Flight comparison: Qantas vs Rex on the short Sydney-Canberra hop

With a flight time of just 35 minutes, how does QantasLink compare with Regional Express for Sydney-Canberra flyers?

By Chris Chamberlin, June 15 2021
Flight comparison: Qantas vs Rex on the short Sydney-Canberra hop

Competition is back on the Sydney-Canberra corridor, with newcomer Rex drawing incumbent Qantas to battle for travellers on one of Australia’s shortest domestic flights.

Linking the country’s national capital with its largest city, the route clocks in at just 35 minutes from take-off to touchdown – so how does each airline set itself apart?

Executive Traveller took to the skies between Sydney and Canberra to put QantasLink’s Dash 8 Q400 and Rex’s Saab 340 turboprops head-to-head.

Sydney-Canberra flight schedule

One of the key factors in choosing one airline over the other on a quick hop like Sydney-Canberra is the flight schedule – particularly when you can drive between the two airports in under three hours.

On that front, Qantas currently offers 70 return flights a week. These are served by its Dash 8 turboprop fleet, with Boeing 717s also used on selected flights, plus the occasional Boeing 737.

QantasLink's Dash 8s often appear on regional flights, but also serve quick hops where frequency matters.
QantasLink's Dash 8s often appear on regional flights, but also serve quick hops where frequency matters.

Rex instead has 35 flights a week at present: a respectable schedule, given the airline only launched the route in mid-April. For the most part, these are concentrated around the mornings and evenings, and are all operated by Saab 340 turboprops.

Here’s how they’re spread across the week by both airlines, based on flying schedules over the next seven days:

Day

Qantas

Rex

Monday

8

5

Tuesday

11

6

Wednesday

15

6

Thursday

12

7

Friday

12

6

Saturday

5

3

Sunday

7

2

Total weekly return flights

70

35

Winner: With twice as many return flights each week, Qantas provides the most choice for travellers to minimise time spent waiting – although the timing of Rex’s flights may still suit many business and leisure travellers.

Sydney-Canberra fare prices

Alongside schedule, price is also a big factor for business owners and self-funded flyers.

We compared fares on Qantas and Rex by searching for flights departing wihin the next 24 hours at the time of writing, to reflect the sometimes short notice needs of business travellers, as well as in mid-July for those who can plan ahead.

Qantas typically prices its Red eDeal fares in the $193-$249 bracket (per passenger, one-way) outside sale periods – which were available both at short notice, and next month – and with Flexi fares from $423.

Rex instead being the new entrant on the route and the only alternative to Qantas for non-stop Sydney-Canberra flights, Rex is running with sharp fare pricing from $99 – often still available at short notice, as well as further in advance.

Rex's Saab 340s have been serving regional routes for years, but are now linking Sydney and Canberra, too.
Rex's Saab 340s have been serving regional routes for years, but are now linking Sydney and Canberra, too.

Flex fares on Rex typically start at $299 on this route, with the most expensive flight we could find selling for $339 with no lower-category fares available (a Monday 7pm departure, quoted at lunchtime four days prior). 

Winner: Given you can fly return on many Rex departures for almost the same cost as a one-way Qantas flight, and that lead-in flexible fares on Rex are also $124 less than Qantas comparable lead-in price, Rex is the clear winner for the hip pocket.

Qantas, Rex frequent flyer programs

This one is an obvious trophy for Qantas, given that Rex doesn’t offer a frequent flyer program for individuals – and its existing Rex Business Flyer scheme is closed to new applicants.

Qantas Frequent Flyer members are rewarded with at least 800 Qantas Points per flight between Sydney and Canberra, climbing to 1,200 points on flexible economy airfares.

In addition, Qantas Business Rewards members can earn 160-320 Qantas Points on these same economy tickets, and 240-480 Qantas Points on flexible economy.

A one-way economy flight on the same route can then be booked for 8,000 Qantas Points plus $53 in taxes, fees and carrier charges. Reward seats are generally found on Sydney-Canberra flights where the cash fare is $219 or less.

After 10 standard economy flights, you'd have enough Qantas Points to book flight #11.
After 10 standard economy flights, you'd have enough Qantas Points to book flight #11.

(Travellers can also earn and spend points in Qantas business class where available, but we’re focusing on economy here.)

Existing Rex Business Flyer members will find the program operates similar to a coffee card: take 18 eligible flights (nine return trips), get two flights (one return trip) free – although Community and Promo-branded fares, which includes those great $99 tickets, don’t count towards the tally of 18.

