During Qantas' recent Boeing 787 Dreamliner preview Australian Business Traveller also got a closer look at the first of the Red Roo's Boeing 737-800NG (or 'Next Generation') jets fitted fitted with Boeing's slick Sky Interior.
Some frequent flyers may already have flown in this bird, which took to the Aussie skies last month. It'll be followed by 17 more over the next two years, forming the backbone of Qantas' investment in updating its domestic fleet.
Based on the cabin of the Boeing 787, Boeing Sky Interior represents a major makeover for conventional aircraft interiors. Once you've flown in a Boeing 737 fitted with this new cabin (and Qantas and Virgin Australia both have them), you'll notice a dramatic difference compared to conventional aircraft interiors.
But until you make that flight, here's our photo walkthrough of the new Qantas 737 with Boeing Sky Interior.
The airplane’s entry area is brighter and more open, showcasing the new design at the first opportunity. For starters, you can't help but notice the scalloped and LEC backlit recess overhead.
That design element is repeated along the roof of the cabin from tip to tail, and is just one pointer to a shift from sharper angles to smoother lines and more organic curves.
That includes the steep sweep of the overhead luggage bins, which are a little larger on the inside and also provide more headroom for passengers, as well as contributing to the cabin's more spacious, "lighter and brighter" appeal.
Speaking of lighter and brighter, another standout feature of the new interior design is the LED lighting in the plane's ceiling and sidewalls.
The colour and intensity can be changed by the cabin crew, with the ability to cycle through preset 'themes' throughout various stages of the flight, including boarding and during meals, as well as mimicking sunrise and sunset.
Here the sidewall lights are dimmed...
... and then shift into a soft warm plum colour.
There's no truth to the rumour that the lights switch into a pulsating rainbow-like Saturday Night Fever disco mode during the John Travolta safety video.
So what else is new? Check out the business class seats.
While these Marc Newson/Recaro seats are the same design as on Qantas’ six 737-800 'classic' aircraft already in domestic service, they're covered in a grained 'claret' leather.
It's a crowning touch to an already excellent seat, which is 22 inches wide and has a 37 inch pitch, with an extendable legrest with foldout footrest.
The tray table has sufficient room for a 13 inch notebook.
There's also a very comfortable adjustable headrest.
For the work vs relax choice, both options are covered with a laptop power socket and 10.6 inch seat-back touchscreen video display.
This is the sort of comfort that's easy to appreciate on the transcontinental east-west trek, which is where Qantas says the BSI-equipped Boeing 737s will most often run, although you'll also spot them on the 'golden triangle’ routes of Sydney-Melbourne-Brisbane.
So how's the legroom? Well it's best at Row 1, of course, with naught but the bulkhead in front of you (although a bulkhead row doesn't always afford the most legroom).
There's a bit less legroom in the rows behind, but still enough to stretch out.
Back in economy is where you'll feel a squeeze at the knees.
There's just enough room to use your notebook provided it's a smaller model like this 13 inch MacBook Air (we've always considered that a 13-14 inch screen size is the sweet spot for travellers).
If you grab an exit row seat, of course, there's plenty more room for legs and laptops.
Here's another smart yet subtle change in the Boeing Sky Interior: the substantially larger oval window surrounds let more light in, and while the windows are physically the same size they certainly seem larger.
The economy seats are 17.2 inches wide with 30 inches of legroom, a 9 inch seatback touchscreen and shared one laptop power points.
Another little touch fitted by Qantas – which you'll find on all seats on all of the Red Roo's 737-800s – is this USB socket next to the screen.
This lets you recharge your smartphone or tablet in flight, and also takes a USB memory key loaded up with digital music, photos and even documents.
Now we'll be the first to admit this is a bit of a technical solution in search of a real-world application.
We reckon travellers are far more likely to have a personal MP3 player than a USB memory stick full of tunes, although there may be some who have their laptop and a handy USB key but no MP3 player.
Running a slideshow of snaps stored onto your USB key seems even more remote, and as for reviewing PDF documents on this tiny screen? Thanks but we'll pass.
Now, should the system be upgraded to play video from the USB key – something that Qantas' techie boffins tell us is more a matter of 'when' than 'if' – then this would certainly be a boon for travellers, who could load some of the latest downloaded videos onto a USB key and watch them on the seat-back screen instead of their laptop.
About David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.