While the Boeing 737 forms the backbone of Qantas' domestic fleet, many of the east-west transcontinental routes – along with some shorter hops on the busy 'triangle' between Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane – are flown by the twin-aisle Airbus A330.
Qantas has A330 jets in both domestic and international versions, with three economy layouts as shown below: there's relatively little difference between them, with a standard 2-4-2 layout and at least 31 inches of pitch.
Some areas are better than others depending on your needs, so here are some broad rules you can apply to your next flight (the exact seat numbers will depend on what A330 configuration you’re on).
Qantas A330 economy seats with the most room
Seats A/B/J/K in rows 44 or 45 are the only actual ‘extra legroom seats’ on the plane, with no bulkhead partition in front of you.
Taller people will feel more comfortable here with unlimited legroom. We rate the B/J seats to be better than the A/K seats because the emergency exit slide protrudes from the door and may obstruct the legroom if you’re seated at the window.
The downsides: a narrower seat due to everything being stored in the armrest. During takeoff and landing, you can’t use the entertainment screens and have to stow all luggage in the lockers.
To avoid anyone reclining into you
If you don’t mind having a partition in front of you, then the rest of rows 44/45 and 23/24 are also suitable if you want some more knee and head space, but at the expense of being able to stretch your legs in front. D and G seats have slightly more legroom as you can extend them into the aisles, but risk getting them trampled by anyone walking along.
It shares the same downsides as above.
For colleagues/friends travelling together
Thankfully, Qantas has not followed other carriers in adopting a 3-3-3 layout in economy. If you’re flying as a pair, be sure to nab one of the window pairs.
Watch out: The eight A330’s with in-seat screens have a control box located under seats A and K, reducing available legroom for those window passengers.
For solo travellers
You’ll feel most at home perched in an aisle seat – that’s B/D/G/J seats in any row. You’ll be able to have a bit more elbow room to work on a laptop, and have easy access to anything stored overhead.
As passengers tend to avoid middle seats, sitting in a D or G seat closer towards the back of the plane might increase your odds of having a spare seat beside you.
For people with extra carry-on gear
54F or 55F also gets an honourable mention - this is where the middle four seats become three, so you’ll have a whole lot of extra elbow room on your right, plus might be able to store more items under the adjacent seat and in the seatback pockets. Perfect if you have lots of bits and bobs that you’d like to keep handy.
For guilt-free reclining
On long-range domestic flights (to/from Perth usually), the crew rest areas indicated in purple might be blocked off for selection.
If you’re seated one row in front (that’s rows 36, 54 or 55 depending on configuration), then you can utilise the space behind you and recline away for a better snooze.
Qantas A330 economy seats to avoid
Seats E and F in each row have the dubious honour of being middle seats, where you face being trapped by people on either side. It’s best to avoid these if possible. Even if you’re travelling in a group of four, it could be better to select two pairs of windows seats.
One row in each plane also doesn’t have a window, and you can see that indicated on the seat maps above (seats A and K in rows 23 or 25). If you feel claustrophobic, or merely want to enjoy a good view, then move somewhere else.
How to get the best Qantas A330 economy seats
Platinum One and Chairman’s Lounge members have the plum pick of any seat for free, including extra-legroom seats on domestic flights. Anyone else can purchase the extra-legroom row for a fee.
Otherwise, the seats you see depend on status, with higher ranking Platinums being able to pick most of the plane beyond the first few rows, to Bronze members who are stuck towards the back initially.
From three days before your flight, the seat maps might open up, so check back regularly during this time for a chance to get a better option.
Upgrading to business class on the Qantas A330
If you're doing the transcontinental trek, upgrading from economy to business class on the A330 is a great use of Qantas points (especially if you're not a Platinum-grade frequent flyer, as the upgrade will also provide access to the Qantas Business lounge).
For example, a business class upgrade from Sydney or Melbourne to Perth (or back the other way) is priced at just 10,000 points if you're travelling on a flexible economy fare, or 25,000 points if you're booked on a lower-priced discount economy ticket.