Winner: With Rex Business Flyer currently closed to new members and no personal frequent flyer scheme available for travellers either, Qantas takes home the trophy on points.

Qantas, Rex airport lounges

Here’s where things get interesting – both airlines offer at least one lounge in Sydney and in Canberra, but the experiences differ greatly between them.

At each end, Qantas operates:

  • A Qantas Club, for Qantas Club members, Gold-grade frequent flyers and lounge pass holders.
  • A Business Lounge, for Platinum and Platinum One frequent flyers (as well as those flying business class, where available).
  • A Chairman’s Lounge, accessible by invitation only, and sure to be appreciated by those members in the public eye who travel to Canberra regularly.
Canberra's Qantas Club lounge is spacious, with airport views and plenty of distinct zones.
Canberra's Qantas Club lounge is spacious, with airport views and plenty of distinct zones.

Rex instead operates:

  • A Rex Lounge at Sydney Airport, open to Rex Lounge members, Priority Pass holders, and customers who purchase entry at $33 (Saver fares) or $16.50 (Flex fares).
  • A temporary Rex Lounge at Canberra Airport. Right now, this is open to every passenger departing on Rex – including first-time flyers on those affordable $99 airfares. However, food and beverage consumed within the lounge is chargeable, making it more in the ‘exclusive café’ category rather than what travellers might typically expect of a lounge.
Rex is using what would normally be the international departures area in Canberra as its temporary lounge.
Rex is using what would normally be the international departures area in Canberra as its temporary lounge.

Winner: For the occasional economy traveller or those who might have Priority Pass included with their credit card, Rex will be the favourite – but for the frequent flyer, Qantas may have broader appeal given the more comprehensive service across its lounges, and the ability to qualify for free Qantas lounge access by frequent flyer status, recognising those who travel regularly.

Sydney-Canberra aircraft seating

Aboard QantasLink’s Dash 8s, you’ll find the cabin in a 2-2 layout – and that’s true whether a Q200, Q300 or Q400 arrives at your gate.

On the Q400 as shown here, the standard rows offer a seat pitch of 31 inches (79cm), with a seat width of 17 inches (43cm).

There's no middle seat on QantasLink's Dash 8s: everybody gets an aisle or a window.
There's no middle seat on QantasLink's Dash 8s: everybody gets an aisle or a window.

Rex, on the other hand, adopts a 1-2 layout aboard its Saab 340s – reflecting the narrower width of the cabin – but without a fourth seat to squeeze in, Rex’s seats measure up at a generous 18.5 inches wide (47cm), with a 31-inch pitch to equal Qantas.

Except in the back row in this configuration, Rex's Saab 340s offer paired and solo seating.
Except in the back row in this configuration, Rex's Saab 340s offer paired and solo seating.

Winner: With seats 1.5 inches wider than its competitor, plus a more favourable cabin layout for solo flyers, this one goes to Rex.

Sydney-Canberra inflight service

With only 50-55 minutes from gate to gate, and barely 35 minutes between take-off and touchdown, there’s just enough time for a quick refreshment during your journey.

On this trip, QantasLink offered every passenger a bottle of water before take-off, followed by a snack and a drink in the sky, where tea, coffee, water, juice and soft drinks are always complimentary – as is wine and beer from 5pm.

All snacks and beverages offered on QantasLink are included with your fare.
All snacks and beverages offered on QantasLink are included with your fare.

Rex’s inflight service is similar with free tea, coffee and water, although other beverages like soft drinks, beer and wine are all chargeable, and can be purchased using cash only. Soft drinks cost $4, light beer is $6, and other beers and wine are $7.

Rex also offers a snack and drink, but expect to pay for soft drink and alcohol.
Rex also offers a snack and drink, but expect to pay for soft drink and alcohol.

This sees Rex as a better fit for passengers who may find themselves peckish, as travellers can choose between a sweet or savoury snack – and on our journey, additional snacks were offered after the main service:

While Qantas offered one snack, Rex served up multiple bites on this quick hop.
While Qantas offered one snack, Rex served up multiple bites on this quick hop.

Winner: With Qantas carrying a broader range of complimentary beverages, yet Rex offering not only a second snack but a greater choice of snack, we’re calling this one as a draw, as some travellers may prefer the extra bite, while others will appreciate the broader complimentary drink selections offered by Qantas, particularly on departures from 5pm where beer and wine is free.

Sydney-Canberra inflight WiFI

There isn’t much time to pass between Sydney and Canberra, which sees neither QantasLink nor Rex offer WiFi Internet (or video entertainment) on these turboprop flights.

