Qantas revamps extra legroom charges

It’ll now cost a little more to stretch out on domestic and overseas flights…

By David Flynn, April 4 2024
Qantas revamps extra legroom charges
Executive Traveller exclusive

Qantas will raise the cost of choosing an extra legroom economy seat on domestic and international flights from April 18.

However, while the price increases themselves are relatively modest – around $5 to $15 – there’s a big change set to hit many of the airline’s clued-in frequent flyers.

They’re the savvy travellers who use a travel hack known as the ‘T-80 rule’ to select a free seat in the spacious first row of the economy cabin on domestic Boeing 737 flights.

With extra room to stretch out and letting you be among the first people off the plane, row 4 has long been reserved for the highest of high flyers – those holding Qantas Platinum One status or Chairman’s Lounge membership – who can choose those seats free of charge.

But 80 hours before a Qantas flight departs – a point in time also known as T-80 – all empty seats in that front row (along with others held back for Platinum and Gold frequent flyers) are thrown open to be selected by any passenger entirely free of charge.

So what’s changing?

As of Thursday April 18, those prized Row 4 seats on domestic 737 flights – although not international flights – will be classified as extra legroom seats and carry an additional price tag of $35 to $70, depending on the length of the flight.

Qantas maintains that Platinum One and Chairman’s Lounge members will not have to pay extra for these seats, despite the new seat selection screen showing Row 4 seats marked with a $ icon.

Nor will they lose advance access to Row 4, which will continue to be blocked to the hoi polloi until the T-80 countdown begins.

Instead, the airline argues this change will favour Platinum One and Chairman’s Lounge members by reducing the T-80 grab for primo seats at no extra cost.

Row 4 on the Qantas 737 provides space enough for comfort and even sliding a small cabin bag under the seat in front...
Row 4 on the Qantas 737 provides space enough for comfort and even sliding a small cabin bag under the seat in front...

Qantas’ new extra legroom charges

Here’s a quick roundup of the new Qantas extra legroom charges taking effect from April 18.

Most short-range domestic flights on the Boeing 737 and Airbus A330 up to 750 miles – such as Sydney-Melbourne, Sydney-Brisbane and Melbourne-Adelaide – will see extra legroom seats go up from $30 to $35.

On medium-range domestic routes of 751-1500 miles (including Melbourne-Brisbane, Sydney-Adelaide and Brisbane-Adelaide, extra legroom seats notch up from $40 to $45.

On the lengthiest domestic routes – such as east-west transcontinental flights – it’ll cost $70 to $75 to snare a bit more legroom for the long haul.

(You can calculate the distance in miles between any two airports by using the Great Circle Mapper website – enter a city pair, such as BNE-ADL, and click the Distance button.)

Additionally, extra legroom seats on regional Boeing 717 and Embraer E190 jets which used to begin at $15 now start at $20.

Qantas is still working through extra legroom costs on the Airbus A220, which has seen the prized economy Row 4 made available to all passengers at the time of booking – albeit carrying an extra-legroom charge – rather than initially restricting them to P1 and Cl on a free-of-charge basis.

Row 4 on the QantasLink A220 serves up extra legroom, although the architecture of the business class seats gets in your way...
Row 4 on the QantasLink A220 serves up extra legroom, although the architecture of the business class seats gets in your way...

On the international front, short-range overseas jaunts from Australia’s east coast to New Zealand and Fiji will see extra legroom seats increase for $30 to $35, with medium-range flights to Asia and Honolulu rising from $80 to $85.

Qantas’ longest international treks – to the UK and Europe, the Americas and South Africa – selecting an extra legroom economy seat will go up from $180 to $195.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Oct 2016

Total posts 99

I've never understood the value of better seat selection options to plats. For domestic trips I've never been able to preselect anything closer than row 6 on B737 until T-80 along with everyone else. Basically leaves 4 and 5s to P1 and CL? Where can others less than plat select before T-80? And so you're now saying in this article that even after T-80 plats will have to pay for row 4...?? Joke... 

10 Jan 2019

Total posts 3

Absolutely right - platinum membership devalued...getting to Plat 1 virtually impossible for the 'normal' traveller.   

Qantas Platinum

15 Aug 2018

Total posts 2

Platinum members have lost out again. To get to P1, 75,000 status credit, almost impossible. I'm stuck on 59,000 status credits. and you would think all that flying comes to something but no, qantas see it otherwise.

At least Virgin give their Plat Flyers free economy X.

07 Feb 2018

Total posts 20

These airlines just have no idea how to garner good customer loyalty anymore, especially Qantas with the negative perception it’s been accumulating like barnacles, there’s no little benefit for loyalty, ah well maybe the next gen of management will have a brain wave to really look after the customers…..

