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QF4 HNL-SYD in J -a pleasant enough experience but feels like first class in 1980s

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Dnicoll

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Took advantage of a Qantas sale to take a return business class flight from Sydney to Honolulu, to mark a special celebration for my partner. I will review the return day flight, although the forward overnight flight was similar. It's on a very old 767, and I was pleased to have read the AFF reviews so as to keep my expectations low.

Check-in in Honolulu was very quite at T-2.5. Separate lines for business, Qantas club and economy. HNL has a very open style with no doors or walls separating check-in from the outside, and very open counters. It looks like it was built 30 years ago (about the same time as the Hawaii Qantas 767 I suspect)! Security was also blissfully quick, and the TSA guards even smiled! I really do like the laid-back style of Hawaii.

Quite a long walk from security to the Qantas club (in the 30 degree heat at 9am as most of airport is open-air!) which is upstairs above gate 26. Just a couple of small duty free & souvenir shops nearby, and a starbucks & pub. Qantas club is pleasant but not fancy, with a view of runway. Cereal, pastries, coffee/tea, tropical juices, sparkling wine available. Wi-fi patchy. Shower available IIRC. Gradually became busier but still a few seats free when flight called. Downstairs and a 200m walk to gate 28 for boarding pass & passport check. 1st call for young families, followed by business. One of the (only) advantages of the 767 is that it's a relatively small plane so not crowded in gate area.

The plane looks very old. They have reupholstered chairs in leather which is good, but recliner control-walls-overhead bins-toilets are not refurbished. Seated in row 1, which I would highly recommend as only row that avoids the passenger in front reclining a long way into your space. Recliner chair is surprisingly comfortable - great for a day flight for reading or snoozing. I also managed to sleep 5 hours on the overnight flight from Sydney - the one advantage over the skybed mark I is that you don't continuously slide down. If you are in business and seated in A then it is a single seat with a small area to your left to store belongings (eg laptop-iPad), seats EF and JK are in pairs. My partner and I ended up on either side of an aisle in 1a and 1e (to accommodate a family) which was fine as a narrow aisle

There is iPad streaming which works quite well, though screen is small, & have to balance iPad on lap or armrest in row 1, & in-ear headphones are cheap and uncomfortable and poor sound quality. I requested noise-cancelling headphones for use with the old sound system, however the old sound system seized up after 20 minutes and could not be restored. This also meant my overhead light stayed on for next 10 hours of flight! There is no inseat power at all and nowhere on the plane to recharge a laptop - thankfully I was on holiday so not the end of the world, but was very surprising!

Service was excellent. Staff love this flight as it is relatively short at 10.5 hours, and preceded by a stay in Waikiki beach (72 hours for this crew!). Juice/water/sparkling wine on boarding. Drink order taken before takeoff as there was a 45 minute engineering delay - got to see lots of military aircraft take off in the meantime! After a takeoff a drink service then a 3-course lunch. The chicken salad & beef tortillas were excellent - my best sample of the (in my experience) hit-and-miss new small/large plates menu. Tea & coffee service halfway thru flight then 2-course dinner before arrival.

Overall? The soft product is good, but hard product feels like what I imagine first class was like in the 1980s, and Qantas really do need to update by putting a new plane on this flight. In the meantime some over-ear noise-reduction headphones that work in ipad, and reduction in fares would be a good start for business class. Not suitable for business travel, as no flatbeds and no inseat power. It however fine for holiday travel, and was more comfortable than expected. Would I fly again in Qantas business class on a 767 to Honolulu? Hard to say as there are not a lot of alternatives. I'm not sure I could justify paying the cash fare again (even at sale of $4500 per ticket), but would be happy to do for an award redemption. Otherwise next time might try Jetstar business or Qantas in an exit-row in economy.
 

boomy

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Re: QF4 HNL-SYD in J -a pleasant enough experience but feels like first class in 1980

Thanks for the report.
I hope J* will fly their new 787's to HNL because QF's product is not good enough at the moment.
 

Sprucegoose

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Re: QF4 HNL-SYD in J -a pleasant enough experience but feels like first class in 1980

Thnxs good report.

Was it sky bed mk1 or the dreamtime seats?
 

dk4

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Re: QF4 HNL-SYD in J -a pleasant enough experience but feels like first class in 1980

...& in-ear headphones are cheap and uncomfortable and poor sound quality.

I'm not sticking them in my ears Qantas, but I'll tell you right now where you can stick 'em Qantas! :p
 

markis10

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Re: QF4 HNL-SYD in J -a pleasant enough experience but feels like first class in 1980

Pretty sure all the 767s have in seat power now in J.
 

Dnicoll

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Re: QF4 HNL-SYD in J -a pleasant enough experience but feels like first class in 1980

Pretty sure all the 767s have in seat power now in J.
I thought so too, and have used in seat power in an international-config 767 flying Mel-Syd before, but couldn't find a seat power outlet on this flight in row 1a business, and flight attendant assured me that this plane did not have in seat power.
 

markis10

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Re: QF4 HNL-SYD in J -a pleasant enough experience but feels like first class in 1980

I thought so too, and have used in seat power in an international-config 767 flying Mel-Syd before, but couldn't find a seat power outlet on this flight in row 1a business, and flight attendant assured me that this plane did not have in seat power.

Strange decision to leave one of the remaining international birds without it! I normally have to ask for it to be turned on as the crew obviously are not used to it.
 

Limewood

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Re: QF4 HNL-SYD in J -a pleasant enough experience but feels like first class in 1980

Have done both J & Y on 767 on this sector, J seats basic, service fine.

Found second row Y exit seats 35 J/K were really excellent, could hardly touch seat in front, had tons of room.

Have my own iPad and Bose comfort 15 headphones. The food out of HNL was great, had fab. omelette breaky.

At near 4 grand less return for Y no way I'll be paying for J in these old birds again.
 
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Re: QF4 HNL-SYD in J -a pleasant enough experience but feels like first class in 1980

I usually fly to the US each Feb for a conference in J on Hawaiian Airlines, and it sounds like the experience is similar, although HA is in my experience considerably cheaper than QF. HA have A330 on this route now, which is an improvement over their old 767, but you are still not anywhere near the J standard from other more premium carriers (still beats Y for me as I'm tall enough to enjoy the extra space).
Enjoyed your description of HNL airport - you can't help but feel like you are on holiday in that place. No wonder the crews like it.
Back there in Feb with any luck and I'll post a report on my return.
Thanks for your TR -
Cheers,
Peter
 

Mrmaxwell

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Re: QF4 HNL-SYD in J -a pleasant enough experience but feels like first class in 1980

It still will be strange when JQ add the 787 to this route that the QF option will be non-imaginable! I guess QF may use the old JQ 330 for this route from then on?
 

markis10

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Re: QF4 HNL-SYD in J -a pleasant enough experience but feels like first class in 1980

It still will be strange when JQ add the 787 to this route that the QF option will be non-imaginable! I guess QF may use the old JQ 330 for this route from then on?

I would not be surprised to see the A332 international config on the route as opposed to the JQ birds which will be Domestic.
 
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