Both airlines provide a magazine, however – with Rex, you’ll find it in your seat pocket, while with Qantas, magazines are available in the terminal and from the lounges, for those with access.

If your flight is instead operated by a Qantas Boeing 717 or 737, streaming entertainment is offered via the Qantas app – or on selected Boeing 737s, via seatback screen.

Internet is also available on most Qantas Boeing 737s, but being such a short sector, most travellers would happily wait to check their email at the gate.

Winner: When comparing turboprop flights, this is a draw. Qantas has the edge on its Boeing 737s departures, but travellers on such a short route are unlikely to choose flights based on WiFi alone.

Sydney-Canberra cabin baggage

Both QantasLink and Rex allow passengers to carry 1x7kg bag measuring up to 105cm onto these turboprop flights, plus one personal item like a laptop satchel, handbag or overcoat.

Given the limited overhead storage on these planes, most bags with wheels need to be tagged at the gate and stored in the hold – but can be collected as soon as you disembark, rather than waiting at the baggage carousel.

A smaller plane means less storage in the cabin: but that doesn't mean you need to check-in your bags.
A smaller plane means less storage in the cabin: but that doesn't mean you need to check-in your bags.

Winner: On these turboprop flights, both airlines have the same carry-on baggage allowance, so this one’s a draw. (Qantas does offer a more generous cabin baggage allowance on its jet departures, however, as does Rex.)

Sydney-Canberra checked baggage

If you’re flying with more than just hand luggage, here’s how much you can check-in on Qantas and Rex turboprop departures, based on the type of fare you purchase:

Booking class / airline

Qantas (Dash 8s)

Rex (Saab 340)

Standard economy

1x23kg

1x15kg*

Flexible economy

1x23kg

1x23kg

*If the passenger is connecting with a Rex Boeing 737 flight, the allowance is 1x23kg – but on Saab-only journeys such as Sydney-Canberra, 1x15kg is the standard allowance on Promo and Saver tickets.

Winner: With a flat 1x23kg baggage allowance for all economy passengers on turboprop flights, Qantas wins here, although Rex is on-par when travelling on a Flex fare.

Changing your Sydney-Canberra flight

When your plans change before departure day, Qantas’ generous policy of unlimited fee-free flight changes will be appreciated by many – available on tickets booked by July 31 2021 for travel until February 28 2022 (fare differences may apply).

On departure day, fee-free changes are most likely for those on a Flex fare, although when the airline is expecting delays of bad weather later in the day, travellers may also proactively be offered an earlier flight if arriving at the airport early.

Arrive early with Qantas or Rex and you may be able to take an earlier flight.
Arrive early with Qantas or Rex and you may be able to take an earlier flight.

Rex instead levies a change fee of $33 plus any fare difference on eligible changes made before departure day (except on Flex fares), while at the airport, the airline’s ‘Get Me Home’ service allows travellers to switch to an earlier flight where one is available at a nominal fee.

On Promo fares (including those $99 bargain tickets), the fee is $55 – reduced to $33 on Saver fares, and waived on Flex fares.

Tickets changed via ‘Get Me Home’ at the airport aren’t subject to a fare difference, so even if the flight you want only has flexible fares left, if there’s a seat and you pay the change fee, it can be yours.

Winner: With Rex being more flexible on the day of departure, but Qantas waiving all change fees up until the day prior to departure at present, we’re calling this one a draw.

Qantas vs Rex on Sydney-Canberra: the verdict

Of the 10 aspects compared here, Qantas ranked ahead in four, Rex bested Qantas in two, and the airlines drew in a further four categories.

Of course, not all categories will rank equally in the mind of the passenger.

Business travellers will favour a different mix to holiday-makers, and could easily consider Qantas' superior lounge experience and its frequent flyer program as outweighing the inflight comfort on a 35-minute jaunt.

Never underestimate the appeal of Qantas Points and status credits when travellers are choosing which airline to book...
Never underestimate the appeal of Qantas Points and status credits when travellers are choosing which airline to book...

Other travellers could instead be drawn to Rex based on price alone, with its $99 one-way fares allowing for a return trip at almost the same price as a one-way ticket on Qantas.

Rex may not have a personal frequent flyer program, but with the money you'll save, you could travel more often.
Rex may not have a personal frequent flyer program, but with the money you'll save, you could travel more often.

Either way, it's great to see competition heating up on flights to Australia's national capital – and with Sydney-Canberra no longer a monopoly route for Qantas, Rex's presence is sure to keep the incumbent's prices in check.

Readers, it’s over to you: does Qantas or Rex appeal most for the quick Sydney-Canberra hop? Have your say by posting a comment below.