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 967

Heard a rumour, to print your ticket at the airport a charge of $0.15 will be applied

XWu
XWu

09 May 2020

Total posts 571

Despite conventional assumption that Asian airlines should have shorter seat pitch as the statures of Asian are shorter compared to average Caucasian size, many competitors from Asia directly competing with QF have extra 1-3 inch worth of space.

QF is now pitching (pun intended) as LCC premium kind of service with these new charges to domestic routes.

Thank you VH for making this change without improving the existing inflight service, even AJ didn’t try on this one for 15 years

seat pitch IS NOT an accurate measure of legroom. It all depends on the set backs. Many airlines esp lccs use slimline seats, so at same pitch, you get more legroom. Many reporters don't seem to understand this basic concept.

XWu
XWu

09 May 2020

Total posts 571

Thank you for pointing out but considering that the QF and other full service Asian airlines are not using slimline seats (and thank goodness for that), seat pitch is still a valid comparison since many airlines only report seat pitch and don’t report leg room space per se. 

Sat in LCC slimline seats before and that’s the only time I start looking for cushion (for padding) which is offered only in full service airlines.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Jun 2017

Total posts 55

Vanessa didn’t get the CEO job by telling the board that her primary role was to look after loyal customers. As the former CFO she will have presented her plan for maximising revenue and bottom line. Everything else that was said about customers, employees and communities appears to be PR fluff.

The big problems we have are a lack of serious domestic competition and for whatever reason, international passengers who have some sort of loyalty and are happy to use Qantas with its inferior product and high fares when there is much better product and value available. Qantas will have a team of marketing analysts looking very closely at where they are sitting at every moment of every day and know exactly when they can launch these little money grabs that we are seeing, each just small enough to not impact the overall market position of Qantas but significant enough en masse to boost the revenue and with no additional cost, goes straight to the bottom line for the business. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Apr 2017

Total posts 28

The QF enshirtification continues...   drip by drip.. little by little...    as a QF Plat it's now at the point where you might as well be gold or QF nothing on board when flying QF domestically.     OWE is valuable to me when travelling internationally.  But domestically, there is a genuine argument to stack up the QF Plat end-to-end experience against being a regular walk-up no-FF pax.  

Factoring ticket price (identical), paying for some better, nicer food or coffee at the AP, instead of the crowded lounge.  Priority boarding... when it's working...   priority baggage... does it work at all anymore?      Now, both myself and the no-FF pax are in the same queue to spend the same extra $$$ for more legroom seating.   

Suddenly the incentive to fly QF and use my Plat benefits are mostly gone domestically and now we're looking at VA, Rex and even Bonza, flying with them as a walk-up no-FF status pax.   And QF just becomes another competitor on the same route for me...  no advantage anymore being QF Plat going from Melb to Syd, or BNE to Adel...  etc...

03 Nov 2023

Total posts 8

Having flown the A220 recently, I noticed that several seats with extra leg room were still charging a fee up until T-24. I was still able to grab a good seat up the front once OLCI opened.

I hope under the new polic that all seats are still up for grabs at T-24. Unfortunately that will mean competing with all pax that get a (punctual) notification to check-in.

09 Jul 2017

Total posts 7

More penny pinching that disproportionately impacts the more loyal FF's (Platinum etc.).  Hope other airlines are watching and keep offering status matches to entice us away from these Qantas antics!!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Feb 2014

Total posts 27

Another nail for the price of loyalty... Platinum members are not going to be happy with the co payment even when the seat selection opens up. Glad to see velocity still keeps this perk. It's little things like this that really make you wonder if it is worth being loyal to qf. 

I bet there is an avalanche of negative press due with the launch of classic plus having a potential ridiculous (though not as ridiculous as points plus pay) redemption rates in the pipeline. AFR example noted an example the other day. To London being 800k instead of 1.2 million points. SQ advantage about 280k I think in J class which I did last Oct. And there was seats available!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Jul 2019

Total posts 2

Meanwhile, VA continue to offer Plats complimentary seating in Economy X in rows 3 - 5 - spacious legroom, upfront position, all make for a more comfortable economy experience and a great benefit of their program. As a QF Plat as well, I got sick of seating access only being rows 6 and beyond until T-80, with no wriggle room and if you're lucky, that slop in a box served to you for a fare 30% more on most occasions. Where are those touted changes to the FF program? Why would you annouce another fee grab before that announcement?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Dec 2017

Total posts 2

Whilst I retired at the end of last year, my Platinum will now expire at the end of 2024 (after 12 consecutive years), however I am still Life time Gold, so happy with that. Not travelling much this year, but I am glad I am now done, as I think QF has lost the plot, grabbing additional revenue and treating their high status loyal customers like Platinum like we don’t exist. It is a shame and we all know who will ultimately lose!!

