I flew Qantas from Sydney to LA in 2008, but my recent trip with them from London to Bangkok and from Bangkok to Auckland gave me a chance to look at them with fresh eyes. Qantas maintains a good reputation around the world among fliers. They’ve never crashed (though parts of their planes have exploded in midair), they have above-average food, and their entertainment system has more choices than you’ll ever need.
If I had to rank Qantas, I’d put them in the middle. As an American, I have to deal with companies like American Airlines, United, and Delta. These airlines rank at the bottom of my list in terms of, well, everything. At the top of my list are Asian airlines like JAL, Cathay, and Singapore.
Qantas fits in the middle. I have nothing great to say about them but nothing really negative, either. The service on all my flights was excellent. The staff was always friendly, they came quickly when I rang the bell, and they served the food promptly.
The food itself was better than normal but didn’t blow my mind away. In fact, I’m rarely ever blown away by food on an airplane. I’m sure it’s better in business or first class, but in steerage, it’s only a bit above microwaved food quality. Qantas’ food is a little better than the rest, though—not amazing but certainly good enough to finish completely and leave you full.
What sets Qantas apart in my book is their in-flight entertainment system. I was impressed with it back in 2008, and I’m still impressed by it. They have an amazing selection of movies. And not old, saw-it-last-year movies. Even recent hits as well as some independent films. I watched 500 Days of Summer, The Hurt Locker, and The Hangover on my flight over from Bangkok. They have lots of old movies, good TV shows, and even full albums of the most popular artists on the charts.
The bottom line here is that Qantas is a good airline to fly. It may not be the best, but it’s certainly not the worst. Moreover, if you’re a member of the Oneworld alliance, you’ll find them one of the better alliance carriers to fly. If you aren’t, Qantas always has amazing deals and inexpensive flight tickets when compared to other major carriers. Plus, if you go to their Australian website, you can purchase your ticket in Australian dollars. If you’re coming from a country with a better currency, this will save you even more money.