Chris Chamberlin travelled as a guest of QantasLink and Regional Express.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

06 Mar 2017

Total posts 13

As a regular on this route with an inflexible lowest cost flight policy to contend with, I have to say the Canberra-Rex flights have been nothing short of terrible. A majority of the flights I've been booked on have been delayed or cancelled and consolidated with a later flight (and never given a reason although more than likely due to low bookings), and the boarding experience is pretty ordinary with very long lead-in times for a small number of passengers. Nice try Rex, but the gate and terminal experience on both ends will need to be more polished to win business travellers who value their time.

When Qantas is charging almost twice as much as Rex, then my choice would depend heavily on my project budget or my client's budget, and it would be hard to argue against Rex for price alone. And given the short duration of the flight and the fact that there are lounges at either end I really wouldn't rate meals or IFE at all. Plus especially in the case of CBR, if you can get there not long before your flight then even the lounge proposition doesn't become a huge factor.

06 Mar 2017

Total posts 13

Except Rex online check-in doesn't work half the time, and at the CBR end, you can't turn up at the last minute because you'll have 10 travellers in front of you checking in luggage at one manually operated check-in counter with staff who are inflexible with the concept of hand luggage.

More than once I've been asked to check in my work bag shoulder which is just on 7.1kg with all my electronics on board, and then told I can't becuase they have batteries in them before calling a manager to get approval for me to be 100g over. Now I leave some stuff at home to stay under 7kg to avoid the fuss.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 22

The disembarking process at Sydney on Rex is the clincher for me- it adds another 10-15 minutes. I gave Rex a go given the great fares but the experience to date has been delays with no updated information, or an announcement which doesn’t come to fruition and waiting around in the very basic lounge area in T2. And there is no option to see if they are running late on that web. Whilst the inflight service is actually pretty reasonable, it is the efficiency getting in and out of SYD that loses them for me. 

Interesting comment on the arrival process in Sydney - we arrived at a remote stand but the transfer to the terminal was very quick, and the bus drops you at the doors right next to the T2 baggage carousels, so found it faster than arriving at many of the pier gates (where you then have to walk towards the exit, which can take 5 minutes itself).

06 Mar 2017

Total posts 13

Agree, disembarking on Rex is comparable to Qantas at gates 1, 1A, 1B and 1C. 

CBR-SYD on Qantas Dash-8's typicaly arrive at gates 16-19 which are less inconvenient as no waiting for a bus.    

much quicker to get off Rex 34 seaters than Qantas dash 8s.

20 Oct 2015

Total posts 168

This is really good feedback on where Rex seems to be falling down. Yes the low fares are great but you have to nail the whole experience and this seems to be where Qantas more consistently delivers, including advising of delays etc in the lounge or on the app. I certainly don't want to waste time and although Qantas charges more, this difference in fare comes back to what you get for your money, and maybe the money a business traveller saves with Rex isn't worth the uncertainty or hassle compared to Qantas.

All of the above aside, Qantas isn't doing itself any favours being twice what Rex charges, and that's the cheapest QF fare. I think if Qantas could get down to maybe $149, that'd be 50% higher than Rex but still not so much of a gap that you will head to Rex or that you can't justify the extra $50 for what Qantas gives in in an overall better experience.

Oh, the other thing Qantas could do would be to add Jetstar to SYD-CBR? Maybe it could reduce the number of QantasLink flights outside of peak hours and put some Jetstar A320s in between them. It's still an all economy class flight, you might need to allow for more JQ passengers to have lounge access at CBR access, along the same lines as passengers on the QantasLink flights, but then Jetstar could price-match Rex. But I'm sure this would see Rex complain again.

09 Aug 2015

Total posts 85

Very interesting comparison and comments too. My 2c? I'd rather see Qantas at $149, like suggested above, because then it'd be an absolute no-brainer for me, but I'm prepared to pay $200 because that's still cheaper than Qantas was charging before Rex. But I like Rex allowing a 'fly ahead' change on the day of departure, that's much more practical than Qantas's policy of a day before departure, especially if you are doing a one-day trip or even a short two-day trip with all your meetings etc locked in.

06 Mar 2017

Total posts 13

Fly ahead is only useful if the earlier flights actually depart. My experience has been they get cancelled and passengers consolidated onto a later flight fairly requently - more than 50% of the flights I've had from April to June 2021. 

Same thing used to happen with Virgin all too regularly when they were flying this route. To be fair, Qantas did the same when domestic demand was at rock bottom around March/April 2020 and then from July through to September 2020 when demand seemed to be a bit more reliable.

qantas cancels a lot of SYD/CBR/SYD flights as well !!!!

