe we're going the wrong way, certainly services are on the decline. QF has just decided to introduce from Saturday a fuel surcharge, $10 (per flight I presume, applicable to QF subsidiaries as well).

In all my years of flying in Australia, I don't ever recall ever hearing of such a thing as a fuel surcharge. The times are changing.



User currently offlineAvion From Bouvet Island, joined May 1999, 2205 posts, RR: 7
Reply 24, posted (13 years 10 months 17 hours ago) and read 2381 times:

I guess a european trans-con like MAN-ATH or FRA-LIS (4 hours)is up to the same service as in Australia. Most airlines offer video entertainment and a full meal on all flights.


25 Skystar : Avion, The reason why I started this thread was that I had been browsing the SAS website (might be taking them on a sidetrip), and I saw what they off
26 PerthGloryFan : And the weather, don't forget the weather. If you're talking about service in terms of timeliness weather is rarely a factor here. No blizzards, and m
27 Post contains images Zanadou : The Au domestic scene is really starting to annoy me in the last few years. Qantas domestic is utter rubbish now and their in plane service and food i
28 Post contains images B727-200 : OK, I can't sit here and bite my tongue (or fingers?) forever without putting my AU$0.02 in (trading at US$0.0102 today). I believe QF and AN have be
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