Today is a momentous day for regional airline Rex as they embark on their first jet operations! Founded in 2002 after the merger of regional airlines Hazelton and Kendell, both subsidiaries of the now-defunct Ansett Australia, Rex has been eagerly preparing for this day. And what a day it was!
I had the pleasure of being on the inaugural service between Melbourne and Sydney and it was quite the experience. Rex pulled out all the stops, offering coffee from local specialty coffee pioneer St Ali and breakfast boxes with delicious scones and jam before boarding. Of course, there was also plenty of fanfare with media and aviation enthusiasts participating in the excitement of the first flight.
On this particular flight, everyone was treated to a certificate commemorating the first jet service, along with a nifty corporate gift filled with goodies like a book, water bottle, hat, pen, and inflight magazine. And let’s not forget the Mimosas, Orange Juice, and Champagne served shortly after takeoff to kick off the celebrations.
The inflight service was also on point, offering a choice of beverages (tea, coffee, or water) and a scrumptious cupcake, followed by a sweet snack from the Byron Bay Cookie Company. Plus, alcoholic beverages were available for purchase after 11 am for those who wanted to keep the party going.
On my return journey to Melbourne, I was lucky enough to experience their business class firsthand. The lounge at Sydney Airport, near Gate G2, offered Nespresso coffee, soft drinks, juices, snacks, sandwiches, and wraps. It wasn’t the most luxurious lounge I’ve seen, but it was adequate for a short stay.
Within just ten minutes of takeoff a glass of champagne and a snack were promptly offered. Rahul, the cabin manager inquired whether I would be joining them for dinner that evening and offered me a choice between a hearty hot meal (beef) or a lighter cheese platter option. As he noted my preference, he navigated the cabin, taking orders from the other six passengers on this flight.
Within just ten minutes of takeoff, I was offered a glass of champagne and a snack. Rahul, the cabin manager inquired whether I would be joining them for dinner that evening and offered me a choice between a hearty hot meal (beef) or a lighter cheese platter option. As he noted my preference, he navigated the cabin, taking orders from the other six passengers on this flight.
The beverage selection featured a range of South Australian wines and beers from some of Victoria’s finest breweries, including Furphy.
The innovative Rex business-class meal concept was served on single-use cardboard trays, with packaging crafted from sustainably managed forests. The tray featured wooden cutlery, while the bread and dessert were served in cardboard boxes. This creative approach eliminated the need for traditional crockery and cutlery, lightening the load and reducing waste. However, I couldn’t help but wonder whether the materials were recyclable.
As for the meal itself, the beef with polenta, broccoli, and peas was a solid choice, with the beef bursting with flavor. The polenta wasn’t my favorite, but the star of the tray was undoubtedly the handmade dessert, a tantalising lime, yogurt, and coconut cake that was both gluten-free and handmade in Sydney. I’m not typically impressed with airline bread, but the bread roll served with the meal was exceptionally fluffy and delicious.
The entire journey had an air of premium economy rather than conventional business class, yet at a mere AUD$199.00 for a one-way trip, it’s difficult to grumble. The crew was incredibly professional, and the service was top-notch. I would gladly travel with Rex Airlines again in the future, and I’m looking forward to their brand new domestic jet services.