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 794

Murray's. :) Jolimont to SYD T3 or Sydney Central. Guaranteed two seats to yourself for $69 flex each way. Three hours. 

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 288

Yeah, sorry but my time is more valuable than saving $30 on bus fare vs Rex airfare, and I reckon the same would apply to any business traveller or person reading this website.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1294

QFP1 yes I’m a business traveller who pays the bills and am a person who has been reading this website for 10 years or so. It depends entirely on the business, time of day and who’s paying. The first class carriage on the train is quite full of suits who diligently have lap tops out working.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Nov 2012

Total posts 83

Funny 😂🤣😂 Wrong audience to pitch that idea to. 

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1294

Bsbs as I said I’m that audience.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 377

QFP1, you're not saving any time by flying this route compared with taking the bus or driving. If you were talking about Sydney-Brisbane or Sydney-Melbourne, then sure.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1294

Rex is fine but the so called over priced lounge in Canberra is easily beaten by the amenities downstairs at a fraction of the price. My next trip will be first class on the train (30 something dollars) in one direction plus not many of my sqillion accumulated lock down points plus $50someting for the other way, plus the bus class lounge.

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 288

Now that would make an interesting SYD-CBR comparison, plane vs train vs bus!

06 Mar 2017

Total posts 13

Train or Murrays bus are fine if you don't need to be in Canberra first thing in the morning or doing a day trip. The timetables just don't work for that purpose. My issue is I need to be able to do a day trip, and driving yourself for for a 3h trip after a 10h work day is something I'd rather not do if I can avoid it.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1294

 Nerdag flight in the morning and train in the evening works a treat.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 377

I doubt very many people are travelling for 3 hours (any way you look at it, SYD-CBR will take you approx. 3 hours door to door, even if you fly) after putting in an 8-10 hour workday. If they are, then obviously they'll be spending a couple of days or more in Canberra.

ff

read my comment below about CBR pax going overseas. If they can get cheap CBR/SYD & then go SYD/overseas Qantas might lose some pax. Plenty of airlines are much cheaper & better than Qantas. Yes 2 check ins, but massive savings to be had.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 377

Obviously a large proportion of SYD-CBR pax are heading overseas during normal times, given the very limited number of international flights out of Canberra. At the present time, people doing this are going only to New Zealand as you pretty much can't go anywhere else without special permission. A Qantas through ticket from CBR via SYD to destinations like New Zealand, Singapore, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Shanghai, London, Los Angeles or San Francisco would probably only cost marginally more than a flight ex SYD. Actually, in some instances I've seen Flight Centre quote international fares ex CBR for less than fares ex SYD! This was some years back now, but I wouldn't be surprised if it applies again in the future.

Anyway, all my comments (and most of those made by other commentators) basically assumed SYD-CBR travel is for business purposes, mostly with Sydney based people going to Canberra. You're the first person who brought up international connections, which I would have done too, but with borders closed for so long already (though I am definitely suffering from pandemic fatigue at this point) I almost forgot international travel was possible (or used to be possible), LOL.

ff

you missed my point that getting separate tickets CBR/SYD/CBR & SYD/somewhere international NOT on qantas, can be much cheaper than for example a single ticket on qantas CBR/overseas via SYD. Inconvenient yes, with all the stuffing around at SYD, carting luggage from 1 terminal to another & checking in again, but where massive savings are involved, many people will do it, maybe not that many business people but maybe some of those who have to pay fares themselves. Have seen examples of savings of up to 50% cf. Qantas through tickets. If Rex continues to do fares like the $39 MEL/SYD & SYD/MEL & similar fares OOL/SYD & SYD/OOL then they might pick up quite a few international passengers.

International fares are often cheaper out of SYD than BNE, MEL etc. due to more competition. No one like to transit via very badly designed SYD, but people will do it, if big savings are able to be made.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 377

reg, I didn't miss the point at all. I think you have.

As I was saying, I've seen international flights out of CBR priced at lower than those originating out of SYD. Don't ask me why this is so, but I can assure you I've seen such pricing. No idea whether such flights were on Qantas, but I assume that a through ticket on Qantas to the aforementioned QF destinations are going to be cheaper than booking separate tickets like you implied. If you book separate tickets and especially if you have to change airlines, that's a different story.

It sounds like a lot of hassle to transfer terminals and collect luggage and all to save just a few bucks. I think a lot of budget and leisure travellers in the situation you've described would just catch a bus or train up to Sydney and book their flights ex SYD though some may certainly be inclined to fly.