06 Oct 2016

Total posts 1

So the proposed changes to the program are going to officially be called 'Enhancements' and screw Plats even further. A VA Plat gets to select seats at the time of booking for free - so even more incentive to keep flying with VA rather than QF. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Sep 2011

Total posts 7

I'd be interested how many P1 and CL's actually take these seats in row 4. If you're a P1 or CL, my guess is that you don't usually fly economy anyway.

Qantas should open up rows 4-6 to Platinum's before the T80. Rows 7-10 for Gold etc.

One more way to make a buck from your most loyal customers.

At the end of the day it's all academic as you will late like everyone else or bumped to another flight and sat down the back when they cancel the flight. 3 cancellations from my last 4 flights - well done Qantas.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Feb 2018

Total posts 7

It was good while it lasted.

Qantas Platinum

15 Aug 2018

Total posts 2

Agree Jeff, I have been QF Platinum for over 20 years and have Qantas Gold for life. As I have retired this year I will not be able to add to my 58,000 status credits in any meaningful way so Lifetime platinum is unachievable. Setting this at 75,000 status credits is unreasonable and a reason to now focus on the best customer service for price. That is not Qantas now.

BTW, Platinum Velocity gives you access to economy x seats on Virgin free of charge. That's a reason to fly Virgin.

28 Apr 2021

Total posts 20

Very much agree with jeff2257 and also being only a Platinum that is hard to maintain when one is retired, the powers to be in Mascot are not doing any favours for their loyal “Passengers” who have maintined support for at least half a ‘Century’.

Nice to have Life Time Gold, but at the end of the day is there anyone taking the time to have a look beyond the Travellers who have continually qualified for P and P1 and not the privelged few, with the title of Chairmans Lounge.

It would be interesting to learn if worthwile comments posted are ever read?.  

Air Canada - Aeroplan

28 Feb 2015

Total posts 112

Wow. Extra money for Row 4 even after T80 kicks in? Qantas is rushing to become the Ryanair of the southern hemisphere!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Feb 2015

Total posts 124

Disappointing to be sure… be very interesting to know how many P and P1 card holders are out there…. I guess there is some research to say don’t give them the best Y seat so that they upgrade to J…

29 Jan 2012

Total posts 174

How times have changed and the humble passenger has become a micro manager. Most domestic flights are under 1 hr in duration and really, does the seat position, pitch etc matter. T80, vs T24 rules, P1 vs Chairmans Lounge - simply if QF wants to empty your pockets with add on's such as extra fees for a couple of inches of leg room, then simply pass on paying the "extra cost" and sit anywhere for the hour's flight (preferable not the center seat of course) and just enjoy the flight and arriving safely to your destination.

How we complicate the world of simple travel - it is only a plane ride, not a life changing experience people.

XWu
XWu

09 May 2020

Total posts 571

If you ever have to deplane from the back (esp for QF flights) the extraordinary time for pax in front of you to do the simplest thing of getting their cabin bags and go, can take 15-20 mins or even more, and if you are travelling light and not picking up checked in luggage at the carousel, it’s going to make a lot of difference in whether to catch that public transport and related connections. For example, I don’t usually bother with taxis and share rides if going to Sydney CBD from SYD -trains more reliable during peak hours , but that’s at least 10 mins interval between trains.

And of course if we are looking at getting a connecting flight, it matters a lot.

If you have checked in luggages though then it probably doesn’t matter where you sit, even if you have priority tags on your luggage, it will probably by the last few bags to come out on the carousel! 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Jul 2013

Total posts 24

As a gent with long sexy legs who love row 4 or row 13-14 on 737 flying transcon, and playing the t-80 game! I am willing to pay for extra leg room providing that when my points upgrade is approved to business,  i get a automatically refund. I have paid coupe of time paid for exit seat and when i got upgraded no refund my seat selection. So i am not will to pay for seats now and just wait for t80 and t24. I am a WP and i do think having extra leg room should be given to us for free as well. 

Joe
Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 670

Vanessa Hudson did gain all her experience under Alan Joyce after all. Squeezing money out of anywhere in the business is the name of the game. It's all about the shareholder. God forbid there be a couple of nice perks available for free.

23 Oct 2014

Total posts 236

Ouch - loyalty clearly costs you +

with tickets originally significantly higher than competitors.

05 Jan 2023

Total posts 2

Virgin have the right idea and look after their frequent flyers. On domestic flights, as Platinum, I can choose my seat anyware in economy at no charge *and* I get to do this weeks ahead of flying. Qantas has no ethos when it comes to loyalty.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

24 Feb 2019

Total posts 1

This change is absolute crap.  As Platinum (lifetime gold) they now want $35 for short haul and $75 for long domestic for these extra legroom, previously free.  Where is the communications that informed of this further devaluing of platinum - I'm absolutely sick of this airline.  Total gut full.


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