Flight Review: Qantas A330-300 Economy Class from Brisbane to Tokyo Narita

Flight Review: Qantas A330-300 Economy Class from Brisbane to Tokyo Narita

Flight Information
: June 29, 2018
Flight No.: QF61
Route: Brisbane International to Tokyo Narita
Airline: Qantas
Type: Airbus A330-300
Registration: VH-QPH

Besides connecting Tokyo Haneda with Sydney, Qantas also connects Tokyo with Brisbane and Melbourne. These two daily routes are served from Narita airport and are operated by Airbus A330-300 aircraft.

While making my way back from New Zealand to Japan, I had a chance to fly from Brisbane to Tokyo Narita in economy class. In this review, I’ll share the details of the flight.

Getting Onboard the Qantas A330-300 with a Delay

After a fairly “dramatic” flight from Christchurch to Brisbane (unexpectedly via Gold Coast), I finally arrived at Brisbane airport’s gate 84 around 12:10PM. In other words, I arrived there almost three hours after the flight’s originally scheduled departure time of 9:35AM.

“Luckily,” though, given that my inbound flight was delayed because of fog paralyzing Brisbane airport, my connecting flight to Narita was delayed as well. And, the flight’s new departure time was 12:45PM.

The boarding started at 12:23PM at which point, I walked down the jetway and onboard the Qantas A330-300.

Qantas Airbus A330-300 at Brisbane Airport
Qantas A330-300 that took me from Brisbane to Tokyo Narita.
Qantas Business Class Boarding
Priority boarding lane.
Qantas A330-300 at Brisbane Airport
One more look at the aircraft before getting onboard.

Qantas A330-300s are equipped with 297 seats including 28 business class seats and 269 economy class seats. While the economy class is in A330’s typical “2-4-2” layout, business class consists of staggered fully-flat seats in a “1-2-1” layout with all of the seats offering direct aisle access.

Qantas Airbus A330-300 Business Class Cabin
Business class.
Qantas Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Cabin
Economy class.

A blanket and a fairly nice pillow were waiting on my seat upon boarding.

The seat itself was equipped with a small pocket separate from the one with a safety card and other printed materials which was great for storing a compact camera or cellphone – something I wish all economy class seats offered. There was also a unique mesh foot rest.

Finally, all of the seats were equipped with a high-resolution IFE screen as well as a universal power outlet. Interestingly, there were two audio outputs – one under the screen and one in the armrest.

Qantas Headset, Pillow, Blanket
Headset, pillow, and blanket.
Qantas A330 Economy Class Seats
Economy class seats.
Leg Room on Qantas A330
Leg room (notice the useful mesh pocket).

At 12:43PM, we were welcomed by the captain who mentioned that the heavy fog made for a challenging morning. He also mentioned that our aircraft had to divert to Cairns prior to continuing to Brisbane.

Five minutes after that, the aircraft’s doors were closed an at 12:57PM – almost three-and-a-half hours behind schedule – we were pushed back. While we were taxiing to the runway, the safety video was played, and then, at 1:13PM, we finally took off.

Qantas Flight 61 from Brisbane to Tokyo
Qantas Safety Video
Safety video.

Qantas Economy Class Lunch Service

The service started less than ten minutes after take-off, just after the seatbelt signs were switched off.

First, the cabin crew distributed menus for the flight.

Qantas Economy Class Drink Menu
Drink menu.
Qantas Economy Class Menu
Meal menu.

Then, bottles of water were handed out, followed by the Japanese immigration and customs forms. Not being in the mood to fill them out yet, I instead watched an episode of The Big Bang Theory while waiting for the meal to be served. Coincidentally, there was a model of the SOFIA 747SP which was the main purpose of this trip in the background in one of the scenes.

The Big Bang Theory Onboard Qantas
The Big Bang Theory.

I was served the main about 50 minutes after take-off – faster than on many long-haul flights I’ve taken in the past – and out of the three choices, I picked the “salad of Mexican rice with peri peri chicken.”

As presented in the menu, it came with a garlic ciabatta as well as chocolate mousse.

I enjoyed the main, and the meal overall was the best among the ones I had onboard the four Qantas flights on the trip.

Qantas Economy Class Lunch
Salad of Mexican rice with peri peri chicken.

Qantas A330-300 In-Flight Entertainment System

After the lunch, I decided to take a closer look at the in-flight entertainment system. The screen offered much better resolution than the ones I experienced on the 747 and the 737, and was also more responsive.

Qantas A330-300 In-Flight Entertainment System
Main menu.

The system offered a large selection of movies ranging from award winners such as Avatar and Black Swan all the way to a selection of James Bond movies. And, there were also several TV shows. The one thing I have to praise Qantas for here is that they offered full seasons of many of the TV shows – something many airlines fail to do. (Who wants to start watching a TV show at episode 5 of season 4?)

Movies on Qantas A330
Award winners.
Movie Categories
Movie categories.
Qantas TV Shows
TV show box sets.

As for music, there was a wide selection of albums as well as preprogrammed “radio” stations. Other than that, there was the usual in-flight map and a small selection of games. There was also a meal menu function, although it wasn’t loaded for my flight.

Music on Qantas A330
Rock albums.
Games on Qantas A330
Qantas IFE

Apples, Ice Bars, and Samosas

For the rest of the flight, I did some work, and also watched two movies – “The 15:17 to Paris” which I found very disappointing, and Ocean’s Eleven.

In terms of service, about two hours after lunch, apples were handed out, and not long after that, ice bars followed. Another two hours later, the crew made “an apple run” again.

Qantas A330 In-Flight Map
Cruising to Tokyo.
Qantas Toilet
Decoration in one of the toilets.
Ice Bar on Qantas
Ice bar.

About two hours before landing, the second meal service commenced. This time, there were two options – dim sum and vegetable samosas. I went with the latter and a can of Coke (they run out of Coke Zero).

Pre-Landing Snack on Qantas

Arriving at Tokyo Narita Airport

At about 7:40PM Japan time, the cabin crew announced that we had about thirty minutes until we would start our descent. Around the same time, I started watching an interesting documentary about Air Force One.

Another hour or so later, the cabin crew started preparing the cabin for landing, and at 8:43PM, the seatbelt signs were switched on.

We landed at Tokyo Narita at 8:52PM, and arrived at our gate at 8:58PM – three hours behind schedule.

Air Force One Documentary
Air Force One documentary.
Arriving in Tokyo
Arriving in Tokyo.

Qantas A330-300 Brisbane – Tokyo Narita Summary

While the flight was delayed by three hours, there was nothing Qantas could have done about that given that the whole Brisbane airport was paralyzed that morning.

Other than that, though, the flight was pleasant and I found it nice that on a flight that wasn’t even ten hours long, Qantas offered three choices of main for lunch, two choices of pre-landing meal, and even handed out a couple of apples and an ice bar during the flight.

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