Many airlines these days (well, in the years leading up to Covid at least) price their tickets ex MEL, BNE and SYD the same, especially if all three cities are served by the same airline. This is true for airlines ranging from SQ, TG, MH, CX to UA and QF.

Anyway, as this is a business traveller website, I think the vast majority of readers are going to want to do things as efficiently as possible hence why saving $10 or $20 is not going to be the main determinant in their decision making. For business travellers, their time is the most important commodity.

no talking $10 or $20 but rather $1000 on an economy ticket & be able to upgrade straight to business class.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 377

$1000 cheaper? Now you're just being ridiculous and making things up on the fly. Like I said, CBR-SYD is 286km; slightly less if comparing the distance between SYD and CBR airports. There are multiple methods of commuting between the two cities both by air and land, all of which will take you about 3 hours and in the majority of cases will cost under $100.

A business traveller might want to fly and preferably book a through ticket (if possible), while a leisure traveller might book separately but due to luggage limits may prefer to catch a bus to Sydney and then check-in for their international flight directly. This will depend on what airline they're flying with - many international carriers have been allowing 30kg in economy class and 40kg in business class while Rex offers only 23kg.

ff

No, $1000 or might even be more & on better airline than Qantas. 23kgs is more than enough. Qantas is a very expensive airline. Obviously their marketing works on a few people. Don't think Qantas can afford to match prices.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 377

reg flyer, I don't think so. Not sure what you're going on about. If you book a through ticket on QF departing CBR to another Qantas international destination via SYD, then the ticket cost will not be much higher than purchasing a QF ticket ex. SYD. If you purchase separate tickets then the cost difference might be more considerable. Also depends where you're heading and which airline alliance is partnered with QF heading to the destination you're travelling to. Rex is according to my understanding not part of any frequent flyer alliance.

In any case, like I've already stated multiple times, no one is going to struggle to figure out an economical way of travelling between Canberra and Sydney airport as they're already so close to one another with multiple relatively cheap options to commute between the two. It's not like PER-SYD, where you're at the mercy of the airlines or a 4-5 day road trip. The CBR-SYD one way commute is literally the same as some Sydneysiders spend in traffic every day commuting to/from work in terms of time spent on the road.

ff

didn't suggest flying QF Internationally. Fly any airline CBR/SYD & better airline SYD/internationally on separate tickets & savings of $1000 possible, eg. peak season to USA. So a family of 4 can save $4000 + & larger families more. It's not rocket science. You seem to think there is something special about Qantas. Dozens of better airlines out there.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1294

A family of four is far more Lito get the bus straight to the international terminal. Herding kids on terminal transfers is an expensive hassle

patrick

if I was saving $4000 I could put up with a little inconvenience at SYD. Might even go up night before & stay at a reasonable airport hotel, rather than having to get up early. No matter where we go, we never seem to finish packing the night before & end up taking stuff we don't need, because we get in a hurry.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 377

@reg, you seem to have something against Qantas. I think they're OK. I'm not a huge fan, just saying that generally speaking, a through ticket combining a domestic and international flight on a single airline is generally more economical than changing airlines. Not always, but usually.

I simply don't believe you can save that much money by changing airlines in Sydney compared to a QF through ticket, if purchased ex CBR.

It really depends on the airline. Years ago QF seemed to be the most expensive option, yes. As an example from personal experience, I usually fly to Bangkok as my first port of call when travelling to Asia. THAI is a good airline, but in recent years has been rather expensive. Quite often THAI ends up being more expensive than QF! This seems pretty ridiculous given the much lower cost base that THAI operates under. That stated, the airline has been mismanaged in recent years with far too many staff.

There may be a difference in fares depending on where you purchased the ticket from. I've noticed that if you book BKK-SYD-BKK, QF may be cheaper than TG. In the reverse direction, SYD-BKK-SYD may well be cheaper on TG than QF.

When comparing other airlines such as flights with Air New Zealand or UA to the USA (LAX, SFO), QF may be a little more expensive but not to the point of $1000 more unless maybe...you're talking business class fares. I was referring to economy.

Anyway, each to their own what they find the most convenient. I'll certainly look into making these comparisons once Covid is over to see whether you're right. Will have to wait until these flights come back.

ok in a normal year, peak season in economy CBR or SYD/LAX return is probably in the order of $2300 to $2700 return. By getting separate tickets, probably not Qantas CBR/SYD & definitely not Qantas SYD/LAX you can fly for around $1500. Yes you have to check in twice. I don't have anything against Qantas, but would never pay $1000 more to fly Qantas & can still earn frequent flyer points, but probably less points, being a much cheaper fare.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 377

reg, I certainly wouldn't pay $1000 more either even if it means frequent flyer points I don't get with another airline. Incidentally, I'm a Star Alliance ff, therefore, since QF is not part of that alliance, I'm actually better off flying a different carrier.

That's one of the reasons I fly THAI or Singapore Airlines to Asia and have flown with Qantas just once return (all the way back in 2001/2002). Another reason is Qantas' limited schedules; while TG and SQ offer several ports of call in Australia and during better times, multiple flights per day, QF has only ever offered a single daily service from SYD to Bangkok. They haven't flown from MEL in years (except now during Covid on special relief and cargo flights) instead you have to use Jetstar.

While I do hold a membership with QF as well, I haven't accumulated points in so many years I'm unsure if I'm still a member or would have to start from scratch. The only times I flew Qantas in recent years was SYD-AKL as part of a Air Tahiti Nui flight to Papeete.

To the USA, I've only ever flown Air New Zealand but have considered United.

To conclude, I'm far from being a QF fan. In fact, I've been complaining about their lackluster route network and schedules, as well as relatively high fares compared to foreign carriers for years. I'm also not particularly enamored by their obsession with Singapore. Enough airlines fly there already...why not offer more flights to Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur instead? Would be able to capture some of the leisure market as well.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1294

 Many get the bus that stops at the international terminal which many take (3.15 time wise usually) Rex could take some of them with a 7am flight to Sydney 

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 288

I'd still fly Qantas between Sydney and Canberra but welcome the lower airfares and thank Rex for that at least. It will be interesting to see what Virgin does here, I expect SYD-CBR will be one of the Alliance Airlines partnership routes, unless Virgin thinks that between Qantas and Rex there's simply not enough traffic left over to make it work.

Alliance will surely use only jets, as very few F50s left & they are getting a bit old.

06 Mar 2017

Total posts 13

Not from where I am going to. Not a railway station in sight in many parts of Canberra. By the time you get the taxi to the railway station, you've not saved much time or cost. And my lowest cost travel policy doesn't allow for trains, let alone the more comfy and practical first class cabin for working. 

That said, a VFT would be a game changer.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1294

 Nerdag taxi to the airport maybe a little more.

XWu
XWu

09 May 2020

Total posts 415

As recent as a couple of years ago, i had the experience of flight delays due to fog at CBR during winter mostly affecting props not jets despite ILS capabilities probably because the runways does not have cat III b capabilities

Strange that no one mentioned the fog so far, has things changed that much?

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 377

That is a good point, especially during winter and for early morning flights. As Patrick states, arriving the night before might just be a better idea.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1294

Yes the threat of fog is a big deal for those morning meetings. Good practice is to come up the night before.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 377

The distance by road between Sydney's CBD and Canberra is a mere 286km, which you can drive in about 3 hours. Unless you don't drive (or dislike driving) then there is little time advantage gained to flying this route. The average person would need to budget 30-45 mins to travel from the city to Sydney airport, then they would likely arrive at least 1 hour ahead of the flight time. Including taxi-ing time and the flight time, and the time it takes to retrieve your baggage and find a cab or have someone drive you to the city at the other end, all in all we're talking around 3 hours minimum, door to door, the same amount of time as it takes to drive between the two cities.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1294

Freq I’m far too old to drive 6-7 hours a day plus a few hours of meetings. Cheap Plane plus train suits me fine 

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 288

Fly vs drive for Sydney-Canberra makes a lot of sense if you just compare the time spent, in hours, but it's also about how you spend that time. I'd rather be more relaxed on the whole than driving, where you really do need to focus (and watch out for those speed traps!) and able to do some work in the lounge. Plus if you do carry-on baggage only on the Qantas Boeing 737, and book your Uber as soon as you're off the plane, there's no waiting around.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 377

@Patrick, I've done plenty of day trips between Sydney and Canberra by driving both ways. I can understand it's not for everyone. Obviously depends on how many meetings you have and whether you're spending the night or not.

@QFP1, fair enough. That makes sense.

06 Mar 2017

Total posts 13

I was driving day trips in the midst of the COVID grounding, and it was doable, but exhausting being on the road for 6h on top of a 9-10h work day, and having to back up for similar work days either side in Sydney and up the Central Coast. Yep the flights don't save much, but after 16h on the road and at work, the extra hour to spend with family which is saved for me by flying was worth it.

The business market for day trips is there, and my experience is that Qantas do a better job of it than Rex and Virgin ever did, plain and simple, especially over the last 5 years. Whether it's worth the price difference to any individual is a personal/business choice.

If only my public sector employer were prepared to consider best value vs lowest cost.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1294

Depends on age as well 70 versus 30 somethings.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Nov 2013

Total posts 488

Is Rex really an option for holiday leisure travellers? Given the 3hr road trip time and the fact holiday travellers should be less time sensitive, I'm confused as to why this is a target market sector for them...

there are some killer airfare deals out of SYD at end of the year, so CBR residents might grab Rex to SYD. Yes they will have to check in again, but still probably 1/2 the price of CBR/SYD/LAX return. It looks like Europe will be open to UK & USA by August 2021.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 377

Yes open to those who are vaccinated or provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test. Full unrestricted travel, free of either of these burdens is still some time away.

ff 

should not be any restrictions on those vaccinated now. None in Europe, UK, USA international travel from next 2 months. Yanks can fly many places right now.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1294

Regular…except for Canada. Still closed-ish for another month or or so.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 377

@Patrick, I think the US-Canadian border closure could well be extended again.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 377

@Reg, you're missing the point. Sure, if you want to get vaccinated and think it's worth taking the risk for a holiday or business trip. Not everyone wants to take that risk. On the other hand, the vast majority of countries allowing a quarantine exemption for vaccinated individuals allow a Covid-19 test to be taken in lieu of vaccination but again, not everyone agrees to testing. Some countries isolate positive results, even asymptomatic ones, in a hospital or hotel so that is a huge impediment to free travel.

Americans have never been restricted from leaving the country; meanwhile as early as September or October last year destinations surrounding the USA, such as several Caribbean nations re-opened to Americans, albeit under certain criteria such as isolating in a hotel for a day or two while awaiting Covid testing results, or allowing free travel but requiring several Covid tests done within the first 14 days of arrival. Some countries such as Mexico have never closed at all and don't require testing or quarantine, although Americans are generally required to fly there since the land border is open only to "essential" travel. 

Restrictions are being eased in many countries - masks are starting to come off in Europe, but it won't be until September or October that pretty much all restrictions have been lifted.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1294

Regular the yanks aren’t letting others in though.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 377

@Patrick, that's right. The USA is still not allowing non-citizens in from Europe, China and several other places. Better to wait until next year, when a general global reopening looks set to happen.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1294

Europe may be open to the USA but not the other way round

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Jul 2017

Total posts 24

For my small contribution after yesterday and today delays with Q I will stick with Rex on this Sector. Nothing but delays with Q  with distance to checkin to either gates 16,17 or 1 much longer than Rex. And the bus trip with Q to the end of the world to board and the queues for the Q400 always long. I as a very small business person need to consider $s so Rex gets my support on this sector.

ok look at it this way ....... if you fly Jetstar say OOL/SYD/ZQN as you want to use up some ff pts & nothing else available, you need to check in twice & get your own way from SYD domestic to international. The same thing might happen CBR/SYD to some international destination, where the total of the 2 fares CBR/SYD & SYD/wherever overseas, might be 1/2 of the the Qantas through fare !!! for that sort of saving a family in CBR might put up with the stuffing around at badly designed SYD airport. By the way  ..... BNE is going to become one terminal, but it might take a decade, just in time for the Olympics !!!!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Jan 2017

Total posts 8

I regularly fly Dubbo - Sydney on either QantasLink or Rex. Personally I find the flight attendants to be a bit more friendly on the Rex flights (although QantasLink are generally good sometimes some appear to be there just for the job, especially if they have to deal with kids). However given that I tend to fly QantasLink, I find the flights are quicker, often I can deplane and get out of the airport quicker (unless going to Gates 1A - C especially when the planes have to stop and give way to jets going from 1 - 9), I find the refreshments better but the most important reason for not flying Rex is the way they check the weight of your hand luggage and anything over the limit (even 0.5kg) is made to get checked in / charged and only 15kg, where as with QantasLink the check in staff are much more lenient and have even actively let me take on more if I have tight connections for international flights or other domestic flights and don’t have checked in luggage.

30 Sep 2011

Total posts 45

The elephant in the room on this review on frequency and fares is parliament sitting or not.?

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1294

Dunc, having flown on a Friday morning with pollies it is not the fare but the availability in various fare buckets but Red e fares are generally available a few weeks out. Qantas tends to add more seats with bigger planes: 737s to Sydney and A330s to Brisbane and Melbourne to move the crowd and at 9.00am Friday morning Canberra airport can be quite busy.


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